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"Now, we've got people coming in who talk about how their relatives and friends and neighbors are going back to work and are back on their feet, and they're wondering, 'What's wrong with me?
"It's easier to open up when you know that everybody else is in the same boat," says Bruce Mc Clary, spokesman for Clear Point Credit Counseling Solutions, a nonprofit consumer credit counseling service."Before the recession, consumers were encouraged to carry debt, and spending was seen almost as a patriotic thing to do to stimulate the economy," said Michael Solomon, professor of marketing and director of the Center for Consumer Research at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. Credit card debt isn't as accepted now; it carries more of a stigma." The recession, which began at the end of 2008, saw consumers sharply curtail credit card spending.The overall amount of credit card debt dropped 8.8 percent in 2009 and 7.6 percent in 2010, before leveling out in subsequent years, according to the Federal Reserve.In February, Americans owed $848 billion in revolving debt (almost all in the form of credit card debt).In the Credit poll, conducted March 28-30 by Gf K Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications, 34 percent of respondents said they carry a balance, and 15 percent reported not having any credit cards.The poll also found Americans less willing to talk about their debt than they were five years ago, when the recession was just beginning to take shape.
About 85 percent of Americans said they are reluctant to chat about their credit card debt with someone they first met, compared to 80 percent who gave the same answer in an identical poll conducted in 2008.
"One person I interviewed was deeply religious and said he talked to his pastor about everything, including his wife's infidelity," Compeau said.
"But when he ran into financial problems, he wasn't comfortable sharing that with his pastor." Part of the problem, Compeau said, is that even though there are legitimate reasons people go into debt (medical bills, job loss), the American culture tends to assume that if you're having financial trouble, it's your own fault and you have some kind of character flaw.
"Even if you don't start a blog, I think it's really important to find a group of people who relate to you financially and share with them," Smith said.
"They will support you, share ideas with you and that will make it easier for you to reach your goal." Methodology Gf K Custom Research North America on behalf of Credit Cards.com, via random digit dialing phone interviews with 1,005 interview subjects.
According to the old saying, you shouldn't talk about religion or politics in polite company.