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Deep, complex relationship: Americans and their credit cards

If you view yourself as a truly independent and free-thinking person who makes your own decisions and doesn't follow the crowd, you might reasonably take some umbrage with a recent report that unceremoniously dumps most consumers together and essentially questions their thinking regarding revolving debt.

Indeed, you just might be a Southern California resident who makes exacting pains to pay off your credit card balance in full each and every month.

That would make you a rarity, and distinctly so, according to the research department at one Federal Reserve Bank branch, which centrally notes this: A "debt addiction" mentality is spawned in most Americans commencing from their 20s and continues in many instances for their entire lives.

So-called "revolvers" -- people who do not completely extinguish their card debt each month -- readily take on payment obligations, states the Reserve Bank report on Americans' mentality toward debt assumption.

And, coupled with that, most consumers are quick to pull the yes-I-will trigger whenever a lender dangles a higher spending limit before them.

That combination of a willingness to pay debt off month after month -- and sometimes for a lifetime -- and an inclination to accept every increased spending limit is obviously a recipe for financial disaster in some cases.

And the odds of a dire outcome down the road are of course heightened when unexpected events with material financial implications intrude on daily life. Such things can be myriad and often come as a complete surprise. Think emergency surgery. Think a major vehicle repair. Think a universe of other things.

When debt exactions have become intolerable, affected consumers might reasonably want to reach out to an experienced debt-relief attorney for counsel and some strategies to get back on the right track.

It is easy to feel lost and hopeless when facing extreme financial challenges. At such a time, it can be helpful to know that millions of consumers do reach the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel by proactively engaging debt-relief strategies that enable a fresh start.

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