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Average household debt soars to new heights

Although the figures had not been completely processed, the Federal Reserve Bank announced recently that the people of Louisville, Kentucky, along with their fellow Americans, are carrying around almost $13 trillion in consumer debt. This marks the 13th quarterly increase in this figure in a row and is also the highest number on record.

This does not mean that Americans are generally in over their heads, at least not yet. However, consumer debt is on the rise, having crept up by over 15 percent since 2013. With this figure, though, the amount of debt that has gone unpaid, or "delinquent" debt has also been on the rise. Of all household debt, almost 5 percent of it is delinquent.

Some experts suggests that if there is a debt bubble, it is within the automobile market. There have been of late a lot of loans to what economists and financial experts call subprime borrowers, which are people who do not have ideal credit and might not be able to pay their auto loans yet.

While thus far all seems to be going relatively well, there has been a spike in debt delinquencies, particularly with respect to loans which were procured through the big auto dealerships or the car companies themselves.

Student loan debt and credit card debt also surged last quarter, with Americans borrowing an additional $13 billion for education to bring the total student loan debt to $1.357 billion. Credit card balances now stand at $808 billion, up $24 billion from last quarter.

Debt is indeed a way of life for Louisville residents and Americans generally. However, there is no question that some people, however well meaning, will discover that they cannot repay all of their debts due to a sudden job loss, medical emergency or other crisis. For these people, filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 may be a viable option.

Source: Fox Business, "U.S. household debt reaches new record - update," Ben Leubsdorf, Nov. 14, 2017.

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