Pro Bono News

Access to Justice: Spending Impact

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Access to Justice: Spending Impact

"I recently moderated a panel at Elevate by LegalShield where one of the speakers mentioned the statistic that the average American only has $500 in savings. This was not the first time that I have heard this figure and of course, it’s not enough to hire an attorney to do much. And, do not get me wrong, we do have an access to justice crisis with those below the poverty line and eligible for legal aid. However, this savings statistic includes the middle class. I was reminded of something that my husband once said about why some cannot make ends meet, “It’s not the people that make less; it’s the people that spend more.”

I did a little research into spending and debt in the United States and found that the average household credit card debt is about $16,000 and is paying $1,200 in interest per month. Coincidentally, I recently put a large purchase of about $14,500 on my credit card and received the following information on my statement:

If you make no additional charges and each month you pay only the minimum payment of $145, you will pay off the balance shown on this statement in about 27 years, and you will end up paying $34,825!

That means if you borrowed the money for a comparable legal bill, using your credit card, it will take you almost three decades to pay it off using the minimum payment approach. And $15,000 in legal fees does not buy you too much these days in many cases..."

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