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Debt relief comes to the forefront as consumer debt rises

The amount of debt households in the United States are carrying is increasing. In fact, the country is seeing the largest increase in household debt since 2008. According to a survey by the New York Fed, as of the third quarter of 2013, the total U.S. consumer debt was $11.28 trillion, a 1.1 percent increase from the second quarter. That number includes credit card debt, auto and student loans, home equity lines of credit and mortgages.

For those across the country — and throughout New Jersey — looking for debt relief, credit card debt and student loans are two categories that are having a significant effect on the lives of consumers. Credit card debt increased by $4 billion from the second to third quarter of 2013, coming in at a total of $672 billion. The credit card delinquency rates are also expected to rise to 1.66 percent by the end of 2014.

Student loan debt is increasing a bit more dramatically. According to the survey, student loan balances on credit reports went up to $1.03 trillion, an increase of $33 billion. Student loans are becoming an increased source of stress among families with children beginning to look at going to college. Even those with above average grades and test scores are not always offered huge financial aid packages, and many parents are trying to avoid having their children take out loans for school so they don’t have to repeat the debt patterns of their parents.

For those already struggling under the burden of overwhelming credit card debt and student loans, getting out from under debt can seem like a fantasy. There are options, however, that can help those people get a fresh financial start and discussing bankruptcy and other debt relief alternatives can be a first step on the road to financial recovery.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “Household debt rising; some are worried” Becky Yerak, Feb. 02, 2014

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