Expert: Holiday shopping debt on decline
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With the perils of holiday debt, some people are returing to the old standard for shopping – cash.

Careful handling of money during the holidays is something that Terri Stocki, the certified education director at Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Northeastern Pennsylvania, says is becoming more common. Calls to the center for help with holiday debt have been on the decline in recent years, she said.

In previous years, Stocki said calls came streaming in during this time of the year from people who spent a bit more than they should have with credit cards. She attributes the decline in calls to changes in the credit card industry in the past several years.

“I think people today are more financially aware of where their money is going,” Stocki said. “With changes in education and changes in the credit industry, it made people more aware of the cost of credit.”

One of the changes under the Credit Card Act of 2009 states that the front page of credit card bills must state the true cost of making minimum monthly payments. Stocki said that by making the $ 20 or $ 40 monthly payment, card holders will pay far more over time in interest rather than paying it off in larger increments.

When it comes to paying off credit card debt, she recommends paying it off as quickly as possible.

But even though the calls about holiday debt have dro…………… continues on Standard Speaker

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Millennials likely to take debt to their graves
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If you want to talk to someone about credit card debt, talk to April Lesho, she’s had her fair share. And she’s got the collection of financial planning books to prove it.

She shows me her bookshelf with titles like “Debt Free by Thirty,” “Suze Orman’s The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom” and “Idiot’s Guide to 401k Plans.”

Those books seemed to have worked for Lesho. She’s now the proud new owner of a house in Washington, D.C. But she hasn’t always been so careful with money.

“By the end of college, I had about $ 30,000 in debt,” she tells me. “I mean, I spent at will. So you know if I felt like taking a trip, I took a trip. If I felt like getting a new stereo system, I did.”

This was at the University of South Carolina, where Lesho graduated in 2001 with a degree in sociology.

“Didn’t you think it was going to catch up with you someday?” I ask her.

“I just figured,” she says, “when I got a job, I would be able to pay that off. I didn’t realize how far behind I was getting. And how long it would actually take to climb my way out of it.”

“You know, for a sociology degree, 30,000 sounds about right,” says Lucia Dunn, professor of economics at Ohio State University. Dunn says the scary thing is that Lesho’s circumstances are pretty typical for millennials coming out of college.

“They just have a lot mo…………… continues on

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