Many Florida consumers have enough trouble dealing with their own credit card debt. Therefore, it isn’t good news when they realize that they need to help their senior parents get their debt under control. However, if your parents have a considerable amount of debt, you’re not alone. According to the National Council on Aging, 61% of Florida households headed by someone aged 60 or older carry debt of some type. Medical debt is the number one type of debt carried by Florida seniors. But credit card debt comes in a strong second. Unfortunately, debt gets out of control and threatens their credit scores and financial security. So, even though they have no legal responsibility to do so, adult children often step in to help.
How Florida Seniors Run into Problems with Credit Card Debt
Even financially responsible Florida seniors can accumulate heavy credit card debt under certain circumstances. Here are three of the most common reasons why senior citizens become overly reliant upon credit cards, build debt, and hurt their credit scores.
Florida seniors who live exclusively on Social Security benefits or pensions often find that it is difficult to make ends meet. So, at a certain point, they may turn to credit cards to pay for simple but necessary things like groceries, gas, or utilities. Sadly, when used to compensate for insufficient incomes, credit cards typically lead to debt. This is because the extra income needed to pay off the debt isn’t there, so balances just keep growing, along with interest charges.
Whether they have senior citizen status or not, medical bills can wreck any Florida consumer’s budget. Even if you have health insurance, hospital stays and extensive medical treatments get expensive quickly. So, in an attempt to stay current with these bills, seniors often turn to credit cards. Yet, unless they have the cash to pay off the balances, interest charges cause these bills to inflate over time.
The Death of a Spouse
It is especially dangerous if the spouse who handles the bills passes away. Then, if the remaining partner doesn’t know how to handle the budget, they may rely too heavily upon credit cards to cover expenses. Then, before they know it, credit card debt skyrockets, and credit scores fall.
For practical reasons, Florida consumers may choose to help their senior parents pay off or manage credit card debt. For example, this type of debt may drain an estate or even cause the loss of a family home. Yet, most consumers in Florida who realize that these problems exist want to help their parents for more personal reasons. After all, their parents were always there for them, and they simple want to return the favor.
Practical Ways for Florida Consumers to Help Senior Parents with Credit Card Debt
It can be difficult for consumers in Florida to approach their parents about credit card debt issues. After all, you don’t want to overstep boundaries with the people who raised you. However, if done respectfully and out of genuine concern, grown children can do a lot to help senior parents escape credit card debt. Even if you can’t pay off their debts for them, you can at least assist them in forming a debt relief plan.
Look for resources within your community.
In Florida, there are a lot of resources available for seniors. So, check for services provided by government programs, church groups, and senior centers. Anything that cuts everyday costs frees up more money to put toward credit card debt.
Hire an assistant.
Sometimes a third-party accountant or credit councilor can bring objectivity into a situation and clear up financial/credit problems faster. Even if you don’t think you can afford such assistance, many non-profit organizations offer these services at discounted prices or for free.
Bring the whole family in to share responsibilities.
When it comes to elderly family members with credit card debt, a lot of Florida families have found success in delegating responsibilities. For example, some family members may have the resources to cover certain expenses, while others may have extra time to devote to household chores and errands. The less seniors have to spend on things around the house, the less they need to charge to credit cards, and this may lead to getting out of debt faster.
Encourage your parents to check their credit reports.
Finally, all Florida consumers with senior parents should encourage their moms and dads to regularly check their credit reports. Unfortunately, Florida seniors often become identity theft victims, so it is important to review credit reports for signs of fraudulent activity.
In addition, because creditors and the credit bureaus frequently make mistakes, most Florida credit reports contain errors of some type. These credit report errors sometimes result in credit score damage. So, it’s important to find and report inaccuracies found on one, two, or all three credit reports.
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) entitles all consumers in Florida to free annual copies of their credit reports from each of the three major credit bureaus. Just go to www.annualcreditreport.com once every twelve months to request credit reports from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.
Then, while reviewing your credit reports, if you find obvious signs of identity theft, file a police report immediately. Next, contact Credit Repair Lawyers of America in Florida. Or, if you find mistakes and errors lurking on your credit reports, bringing your credit score down, call the credit pros at our firm right away. No matter what kind of credit report issues you have, we’ll connect you with an experienced credit attorney who will get you clean credit reports – for free – no matter what it takes.
How to Get Free, Legal Credit Repair in Florida
Don’t let errors or identity theft damage on your credit reports bring your credit score down. At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? All of our fees come from the defendants in cases that are settled. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (813) 940-7255 or sending him a message through our contact page.
For more information about Free Credit Repair, please visit https://www.creditrepairlawyersam.com/florida/credit-repair/. Or, to learn more about Free Credit Repair After Identity Theft, check out https://creditrepairlawyersam.com/florida/fix-identity-theft/.