As we usher in 2012, the bad financial decisions we made in 2011 will quickly become a lingering memory. Looking back to New Year's one year ago, I remember all the talk of how people were going to get out of debt for their New Year's resolution. One year later, it seems nothing has changed and according to the statistics Americans are going the wrong way. Credit card debt is now at an alarming $15,799 per American. With only 300 million people living in the United States it blows me away to learn that there are over 609 million credit cards held by US consumers. Considering age and ability to pay this would factor down to six credit cards being held per American. Over the last years, all the talk about getting the US debt under control and the US consumers, that control just went out the window. With these new numbers it's obvious that the US is going to see record numbers of Americans filing for bankruptcy. Since the changes to the bankruptcy code back in 2005, at first we saw a drop as expected and from 2006 on the numbers of those filing bankruptcy has continuously risen until 2011 where it went flat. This last year has perplexed many experts because the numbers say bankruptcy filing and yet we will probably finish out the year with 1.5 million bankruptcies filed, a little lower than 2010.
The common consensus from experts and bankruptcy attorneys across the US is this is the calm before the storm. After speaking with a bankruptcy attorney, they informed me of how many people came into their office and were too broke to file for bankruptcy. Now that's being broke. When you factor in all the costs, filing bankruptcy is really not that expensive. The average fee for a bankruptcy attorney to file Chapter 7 is about $1500. Add in the costs of the pre-bankruptcy counseling course and the post-bankruptcy financial management course along with the bankruptcy court fees and individual filing can plan on spending approximately $2000 for the entire procedure. Looking back at the amount of credit card debt the average American has currently, $2000 is really quite a value to wipe this out with no questions asked.
Since the New Year is upon us, what could be better than filing for bankruptcy and starting out the year being virtually debt-free from credit card debt. Why carry on another year kicking the can down the road making minimum payments and never chopping away at the balance due. This is how most Americans have been living since the downturn in the economy. With no good economic news in the future, it's time for people to cut their losses and protect what assets they have left. The banks had no problem taking a bailout from the taxpayers. Consider filing for bankruptcy as your 2012 New Year's bailout package to get you back on your feet. Don't let creditors make you feel bad about not being able to pay your bills. Most debt collectors get paid on the amount they collect and are not doing you any favors. By taking food off your kids table they pad their wallets with large commissions. Stop the craziness and start out fresh by filing bankruptcy in 2012.
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