Recent reports have suggested that once the final numbers come in for 2017, they will show that Americans collectively are carrying more credit card debt than they ever have before, at over $1 trillion. This will be an increase over the last year of about $50 billion.

How much debt individual Americans carry on their credit cards varied from location to location. In some parts of the country, an average person had about a $7,000 balance on their cards, while in other parts of the country, the average balance hung closer to just above $1,000.

In any event, though, this trend toward more credit card debt could spell financial trouble for Floridians and others, and particularly for those who only make minimum payments on the debt each month. For instance, a recent interest rate hike in December 2017 will mean credit card companies are going to be responding with higher finance charges.

There are steps people in Florida can take if they feel they need to clear some of the debt off of their books. For example, a person can make sure to create a budget, and make sure to stick to it, in order to help control their urge to swipe the card whenever they don’t have enough cash. Financial goals, which can include items like paying off a card with a lower balance first in a process called “snowballing” debt, are also important.

In some cases, though, a family may find that they are simply overwhelmed by their credit card debt and need a fresh financial start. In these sorts of cases, bankruptcy should be seen as a viable option.

Source: WHIO, “Americans projected to break credit card debt record,” Rachel Murray, Jan. 18, 2018.