You know that stereotypical story of gender norms, how men are too proud to stop and ask for directions when they get lost, right? Well, according to a recent USA Today report, Americans who are lost in financial crises are avoiding getting direction, too.
Poverty is reportedly spreading, and as we mentioned in a previous post about credit card debt, consumers are beginning to rack up their credit card bills again. Credit card debt and the unemployment rate remain high, and home values are still disappointing. It sounds like people need help, so why are so few reportedly trying credit counseling or exploring their bankruptcy options?
Compared to in recent years, studies indicate that significantly fewer consumers are getting the help from credit counselors and trying to set up debt repayment plans. During the first half of this year, the American Bank Institute says that personal bankruptcy filings were down 10 percent since the same time last year.
Sources suspect that consumers avoid seeking help because they fear that the cost of such help will be too much. It’s important, however, for struggling consumers to at least look into their options. For example, it shouldn’t cost any money to sit down with a bankruptcy attorney and see if you qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
For many people, not asking for help is simply a result of pride or shame. But there is no shame in the fact that you might be having difficulty paying your bills and paying off your debt. These are trying times, and options such as bankruptcy or loan modification plans exist in order to help people get a fresh start.
USA Today: “Fewer people in debt trouble seeking counseling, other help,” Christine Dugas, Oct. 12, 2011