When most people in Virginia hear about bankruptcy, the first inclination is to think of it as an action taken by a failing business. While some businesses buried in debt do explore this option, bankruptcy is also becoming an increasingly common step taken by individuals and families looking to get a break from overwhelming debt. According to one study, more older adults are filing for bankruptcy to deal with significant debt under certain circumstances.
More than $23 billion in credit card debt is 30 days or more overdue in Virginia and across the U.S., according to a report published by finance site NerdWallet. Missing credit card payments triggers late payment fees, and falling 60 days or further behind might mean paying penalty APR. On some cards the penalty APR may be as high as 29.99 percent.
Debtors in Virginia understand that filing for bankruptcy might relieve their debt burdens and help them regain control of their financial lives. Although thousands of people approach bankruptcy courts every year in the state, the process requires careful attention to detail. Incomplete financial disclosures and skipping credit counseling frequently causes delays in bankruptcy cases or gets them thrown out of court altogether.
Debt isn't only a serious problem for older generations in Virginia. According to a survey of 2,000 young adults by a leading bank and brokerage firm, individuals ranging in age from 16 to 20, referred to as Generation Z, have an average debt of just over $4,300. Their young millennial counterparts, who range in age from 21 to 25, have an average debt of nearly $12,000, which is largely fueled by college loan and credit card debt.
Consumers in Virginia and around the country pay more than $100 billion in credit card fees and interest each year according to figures from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. That figure looks certain to rise in the years ahead as the U.S. Federal Reserve pushes interest rates higher to keep inflation under control. The central bank has already increased borrowing costs twice in 2018, and two more rate hikes have been promised. Experts say that these increases will cost American consumers $110 billion in additional credit card fees and interest.
Mortgage, auto loan and credit card debts are among those that Virginia residents and others may be entitled to discharge in bankruptcy. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, assets are liquidated with the money used to repay creditors. It is important to note that not all assets are liquidated as individuals are allowed to keep whatever they need to get to work or otherwise earn a living.
According to a recent study, the delinquency rate on store-branded credit cards is spiking. The study indicates that the delinquency rate consumers in Virginia and throughout the country are facing is currently at a seven-year high. This could be bad news for consumers as it might portend an increase in household debt.
Virginia residents had an average of $7,161 in credit card debt in 2017. This was according to a report from Experian that looked at how Americans used their credit cards. The national average was $6,354 person, and Alaska had the highest average balance at $8,515. While many people use credit cards to obtain perks and rewards, some believe that it isn't worth doing so. This is because some people keep a balance on their cards each month.
From its location in Virginia, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has overturned a lower court decision about stripping liens in Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases. The appeals court ruled that no proofs of claim were necessary to strip a wholly unsecured lien.
While Virginia residents may be enjoying the benefits of a strong economy, that strength could be partially because of increased credit card spending. According to the New York Federal Reserve, household debt was $13.15 trillion in the final quarter of last year. Most of that debt is made up of mortgages, but credit card debt also rose significantly from the third quarter of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2017.