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As credit card debt increases, need for debt relief may be high

Even with the economy on the uptick, credit card debt continues to burden Americans in increasingly higher amounts. One estimate puts the amount of this type of debt at $60 billion by the end of 2015. For Washington consumers, the projected 5 percent increase in credit card debt could tip the scales of financial stability and put some in desperate need of debt relief.

For the past six quarters, credit card debt has steadily risen. Between 2012 and 2013, it rose by 55 percent, and then rose another 47 percent in the following year. This trend is steadily outpacing any increase in earnings, which have barely budged over the past decade. In 10 years, the average household income has gone up by a mere 2 percent despite any economic improvement for the country as a whole. 

The lack of increased income could be a contributing factor to the feeling of financial insecurity that over 50 percent of the country reported feeling. From medical bills to groceries, as the cost of both emergencies and day-to-day life increase, many people have no other choice but to confront their outstanding debt. Of those who haven't yet felt the pinch of a serious financial emergency, half say they are far from being prepared to handle one.

Stubbornly stagnant wages have likely contributed to a substantial amount of the financial woes felt by people in Washington. When debt becomes more than people can handle, it can be an understandably confusing time. When it comes to overwhelming credit card debt, filing for bankruptcy can be an effective form of debt relief and can even help in stopping wage garnishment and harassing phone calls from creditors.

Source: CBS News, "America's skyrocketing credit card debt", Aimee Picchi, March 10, 2015

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