Are you a part of one of the many struggling families in this country seeking debt relief? Chances are, you answered ‘yes’ to that question. According to recent numbers, most Americans are currently carrying outstanding balances and facing bills that carry over from month to month. On average, about 80 percent of Americans are burdened with some kind of debt. If that sounds like you, just know that you’re not alone.
According to some experts, the average amount of debt carried seems to hover between $5,000 – $10,000. In general, the Gen-X generation is carrying the most debt, likely because they’re in the midst of paying off homes and caring for other generations; the Baby Boomers come in second; and Millennials are carrying the least amount of debt. That makes sense, considering the stage of life for each group.
But sometimes that debt can get overwhelming, and it may be necessary to take measures to seek debt relief in response to unmanageable bills when unemployment or other disaster strikes. If a major financial change were to happen to you, would you know if you were qualified for hardship and debt relief programs, and where and how to start that process?
Before we dive into more information about the general process, let’s outline the most common types of bills and payments that are saddling most Americans.
All of the following are common types of debt that American families seek debt relief to manage:
- Student loans
- Mortgage payments
- Credit cards
- Medical bills
- Auto loans
Of those, student loans and mortgages are the most common forms of debt. But that doesn’t mean that medical bills, auto loans, and credit card debt don’t have a major impact on the fiscal health of a household. All of these can be significant to deal with when you lack resources and support.
Which brings us to the point of looking for solutions. There are more options to manage debt and begin the process of repayment than many people realize.
What are the most common debt relief options and programs?
- Credit Counseling and Consolidation
- Debt Management Programs and Settlement
In general, all of these options have benefits and drawbacks. There are two main strategies when seeking a debt relief solution: you can try to manage the debt on your own or seek a qualified professional. If you choose to go it alone, there are many ways to research your options and get started. But here we’ll focus on what you need to know to explore those options, and find a debt relief solution that’s right for you.
First, recognize that there is no set amount of debt you must carry to qualify for credit counseling programs and services. It is worth looking into credit counseling options to learn more, as most people need help to manage their debt. Credit counseling organizations can help you create a budget, and often offer additional educational opportunities to help you learn more about how to manage your debt.
Debt relief services, management and settlement may be more complicated to access. If this option appeals to you, before you do anything else you’ll want to check with your local state consumer protection agency and attorney general to avoid scams. Do your homework! Check for complaints, and make sure the agency you’re getting involved with has the proper licensure.
Another word of caution for anyone seeking debt relief services through an organization. Please be aware that any “nonprofit” organization may not necessarily provide free or low cost services, and may not even be legitimate. Again, always check with your local government agency to find the right provider for you.
A final, and not to be taken lightly, last option is to file for bankruptcy. As an expert bankruptcy attorney in Utah, we wouldn’t counsel going that route as a first option. However, it is important to learn more and find out if this option would be the right way for you to go based on your unique situation and circumstances.
You can learn more about whether or not you qualify for debt relief by visiting our website here. We look forward to providing you with the information you deserve to make the best decision for you and your family.