SOURCE: Think Debt Relief

Think Debt Relief

April 14, 2009 11:30 ET

Debt Reduction Tops Consumers' To-Do Lists

Families Look to Companies Like Think Debt Relief for Debt Help

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwire - April 14, 2009) - Nearly one-third of Americans are committed to finding debt relief this year, according to a GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media poll that questioned consumers about their debt and finances.

In the survey, middle-income consumers and women were most likely to name debt reduction as their top priority for this year. Nearly half of those with household incomes of $30,000 to $39,000 said they were resolved to cut their debt. These numbers, says Bruce Cundiff, director of payments research and consulting for Javelin Strategy & Research, could be an indication of how hard the financial crisis has hit middle-income families.

Despite this commitment to debt reduction that's grabbing the nation, more families are starting to regard their debt loads as insurmountable, overwhelmed by financial obligations that help make up the $978.5 billion mountain of revolving debt currently held by U.S. consumers.

"Cutting debt at this moment in time, during a recession, is very far from what people think is doable," says José García, researcher for Demos, a nonpartisan public policy research group.

In better financial times, consumers looking to cover their bills and pay off credit card debt have typically been able to tap into their home equity or rely on year-end bonuses. This past year, however, those revenue sources have been all but cut off.

Strapped employers are cutting jobs and salaries, home equity has evaporated in a housing crisis that's left millions of homeowners underwater on their mortgages, and the credit markets have been at a virtual standstill, freezing consumers' access to lines of credit and debt consolidation refinances.

With little or no access to cash or credit, debt-laden consumers are seeking out other avenues for debt help, increasingly turning to debt relief services like debt settlement and credit counseling. The most distressed are fleeing to bankruptcy in soaring numbers: The number of Americans filing for bankruptcy protection shot up last month to its highest level since October 2005, when new legislation made it more difficult for consumers to discharge their debts through bankruptcy.

About Think Debt Relief

Think Debt Relief, www.ThinkDebtRelief.com, is an experienced debt relief agency offering a range of debt help programs, including credit counseling, debt settlement, and mortgage loan modification services.