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Consumer debt rose nationwide in December 2012

During the economic downturn the country has experienced over the last several years, many residents of Cleveland have got deeper into debt than they intended. Those who are currently feeling the burden of credit card debt may feel helpless due to debt collector harassment. It's important for anyone in this situation to understand their legal rights to better protect themselves and their families.

Tennessee residents may be interested to know that Americans increased their borrowing in December 2012. However, they also cut back on credit card use. Americans borrowed $14.6 billion more in December than in November, according to the Federal Reserve. The increase was entirely created by borrowing for cars and student loans. Debt in these areas rose $18.2 billion. Credit card debt, on the other hand, fell by $3.6 billion. The total debt was $2.78 trillion and was the highest ever recorded.

Student loan debt increases have been high because unemployment has led many to turn to education in the hopes of staying competitive in the job market. Debt from car loans has been driven partly by extremely low interest rates on such loans.

Many economists predict that credit card debt will stay weak this year. This raises concerns that consumer spending will slow and curb the growth of the economy. Consumer spending is responsible for around 70 percent of the economy.

As debt levels continue to rise, many people may take on more debt than they can pay off. These people will need to take steps to improve their financial situation in the long run. This could even mean filing for bankruptcy. A better understanding of consumers' legal rights may help those who are currently struggling with credit card and other debt.

Source: knoxvillebiz.com, "US consumer debt up in Dec. on student, auto loans," Martin Crutsinger, Feb. 7, 2013

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