Credit Card Debt in Atlanta Often Has the Same Root Causes
A list of the top causes of debt confirms that financial troubles can often be attributed to factors we can't control, such as income loss and medical expenses.
However, as our Atlanta bankruptcy attorneys often point out, we can control the way we deal with these situations.
According to an article by Bankrate.com, the top causes of debt are money management issues, changes in income level, and unexpected costs like divorce or hospital bills.
Sometimes debt accumulates as a result of our own financial behaviors. This is often the easiest type of debt to fix (though, when it comes to debt, "easy" is a relative term).
If you're spending without a budget or plan, you're missing out on the opportunity to spot patterns that may be causing your expenses to be out of line with income.
While organizing your finances can't make up the gap when you're spending more than you earn, it can offer the insight you need to make changes that can improve your situation.
For instance, if you expect to spend more in December due to holiday gifts, you'll know to save up in November and January. If you're trying to cut back on costs, you may be able to pick out unnecessary expenses that can be eliminated.
And if you discover that no amount of tweaking is going to keep debt from continuing to grow, getting organized may help you realize it's time to seek help.
With rising costs and falling wages, many Americans are just barely able to make ends meet. When a reduction in hours suddenly lowers income, many people have no choice but to turn to credit cards to pay the bills.
But instead of reducing costs in line with a new income level, many of us continue spending as usual with the assumption that the income change will be temporary. Of course, thanks to interest, making the same purchases with credit actually requires spending more money.
It's far better to have a reserve of cash built up just for these types of emergency situations. Unfortunately, most Americans don't have enough savings to carry us through a few weeks of unemployment - let alone a few months.
If lost income has led to unmanageable credit card debt, Atlanta bankruptcy can offer relief. While some forms of bankruptcy require payment plans, Chapter 7 bankruptcy makes it possible for those with little to no income to have unsecured debts discharged. Because the last thing you want to worry about when you're trying to feed your family is a mountain of credit card debt.
It may be smart to plan for a layoff in today's economy, but how do you plan for a divorce, lawsuit, or hospital stay?
Nobody likes to think these things may happen, but the sad truth is that they do. And because they blindside us, they can cause the most difficult-to-manage debt. To make matters worse, many hospitals and law firms are accepting credit cards, making it all too easy for consumers to be instantly stuck with thousands of dollars of unaffordable debt.
Ignoring the problem by making minimum payments won't make it go away. As debt grows, it can cut into your ability to pay other bills, damage your credit, and limit your opportunities.
Bankruptcy was created exactly for this situation. Filing for bankruptcy in Atlanta can help consumers recover from surprise expenses and find a fresh financial start. A professional Atlanta bankruptcy attorney can determine whether bankruptcy offers a solution for your debt situation.
More Blog Entries:
Credit Card Debt Takes a Toll on Marriage for Many Atlanta Couples: February 6, 2012
Top 10 Causes of Debt, Bankrate.com