Rising debt levels: Glass half full or half empty?

On behalf of The Rollins Law Firm posted in Personal Bankruptcy on Thursday, May 22, 2014.

There’s an almost déjà vu-like quality to much of the recent commentary chronicling the nation’s long slog back toward perceived normalcy in the wake of the so-called Great Recession of recent years.

It’s certainly hard to forget that momentous national shake up, and grandchildren of our readers in Mississippi and elsewhere will likely be reading about the country’s economic fall from grace and hard-fought battle to restore millions of Americans’ fortunes in next-generation history books.

Banks’ bad lending practices, the housing collapse and high levels of home foreclosures, spiraling credit card debt, a collectively staggering level of student loan repayment obligations – all of these factors converged in recent years to drive millions of individuals and families in the country to their knees.

Many people have successfully clawed back, though, through responsible and effective debt-reduction strategies. One of those strategies for persons with crushingly high debt levels has been filing for bankruptcy. Experienced debt relief attorneys have helped harassed and overwhelmed consumers having personal difficulties often caused entirely by extraneous factors beyond their control deal with debt and regain financial footing.

A relevant question to ask these days is this: Is the country now back in fast-improving mode or do recent economic factors signal growing distress that might once again indicate returning troubles?

Many recent media accounts largely converge in their writers’ opinions that the nation’s economy is regaining traction because consumers’ borrowing is increasing and the country’s overall debt level is ticking back upward.

It is understandable that, to an extent, that is a good thing: Borrowing signals consumer confidence, spurs purchases that drive growth, results in job creation and so forth.

On the other hand, though, sheer optimism regarding the demonstrated increase in debt that is now on firm display might be a bit misplaced. The same sense of euphoria existed prior to the great financial collapse of recent years, when not many pundits were openly pointing to distress signals.

Once again, total American debt is climbing. Significant numbers of foreclosures are still being reported. Student loan debt is spiking.

A number of recent developments suggest that, although the growing feeling of national optimism is a good thing, it needs to be tempered and regarded with measured emotion.

The Great Recession is a recent and quite painful reminder of that.

Source: Fox Business, "Household debt climbs, but that can be good news," Kate Rogers, May 13, 2014

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