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Do self expression and easy credit conspire to create debt troubles?

The question posed above isn't meant to be facetious. It's a legitimate inquiry that seems to be set out by a study that raises a warning flag about the pace of credit card debt accumulation among young Americans. The finding of the study is that young people in Texas and the rest of the country are running the risk of going to their graves with a greater amount of credit card debt than any previous generations.

The study states that the group of Americans born between 1980 and 1984, those in their late 20s and early 30s, have racked up credit card debt at a rate faster than baby boom adults or those born before the Great Depression. The findings, produced by a group out of Ohio State, also say that the younger consumers are paying off their debts more slowly than their parents and grandparents. The upshot, it says, is that millions will die in the red.

That someone might die owing money on credit card debt probably doesn't sound particularly worrisome. But, perhaps that isn't the issue that should be sparking interest in this story. Perhaps more intriguing is the speculation about why the younger generation faces the dilemma.

Some who have reflected on the study's results say the real danger is that it shows how significantly culture has changed. They say never before has it been so easy to spend so much. Online shopping has made it easier to find tantalizing items to consume and easy credit has triggered spending without much thinking.

Still others say the above mix, combined with an American obsession to declare who we are by what we buy, represents a recipe for big trouble.

Such a view of things may be somewhat over the top. Most people don't follow the model presented here. Still, there is no doubting that circumstances can leave us in situations where the need for debt relief is essential. When that happens, there are avenues available. These include Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Both provide protection against creditor harassment, foreclosure, lawsuits and repossessions. Unsecured debt, which most credit card debt is, can often be erased as part of the bankruptcy process.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Credit Card Debt: Study Predicts Millions Will Die In The Red," Laura Rowley, Jan. 22, 2013

  • The information discussed here reflects issues we address in our practice. Learn more about our firm by visiting our Dallas Chapter 13 bankruptcy page.

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