• Home inventory and prices in San Diego continue to rise despite cooling markets elsewhere.
  • San Diego carries one of the lowest credit scores in the U.S., ranking in the first percentile for low credit ratings among other big cities. 
  • TurboDebt helped San Diego residents overcome their financial burdens, enrolling over $2 million in client debt into our debt relief programs in 2022 alone. 

Debt Landscape in San Diego, California

From beaches to bays, historic parks, and fair weather, San Diego offers a rich experience for residents and visitors alike. As the first city ever to be founded in the Golden State more than 250 years ago, this Southern California gem offers an escape from the more frenetic pace of its northern counterpart, L.A., but still provides a mix of vibrant urban culture and laid-back coastal living. 

However, citizens of this city by the Pacific face elevated living costs that often outpace their high wages. San Diego residents pay significantly more for basic needs than the rest of the country. For instance, housing costs in San Diego exceed the national average by nearly $10,000 a year, driving up consumer debt for those with a mortgage or making it harder for renters to afford a place to stay. 

Despite inflated housing prices, San Diego’s real estate market is active. The number of homes for sale actually increased after July of 2022 and maintained an upward trend. Home inventory was up 7% in September of 2023, unlike many markets across the U.S., which have recently cooled. 

For those looking to purchase real estate in the city, this move can cost big. The average sale price for homes in San Diego jumped by 16.8% in September of 2023 compared to the previous year. With an average home value of $961,629, first-time and existing home buyers may find it difficult to make a purchase in an economic environment of rising interest rates and elevated prices.

Mortgage debt in San Diego tops $300,000, adding a hefty weight to residents’ consumer debt.   

As inflation continues to drive up the price of goods, consumers in San Diego, who are already paying more on average for most items, are facing the possibility of debts that outpace wages. 

Fortunately, if you’re struggling with growing financial burdens, you have options. Read on to learn more about San Diego debt relief programs, discover which solutions may help your unique financial situation, and find out more about the financial statistics impacting citizens of this Pacific metropolis. 

TurboDebt Helps San Diego Residents Get Out of Debt

In 2022, TurboDebt enrolled an average client debt of $25,455, helping San Diego residents find relief from their financial burdens. We provide more assistance through California debt relief services than in almost any other state, bringing much-needed economic relief through our expertise and customized services. 

Signs You May Need San Diego Debt Relief 

When we help clients in the San Diego area, we often see many of the following indicators proving debt relief help is a good idea:

  • Carrying $10,000 or more in credit card debt
  • Consistently making only minimum payments on your credit card balance
  • Taking out a payday loan or other high-interest personal loans to pay off debts or make essential purchases
  • Maintaining multiple credit card accounts to shuffle debt payments
  • Lacking an emergency fund with enough money to cover expenses for 3-6 months

When you’re struggling to pay bills and live paycheck to paycheck, it can seem impossible to ever catch up and restore your finances. That’s why seeking assistance to manage your debts can be the help you need to change your lifestyle. 

Start by determining your debt-to-income ratio (DTI). This figure, represented by a percentage, shows the difference between what you pay to cover bills each month versus what you earn. You can use TurboDebt’s DTI calculator and information hub to find your percentage.

Next, create or update a budget to plan and manage your finances. Consider using the 50/30/20 method, which allocates 50% of your income to needs, 30% to wants, and 20% toward debt repayment and savings. 

Best Debt Relief Options in San Diego, CA

We know San Diego residents need different options to find the most effective way to eliminate debts. We’ve compiled a list of the top options for debt relief in San Diego below: 

Debt relief solutions in San Diego, CA

Debt Settlement

For San Diego residents struggling with $10,000 or more in credit card or other unsecured debts, settlement might be the most effective option. In a debt settlement, you’ll work with creditors to arrange a reduced payoff amount. You can do this on your own or work with a professional debt settlement program to complete a debt negotiation with your creditors on your behalf. 

Using the expertise of a debt settlement company like TurboDebt can help you reduce up to 50% of your total debt before paying fees to the organization. To date, we’ve helped thousands of Californians enroll over $72 million in debt settlement programs through our expert team.

Once you enroll in a debt settlement program, you’ll put money into a savings account until you’ve accumulated enough to pay off your total negotiated settlement amount. The organization will then pay off your creditors and collect a fee for administering your account, and you’ll put an end to your outstanding debt for good. 

Credit Counseling

Credit counseling provides financial education and advising services, often at little or no cost to consumers. Many nonprofit organizations employ certified credit counselors to work one-on-one with individuals after they enroll in a program. 

Getting to know a credit counselor may help you feel more comfortable asking questions about your financial situation as you plan to overcome debt. A credit counselor can also review your credit report, giving you advice on how to raise your credit score and avoid debt collectors.

Debt Management Program

Credit counseling agencies may also offer debt management programs to help you pay off outstanding balances. In this debt relief option, credit counselors work with you to create a debt management plan, contacting creditors to secure lower interest rates and waive fees while you make consistent monthly payments toward your debt. This demonstrates to creditors your desire to pay off your debts more willingly in return for waived fees and reduced interest.

This option may work for you if you’re ready to pay down multiple existing debts through an organization that handles your money as an intermediary. 

Debt Consolidation Loans

Opting for a debt consolidation loan can effectively reorganize your debts into one single payment each month and may help reduce the amount of interest you pay on your debts overall. After securing a loan from a bank or credit union large enough to cover all of your current debt-related balances, you’ll use the proceeds from the new loan to pay off all of your existing debts, leaving you with a single payment each month.

We believe this choice works best for San Diego residents with “fair” to “good” credit because they’re more likely to get approved for a debt consolidation loan at more favorable interest rates, or at least a lower rate than what they’re currently paying on average, over multiple accounts. 

Debt Forgiveness

When you qualify for a debt forgiveness program, some or all of your existing debt is eliminated, and you start fresh financially. However, San Diego consumers should keep a few things in mind before searching for debt forgiveness opportunities. 

The first is that debt forgiveness programs are rare and mostly offered through the government at the federal and state levels. You’ll have to meet many strict eligibility requirements, such as working in a particular high-demand field for a certain amount of time. For example, teachers working in specific roles in high-need areas within the city or rural areas within the state may qualify for student loan forgiveness. 

Another factor of debt forgiveness is that the amount forgiven usually counts as income on your taxes. Imagine you’re forgiven $10,000 in debt. You’d count that $10,000, along with your salary, as taxable income for the year in which the debt was forgiven.


Pursuing bankruptcy as a debt relief option in San Diego typically comes as a last resort. Bankruptcy fees and court costs can add up to thousands of dollars. However, if you’ve exhausted other solutions, bankruptcy can effectively reduce and eliminate all but 2-3 types of personal debt, oftentimes permanently. 

Individual consumers generally file either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a judge may determine how to sell your assets to pay off debts and dismiss other charges beyond what you can afford. When you file Chapter 13, you may avoid selling assets but usually make a series of court-approved payments to your creditors over 3-5 years until you are finally able to discharge your remaining debts. 

Bankruptcy can damage your credit scores severely, the effects of which can stay on your credit reports for up to 10 years, so consider carefully and speak with a bankruptcy attorney for legal advice before you make the decision to file bankruptcy.

Top Types of Debt To Get Relief From in San Diego, CA

Based on conversations we’ve had with over 100 San Diego clients last year, we find residents struggle the most with these top types of debt: 

Credit Card Debt

If you’re having trouble paying off high credit card bills due to inflation, you’re not alone. Consumers are using credit to charge necessary items like groceries, repairs, and even utilities just to defer payments for higher-priced goods. 

With interest rates consistently topping 20% on the average account, carrying a balance on your credit card can quickly lead to unmanageable debt. At TurboDebt, we see San Diego consumers get into a cycle of not paying off their accounts in full, leading to huge amounts of credit card debt that can keep increasing every month. 

Don’t get stuck in a cycle of credit card debt. Let the experts at TurboDebt help you make a plan to pay off your outstanding balances so you can start saving again. 

Divorce Debt

San Diego residents, like other Golden State citizens, can pay over $14,000 for a divorce. With court fees and debts split between former spouses, divorce is a costly process, both mentally and monetarily. 

If you’re struggling to overcome debts you’ve accumulated from a divorce, contact us today for a free consultation about how we can help you regain your financial footing. 

Business Debt

Small business owners often take on business loans to get started in San Diego, but after the initial opening, many owners need additional loans to cover expenses. In fact, 29% of all small businesses don’t succeed because they lack the capital. When other sources of fresh capital dry up, many owners use personal funds to back their business, leading to deeper debt in a cycle that’s hard to break. 

At TurboDebt, we offer strategic planning and advising services to help you map out your financial future. Let us assist you in paying down debt so you and your business can thrive every step of the way.

Medical Debt

In San Diego, we see clients struggling with medical debt as insurance and healthcare costs rise. For the 8% of San Diego residents without medical insurance, even routine medical appointments can become a financial burden. 

At TurboDebt, we’re here to assist you in paying off your medical debt. Get started with a free consultation to find out how we can help you overcome high amounts of debt from medical bills.

Homeowner Debt

Owning a home in San Diego comes with a high price tag. While a mortgage significantly contributes to consumer debt, so do maintenance, repairs, and HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) balances. 

TurboDebt offers personalized advice and debt relief services to help homeowners find the best path to financial freedom, avoid foreclosure, and manage mortgage debt. Contact our experts today to find out more about how we assist San Diego homeowners.  

Retirement Debt

With 13% of San Diego’s population aged 65 and up, plenty of retirees call this unique coastal city home. However, living on a fixed income can prove challenging when unexpected costs arise. In a state like California, where the cost of living is high, even a hefty 401(k) savings may not be enough when you retire in the Golden State.

If you’re facing overwhelming debt in your retirement, let TurboDebt help you make a plan. Together, we can secure your financial future for your golden years. 

San Diego Debt and Finance Statistics

When we see San Diego clients facing statistics like these, we know debt relief options can help: 

Consumer Debt

When you consider the overall debt accumulated from student and auto loans, credit card balances, and mortgages, you get a financial snapshot called consumer debt. Here’s a look at San Diego’s consumer debt statistics (with sources below):

  • Credit Card Debt: $2,974 
  • Auto Loan Debt: $14,482
  • Mortgage Debt: $331,514
  • Student Loan Debt: $20,120 

Credit Scores

San Diego’s average credit score ranks as one of the lowest in the country at 568. This is considered ”Poor” and means that many San Diego residents struggle with the consequences of a history of bad credit, making it difficult to secure loans and credit accounts. 

With a poor credit score and a recent history of late payments and/or credit account charge-offs, you can expect to pay much more in interest on things like auto loans and mortgages, as lenders take more of a risk in loaning funds to someone with a history of late or unpaid debts.  Most often, you can simply expect to receive a “Declined” notice on any new credit you apply for until you’re able to bring your credit scores back up again.


A total of 3,015 San Diego residents filed for all types of bankruptcy as of September 2023. The number of cases increased every month from the previous year in San Diego County, indicating that more consumers are finding it harder to clear their debts without the assistance of the bankruptcy court system. 

Average Income and Employment

San Diego residents earn an average weekly income of $1,575, over $100 more than the national average. Despite this increase in wages, the city still has an unemployment rate of 4.2%. San Diego’s biggest employers include business and professional services, education, and health services.

Economic Support Programs in San Diego

Brad Reichert, financial expert and Founder and Managing Director of Reichert Asset Management LLC, shares how those struggling financially can seek help. “California, and more specifically, the city of San Diego, offers several public assistance programs funded by the state and county governments, which help its citizens pay for basic utilities and housing on an as-needed or ongoing basis,” Reichert explains. 

“Since the city was originally founded in 1769 by Father (now Saint) Junipero Serra, making it the oldest of the Spanish missions that were started in California, the spirit of supporting its community of citizens is certainly still alive and well in San Diego,” Reichert adds. 

Find San Diego Debt Relief with TurboDebt

Living with a heavy burden of debt can disrupt every area of your life. Let TurboDebt help you make a plan to eliminate your outstanding debts so you can regain your financial freedom. We offer San Diego debt relief programs tailored to our clients’ needs. It only takes a few minutes to get started with a free consultation with our team of experts. Contact us today so you can get back to living debt-free!