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In January 2018, reports indicated that credit card debt had reached an all-time high in the United States. With the average credit card balance reaching $6,375, it’s clear that many people in America have enough debt that it could become problematic to pay it off quickly.

The reality is that higher credit debt can indicate one of two things. The first is that Americans feel confident in being able to repay their debts. Perhaps they have better job opportunities or higher incomes. The second indicates that people are struggling with the economy, using credit to get from one paycheck to the next.

In recent years, the good news is that credit scores have gone up with debt, which means the likelihood is that the improved economy has everything to do with the confidence to spend beyond current means. As economic satisfaction continues to grow, more people will be comfortable spending and confident that they can repay what they owe within a short amount of time.

What can you do to manage credit card debt well?

The most important thing is to make payments on time. People who use credit cards should try to buy only the things they can already afford, paying off the purchase at the end of the month. If you do need to keep debt for longer, you should create a plan to pay it off by paying more than the monthly minimum. If not, the monthly minimum can add up and result in high interest on the debt, making you pay much more than the initial charge.

The average household in the United States has $16,883 in credit card debt owed. Each year, that adds up to around $1,292 in interest, based on average interest rates. Many people choose to transfer their balances to zero percent interests cards, but even that does have a cost of around $326 per $5,000 balance transfer.

Paying down your debt doesn’t have to be difficult, but you do need to have a plan. Always pay more than is due on the largest debt, even if you can’t do that with all of the debts. You should also have plans in place for what to do if you get hurt, lose a job or have to max out your credit cards.

If you’re overwhelmed with debt, it may seem that there’s no way out, but bankruptcy is a strong option. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can carefully examine your financial situation and provide uniquely tailored advice regarding Chapter 7, Chapter 13 or other options for debt relief.