Analysts from LendingTree examined the rates of spending in November and predicted that the credit card balances of Americans would increase by at least 5 percent before the end of 2018. When the balances of credit cards rise, so does the cost of the associated debt service. People in Tennessee and across the U.S. spent more than $100 billion from January through November 2018 on credit card fees and interest, and annual percentage rates are higher than ever, averaging from 16 to 17 percent.

Debt overall is on the rise as well, with Yahoo! Finance reporting that consumer debt is expected to top $4 billion before 2019 begins. Since 2013, consumer debt has risen by $1 trillion. The consumer debt numbers break down into $2.9 trillion in student loans, auto loans and other non-revolving debt and $1.04 trillion in credit card debt. These consumer debt figures do not include mortgage debt. Non-revolving debt has increased by 30 percent and revolving debt by 22 percent since 2013.

Consumer debt is increasing rapidly and the cost of borrowing money is likely to get higher as three or four more interest rate hikes are expected before 2020. People who carry balances on their credit cards are likely to see the cost of debt service increase and it will take them longer to pay off their obligations.

Individuals who are struggling to pay off debts might be able to reduce or eliminate them with a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. An attorney with experience in bankruptcy law might be able to help by reviewing the client’s financial situation and evaluating debt relief options. An attorney might draft and file a petition to begin bankruptcy proceedings or represent the client during creditor meetings. A Chapter 13 plan might make the client’s payments more manageable so he or she can afford to pay off debts over time.