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Personal bankruptcy filings are decreasing

According to Fitch Ratings, the number of personal bankruptcy filings across the United States has been dropping for the last four years, and it will likely continue to drop. It is expected that the figures will level off as lending guidelines become less strict, but Fitch projections expect there to be another 8-10 percent dip in total bankruptcy filings in 2015. According to the Managing Director, a number of factors are contributing to this decrease, including cheaper gas prices and an increase in consumer credit.

While it is comforting to hear that consumers are reaping the benefits of an improving economy, there are likely still many people who are struggling with debt of some kind. Whether you are part of the multitrillion dollar student loan debt in our country, or you are struggling to pay off your credit card debt, you may be able to find relief in the form of personal bankruptcy. Depending on your circumstances, you can file Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

If you earn a steady income that would allow you to pay off your debts if you only had more time, Chapter 13 may be the right option for you. A Chapter 13 filing allows you to come up with a debt repayment plan so that you can pay your debts off over a three to five year period. If your debts are too great to pay back in such a timeline, then you will likely want to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Many people are frightened of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing because they believe that they will lose their assets. This can be true for nonexempt assets, which will be sold off to pay your debts, but many assets in Texas are considered exempt, so Texas residents may wish to seriously consider Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Source: Reuters, "Fitch: U.S. Personal Bankruptcies Set for Fifth Straight Annual Decline," Feb. 27, 2015

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