Florida Debt Relief
17 MIN READ
Published March 15, 2023 | Updated February 22, 2024
- Floridians owe more in credit card payments than the national average.
- Florida residents struggle to find affordable housing, with the average sale price for a single-family home sitting above $500,000.
- Floridians can enroll in debt relief and assistance programs offered through state, federal, and private organizations.
Floridians enjoy financial health as a state, with recent years ending in a budget surplus from government agencies. Continued job growth in major industries, including hospitality and technology, provides continual opportunities for career success.
However, as the economic climate shifts, individuals across the state also incur debt from financial burdens like housing costs, school tuition rates, credit card debt, and auto loans.
Home prices continue to rise as cash buyers from out of state edge out residents who need a mortgage. Floridians also pay some of the highest housing costs for rental properties, with many households paying 50% or more of their income for living space.
As economic instability continues to grow and prices rise throughout the nation, you may find your debt increasing as a resident of the Sunshine State, leaving a lasting and negative impact on your finances. Learn more about the types of debt facing Floridians to find out how you can take control of your financial situation.
Debt in Florida
Here’s a look at the types of debt owed in the state of Florida:
Secured vs. Unsecured Debts
Secured loans offer collateral to the lender, providing security through the ability to sell a specific asset if the borrower defaults on repaying the loan. For example, auto loans are typically secured because the proceeds from the sale of the vehicle act as a recourse or a source of repayment if the borrower can’t pay off the entire debt.
Unsecured loans offer no backing from the borrower, and the lender often charges a higher interest rate because the loan offers less security or reassurance to the lender that the loan (or at least the principal) will be paid back. Utility, medical, and credit card bills are considered unsecured loans because the borrower can default on the loan without providing collateral.
Floridians face debt in the following major categories:
- Average consumer debt: Floridians carry an average of $89,195 in consumer debt, ranking below the national average of $95,067 for families across the United States.
- Credit card debt: Floridians owed an average of $6,050 in unpaid credit card balances in 2022, a significantly higher amount than the national average of $5,589.
- Auto loan debt: Residents also average $23,412 in auto loan debt, slightly above the national average of $22,612.
- Student loan debt: Floridians paying off student loans owe $38,600 compared to the national average of $35,287.
Florida’s housing market continues to fluctuate, with elevated home prices as more families move into the Sunshine State. In June of 2023, the average sale price for a single-family home remained relatively unchanged from the previous year at $589,981.
Home inventory more than doubled from 2021 to 2022 as more owners put their houses on the market. However, as interest rates have risen drastically in 2023, a lack of supply in new and pre-existing homes is a growing concern for those looking to buy in The Sunshine State.
Florida is also the most popular state for international buyers, with 24% of home sales going to owners from outside of the U.S.
With the growing demand for properties and increased interest rates, mortgage debt rose 9% for Floridians in 2022.
Although the percentage of bankruptcy filings decreased in recent years, thousands of Floridians with unmanageable debt still filed for bankruptcy in 2022. A total of 26,724 residents filed for Chapter 7,11,13 or other bankruptcy.
Income and Employment
Florida’s unemployment rate falls below the national average, with only 2.6% of the state’s population jobless as of June 2023. Steady growth continues in all job sectors, despite any downturn from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recent census data shows individual income per capita averaging $35,216 per year in the state. This sits just below the national average of $37,638, with Floridians earning a minimum wage of $11/hour.
Furthermore, Florida’s right-to-work status protects employees, ensuring they can’t be barred from employment for either refusing to join or joining a union. Residents without a job receive a weekly unemployment benefit of $275 per week for up to 12 weeks after applying and meeting certain requirements through the state.
Another high point for the financial state of many Floridians is an above-average credit score. Based on the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) rating system, which ranges from 300 to 850, the widely accepted FICO credit evaluation uses metrics like types of credit, current debt as a percentage of available credit, payment history, and the number of recent credit applications to measure an individual’s creditworthiness.
As a whole, Florida residents had an average FICO score of 707 in 2022, just a few points below the national average of 714, putting them in the “good” category with most other states. A “good” FICO score gives borrowers more loan options but may not qualify them for the best possible interest rates from lenders. Building better credit through a debt management program can not only improve your financial situation but also help you earn a better credit score.
Cybersecurity professionals warn that with identity theft on the rise, it’s important to take precautions with sensitive personal information. In 2021, Florida ranked 6th in the U.S. for identity theft with 294,328 cases, a jump from 11th place in 2020.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services recommends several steps to prevent theft, including keeping your financial information secured with strong passwords and recognizing possible fraud. Additionally, watch for fraudulent callers posing as legitimate businesses who may ask you to provide personal information. It’s also a good idea to check for inaccurate charges or transactions on your financial accounts.
Banking and Tax Info
Floridians enjoy the second lowest overall per capita tax burden in the country, ranking just above Alaska. Consequently, residents keep more money in their accounts after paying state and local sales taxes. Florida does not impose a state income tax. Instead, residents and visitors pay a 6% sales tax statewide, plus a 2% maximum local sales tax rate, depending on the city/country jurisdiction. Overall, Florida has an average combined state and local sales tax rate of about 7.02 percent.
However, not all residents access their money the same way. The number of residents who don’t utilize a bank account for their finances, also referred to as “unbanked” citizens, ranges from 3.4 to 4.5% across the state. Unbanked citizens use services like money orders, non-bank online payment systems, and check cashing to deposit and retrieve funds.
How Does Debt Relief Work in Florida?
Floridians with unmanageable amounts of unpaid debt often face debt collectors, mounting fees, or the threat of foreclosure. Residents can pursue multiple debt relief options for these types of debts:
Credit Card Debt Relief
With the opportunity to buy now and pay later, credit cards make it easy to purchase items beyond your income. Paying a minimum balance or even a partial amount often leads to high interest rates and accumulated debt.
Companies like TurboDebt who specialize in credit card debt relief connect you with a consultant who helps renegotiate fees with the credit card company. We also work with you to create a plan to pay for paying off debt in a shorter amount of time.
Divorce Debt Relief
Divorce proceedings and the aftermath of splitting assets, relocating, and paying court fees can leave you with mounting debt that you never planned on carrying. As you struggle to regain financial stability, an organization offering debt relief for divorced individuals can offer you options for restructuring your finances.
Consultants who understand the nuanced needs of those struggling financially after a divorce help you consolidate and reorganize your outstanding unsecured debts. Acting on your behalf, divorce debt counselors negotiate with banks and credit card companies to reduce your payments and interest rates.
Business Debt Relief
In 2021, Florida’s Division of Corporations recorded over 2 million active limited liability companies in the state. Business owners often absorb company debt at the expense of their own finances to keep the company going. Small business owners in Florida may qualify for federal programs to relieve principal, interest, and fees on a small business loan. Business owners can also work with a debt management company to consolidate or restructure loan payments.
Medical Debt Relief
Even with health insurance, medical bills from hospitals, care facilities, and specialists can build up during vulnerable times like an illness or the birth of a child. Medical debt programs help you consolidate and reduce medical bills.
TurboDebt’s programs for medical debt relief connect you with our trained counselors who work with you to manage outstanding medical payments.
Homeowner Debt Relief
Although Floridians can accumulate equity in their homes, they can still rack up debts related to a mortgage, property management costs, and repairs. Hurricane damage and rising property insurance premiums also make homeownership costly.
Moreover, Floridians have endured some of the highest property insurance rate hikes in the past years, and the Insurance Information Institute (III) believes it’s not likely to stop. The III predicts an increase of 40% or more in property insurance premiums throughout 2023.
Tackling homeowner debt through specialized programs can aid in lowering your insurance premiums and refinancing your mortgage payments.
Retirement Debt Relief
Florida is home to more retirees than any other state with an estimated 20.1% of the population over 65, according to recent census data. Living on a fixed income can make unexpected expenses hard to pay off, leading seniors into a cycle of accumulated debts.
TurboDebt offers debt solutions for seniors, including help making a payment plan to restructure outstanding bills, saving you more of your hard-earned money for a debt-free retirement.
Unemployment Debt Relief
Even in a state with low unemployment numbers, debt from reduced work hours, loss of overtime or bonus pay, and periods of joblessness still adds up. Struggling with lost income often compounds debts like credit card or medical bill payments, leading to high-interest rates on outstanding amounts. Our unemployment debt relief programs help you reduce and eliminate mounting debt with help from state organizations that benefit Florida’s jobless citizens.
Personal Loan Debt Relief
If your credit is fair or poor, you will likely pay higher-than-average interest rates for personal loans, making monthly payments tough to manage in the wake of financial uncertainty. Floridians struggling to pay back personal loans can find relief through a debt management program like the ones we offer here at TurboDebt. We can help renegotiate the loan terms to help you reduce this debt faster.
Debt Relief Options for Floridians
If you’re living with large amounts of debt, make a plan to negotiate with debtors, consolidate what you owe, and pay off outstanding balances through the following options:
Debt Management Programs
Enrolling in a debt management program allows you to create a debt management plan with a dedicated advisor. Professionals involved in these programs offer advice on how to handle your outstanding debts so you can pay down the amount faster and improve your financial situation.
Debt management programs also negotiate with creditors to reduce or eliminate fees and secure a lower interest rate, typically to as low as 8%. Debt management plans work to consolidate multiple credit card payments or other unsecured bills, so you pay back the debt in a single payment each month.
To set up the plan, a debt management organization performs a detailed analysis of your finances, including your monthly income, expenses, savings, and other assets that affect your overall financial state. Debt relief companies typically offer these evaluations for free to help you start your path to debt freedom. Once you create a plan to relieve your debt, the company refers you to a credit counseling organization.
Credit counseling organizations work together with a debt management company to reduce and relieve your debt. After the debt relief company refers you to a credit counselor, they review your debt relief plan and take you on as a client as long as they feel the plan is effective.
Next, the credit counseling service helps you create a schedule to pay your unsecured bills. By sending a monthly payment directly to the credit counseling agency, you consolidate your debt into a single amount with one due date each month. Keeping track of your bills in one monthly payment helps you eliminate late fees and multiple billing processes to avoid debt collection agencies.
Debt Consolidation Loans
Another debt relief option to consider involves taking out a debt consolidation loan. These loans allow you to pay off all your outstanding debt in exchange for a single loan payback.
Debt consolidation loans usually lower the amount you pay in interest. For example, if you decided to take out one of these loans to pay off two different credit card balances, you may lock in an interest rate as low as 10.16% for two years instead of the average 18.4% you’d pay to each credit card company.
Your credit score can affect the terms of your debt consolidation loan, including the interest rate. Consider looking at your credit report to find your FICO score before applying for a loan. If it’s fair or above, you’ll likely qualify for better interest rates and find more loan options.
In a debt settlement program, the creditor and borrower agree to a reduced payment that counts as paying off the entire debt. Borrowers contact a debt settlement company that negotiates the amount with a creditor.
Debt settlement companies typically set up a savings account that the borrower pays into for a fixed amount of time instead of paying on the debt. When the savings accumulate to a specified amount, the settlement company negotiates with the creditor to pay off and settle the debt with a lump sum of money. The company also retains a portion of the savings as a fee for their services.
Working with a debt settlement company offers an alternative to declaring bankruptcy when you can’t pay back the full amount of your debt.
Declaring bankruptcy is a legal act some individuals and businesses use when they have no other reasonable or realistic way to pay off their debts. Bankruptcy resolves your outstanding debts after a process of legal review by a trustee.
First, you file a petition with the court to review your assets. Next, the court decides how to use your financial assets to repay portions of your debt to compensate creditors. In some cases, declaring bankruptcy may void your debts completely.
Bankruptcy greatly affects your credit and your ability to take on more debt, such as a loan, for many years after legal proceedings and becomes a permanent part of your credit reports.
Debt forgiveness programs can erase your debt to a creditor or significantly lower it. Since these programs work to erase all or most of your financial burden, you must meet certain qualifications to receive this kind of relief.
Less common than debt settlement or credit counseling, debt forgiveness programs often involve federal assistance, such as student loan forgiveness programs offered through the Department of Education or a mortgage reduction from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. These programs often require you to meet specific terms even after your debt is forgiven, like committing to work in a certain field for several years to eliminate student loan payments.
TurboDebt Helps Florida Residents Find Debt Relief
At TurboDebt, we connect you with a debt management counselor to discuss the best options for loan or bill repayment. Our programs are designed to simplify your payment structure and get your finances back on track.
To date, we’ve helped over 8,000 clients manage or eliminate their debt, with $57,293,775 in total debt enrolled in our programs. We serve more than 2,600 current clients with an average debt of $21,702 in outstanding payments. In just a few minutes, our free consultation can determine how much we can help you.
Debt and Financial Hardship Resources in Florida
Find help from the following state and local resources:
Temporary Assistance Programs
- Florida Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: This program offers financial assistance and other services to help families achieve economic independence, provide housing for children, and strengthen the family unit.
- Temporary Cash Assistance: Florida’s TCA program provides monthly cash stipends for up to 48 months to parents and caretakers of children under 18 once they meet specific qualifications.
- Florida Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Florida administers this federal aid program to help low-income families and individuals purchase certain food items through monthly benefits.
Health and Human Services Programs
Florida’s Department of Health offers programs and services for children, adolescents, adults, and seniors. Programs like WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) offer monetary help and support for mothers and their children. They also offer specialized services for residents with disabilities and those in vulnerable populations.
Child Care Assistance
Florida offers the School Readiness Program to help low-income families afford early childhood care and education. Each county provides services on an individual family basis after determining their needs. The program includes varying childcare and educational options, providing support and screenings to meet a child’s social, intellectual, and emotional needs.
Florida offers homeless shelters and assistance programs in various cities and regions. Be sure to use the Florida Coalition website to find resources and shelters in your area.
Free Transportation Services
- Find a Ride Florida: This program helps connect seniors with transportation to encourage independence and mobility.
- Non-Emergency Transport Services: Florida residents enrolled in Medicaid can use this service when they have no other means of transportation.
- Access Lynx: Access Lynx provides transportation for Floridians with disabilities in the greater Orlando area.
- Miami-Dade Transit Transportation Disadvantaged Program: The Miami-Dade TD program provides free transport passes for the Metrorail and Metrobus systems that qualifying non-profits distribute to clients.
Find Debt Relief in Florida
Finding the right debt relief organization can get you on the right track to rebuilding your wealth. Before you commit to working with an agency, it's important to check their accreditations and read reviews from trusted sources.
Financial expert and Founder and Managing Director of Reichert Asset Management LLC, Brad Reichert, advises debtors to "seek out any referrals you can obtain from trusted sources such as friends, family, or financial professionals who have had positive experiences with debt relief organizations in Florida. Their recommendations can provide valuable insights and help you find reputable options.”
TurboDebt offers multiple debt management options that connect you with knowledgeable and personal debt relief professionals. We provide advising, consulting, and strategic planning to help you create an effective debt relief plan that achieves your money goals.
Learn more from what our clients have to say by reading thousands of 5-star TurboDebt reviews on Trustpilot and Google.
Change your financial situation with TurboDebt with a free consultation today!