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Getting free of debt seen as impossible by many Americans

Only 13% percent of people who are part of the millennial generation and have credit cards are debt free, according to a report. The report, released by CompareCards.com, also found that credit card debt is a greater drag on the finances of millennials in Virginia and around the country than student loans. Among Generation Xers, only 11% who have credit cards are debt free.

Patients face mounting medical debt

Medical treatment can leave people in Virginia struggling with massive quantities of medical debt. People across the country are facing costly medical bills that they cannot afford to pay, even when they have health insurance in place. In fact, medical debt is the leading issue linked to personal bankruptcy filings across the country. Patients worried about medical bills can take some steps to minimize their exposure to health-related debt.

A judgment may not be dischargeable in bankruptcy

The purpose of Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy is to provide a fresh start for an individual who has fallen behind on obligations to creditors. Most Virginia residents are aware to some degree that certain categories of debt are not dischargeable in accordance with federal law. These include student loans, child support and alimony and government taxes. However, a question remains whether or not a judgment entered against the debtor can be discharged.

Credit card debt at highest level since 2008

According to Federal Reserve Data, Virginia residents and others have combined to accumulate $1.05 trillion in revolving consumer debt as of the fourth quarter of 2018. Consumers have accrued $870 billion in credit card debt, which beats the previous record high set in 2008. At the end of 2018, there were about 100 million more credit card accounts than in 2010. Between the final quarter of 2017 and 2018, there were an additional 37 million accounts that were 90 days past due.

Medical debt continues to soar

Statistics show that the U.S. spends more on health care per capita than any other country. However, not all of this is government spending. Many Virginia residents carry a heavy burden of medical bills. This has resulted in an ever increasing inability to pay for out-of-pocket costs associated with expensive medical necessities.

Household credit card debt increased in 2018

Households in Virginia and throughout the country carried an average credit card balance of $8,284 in the third quarter of 2018. That was a 2 percent increase from the third quarter of 2017, according to a study from WalletHub. As debt levels increase, it may become more difficult for households to repay them. Increasing interest rates may also make it harder to repay those balances.

Credit card debt in America passes $1.04 trillion

The amount consumers in Virginia and around the country owe to banks and credit card companies is expected to surpass $4 trillion by the end of 2018. This figure, which reflects revolving and installment debt but does not include mortgage balances, has risen by $1 trillion in just the last five years. Experts voiced few concerns over growing consumer debt levels when interest rates were close to historic lows, but a recent wave of rate hikes with the promise of more increases to come have prompted them to start issuing grim warnings about credit bubbles and unsustainable borrowing.

Navigating out of credit card debt

For many people in Virginia, debt is becoming a growing crisis. In the first quarter of 2018 alone, household debt increased by $63 billion in total across the United States. This marked the 15th consecutive quarter of growing debt burdens for consumers across the country. In total, Americans have $13.21 trillion in personal debt, including $815 billion in credit card debt and $1.23 trillion in auto loan debt. For many people, debt can seem manageable for a time, but when a crisis hits, it gets harder and harder to pay the bills each month.

Rise in credit card delinquencies worries economists

Figures from the Federal Reserve suggest that a worrying number of consumers in Virginia and around the country are finding it difficult to make their credit card payments on time despite a robust economy and low unemployment. The credit card delinquency rate in the United States now stands at an alarming 2.47 percent. That figure was 2.42 percent at the beginning of 2017 and 2.12 percent in early 2015. This means that about $23 billion in this type of revolving debt is currently 30 or more days past due.

The automatic stay in personal bankruptcy

When Virginia residents file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy petitions, an injunction known as an automatic stay is issued. This injunction is designed to give individuals the time they need to put their financial affairs in order, and it places strict limits on creditors. While the automatic stay is in force, efforts to repossess assets or garnish paychecks must be abandoned, and attempts to collect unpaid debts must cease. Creditors who willfully ignore these rules may be ordered to pay punitive as well as compensatory damages.

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