2009 ushered in an increase in consumer debt after three consecutive months of decline in the fourth quarter of last year. But, for many families struggling with job loss, declining wages or housing values, there is a need to find options to relieve the pressures of mounting debt.
In a Marist Poll conducted in March 2009, 21% of Americans report they have looked into consolidating or refinancing their debt or outstanding loans. Interestingly, nearly three in ten households with a family income of $100,000 or more have explored this avenue for cutting costs. This includes 28% of men under the age of 45 and approximately one-quarter of families with children. About one in seven (15%) Americans have tried to negotiate with their credit card company to lower their monthly interest rates or finance charges. Americans with a family income of less than $50,000 a year are more likely than their higher earning counterparts to make an attempt to lower their credit card costs in this way. This personal finance tactic knows few age bounds although Americans 60 years of age or older are less likely to do so.
The Marist Poll’s Barbara Carvalho explains how to simplify debt while cutting costs: