Debt for many residents of Mississippi is a way of life. However, when it continues to increase and cannot be whittled down, debt becomes burdensome. It is not only the economic strangle-hold of paying interest without seeing the principal go down; there is a stigma to carrying debt that may not be deserved. While some people acquire debt through irresponsible lifestyle choices, many others do so only when there is no other option.

Financial experts recommend a thorough understanding of debt and why it was acquired before a plan to get out of it can be contemplated. If debt continues to grow, a major lifestyle change may be in order. If the debt was the result of a past incident or necessity, such as a medical emergency or student loans, there may be a way to climb out of the hole. In either case, a realistic cash flow appraisal of how much money is coming in and where it goes must be made.

The bottom line is that there must be disposable or discretionary income remaining after all minimal bills are paid each month to have a chance to pay off the debt. If there is simply no way to come up with the money to pay down the existing debt, it may be possible to negotiate a reduction with creditors through a debt relief plan.

If that is not possible, considering a personal bankruptcy may be appropriate. Bankruptcy laws were enacted under the U.S. Constitution guidelines to provide debtors with a chance at a fresh start. A bankruptcy lawyer may help explain whether a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 filing is appropriate under the circumstances of the case.

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