The acceptance of debt as commonplace in everyday life seems to be a new reality for many Texas residents. According to recent studies, individual debt continues to rise among nearly every age group in the country. An analysis of what kind of debt and how much debt is being acquired by different age groups paints a revealing picture.
Many car owners in Texas face auto repossession when they fall behind on payments. Some consider filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy to stop a lender from repossessing their vehicle. Before filing for bankruptcy, however, there are several other options to consider.
Debtors in Texas and elsewhere are protected against certain actions of debt collectors. The federal law governing the actions of collectors is called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit determined that the FDCPA prohibits certain activities of the debt collector, including state-required collection activities.
When people in Texas face overwhelming debt and are no longer able to make ends meet, they may look for options to find some relief from pending credit card debts, medical bills and other looming obligations. Personal bankruptcy can be an important choice that allows people to move forward to a new financial future. When people file for bankruptcy, they can do so in two forms: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. There are several reasons why people may choose one or the other.
Bankruptcy may be an effective option to eliminate debts or make them more manageable for people in Texas. Individuals typically file for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. While Chapter 7 is sometimes called liquidation bankruptcy, Chapter 13 is often referred to as wage-earners or repayment bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the trustee approves and supervises repayment of debts on a plan that lasts between three and five years.
People in Texas who are dealing with crippling debt may wonder about the rules for filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Eligibility for Chapter 13 bankruptcy includes having a regular income that will allow the person to pay creditors back on a payment plan each month. Furthermore, the filer cannot have more than the maximum allowable unsecured and secured debt.
Medical debt is a growing problem nationwide. According to data published by credit reporting agency Experian, unpaid medical bills were in excess of $127 billion last year. People in Texas with outstanding medical debts might receive collections calls or demand letters. They might even end up in court due to these debts. Almost 20 percent of Americans have had their credit scores negatively impacted because of unpaid medical debt.
Of all American cities, San Antonio is where millennials have the highest median debt. Those between the ages of 22 and 37 who live in San Antonio have a median balance of $27,122, according to LendingTree. While student loan balances make up the majority of that debt nationally, auto loans are the largest source of debt in San Antonio. On average, car loans make up 43 percent of what is owed to creditors.
In a recent study, more than 2 percent of credit reports had a medical debt of less than $200 sent to a collection agency. The study, which was published in the journal Health Affairs, looked at 4 million credit reports from 2016 to come to that conclusion. While these medical debts may seem small, they can turn into major issues for Texas residents who have them sent to collection.
A study released recently by the investment bank Charles Schwab suggests that many young people in Texas and around the country get into problems with debt even before they are old enough to legally purchase alcohol. The researchers also found that many millennials and members of Generation Z see student loans and mortgages as bad debt while viewing credit card balances as good debt. Financial experts generally believe the opposite.