Americans' credit card debt appears to be shooting back up

The Great Recession taught Mississippians many things: secure employment is something to be sought-after and appreciated, cars and homes should be affordable in light of one's income and expenses and credit card debt is something to be maintained very carefully. Still, despite the newfound credit lessons related to the recession, some data show that Americans may be getting into credit card debt yet again.

Recently, the U.S. Federal Reserve released several pieces of information that indicate Americans recently have been racking up credit card debt. First, the Reserve noted, per its data for this past April, that total consumer debt has increased by nearly $27 billion; the total amount of consumer credit now stands at about $3 trillion. In March, the amount of consumer debt had grown by $19.5 billion. These numbers, when considered together, point to a 10.2% yearly increase in consumer debt. Since the summer of 2011, this has been the most rapid increase in consumer debt.

Interestingly, though, the rate of consumer credit card debt seems to be growing even faster. Revolving credit, a category that includes credit card debt, shot up by $8.8 billion. The annual rate at which it is increasing is now slightly over 12%, which is a rate level not seen since the fall of 2001 - a time when American consumers were being encouraged to spend more to fuel an economy shaken by the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Credit card spending does stimulate the economy in an immediate sense, but in the long-term, it can have damaging consequences, as many Americans have already learned. When individuals are spending money on interest rates instead of goods and, in some cases, making only the minimum payments on their bills, that money is not going back into the consumer economy.

When credit card debt gets overwhelming, many residents of Mississippi will inquire about bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy is one option for individuals whose debt far outweighs their current income. Bankruptcy can stop creditors from harassing an individual and can get that person on a realistic plan for repaying their debts. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, many debts can be liquidated. Talking to a bankruptcy attorney can let a person know what their options are and which choice may be best for their personal debt situation.

Source:, "Americans love debt again: Consumer credit card spending surges by $8.8 billion," Jeffrey Strain, June 7, 2014

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