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Credit card debt piling up for many in early 2016

By this time, many Long Island residents will be receiving their credit card statements reflecting their spending over the holidays. Unfortunately, some will find that their spending on gifts, travel, food and other holiday expenses went beyond what they thought they were spending.

This kind of holiday spending and charging is evident in the numbers released by a major credit reporting agency. December credit card balances rose by 4 percent in 2013 and again in 2014. That amount of growth is quadruple the growth rate in other months.

There are a number of strategies consumers may pursue when faced with the burden of holiday credit card debt. Some may be able to come up with the cash to pay off their balances if they temporarily hold off on contributing to their retirement accounts. Targeting higher interest balances for payoff first can also help, as can taking advantage of a low-interest balance transfer offer to get those higher interest balances under control.

These strategies will help some. Others may find that another type of solution is necessary. They may have other financial challenges that prevent them from making even the minimum credit card payments, much less the kind of aggressive payments actually required to wipe out their balances.

Filing for bankruptcy is one option that can wipe out credit card debt and other unsecured debt completely. Many consumers have found that bankruptcy actually provides the kind of fresh financial start they need to get out from the burden of credit card debt once and for all.

Source: The Fiscal Times, "Here Are 3 Ways to Get Out of Credit Card Debt Now," Janna Herron, Jan. 14, 2016

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