Personal debt continues to be a struggle for many Americans, including thousands here in Texas. According to data recently gathered by Northwestern Mutual, the average American had more than $38,000 in debt in 2018. This amount did not include home mortgages. The research also found that individuals are two-times more likely to thousands, perhaps even tens of thousands, of dollars in debt than they do in savings. Only 23% of Americans didn't carry any debt last year.
There are a number of factors contributing to increasing personal debt. Amongst them are medical expenses, student loans and credit card debt. Childcare expenses and housing costs have also left individuals struggling to get by. Another element of personal debt may be transportation costs, more specifically car payments. The average auto purchaser in 2018 borrowed money in excess of the average per capita income, meaning that it may be challenging to pay back.
There are steps that an individual can take to try to obtain debt relief. Budgeting can help if one's problem is over-utilizing discretionary income, but more often than not this isn't enough. Debt refinancing may lead to lower interest rates, but many of these incentives are short lived. Sadly, even with these options available to them, 13% percent of Americans feel like they will be in debt for the rest of their lives.
This is unacceptable, especially when overwhelming debt prevents an individual from truly living his or her life. Unfortunately, far too many Texans choose to struggle to repay their debts and put off marriage, buying a house and having children as a result. The good news is that individuals don't have to put their futures on the line when it comes to personal debt, which is where the bankruptcy process may come into play.
Depending on the facts at hand, including the types of debt possessed, an individual may be able to utilize Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy to eliminate debt and secure a fresh financial start. Talking with an attorney who is experienced in this area of the law may be the best first step in that process.