Credit card debt statistics speak to the financial health of American households. They can also foreshadow over-borrowing bubbles, changes to lending standards, and other trends with the potential to impact our wallets. That’s important because the latest news may seem encouraging, but the complete picture is not pretty.
Americans repaid $40.3 billion in credit card debt during Q1 2018 – the second-largest quarterly payoff ever. However, we began the year owing more than $1 trillion in credit card debt for the first time ever, after adding a post-Great Recession record $91.6 billion to our tab in 2017.
In order to help consumers and small business owners wade their way through the available pool of budget templates and thus better manage their money, WalletHub’s editors compared hundreds of options and selected the best templates for individuals, families, roommates, small business owners and more.
It’s no secret that diamonds are expensive. And at roughly $7,000 for a one-carat stone, according to the RapNet Diamond Index, it’s clear why even the word “diamond” has come to connote wealth and exclusivity.
Wage garnishment is when a portion of your monthly income is confiscated in order to gradually satisfy unfulfilled financial obligations – such as unpaid credit card debt, child support payments or taxes. In cases of debt originating from credit cards or most loans, your wages cannot be garnished without a court order. But that rule doesn’t apply to the government’s pursuit of income taxes, student loan payments, child support and alimony.
The fact that diamond prices have risen 67% since 1978 might lead some to assume they’re a good investment. However, this 3,000-foot view of the market masks its true nature. Not only are prices extremely volatile – shooting up 249% from 1978 to 1980 before falling 77% by early 1986 – but the value of diamonds has also long been propped up by a number of artificial sources.
When you consider the fact that the average engagement ring costs $4,000 and the average household already owes more than $7,000 to credit card companies, it’s clear why many proposers opt to finance this significant expense.
The age-old rule of thumb – established by the jewelry industry – is that you should spend roughly three months’ gross pay on an engagement ring. But statistics show that the average person actually shells out roughly one-and-a-half month’s salary. The average engagement ring costs around $4,000, while the average male age 25-34 – the predominant proposers – pulls in about $8,500 over three months, according to Census data.
Budgeting isn’t fun. There’s no way around it. But budgeting is something that we must undertake in order to gain financial awareness and, ultimately, control both our spending and saving habits. The process of making a budget can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be, but you’ll want to record overall monthly inflows – take-home pay as well as other income sources – and outflows – amounts spent – at a minimum.
Debits and credits are two of the most basic principles in accounting, but most people nevertheless find them pretty darn confusing! We’ll help clear things up so you can get back to the business of making – and responsibly managing – money.
One of the biggest questions bankruptcy filers have is what they can keep throughout the process — especially their house and car. Exactly what assets you can retain largely depends on whether you are filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy and whether your property is classified as “exempt” or “nonexempt.”
Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a daunting process for those who are going through it for the first — and hopefully last — time. But with adequate preparation and the proper guidance of a bankruptcy attorney, you can rest assured that the process will go without unexpected surprises.
Are you receiving demanding phone calls from debt collectors? Being threatened with a lawsuit? If your situation remotely resembles that of a loan shark hunting down its prey, then consider waiting before turning your wallet inside out – because there is a chance that you’re the target of a debt collection scam.
It’s no secret that student loan debt is a sleeping giant that seems to be stirring from its slumber. And while you might assume that you won’t have the healing powers of a bankruptcy discharge in your arsenal when facing this monster. You see, general wisdom holds that student loans cannot be discharged in either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. That’s both right and wrong.
We can’t tell you what happens when you die, but we can tell you what will happen to your debt. Whether you owe money on credit cards, mortgages, student loans or other types of debt, the rule of thumb is that your heirs will not be held liable. In other words, individuals cannot “pass on” or “inherit” debt when a loved one passes away.
The bankruptcy means test is an income-based method used to determine whether debtors qualify to have their debts wiped out under Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code or restructured through Chapter 13. It is designed to limit eligibility for Chapter 7 liquidation to debtors who genuinely struggle to pay their debts or have insolvent businesses.
Everyone wants to know how to get out of debt. And considering that consumers have collectively racked up more than $182 billion in credit card debt since the beginning of 2011, it’s no wonder why. But while scratching and clawing one’s way to debt freedom is indeed a difficult and commendable act, staying out of debt in the long-term should be your true objective.
Chapter 7 is the most common form of personal bankruptcy, constituting about 70% of all non-business bankruptcy cases. It is also called “straight” or “liquidation” bankruptcy, requiring debtors to surrender most of their property in exchange for forgiveness, or “discharge,” of their debts. That property is liquidated, or sold for cash, and the proceeds are used to compensate the debtors’ creditors.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy, also called “reorganization” or “wage earner’s” bankruptcy, requires debtors to restructure their debts and create a three- to five-year repayment plan. Under this bankruptcy option, debtors must use their future income to pay off creditors partially or in full. The arrangement allows debtors to extend the payment period on certain types of debt and retain all of their assets. It is the second most common form of personal bankruptcy after Chapter 7, or “liquidation” bankruptcy, which is a much swifter process compared with the multi-year timeframe of Chapter 13.
Bankruptcy isn't cheap. In fact, it's expensive. Between filing costs, attorney's fees and mandatory counseling, the tab associated with today's average bankruptcy case is more than $1,500. Such high costs have in recent years made filing completely unaffordable for about 200,000 to as many as one million Americans, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. But there are ways to minimize the cost of bankruptcy.
Editorial Disclaimer: Editorial content is not provided or commissioned by financial institutions. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and have not been approved or otherwise endorsed by any financial institution, including those that are WalletHub advertising partners. Our content is intended for informational purposes only.
Ad Disclosure: Offers originating from paying advertisers are noted as “Sponsored” on the offer's details page. Advertising may impact how and where offers appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). At WalletHub we try to list as many offers as possible but we don't make any representation of listing all available offers.