Are You In Debt? You’re Not Alone

Are You In Debt? You're Not Alone

If you are struggling with mounting debt, you are not alone. Too many Americans are faced with debt that they cannot meet, and much of this is due to problems posed by our society.

Nationwide, data reported by the Urban Institute in a new national map of indebtedness, shows that 33 percent of Americans hold debt that is currently in collection, with a median amount of $1,450.

Being in debt can cause problems in all areas of your life, from being less productive at work to arguments over money at home leading to divorce and family breakdown.  Adding to the stress is the accompanying harassment by creditors and the fear of repossession of your property and foreclosure on your home.

Debt is a big problem, but there are answers.  The skilled and seasoned Ohio bankruptcy attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer understand that even the most well-intentioned people can find themselves in a financial hole.  We offer a free consultation to evaluate your financial situation.  We can help by looking at your debts, your income, and your goals and coming up with a debt-relief plan that’s best for you.

Call one of our conveniently located office branches at 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati) or email for your free consultation.

What Areas of the US Have Most Debt?

Debt varies greatly across our county, with certain states being more debt-prone than others.

Louisiana is America’s capital of past-due debt, with nearly half the residents of Louisiana having debt that has gone “into collections,” meaning unpaid bills that creditors have either closed or are trying to collect.

In general, rates of past-due debt are highest in southern and western states, and lowest in the upper Midwest.  Minnesota has the lowest rate, with 17 percent of adults having debt in collections.

What are Drivers of Debt?

The largest sources of debt are medical, student loan, credit card, and mortgage expenses.

Medical Costs

Medical debt is the most common cause of people filing for bankruptcy in Ohio.  Previous research by the Urban Institute has identified health insurance coverage as a chief driver of indebtedness, as people who have health insurance are less likely to fall behind paying other bills.  Medical costs not covered by insurance can be devastating, and, unless they are covered by a generous employer policy, many who do have insurance are struggling to pay high insurance premiums.

Nearly one in five American households has medical debt in collections, with a median amount of $681. Past-due medical debt is 10 times higher in Louisiana (30 percent) than it is Minnesota (3 percent).

Student Loans

Student loans make up the majority of household debt for Americans after mortgages.  A  recent study shows that Ohio has the most student debt in the country, with an average student debt of $30,239. More than two-thirds of students have debt, often making up more than 50 percent of their annual income.

Even with a college degree, many graduates entering the labor market are struggling to pay off student loans. The unemployment rate for 25- to 34-year-olds in Ohio is among the worst in the country, and even those who find jobs aren’t earning enough to pay off student loans plus car loans and rent.

Credit Card Debt

According to 2013 data from the U.S. Federal Reserve, the mean credit card debt of U.S. households is approximately $5,700.  Households that maintain credit card debt had an average credit card debt of $10,955 as of June 2017. In Ohio, Transunion, a large personal credit rating agency, reported the second quarter of 2016 average consumer card balance was $4,933.

Mortgage Debt

According to a survey by GOBankingRates.com, the top source of debt for people in Ohio is mortgage debt, with an average of $125,359 in mortgage debt at the end of the first half of 2016.

What to do About Debt

If you have found yourself in a situation where debt is more than you can handle, you need to take action to change things. Here are some suggestions:

  • Set up a budget, prioritize your expenses and cut spending where you can. Then set aside time twice a month for managing your finances — paying bills, balancing your checkbook, and further analyzing your expenses.
  • Don’t make credit card purchases until you pay off your current balances; then, do not charge anything unless you can pay off the balance in 90 days or less.
  • Get credit counseling if you need it. Credit counseling is an educational service where you meet with a counselor who helps you go through your debts and make plans to pay them off. Contact the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

If you have taken these steps and still find your debt to be overwhelming, you may want to consider the fresh start available by filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a legal way to have many debts forgiven and get a fresh financial start. The most common types are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.  Chapter 7 is a full liquidation of all assets, while Chapter 13 may allow you to keep property, such as a mortgaged house, while you complete a three- to five-year payment plan to have debts forgiven.

Contact Us For Help

If your debts are mounting out of control, we can provide a helping hand. The experienced and compassionate Ohio debt relief attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer offer a free consultation to evaluate your entire financial situation. We will examine your income, your debts and your goals and discuss the best fit for you.  We will make sure you are aware of all of your options and help you decide on the path to a brighter future that makes sense in your individual case.  We understand what you are going through and will handle every phase of the process.

Delaying can only make your situation worse, so call the Ohio bankruptcy attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer today!  Call one of our conveniently located office branches at 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati) or email for your free consultation so we can determine what debt relief solutions will work best for you.

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