Nearly a Third of Working Families Considered ‘Low-Income’ – How did we get here ?

Posted on December 22, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

A good post from the Atlantic Wire that highlights and expands on the recent report from the Working Poor Project that indicates that 30.1% of working families are “struggling to meet basic needs.

I see these families daily in our law practice.  Hard working Americans that struggle to meet the day-to-day needs of raising a family and putting food on the table and providing a decent family life for their children while at the same time putting food on the table and paying the bills.  The old myth of  people who take advantage of credit cards and run up bills knowing they are not going to pay them is simply that, a myth.  The folks that we see on a daily basis are those that are struggling, and through no fault of their own, find it impossible to continue.  They have either had a death in the family, a divorce, an illness in the family, or a job loss or suspension,  in other words some event has intervened in their life to put them in a position to need our assistance.  The bankruptcy court, in fact, has a term for these folks:  ” the honest, but unfortunate debtor”… and this is the very person that the bankruptcy process and bankruptcy judges and trustees are there to protect.

Unfortunately, the proliferation and marketing of credit cards to consumers, along with the fact that almost all merchants now accept credit cards, has also fueled this situation.  Just 30 years ago, credit cards did not exist as they do today.  If a family fell behind on their bills, they would either get a small loan ($1000 or less)  at a local bank, or borrow from family or friends.  Today, if you go to get a small loan at a local bank, they will likely turn you away or suggest a finance company, check advance business or credit card.

Additionally, 30 years ago, many merchants such as grocery stores and gas stations, the places that provide the staples of life, did not accept credit cards.  Now, the stores that do not accept credit cards are the exception rather than the rule.

If you or a loved one has gotten to a point that you think your financial situation needs to be evaluated, I would strongly encourage you to contact a local attorney that  handles these matters on a routine basis.  Present your situation to them and see what they recommend.  There is no time like the present to see what your options are.

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