Experian, a credit bureau specializing in consumer credit reporting, scoring and financial services, released a survey indicating that San Antonio, Texas is the city with the most per capita consumer credit card debt with an average of $ 5,177 in credit card debt as compared to the national average of $4,200 as of December 2010. The survey only considered balances on bank issued credit cards; cards issued by retail establishments weren’t included in the survey. Although survey results provide entertaining reading, they don’t help much if you’re drowning in credit card debt.
Finding debt solutions requires understanding the problem
Whether you live in San Antonio or Kalamazoo doesn’t matter if you can’t see past the pile of bills and late notices piling up. If you’re in trouble with credit card debt, it’s important to uncover the underlying reasons. Debtors Anonymous, a self help group, suggests signs of addictive spending:
Not knowing where you stand financially: You don’t balance your checkbook or monitor your credit card balances. You continue spending with the hope that you have enough cash or credit to cover your purchases.
Living for today and not worrying about tomorrow: Failing to budget for predictable expenses such as health care, taxes and other non-recurring but expected expenses.
Difficulty meeting basic obligations: Do you put off paying your rent or mortgage until the last minute? Have you borrowed money to pay for groceries, or used credit card cash advances to pay utilities or rent? When you pay all of your basic expenses in a timely manner, do you feel as though you’ve accomplished something extraordinary?
Debt brings drama: Are you always wondering how you’ll pay your bills, or robbing Peter to pay Paul? Are you frequently in crisis mode with money?
Gaining a sense of status when using credit cards: Credit card ads succeed in convincing many consumers that carrying (and using) their cards is prestigious, and that carrying a piece of plastic named after a precious metal is somehow admirable. Wake up call: A credit card is a piece of plastic that functions as a financial tool when used responsibly or that can ruin your life if not used with care.
Don’t be afraid to admit that you need debt help. Depending on your situation, you may find help from sources including debt consolidation loans, consumer credit counseling and debt consolidation services, or through consulting a bankruptcy attorney. Facing debt problems and finding debt help today is your first step toward achieving financial security.
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Chris Rocks is the Regional Director of the National Credit Federation (NCF). NCF is a nationwide membership-based organization that assists consumers recovering from a financial difficulty and those who need a significant increase in their credit score.
Chris began his financial services career as a Financial Advisor helping young families with risk management and asset accumulation strategies. It was during that time that Chris realized that many of these young families also needed someone to guide their choices with regards to debt management.
He made the transition into the mortgage industry where he first worked as a loan originator and later the Vice President of a small mortgage company. As Chris came across clients who had suffered through financial challenges and saw the difficulty they had in re-entering our credit driven economy, he discovered there was a real opportunity to leverage his unique background and help others.
He can be contacted by visiting his personal site, GoodCreditLiving.com.
Francine L. Huff is the Publisher and Editorial Director of Super Savvy Publishing, LLC, which provides editorial and publishing services. She is a gifted author, freelance journalist, and motivational speaker who has entertained and motivated a variety of audiences through workshops, panels and keynote addresses. Francine is the author of The 25-Day Money Makeover for Women, which has inspired and motivated many readers to rein in poor financial habits, become good stewards over their money and work toward a debt-free life. She has appeared on a variety of TV and radio shows. Francine previously worked for the Wall Street Journal, where she was the spot news bureau chief, a news editor and a copy editor. She has interviewed a variety of financial professionals about financial issues and strives to present information about managing money in an easy-to-understand format that is accessible to people of all backgrounds and income levels.
Karen Lawson is a freelance writer with more than 15 years of experience working in mortgage banking and loan servicing. She holds BA and MA degrees in English from the University of Nevada, Reno. She enjoys writing informative articles about debt management and personal finance.