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Consumer debt to hit $4 trillion

According to statistics posted by Yahoo! Finance, consumer debt has increased since 2013 by more than $1 trillion. Total consumer debt in Virginia and across the U.S. is expected to reach $4 trillion before the end of 2018. The total debt numbers break down into $1.04 trillion in credit card or revolving debt and non-revolving debt of $2.9 trillion. Non-revolving debt includes debt tied to auto loans and student loans. Mortgage debt is not included in consumer debt figures.

Consumer revolving debt has increased 22 percent since 2013, and non-revolving debt has jumped 30 percent since that year. Based on spending patterns in November, analysts working for LendingTree said they expect Americans to increase their credit card balance by five percent or more during the last month of 2018. In servicing these debts, Americans have handed over more than $100 billion in 2018 to cover credit card fees and interest.

Annual percentage rates are at all-time highs, with average APRs sitting between 16 and 17 percent. Multiple interest rate increases are expected before the end of the year 2019, so borrowing is on track to get more expensive still.

People in Virginia who are struggling to pay down their debts might have options to reduce or eliminate them. Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, for example, may allow the debtor to pay back debts on a payment schedule that is more feasible and realistic. Chapter 13 is sometimes referred to as wage earner's bankruptcy, and it's an option for people who have regular income but who cannot afford to pay back outstanding debts. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the court will order a payment plan that lasts between three and five years. An attorney with experience in bankruptcy law might be able to help by negotiating with creditors or filing a bankruptcy petition on the client's behalf.

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