When the recession began in 2008, high consumer debt was rampant. Now in 2017, the level of consumer debt in Florida and nationwide has once again reached levels recorded nearly 10 years ago, according to federal statistics. In the longer view, the country has seen a tripling of consumer debt since 1999. The steady progression of such borrowing is a reasonably good indicator that bankruptcy filings will also continue to increase.
Since 2008, student loan debt increased by $733 billion, and auto loans increased by $388 billion. Add to that the runaway escalation of uninsured medical debt, along with steadily rising credit card debt, and it is easily seen why most Americans cannot even withstand a $500 emergency without borrowing or cutting back on vital needs. The future of federal spending on health care, food stamps, Medicaid and social assistance programs is currently a subject of uncertainty as debates heat up in the U.S. Congress.
Consequently, the continued pattern of excessive consumer debt raises many questions for the economic integrity of the average American family. For many, working extra jobs and creating the additional income by entrepreneurial means will be the tide of the future. For those families that have already fallen into a spiral of debt that is unresolvable, one powerful option will be to start over with a clean slate.
That option is available here in Florida and nationwide through federal bankruptcy law. A Chapter 7 filing for a qualified individual or married couple will eliminate all credit card and medical debt to the filing date. Although student loans may not be dischargeable in many cases, the relief from other debt by a bankruptcy filing may make it feasible for some consumers to pay their student loan installments. The remedies available in bankruptcy are varied and complex, making it necessary to consult with a consumer bankruptcy attorney prior to making any decisions with respect to resolving one's debt load problems.
Source: nonprofitquarterly.org, "Consumer Debt Hits All-time High", Michael Wyland, May 19, 2017