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Overwhelming credit card debt may lead to penalty interest rates

When Texas consumers use their credit cards in a responsible manner, there may be several advantages. However, there could be many disadvantages if they are used without planning ahead for how to manage them. One late credit card payment can trigger a host of penalties, including late fees, higher interest rates and lower credit scores. The paths leading to credit card debt that is out of control are varied, but once consumers are unable to pay even the minimum amount due on their credit cards, they may find it difficult to remedy the situation.

When consumers are unable to pay the minimum amount on their credit cards for 60 days, the credit card company may impose a penalty interest rate on the full balance. With interest rates of up to 30 percent in some penalty cases, credit card holders may wonder what they need to do to get back to the normal interest rate again. Credit card companies usually review the card holder's status after a period of six months.

How Texas residents can avoid excessive medical debt

Mountains of medical bills have driven many Texas residents to financial desperation. In fact, recent media reports indicate that this is a countrywide problem. It has also been reported that it is not only uninsured individuals who find themselves in this position, even some people who have medical insurance are finding it difficult to manage their medical debt.

There are, however, a few ways in which to avoid excessive hospital bills. Physicians and hospital staff often suggest hospitalization merely to observe the patient. Nights spent as a patient in a hospital typically make up a large chunk of medical bills. By fighting against being admitted for observation only, individuals can reduce the bill significantly. Although regular medical checkups don't come free, it may help a person to avoid more expensive hospitalization by treating conditions in a more timely manner.

Credit card debt can be useful, if managed properly

The majority of Texas families depend upon credit on a daily basis. Credit is often required to purchase a house and even buy a car. Many lenders want to see a credit history prior to making a lending decision. Individuals will often turn to credit card debt as a way to build a credit history. This strategy can be useful as long as the credit card debt is properly managed.

One of the first things that a lender will look at is an individual's credit score. This number is composed of total dollars owed, total amount of credit available, credit inquiries and payment history. Each lender has its own set of criteria in making decisions; however, the higher the credit score, the lower the interest typically will be.

Debt relief doesn't always come easily for Texas consumers

Going into debt can be fairly easy. Shop some, travel some and eat out some. The ensuing debt can accumulate rapidly. Debt relief, however, does not always come as easily, for consumers in Texas or anywhere else.

For some people, buckling down and living frugally is the first step to financial freedom. They then take the money they've saved and apply it to what's owed. It isn't easy, but many say the sacrifice is worth it once that last payment has been made.

Warm temps could help Texas residents facing personal bankruptcy

The harsh winter has done more than envelope the country in cold temperatures and blustery days. It has kept many residents of Texas and elsewhere home from work as well, according to a recent study. Warmer weather may signal an end to that trend, which could be a relief for those whose tight budgets have them considering personal bankruptcy.

The study was done by the Labor Department. It showed that more than 625,000 people were prevented by inclement weather from getting to their jobs recently. February was shown to be particularly affected, with more than 400,000 people reporting they were unable to get to their workplace due to storms and cold temperatures.

Study: despite ACA, medical debt soon to be No. 1 bankruptcy cause

If you've been following this blog for a while, you're well aware that having good health insurance doesn't necessarily mean that an injury, a chronic health condition or a sudden illness won't cause you financial problems. Overwhelming medical debt has long been a common trigger for bankruptcy, and a recent study using 2013 data predicts that it will soon surpass both mortgage and credit card debt to become the No. 1 cause of bankruptcy in the near future.

Yet according to a Fox Business source, fully 78 percent of those who file bankruptcy due to medical debt have health insurance. "It's not just the medical bills," he explained. "It's really everything around the bills that insurance won't cover."

As we've discussed before, the average cost of spending one day in a U.S. hospital is $4,000 or more, and the limits and exceptions built into many insurance plans can mean that cost will not be fully covered. And, the ever-rising cost of health insurance, in terms of premiums, deductibles and co-pays, can quickly eat away at your emergency fund. Considering that a serious or chronic medical condition can often keep you from working, the out-of-pocket cost of medical care continues to threaten the financial welfare of Texans, even those with high-quality insurance.

Do you have more debt than savings?

If you are a San Antonio resident who has more credit card debt than savings, you are not the only one. According to a recent survey, about 30 percent of Americans currently carry more credit card debt around than what they have stashed away for a rainy day. The survey has been performed by Bankrate.com each year since 2011, and the most recent results for the number of Americans with more credit card debt than emergency savings is the highest in the survey's history.

The findings make sense, given that many Americans simply do not have the means to save more money and high household expenses are keeping spending levels high. 

Bank seeks foreclosure on Texas property belonging to heirs

For residents of Texas who have been negatively impacted by the economy, home foreclosure is an all-too-real consideration. When faced with financial duress, it's important for homeowners to understand their rights and options. Not every case must end in foreclosure. There are legal avenues, such as certain forms of bankruptcy and debt relief, that can help stop foreclosure and get individuals back on track.

One foreclosure being sought in the state may not be challenged by property owners. According to reports, the bank in question has filed a lawsuit against the unknown heirs of three individuals as well as one other man. The bank wants to foreclose on a property owned jointly by the heirs, but has stated in the suit that the defendants will not be held personally responsible for the debt if they relinquish their interest in the property.

Texas residents, be wary of loan modification scams

Many Texas homeowners who are struggling to make their mortgage payments month after month may consider working with their lenders in order to obtain loan modifications. While this can be helpful in some cases, homeowners need to ensure that the terms really protect their interests. And, borrowers also need to make sure that the modification is legitimate, because unfortunately there are a number of scams out there.

It has recently been reported that scammers are sending letters that look like official Wells Fargo documents to homeowners, offering them loan modifications. Homeowners who have responded to the letters have sent in thousands of dollars and private information in the hopes of securing their homes from foreclosure; but in reality they are becoming victims of fraud.

Debt and lack of savings pushes retirement age up for many

If you are a San Antonio resident who is putting off retirement - perhaps, indefinitely - you are not alone. The average age at which Americans retire is continuing to rise, and it has been reported that many Baby Boomers will wait until at least the age of 66 to leave the workforce. And, as many as 10 percent of Baby Boomers do not see how they will ever retire; they cannot afford it.

Of course, many Baby Boomers who put off retirement for financial reasons may end up retiring unwillingly. That is to say, they may not be able to find work due to age discrimination. Although age discrimination is illegal, it is actually on the rise.

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