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Holiday credit card debt can carry on a year later

The holiday season is here, and people in Tennessee are flocking to stores and online retailers to do their holiday shopping. While gift-giving during this time of year is a cherished tradition, it can be easy to go overboard. A report by NerdWallet indicates that almost 25 percent of respondents stated that they spent more than they meant to last year, and 27 percent of respondents stated they did not make a holiday spending budget.

For these and other reasons, some people choose to use credit cards to make their purchases. In 2016, at 63 percent of respondents, Baby Boomers were most apt to use credit cards to buy holiday gifts. Even 40 percent of Millennials and 58 percent of Gen-Xers reported they anticipated going into debt purchasing holiday gifts.

However, once the season is over, they may find that their holiday spending has followed in the form of credit card debt. In fact, some people are finding that they are still trying to pay off their credit card debts from the 2016 holiday season. Of those surveyed, almost 25 percent of Millennials were still carrying credit card debt from last year's holiday spending. In addition, 8 percent of Baby Boomers and 16 percent of Gen-Xers also reported that they were still carrying credit card debt from last year's holiday spending.

This can be troubling, especially for young adults who are still trying to build good credit. Moreover, carrying a lot of debt can be very stressful. While people are advised to make a budget for holiday spending, purchase things on sale and pay down their credit card balances right away, some people will find that due to other life circumstances beyond their control, even these steps will not free them from credit card debt.

Unfortunately, even the best laid plans can fail. A person may think they can cope with their credit card debt, but then an unexpected financial event, such as medical bills, a major car repair or a job loss, could make it impossible for them to meet all their financial obligations. For some of these people, debt relief can come in the form of bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy can be a responsible way for Tennessee residents to address their debts.

Source: CNBC, "An alarming number of shoppers are still paying off debt from last Christmas," Emmie Martin, Nov. 17, 2017

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