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Credit card defaults are on the rise

The wrapping paper has been cleaned up, the tree taken down and the ornaments put away. Another holiday season is behind us, but for many Brevard County residents serious credit card problems are directly ahead.

According to news reports, credit card defaults are on the rise again. Experts say those holiday gift bills are coming due now, leading to the increase. They also blame a couple of unlikely suspects for the default escalation: an improving economy and rising consumer confidence.

Those otherwise positive factors might have convinced some consumers to spend more than they should have, experts say. People are leaving credit card bills "unpaid at an alarming rate," S&P and Experian said recently.

Nationwide, the credit card default rate is 0.91 percent, said the managing director and chairperson of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

“The reality is, if your paycheck doesn’t support your spending, you’re going to default,” added Michael Foguth, founder of the Foguth Financial Group.

Of course, many consumers who face unmanageable credit card debt are in that predicament through no fault of their own. Many have been forced into debt by extended illness or emergency medical conditions. Others are struggling with the high costs of divorce, while still others are trying to make ends meet while they are unemployed or underemployed.

No matter the reason for credit card debt, it can make financial and personal goals impossible to achieve.

If you are considering bankruptcy as a way out from under, consider first having a conversation with an attorney experienced in debt solutions. A lawyer can negotiate with creditors and often get sizable reductions in the amounts owed, enabling you to make affordable monthly payments and avoid the often devastating consequences of bankruptcy.

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