Slower consumer credit growth indicates tough financial times

Federal Reserve says that many Americans are still struggling to get by

A number of recent reports are showing that even after the Great Recession officially ended in 2009, many Americans are still struggling to pay bills and save for retirement. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Federal Reserve is reporting that 25 percent of Americans are "just getting by." Meanwhile, slower consumer credit growth in June indicates that many consumers are still hesitant about the economy and worry about their ability to pay for outstanding debts.

Consumers struggling

The Federal Reserve survey of 4,100 households found a number of disturbing trends regarding the financial outlook of many Americans. A third of people said they had been denied credit or received less than they asked for in the past 12 months. Additionally, 34 percent said they were worse off today than they were prior to when the Great Recession started in 2008.

Perhaps most worryingly of all, nearly a third of Americans who are not currently retired have no funds or pensions put aside for retirement. The survey found that many Americans are struggling financially because they can only find part-time work instead of the full-time jobs that most would prefer.

Credit growth slows

In another story from the Lexington Herald-Leader, consumer borrowing slowed in June compared to the previous month. Car loans and student debts were the biggest drivers of the growth, with credit card loans growing by a very modest $2.1 billion compared to May. Experts say the lower borrowing rates show that consumers are still hesitant about their financial prospects and about the economy overall.

When consumer credit grows, it usually means that consumers are confident in their ability to repay new debts in the future. Such growth usually precipitates a surge in consumer spending later on, thus helping grow the economy. The particularly slow growth in credit card debt especially indicates that many consumers are not in such a financial position right now that they can afford any new spending.

Help getting out of debt

As many Americans continue to struggle to get by, it is important to keep in mind that insurmountable debts do not have to lead to a never ending spiral. While bankruptcy is not for everyone, it can help a lot of people get out of debt and work out a sustainable strategy for their future financial goals.

Anybody who is currently swamped by growing debts and unwelcome creditor phone calls should contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible. Such an attorney can provide compassionate and expert advice to help people but an end to creditors' phone calls and to eventually get back on their feet.