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Rising consumer debt worries financial experts

The amount of money owed by households in Louisiana and around the country to banks and credit card companies fell sharply in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and remained fairly stable during the ensuing recession, but figures from the U.S. Federal Reserve reveal that it has now surpassed its pre-crisis levels. Household debt in the United States climbed to an all-time high of $13.2 trillion by the end of March 2018 according to the nation's central bank, and most financial experts expect this figure to rise even higher in the months and years ahead.

Some experts say that rising consumer debt is a reflection of a robust economy and low unemployment, but others are concerned about the precarious financial situations that research suggests many Americans find themselves in despite several years of economic prosperity. A study released by the Federal Reserve in 2017 revealed that more than one in three American adults would have difficulty paying an unexpected $400 bill in an emergency.

These individuals and families can expect their situations to become even more challenging in the months ahead. The Federal Reserve has already raised interest rates twice in 2018, and it has vowed to raise borrowing costs two more times before the year ends.

Individuals facing seemingly inescapable amounts of debt are sometimes reluctant to learn more about the financial fresh start made possible by the nation's bankruptcy laws. Lenders portray bankruptcy as a sign of personal failure that can ruin credit for years and make future borrowing extremely difficult, but attorneys with debt relief experience could explain that much of what people believe about filing bankruptcy petitions is based on misunderstanding and myth. Attorneys may also point out that filing prevents creditors from seeking payment for unpaid debts and halts paycheck garnishments.

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