Few of us want to remember the years during the Great Recession. It was a difficult time for many people in Ann Arbor as well as others elsewhere. High unemployment left some people without jobs. Others lived in fear that they would soon be without a job.

In 2008, at the height of the recession, credit card debt was particularly high. Since then, it has declined significantly. Last month, consumers increased their credit card debt by only $106.1 million.

People have been reluctant to use their credit cards. In addition to the lessons learned during the Great Recession, the tax hike at the beginning of the year has translated into less take-home pay. With the Social Security tax increase, people making $50,000 will see about $1,000 less in their bank accounts.

While people aren’t using their credit cards as much, consumer debt has risen in other areas. Student loan debt and auto loan debt increased by about $16 billion in January.

Despite the decline in overall credit card debt, a lot of people are struggling with unmanageable amounts of debt. Ann Arbor residents who have struggled with debt in the past know how stressful that can be.

People with significant credit card debt may have legal options to pursue. A Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing may help them get their finances back in order.

A person’s financial health can have a significant impact on an individual’s overall well-being. Rather than continuing to stress over high amounts of debt, people in Michigan would be wise to learn about the potential legal options available to them.

Source: U.S. News and World Report, “US consumer debt up $16.2 billion in January,” Martin Crutsinger, March 7, 2013

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