If a Tennessee resident is struggling to keep up with a mortgage payment, it may be possible to ask for a loan modification. However, there is no guarantee that a lender will allow this to happen. If a lender does not want to modify the terms of a home loan, a homeowner could choose to file for bankruptcy. This may postpone the foreclosure process, which generally begins two or three months after a missed mortgage payment.
Once a consumer disputes a debt according to the requirements of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collectors and third-parties must cease collection activities. The Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, of which Tennessee is a part, ruled that third-party collections that were set in motion by the debt collector must cease when the consumer disputes the debt. The case involved pre-foreclosure activities by third parties, but it is likely that lawyers for debtors will argue it applies to all third-party collections activities.
In September 2018, there were more than 770,000 bankruptcy filings in the United States. Of those cases filed in Tennessee and elsewhere, 97 percent were consumer bankruptcy filings. The number of cases filed was down from the roughly 1.6 million filed in September 2010. However, the downtrend in bankruptcy filings may be related to the cost of filing. It may also be related to the fact that many people don't have assets to protect.
There are many signs that a Tennessee resident may have too much credit card debt. For instance, if they are using credit cards to pay off other credit cards, that is likely a problem. Other signs include if card balances are maxed out or if payments are higher than the debtor's other bills. Those who have a high debt-to-income ratio should also check to see if their credit card debt is causing the problem.
In 2017, there were 789,000 bankruptcy filings, which were the second-lowest since 1990. That compares to the 1.6 million filings in 2010 in the aftermath of the Great Recession. However, the decline in bankruptcy filings hasn't been uniform for all age groups. Older Americans in Tennessee and throughout the country are filing for bankruptcy at a higher rate than in previous years. There are several reasons as to why this may be the case.
Credit cards can be powerful financial tools when individuals in Tennessee use them properly. However, they can be debt traps for those who use them too frequently. One of the allures of a credit card is that it allows a person to spend more than he or she makes in a given pay period. Ideally, those who use credit cards won't charge more than they receive from an employer or other source.
According to a report from NerdWallet, the average American household carries $7,000 in revolving debt. That is up from $6,081 in 2017, and this figure is important because it is a more accurate indicator of a person's financial health. Tennessee residents and others are experiencing wage growth, but higher prices are playing a role in increased credit card spending. Medical costs, student loan payments and food prices are causing expenses to outpace incomes for many.
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.
People who are struggling with debt in Tennessee are not alone. The Household Debt and Credit report indicates that debt tied to credit cards rose by $14 billion during the second quarter of 2018 in the U.S. The average annual percentage rate on credit card debt is nearly 17 percent. Penalty APRs, which may apply after a missed payment, can be 30 percent or higher.
Household debt for those living in Tennessee and throughout the country increased by $63 billion in the first quarter of 2018. That was the 15th straight quarter in which household debt increased. Accruing debt may make it harder to achieve long-term financial goals, so it is a good idea to create a path to becoming debt-free or being able to better manage an existing debt load.