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Scura, Wigfield, Heyer, Stevens & Cammarota Blog

How to Avoid Common Holiday Season Shopping Mistakes

holiday season

The holiday season is quickly approaching and with it comes much joy for all consumers involved. However, the under-reported side of the holiday season is the number of mistakes that consumers make when deciding to make purchases for their friends, family, or other associates. Thankfully, there are simple ways to ensure that consumers are in the best position to avoid financial pitfalls during the holiday season.

Leading Causes of Debt in New Jersey

Unsecured-Debt

Americans currently exceed $13 trillion dollars of outstanding household debt. Within that amount, $9 trillion is related to mortgage balances, $1.5 trillion is related to educational loans, and $2 trillion is split evenly between both auto loans and credit card debt. Very few households around the world utilize debt as freely as the United States' households do. When household debt is measured against GDP, the United States' 77.30% ranks as the 11th highest percentage in the world.

How does all of this relate to New Jersey and its residents' habits?

Overwhelmed by Credit Card Debt? What You Can Do Now

woman overwhelmed by credit card debt

Did you know that 34 million Americans admit to paying their credit card bills late? Credit cards can be extremely useful when trying to establish credit or to use in case of an emergency. However, when they are used improperly, credit cards can plunge you further into debt than you had ever imagined. And as your debt builds up over time, it can become increasingly difficult to get your finances back on track.

Tips for Getting Out of Credit Card Debt

get out of debt note sitting on desk

Getting approved for your very first credit card can be an exciting and thrilling experience. Suddenly a whole new world is open to you and the opportunity to build your credit score seems like a great possibility. But for many Americans, the excitement of a new line of credit can quickly give in to a feeling of dread and worry. While a credit card can be a great tool for building your financial future, if you don’t have the skills to manage your money, it can become a nightmare.

Understanding your FICO and CreditWise Credit Scores

woman checking credit scores

All consumers should be aware of their credit score by checking their credit report.  Amongst other benefits, periodically checking your score ensures that fraudulent activity is timely recognized and can also help in planning for indebtedness from a car loan, mortgage, or student loan.  Most online credit cards or banks allow the account owner to obtain their credit score for free.  Some credit card companies and banking institutions use different credit score calculating models such as FICO or Creditwise.  If your credit card company or bank does not offer this free service, a free credit report can be obtained at AnnualCreditReport.com.  No matter which direction a consumer goes in, they should always stay on top of their credit status.  

How Common is Debt in America?

man with money flying out of wallet to pay debt

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reports that as of the second quarter of 2017, the American household debt load has reached nearly $13 trillion. Approximately 80% of Americans are in debt today.

Unfortunately, many Americans also have very low savings balances as well. The combination of high debt and little savings can spell disaster for many Americans. However, the type of debt that you have may determine whether bankruptcy or some other financial workout with your creditors is the right option for you if your debts become unbearable.

Are All Debts Dischargeable in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

credit card bill

Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be an extremely helpful way to get back on your feet financially after you have been struggling. It allows you to “start fresh” and try again. In that process, most of your debts can be forgiven entirely, which means that those harassing phone calls and intimidating letters will stop coming. It results in significant freedom for many individuals and companies that are stressed financially.

Why Credit Cards Can Be Harmful for Financial Health

person using credit cards

For new credit card users or those looking to build their credit, the idea of taking out a “free” line of credit can be exciting. But if you aren’t careful, credit cards can be potentially hazardous to your financial health. In fact, maintaining a healthy credit score with one or more credit cards can also be difficult for more experienced credit card users. If you’ve recently been thinking about applying for a credit card or you’re wondering if it’s time to get rid of your current credit cards, there are a few important risks to be aware of. While there can be many benefits that come along with responsibly using credit cards, for many people the cons definitely outweigh the pros. However, if you can learn to develop better credit card habits, you'll have a better chance avoiding some of the most common financial mistakes.

Debt Relief Strategies: What Will Work for Your Stage in Life?

mother reading to childThe type and amount of debt that you have directly correlates with your stage in life. Older people face different debt challenges because they also have also likely accumulated more assets than a younger person as well. Your debt relief strategies may vary depending on where you are in life and your unique financial situation.

Avoiding Holiday-Related Spending and Credit Card Debt Woes

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We recently had Black Friday and Cyber Monday, two of the biggest single holiday-related shopping days of the year in the U.S. However, plenty of additional holiday-related purchases will be made between now and New Year’s Day. Consumers face substantial pressures to buy, buy, buy at this time of year. But it is important to remember that these purchases may cost far more than their sticker price if you purchase them with credit.

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