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As the nation’s largest brand of debt relief services, the providers of CareOne Debt Relief Services® help numerous consumers evaluate their debt relief options every day. While the ultimate goal for those who reach out to CareOne may be to become debt-free, their reasons for seeking debt relief are as unique and diverse as the consumers themselves. CareOne employees are uniquely qualified to relate to these customers because many of us were once in debt ourselves. Many of our employees, including our founder, Bernie Dancel, successfully worked their way out of their own financial challenges and have a genuine passion for helping others do the same. Our Certified Personal Finance Counselors® treat each customer with the respect, compassion, and personalized attention that they deserve. Part of this process is to fully understand the reasons why each customer is seeking debt relief.
In recent years, the high cost of living has significantly contributed to families’ financial struggles. This is particularly true in Washington, D.C., where more residents continue to seek debt relief amidst high living costs. This is despite the fact that District of Columbia residents are more highly educated and earn salaries significantly higher than the national average. According to the Census Bureau1, 49% of D.C. residents have at least a bachelor’s degree as compared to only 27.9% nationally. Not surprisingly, these higher educated residents demand higher paying jobs. In fact, according to the Department of Labor, the annual mean wage of D.C. residents was $74,54022.
However, despite these positive economic indicators, the District has a relatively low homeownership rate. Based on the most recent Census Bureau data, from 2006 to 2010 only 43.5% of D.C. residents were homeowners . This is much lower than the 66.6% national average3. Lack of homeownership may be due to the high resident turnover the area experiences as political administrations move in and out of the city, but it is also likely because the area has a very high cost of living. In fact, a new study by the Council for Community and Economic Research shows the D.C. area as the ninth most expensive urban area in the United States4. Some residents may be using credit cards to help pay for their living expenses and student loan debts. This seems particularly evident with D.C.’s younger adult residents. CareOne’s own internal data shows that the percentage of 18 to 24 year olds seeking debt relief rose slightly, by 1% from 2010 to 2011. The number of 25 to 34 year olds seeking debt relief rose 3% over that same period and was 4% higher than our national average.
Women and families are also affected by the high cost of living. According to our data, the majority of D.C. residents seeking debt relief last year were women, and the number was 7% higher than our national average. Additionally, our internal statistics show that the number of residents seeking debt relief who claimed one or more dependants increased 78% from 2010 to 2011.
Overall, the number of individual debts reported by Alaskans (of all ages) rose 8% in 2011 and was 6% higher than our national average. While the average amount of debt reported by those residents decreased from 2010 to 2011 it still remained 7% higher than our national average.
For many D.C. residents, seeking debt consolidation help may give them a chance to regain control of their finances and get back on track. Let one of our Certified Personal Finance Counselors®review your unique situation and walk you through your options and help you choose a debt relief solution customized just for you.