I read and commented on a blog recently that was talking about the quality of life in the United States and how it seems to be getting better. I do agree that it has been getting better, but we have been seeing side effects also. One of these side effects is skyrocketing bankruptcies. It is getting incredibly easy to get credit cards, secured and unsecured loans, lines of credit, and other forms or credit. People are take advantage of these and learning the hard way that it is way too easy to get carried away.
In 2003, bankruptcies “rose from 1,611,268 in the 12-month period ending March 2003 to 1,654,847 in the same 12-month time period in 2004. The number of filings was down slightly from the record 1,661,966 bankruptcy cases filed during fiscal year 2003. Business filings in March 2004 totaled 36,785, down 2.0 percent from the 37,548, business filings in the 12-month period ending March 31, 2003. 2,144,000 people filed bankruptcy in the year ended December 31, 2003. There were 1,625,208 personal bankruptcies filed in the year ended December 31, 2003. With this information, we can conclude that 1,625,208 people filed bankruptcy in 2003…except one little fact, the fact that t he statistics include joint filings, which means that two people filed for bankruptcy as one. 31.9 % of the filings for the year ended June 30, 2001 were joint filings of husband and wife. With this in mind, there were actually 2,144,000 people who filed bankruptcy in the year ended December 31, 2003.
Some might say that that isn’t that many people declaring bankruptcy, but when we take into consideration that in the 1980’s, bankruptcy filings were about 300,000, we must be doing something wrong. This nation is truly a nation of debt. The average person has 2.5 credit cards in his or her wallet. The average credit card debt has increased thirty-five percent from last year to three thousand two hundred and fifty dollars per person. If there is two hundred and fifty million people in the United States, that is eight hundred twelve billion five hundred million dollars in deficit spending by Americans per year.
I strongly believe that Americans spend way too much money that they don’t really have. The main problem with credit is that people end up becoming slaves to the interest owed on the money they spend on credit. I know a lot of people my grandfather’s age that not only own everything they have, but have plenty of money in the bank for whatever happens. I only know a few people my father’s age that own everything they own, and when something happens, it goes straight to the credit card. I think that my generation and those after us will not only work their whole lives to keep what they have, but they will die broke and lose everything because we are doing all we can just to keep up with the minimum payments on our debt.