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Consumer debt up significantly in the past five years

Mississippi residents and others are on pace to amass $4 trillion in collective consumer debt by the conclusion of 2018. That would be an increase of $1 trillion over the past five years alone. The increase is attributed to both revolving debts and others like student and auto loans that have a fixed end date. Revolving debt has increased 22 percent since 2013 while student and auto loan debt has increased by 30 percent in the same time period.

Credit card interest rates are hovering between 16 and 17 percent on average, and that number could go up. This is because the Federal Reserve is planning on increasing interest rates up to four times in 2019. In 2018, Americans who have credit card balances have paid more than $100 billion in interest and other fees. Cumulatively, Americans owe $1.04 trillion in credit card debt, and this figure is expected to rise 5 percent in the last month of 2018.

The 5 percent increase was an estimate by LendingTree based on holiday sales figures. Americans have $2.9 trillion in non-revolving debts, but that figure does not account for outstanding mortgage balances. Those who are struggling to repay their credit card or other debts may be able to get help from a credit counseling service.

Those who are in the midst of financial challenges may be able to overcome them by filing for bankruptcy. In some cases, individuals may keep property like a house or car while they follow through with a repayment plan. In others, nonexempt assets may be liquidated in an effort to repay creditors. In either scenario, debtors are generally given a stay of creditor contact. This means that creditors are prohibited from taking steps to repossess an asset or contact a debtor about it.

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