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Slippery slope: limited income, escalating financial challenges

We referenced the payday loan industry in our immediately preceding blog post, noting therein the "outsized dimensions of the problems created by payday loan lenders" for consumers forced to deal with them (please see our April 29 post entry).

Today we chronicle some of the reasons why millions of Americans from Florida to California struggle mightily with payday loan exactions and other onerous debt obligations.

Many of our readers are likely familiar with the guideline often cited by financial commentators and other writers on the economy concerning outlays for housing, to wit: An individual or family should generally try to limit mortgage payments to an amount that does not exceed 30 percent of annual income.

That's an interesting yardstick to throw around, but even hearing it is likely painful for persons on the lower end of the national income scale. According to a recent CNN article on income limitations and spending challenges facing Americans, individuals who reside in the bottom 30 percent of wage earners spend a whopping 72 percent of their money on keeping a roof over their head. That exceeds experts' recommendations by more than double.

And that alone can start the ball rolling on ever-escalating debt levels, given that not much remains each month for other essentials like food, clothing, health care and transportation.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that many lower-income Americans spend more than 180 percent of their annual income on basic-need items. That living reality is clearly unsustainable over an extended period.

Although things might be getting better for many Americans, the rising tide is clearly not lifting all boats. Severe debt challenges continue to plague many millions of people.

Struggling year after year with insuperable debt obligations is obviously not a viable "strategy" for any person seeking relief from seemingly endless financial challenges. A candid and confidential discussion with a proven debt-relief attorney can identify purposeful action that might more optimally lead to a real solution and a fresh financial start.

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