6 On Your Side answers questions about getting out of debt

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Household consumer debt is smothering many families in America today, especially here in East Tennessee.

Credit card bills, student loans, car payments, you name it, many people charge it.

This number is scary. The average household in America today owes $7,123 on credit card debt, according to the Federal Reserve. The debt goes higher when you add student loans.

We found out getting into debt is not hard.

“Being a freshman in college, you get a credit card offer in the campus box. It was amazing,” said Adam Jones.

Jones told a story that might be familiar to many. As a student at Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn., he says his debt started accumulating with student loans, and with credit cards so easy to get, he didn’t worry about over spending. But it added to his burden.

Then when he got married, the debt really stated to soar.

“After being married for five years, we had our first child. I didn’t tell my wife no to anything. She got whatever she wanted with that first child. We had no idea what we were really accumulating,” said Jones.

Their accumulation of debt was an astonishing $62,000.

“When the recession hit, that was key. It was when we realized we’re paying a lot of money out of pocket, but not getting anywhere with our debt. So we looked into credit counseling.”

Jones turned to ClearPoint Credit Counseling, a non-profit debt management agency that has offices in East Tennessee and around the mid-south.

“On the average, if you pay only the minimum payment on your credit card, it could take up to 20 years to pay it off,” said ClearPoint Counselor Marcy Frankel.

She says ClearPoint can help get that debt paid off in four to five years.

If you’re in debt, you may be eligible for a debt management plan.

On Wednesday beginning at 4 p.m., 6 On Your Side will be at the offices of ClearPoint Credit Counseling, where counselors will take your questions on how to manage debt and how you might get out of debt.

To ask a question, call 1-877-704-7943 from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

You can also join in on the conversation on social media using the hashtag #6OYSdebtfree.

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