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Millions of Americans forlorn in credit card debt

In theory, at least, the recent economic crisis has ended, but if you tell that to the millions of Americans who have lost wealth and confidence in the future, you might not get much agreement.

As the economy slowly recovers, people across the country would finally seem to have financial breathing room and flexibility. Unfortunately, for many Wisconsin residents this is not the case because they have had to rely on credit cards to make ends meet. So now, having survived the recession, they face considerable credit card debt.

According to a survey by consumer research firm Mintel, 20 million households now do not expect to ever be debt-free. This sobering expectation has come after several years of using credit cards to weather unemployment, pay medical bills and even everyday expenses.

The debt is substantial, according to other research firms. In 2012, the average American over 50 years of age owed an average balance of $8,278; younger Americans averaged $6,258 per person. Many must now rely on credit cards to meet basic needs.

Wisconsin residents know how credit cards can help a household stay afloat during a crisis. But using a credit card for the most basic needs is a sign of growing financial troubles. Keeping payments from becoming delinquent now may mean that debts pile up and later bring creditors knocking on the door. Wisconsinites who face this kind of predicament may wish to explore filing for bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy is a legal way to become debt-free and start over with better prospects of having a brighter economic future. Consulting with a bankruptcy law specialist can help anyone who has questions about bankruptcy filings. Consultation can also help determine whether a creditor or bank has violated a person's rights under the federal Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act.

Source: New York Post, "20M homes fear they'll never live debt-free," Catherine Curan, Sep. 21, 2013

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