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Deal with Your Debt: The Right Way to Manage Your Bill$ and Pay Off What You Owe by Liz Pulliam Weston

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Our Love Affair with Credit

Unfortunately, it's a freedom many people don't know. Even though most Americans appear to be handling their debt just fine, a significant—and growing—number of people are in serious trouble. Consumer bankruptcy filings have more than doubled since 1990, as shown in Table 3.2.

Table 3.2. Bankruptcy in America
YearTotal Nonbusiness Filings
1990718,107
1991872,438
1992900,874
1993812,898
1994780,455
1995874,642
19961,124,286
19971,349,510
19981,405,695
19991,281,360
20001,217,628
20011,451,789
20021,566,358
20031,624,677
20041,563,145

Many condemn this trend as a symptom of a “live for today” ethic or on baby boomers who never learned the meaning of delayed gratification.

The truth is a little more complicated.

Many consumer bankruptcies ...

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