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Wisconsin Bankruptcy Law Blog

Consumer debt is now higher than in the summer of 2008

Can you gauge the state of the country's economy by how much credit card debt people have? The simple answer is maybe. For example, in the summer of 2008, this type of debt hit a high of approximately $866 billion around the time of the housing crisis that plunged the nation into a recession. 

Credit card debt hit a low in 2013 but has steadily climbed since as the economy recovered, which was not unexpected. However, what wasn't expected was that 2018 would beat 2008. At the end of last year, credit card debt reached $870 billion. Perhaps more alarming is that more and more people are getting 90 days or more behind on their payments.

Five ways to overcome serious financial problems

If money has been on your mind a lot more than usual lately, you're likely not the only person in Wisconsin who's having financial problems. In fact, most adults encounter such challenges at some point in life. It's not so much about the fact that your finances have veered off-track as it is about how much you know about options that might be available to help you overcome the crisis.

Many Wisconsin residents can relate to unexpected issues that spark money trouble, such as losing a job or experiencing a medical condition that leads to hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars' worth of bills rolling in. Some situations are undoubtedly more difficult to resolve than others. However, in most cases, financial trouble is temporary, and knowing where to seek support as needed is a key factor toward restoring financial stability.

The means test will let you know if Chapter 7 is an option

If you are drowning in debt like so many Wisconsin residents are, you have probably been looking at all of your available options for relief. Unfortunately, because of your search, you may feel more confused now than ever before about whether bankruptcy -- particularly Chapter 7 -- is a good fit for you. If you want to know if you qualify for Chapter 7 relief, the means test will let you know.

Some people hear the word test and the anxiety associated with school exams comes rushing to mind. This is not that kind of test. You cannot get anything wrong on the means test. The purpose of it is to compare your income level to the state median in order to see if you fall below the middle level. If you do, you pass and may file a Chapter 7 petition. If you do not, all hope is not lost as Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection may still be available to you.

How can you make the wage garnishment process stop?

One of the most unpleasant consequences associated with owing a significant amount of debt is wage garnishment. This is a process by which a creditor can move to have your employer withhold a portion of your wages. This means that some of your paycheck will not end up in your pocket -- it will go to pay down certain debts. 

Wage garnishment can be embarrassing and unfair, but it is a valid option for many debt collectors. How can you get ahead and regain your financial security when you aren't even able to bring home your full paycheck? Your situation may feel hopeless, but there are specific legal options available to you, including seeking bankruptcy protection.

Payday loans are not always the quick fix they claim

The week before payday is often the worst. You are out of cash, maxed out on your credit cards and you need just enough money to tide you over until your next paycheck comes. It can be a desperate feeling that often causes people to make desperate choices.

Taking a payday loan is one of those desperate choices. They have the benefit of offering fast cash with no credit check, so they may seem better than a traditional loan. However, if you are already in financial straits, a payday loan may only add to your troubles.

Has your credit card balance thrown your finances off-track?

Credit cards provide convenience to consumers in many ways. If you've recently purchased a big-ticket item such as a car or vacation property, you may have used your credit card in the transaction. Wisconsin residents, like those in other states, understand that the global and national economies can greatly affect their personal financial portfolios.

In short, when times are tough, many people resort to using their credit card to help meet their expenses. Shopping on credit typically involves an intention to pay off the balance before the pay cycle ends. However, if you're having trouble doing that and it has prompted a serious financial crisis, you might want to explore your debt relief options, including but not limited to bankruptcy.

Do debt issues have you considering Chapter 13?

Finding the best way to handle outstanding debt is different for everyone. Your particular financial details will differ greatly from someone else's, and though you may both struggle with considerable debt, important other factors may determine which debt relief avenue best suits your circumstances.

If you have the ability to generate a steady income, but have become overwhelmed with outstanding balances nonetheless, you may qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Though you may balk at the idea of filing for bankruptcy, it does not have to be the outlandish suggestion that many people consider it to be.

Will bankruptcy permanently lower your credit score?

Money is a topic that is often on the minds of many Wisconsin residents and those around the world. Some may think about how to invest, and others may be looking forward to their next paychecks. Others still may worry about meeting everyday needs due to the amount of debt with which they are burdened.

If you fall into the last group, you may struggle with stress and anxiety over your finances on a daily basis. You may count every dollar, wonder whether to spend money on something you truly need and despair over the seemingly never-ending bills. Though you may have considered filing for bankruptcy, you have concerns over whether completing the process would leave your credit in a worse state than simply contending with your debt on your own.

Do you know fact from fiction when it comes to Chapter 7?

No one wants to live life struggling to pay for basic needs. Unfortunately, financial issues can plague anyone, and even those who feel somewhat prepared for an emergency could end up in difficult financial straits due to not having enough savings or facing a serious upheaval like job loss or an emergency medical situation.

Though the reasons for your financial struggles are unique, you do have options that can help you find the debt relief you desire. In particular, Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be able to help you understand your debt, pay off applicable liabilities and discharge qualifying ones.

Should you hide your vehicle from repossession?

Perhaps it is becoming too common an event. You have a large bill coming due this week, such as your mortgage or car payment, and you know you will not have enough money in the bank to cover it. Maybe you are to the point where you are alternating months, paying one debt this month and putting of another for next month. This kind of juggling is evidence of a serious financial crisis, and if you have missed your car payment, matters could get much worse very quickly.

Car loans use your vehicle as collateral. This means if you default on the loan, in some cases missing only one payment, the lender has the right to repossess the vehicle. Because of this, you may think your best course of action is to hide your vehicle from repossessors in hopes that you will be able to catch up on the payments. However, hiding your vehicle may be a bad idea.

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