As San Bernardino personal bankruptcy attorneys, we were interested to see a recent study of indebtedness in major U.S. metropolitan areas. A report by Experian, one of the big three credit reporting agencies, found that Los Angeles metro area residents carry the least amount of personal debt of any of the cities studied. A May 13 article from U.S. News and World Report reported the study's findings, which used Experian's own data to calculate average debt per consumer in the top 20 major metro areas in the United States. The agency did not take mortgage debt into account. The resulting list is topped by Seattle, with $26,646 in debt per consumer, and bottoms out with Los Angeles, at $24,009 per consumer.
The national average for debt per consumer is around $24,775, the report said. Of the top cities on that list, 14 had higher averages than that. After Seattle, the top five included Dallas, Denver, Atlanta and Phoenix, in that order. The bottom five were Cleveland, New York, San Francisco, Miami and LA. In addition to San Francisco and Los Angeles, the list included a third California region -- the Sacramento metropolitan area. That area ranked slightly above the national average, with an average per-consumer debt of $24,826. A spokesperson for Experian cautioned readers that the amount of debt doesn't necessarily tell the whole story about how creditworthy cities and individuals may be. For example, she said, Seattleites may have high debt, but data shows that they typically make their payments on time and don't max out their credit cards.
Our Los Angeles County individual bankruptcy lawyers agree strongly that debt amount alone is not the whole story. A consumer with the "typical Seattle" features would likely have a higher credit score than someone with a much lower amount of debt, but who consistently made payments late. Furthermore, debt is not automatically bad. Without any debt, your credit score will also suffer, because credit reporters simply don't have information to work with. However, a large amount of debt certainly can be bad, when it exceeds or nearly exceeds the consumer's ability to pay it back. When we take a new client who is considering filing for bankruptcy, one of the first things we do, if the client has not already done it, is calculate the client's total debt. This helps us decide whether the client has a realistic chance of repaying it without a bankruptcy filing.
Howard Law PC represents clients who are seeking to get out of overwhelming consumer debt through a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing. In many cases, clients come to our Garden Grove consumer bankruptcy attorneys only after they've exhausted all of their other financial options, and with a real sense of shame. We urge all of our clients and potential clients not to be ashamed of filing for bankruptcy, because it may actually be the most sensible choice for some people. Rather than draining retirement accounts (which are often exempt from bankruptcy) and living with constant calls from creditors, bankruptcy filers can do the hard but rewarding work of repaying the debt they can, discharging the debt they cannot repay and rebuilding their credit.
If you're considering bankruptcy because you're feeling stressed and overwhelmed by your debt, you should call Howard Law for help. To set up a free, confidential consultation, please call us toll-free at 1-800-872-5925 or contact us through our website.