Georgia Debt Relief
20 MIN READ
Published March 15, 2023 | Updated November 13, 2023
In a Nutshell
Home to a population of over ten million people, the state of Georgia also has some of the highest credit card and student loan debt per capita, with more residents who live in poverty than the U.S. average.
When debt piles up, it can seem like there’s no end in sight. Fortunately, you can find plenty of Georgia debt relief options like debt settlement, debt consolidation, or credit counseling to help you overcome outstanding balances and realign your finances. Debt management companies like TurboDebt can help you decide which form of relief works best for you.
Debt in Georgia
Georgia is home to majestic mountains, thriving peach orchards, and a growing film industry. But for many residents burdened by debt, living in the Peach State is a daily struggle. Georgia’s debt-to-income ratio sits at 1.47, which means that for every dollar Georgians earn, they owe almost $1.50 to some form of creditor.
Debt comes in two main forms: secured and unsecured. Credit card balances, medical bills, and student loans are considered unsecured debts because you don’t have to use any collateral as security for the lender to back up the loan. If you don’t pay an unsecured debt back, you can lose some serious points on your credit score, but you won’t lose anything tangible.
Auto loans and home mortgages, however, are secured debts. In this case, if you don’t pay back the loan amount, the creditor can take your house or car, and sell it, to satisfy your debt.
Just like the different types of debt, debt relief options can come in many forms. If you’re like other GA residents burdened by outstanding bills or high interest rates, read on to learn more about how you can find relief.
Georgia Debt Overview
What does debt look like in Georgia for the average citizen? Here’s a snapshot of the common outstanding balances on key items like credit cards and mortgages that GA residents face, with more data on other areas that can affect your credit and finances.
Average Consumer Debt
Outstanding balances from common types of payments help determine the average consumer debt for GA residents. This includes student loans, auto loans, credit cards, and mortgages. In the last quarter of 2021, average consumer debt for Georgia reached $53,900 per the latest data report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Credit Card Debt
Although not the most spend-thrift state (Alaska takes that one), the Peach State is still up there with $5,994 in average credit card debt in 2022. A portion of this debt includes late fees for missed payments on credit card bills, which negatively impact your credit score and add to your debt in the form of higher interest rates on any new balances or new credit card accounts you might apply for.
TurboDebt’s debt management programs can save you up to 54% (before fees) when you make a plan to pay down and eliminate your outstanding balances.
Auto Loan Debt
Secured debt from car loans continues to rise across the U.S. At the end of 2021, GA residents were burdened by an average auto loan debt of $6,080. This is an increase from an average of $5,750 the year before. Most states saw auto loan debt rise by hundreds of dollars as national spending on new auto loan balances rose $28 billion in quarter four of 2021.
Real estate prices continue to jump at record levels. Georgia’s average home value rose to $301,798 in 2022, up 11.1% from the previous year. For perspective, looking back only a few years to 2019, the Peach State’s median home value sat at $217,500.
Due to the very tight supply of new and existing homes, real estate professionals call this a “seller's market,” with those selling their homes earning sky-high profits. Though, for anyone trying to find reasonably-priced housing, this is an issue. With interest rates rising, securing a mortgage costs more upfront and in monthly payments.
Rent is also on the rise, with Georgians paying an average of $1,987 a month, just below the national median. If you’re struggling to make rent or mortgage payments because of other mounting debts, TurboDebt offers varied debt relief options to help you organize your monthly payments and get back to building your wealth.
Student Loan Debt
As the state with one of the highest student loan balances, Georgia residents owed an average of $7,700 in student loan debt in 2021.
Let TurboDebt help you manage your outstanding student loans if you’re one of the many GA residents facing this kind of debt.
In 2022, a staggering 22,815 individuals filed for bankruptcy in GA. This includes Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the two kinds that most affect individuals. Even for a highly populated state, this is a big number. For instance, Pennsylvania, the fifth most populous state, saw only 9,707 bankruptcy filings in 2022.
Before you seek bankruptcy, consider if you can work with a debt relief organization like TurboDebt to change your financial state.
Average Income and Employment
The median household income in Georgia is $65,030, while individuals earn an average per capita income of $34,516. Although these numbers are close to the national average, 14% of Georgia’s population lives in poverty, well above the overall U.S. rate of 11.6%.
If you’re included in the 2.8% of individuals without a job, Georgia offers residents $365 per week for up to 26 weeks in unemployment benefits.
You establish your credit score the first time you take out a loan or open your first revolving credit line, such as a credit card. From that time on, credit reporting organizations measure whether you pay your bills on time, how much you pay toward the principal, how much of your total available credit you use, and the types of loans for which you apply.
The most common rating system, the FICO score, provides a ” creditworthiness grade” based on a formula developed and patented by the Fair Isaac Corporation. Credit scores range from 300 to above 800, with a descriptive term to match each rating level. Here’s a look at how FICO scores break down:
|Credit Rating||Credit Score Range|
As a state, Georgia’s credit rating sits at 693, up from 689 in 2021 but still well below the national average FICO score of 716. This means most GA residents have a “good” credit score. Good credit and above helps you qualify for lower interest rates and give you more options when you apply for a loan. This is another great reason to pay off debts and raise your credit scores.
If you’re curious about your current rating, you can request a free credit report to check your status.
In the U.S., someone falls prey to identity theft every two seconds. Georgia ranks second in the nation for instances of identity theft, with 150,898 incidents reported in 2021. The most common theft is new account fraud, where a thief uses your identity to open a new credit account in your name, uses the borrowed funds or account information for their own purposes, and then lets the bill or loan go delinquent. This can seriously damage your credit and cause you grief as you fight to restore your good name and erase these fraudulent charges, which can take months, or even years, to repair.
Banking and Tax Info
As in many other states, Georgians pay a state income tax each year based on their individual level of taxable income. GA Residents earning $10,000 or more pay 5.75% of their income to the state. Sales tax varies, with residents paying 7-8% in most counties. Atlanta and Columbus (Muscogee County) charge the most sales tax at 8.9 and 9%, respectively.
While most U.S. citizens choose to put their money into a federally insured bank or credit union, a small segment of the population chooses to access their money through other outlets. These individuals, referred to as “unbanked” or “underbanked,” use services like money transfers, check-cashing, and online payment programs instead of maintaining a typical bank account. Georgia has one of the highest rates of unbanked citizens at 5.6% or higher, depending on the region.
TurboDebt Offers Georgia Debt Relief Solutions
It’s time to get out of debt without declaring bankruptcy or taking out another loan, and TurboDebt can help. We offer customized debt relief options so you can overcome financial hardships and start charting your path to becoming debt free.
Take a look at our 2022 stats:
- Total clients helped: 5,586
- Total clients enrolled in our debt relief programs: 1,711
- Total amount of debt enrolled: $35,227,316
- Average client debt enrolled: $20,589
Get Help from These Top Types of Debt
Unpaid balances and debt collections can build until you don’t know how you can possibly save enough for repayment. You may find yourself struggling with the following types of debt burdening GA residents:
Credit Card Debt
For many residents in Georgia, credit card debt from outstanding bills, late fees, service fees, and high interest rates is a constant struggle. If you feel like you’ve been wading through overwhelming debt from credit card companies, you’re not alone.
Credit card spending is up throughout the country at levels drastically higher than pre-pandemic spending. At the end of 2022, credit card balances across the U.S. soared to $986 billion. This is a massive increase from the $770 billion in outstanding balances at the beginning of 2021.
While it may seem like the only option, piling up debt on your credit card or only paying the minimum each month may actually cost you more if you don’t make a clear plan to pay it off.
Maybe you’re wondering, why not just pay the minimum payment? The answer is interest. Imagine taking almost a decade to pay off a moderate balance with sky-high interest rates. You could end up paying several hundred or even thousands more than what you owe on your account currently.
For example, let’s say you have an outstanding balance of $1,200 on a rewards card from your favorite store. Here’s what it would look like if you paid just the minimum balance due on your account each month for just three months at 20% interest:
|Month||Payment on Principal||Interest Fees (19%)||Total Minimum Payment||New Principal Balance|
In this example, you’ve only paid $35.62 toward your initial $1,200 principal after four months. If you want to figure out this process for your own card, take a look at your monthly statement. Because of the Credit CARD Act passed in 2009, companies have to report the calculations for how long it would take to pay off your card if you paid only the minimum payment each month.
TurboDebt works with clients facing overwhelming credit card debt. Let us help get you back on the path to building wealth with our customized debt management solutions.
Homeowner debt can take multiple forms. Maybe you’re stuck paying for emergency repairs, and you’ve taken out a home equity line of credit (HELOC). More Americans are borrowing against their homes, with the Federal Reserve Bank reporting a $14 billion increase in HELOC balances in the last quarter of 2022. Paying off this kind of debt is essential for avoiding foreclosure but also maintaining your credit scores.
Mortgage debt also increased in 2022, with a national balance of $11.92 trillion in quarter four. Higher interest rates for home loans mean increased mortgage payments for new buyers. As home prices in Georgia continue to rise, the seller’s market makes it harder for first-time buyers to secure a property without getting deep into mortgage debt or using most of their savings for a down payment and closing costs.
TurboDebt can help you organize your payments and make a plan to manage your secured debt.
A divorce can leave you burdened with liquidated assets, legal fees, and loss of income. After the divorce, you may find yourself with more debt than you had before the proceedings. If you’ve made charges on your credit cards just to keep up with legal fees or paid for moving expenses and increased housing costs, the debt can pile up.
TurboDebt’s services focus on getting you the right tools to get out of divorce debt and reorganize your finances so you can start saving again.
Owning a small business often puts a financial burden on your shoulders as you take on debt to help the company thrive or even survive. Some business owners even borrow against their home using a HELOC or open multiple personal loans.
If you’re using a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan through the government, you may have an easier time qualifying but will likely pay higher interest rates than you would with a traditional bank loan.
Maybe it’s time to consolidate your loan payments. TurboDebt can help you with that and equip you with resources to rebuild your finances.
Emergency medical services or ongoing treatments can leave you stuck with unexpected bills. Unfortunately, unpaid medical bills over $500 can disrupt your credit score, as $500 is the minimum amount that is legally reportable to your credit files. Dealing with bill collectors after your insurance company turns the debt over to them is another headache that often arises from hard-to-pay medical bills.
TurboDebt advisors can help you decide how to put money toward paying your medical bills, even if you owe other unsecured debts.
Georgia residents over the age of 65 make up 13.5% of the state population. Many of these are retirees living on a fixed income, making it easier to fall into debt if even one unplanned expense arises. Even with help from Medicare, costly surgeries and other bills for medical services may leave you with payments you didn’t expect.
If you’re carrying outstanding balances on one or multiple accounts and living on a fixed income, our debt relief programs can assist you in prioritizing your retirement debts.
Types of Debt Relief
Consumer credit counseling is a debt management service performed by private and non-profit organizations to help you reduce debt through a structured plan. Once you connect with a credit counseling organization, you’ll typically meet with an assigned counselor who coaches you through the debt management process.
Your counselor takes a look at your finances, including your income, expenses, and outstanding debts, to get a better idea of how to help you. They may create a strict budget based on your income and expenses and encourage you through routine follow-ups.
Credit counseling also involves courses to educate you on strong financial habits that hopefully help you avoid debt in the future.
Debt Management Plans
Part of the credit counseling process, debt management plans function as a roadmap to reduce and eliminate your outstanding debts. You’ll also show this plan to your creditors as a way to prove your intention to pay your outstanding balances.
Once you, your credit counselor, and your creditors agree on the plan, you’ll begin paying a specific amount to the credit counseling agency each month. The agency then pays each of your bills on your behalf, ensuring full recognition for each on-time payment they make for you. As part of the plan, the credit counseling organization typically charges you a fee for their services.
Debt Consolidation Loans
If you’re consistently making late payments or charging necessities and increasing your unsecured debt each month, a debt consolidation loan may be the answer. A debt consolidation loan ends the multiple account payments you might be making each month and replaces them with one single monthly payment. This comes after you pay off your smaller debts with the proceeds from the new, larger debt consolidation loan.
Opening a debt consolidation loan typically involves the following steps:
1. Securing a loan at the lowest possible interest rate for an amount large enough to pay off all of your smaller debts through one lump sum.
2. Paying off all of these smaller debts with the proceeds from this new debt consolidation loan.
3. Paying back your debt consolidation loan to the lending institution each month with one single payment. This leaves you just one payment, instead of several, to focus on making each month.
Your credit scores with each of the three credit reporting agencies will impact the interest rate you’ll get on your new loan. If your FICO score is in the “good” range, chances are you can secure a reasonably low interest rate. If not, debt consolidation may not save you that much in interest. However, the convenience and organization of making a single payment each month may appeal to many consumers facing overwhelming debt.
Debt settlement uses an intermediary to negotiate your debts with creditors. Although debtors can negotiate on their own, accredited negotiation companies often succeed in convincing banks and lenders to reduce what you owe.
Additionally, debt settlement is most effective when you can prove you are going through a financial hardship that makes it difficult to pay off your debts. Sudden or ongoing medical problems or loss of assets through divorce are some examples of legitimate financial hardship that creditors often acknowledge.
After you reach a settlement, the organization completing the negotiations sets up a savings account you pay into each month to satisfy the newly negotiated balances. This often includes a fee that is paid to the debt settlement company to cover the cost of their expert negotiations and service charges.
Though less common, some individuals find debt forgiveness through local and federal resources and, in rare cases, private companies. Debt forgiveness eliminates or drastically reduces your debt once you meet specific qualifications.
One way to qualify for debt forgiveness is through your job. Programs for public service workers like teachers help defer or cancel student loan debt. Low-income families may also qualify for mortgage assistance through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Tax debt forgiveness is another possibility through the IRS’ Fresh Start Program. Officially known as an “Offer in Compromise,” this program allows you to settle your tax debts for less than what you currently owe based on a proven financial hardship. What this basically means is that you offer to pay what you can after applying and providing your financial information to the IRS.
Filing for Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy is considered the final option for those deeply in debt with no foreseeable way to pay it off. Choosing either Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy will drastically damage your credit reports and scores for up to ten years but can also eliminate your outstanding balances through court-supervised legal proceedings, ideally with the help of an experienced, reputable bankruptcy attorney.
Individuals filing for bankruptcy typically choose one of the following options:
- Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: In the most common form of bankruptcy, the court sells or liquidates your assets to pay your outstanding bills, eliminating any other debt that can’t be paid by the initial liquidation.
- Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: This form of bankruptcy reorganizes your finances, creating a court-appointed budget and a 3-5-year payment plan to pay back a specified amount to your creditors each month.
Get Trusted Debt Relief Help Through TurboDebt
Whether you live in a metropolis like Atlanta or on a rural property in the GA mountains, trying to live life with the burden of overwhelming debt strains relationships and makes it hard to plan for the future.
Debt expert and founder and managing director of Reichert Asset Management, Brad Reichert, offers some advice to consumers looking for debt relief options. “While debt collectors are not prohibited from making reasonable attempts to collect legitimate debts, consumer protection laws do prohibit deceptive and unfair debt collection practices and do protect you from harassment, abuse, and invasion of privacy,” Reichert explains. “You can also refer to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (the FDCPA) for more information on your rights as a consumer,” he adds.
We know there are plenty of potential scammer firms and fraudsters out there, and that’s why we want to be a credible, trustworthy source for debt relief information so you can make the most informed decision about managing your finances. Read our reviews and check out our website to see if TurboDebt is the right partner for you in your plan for overcoming and moving past your debts.
TurboDebt offers solutions to help you manage and eliminate debt. After a brief, free consultation, we’ll construct a plan with you to determine the best strategy for paying off your outstanding debts as you work towards living a debt-free life once again.
Financial Hardship Resources
If you find yourself in financial hardship or in need of immediate assistance, from shelter to transportation, use the information and links provided to get help:
Temporary Assistance Programs
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): SNAP provides monthly funds for Georgia families to purchase groceries.
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF): Georgia’s TANF program supports working families with children under 18 through monthly cash assistance.
- Housing Choice Voucher Program: This program helps qualifying low-income individuals find and afford safe and quality housing through the GA private market.
State Health and Human Services
- Georgia Medicaid: GA Medicaid provides free and low-cost medical care for families and individuals needing support.
- PeachCare: PeachCare provides medical care for uninsured children, including preventative, primary, specialist, and emergency services.
- Child Care and Parent Services (CAPS): CAPS gives financial help to low-income families to help cover the cost of childcare.
- Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): The WIC program supports moms with infants and toddlers by providing cash assistance for essential baby items, including those related to feeding and nutrition.
Shelters for the Homeless
- My Sister’s House: This shelter for women and women with children, run by the Atlanta Mission, provides life skill training and counseling, among other services.
- The Shepherd’s Inn: Atlanta Mission’s shelter for men offers counseling and vocational training with more supportive services.
- Atlanta Center for Self-Sufficiency: The center supports homeless individuals by providing care to help them regain a self-sufficient lifestyle.
- Gateway Center: This facility provides care with the goal of moving individuals and families out of homelessness.
- Stewart Community Home: This shelter serves the homeless and disabled in Columbus and the surrounding Chattahoochee Valley area.
- Greenbriar Independent Living: This shelter specifically helps young adults aged 18-24 as they transition into adulthood and out of homelessness.
- Family Promise: Family Promise provides short-term housing help for homeless families.
- Salvation Army: With multiple locations throughout the state, the Salvation Army offers shelter for nightly or extended stays along with other services.
- The Living Vine: This Christian shelter offers expectant mothers or mothers with newborns a safe place to stay, meals, and life skills training.
Free Transportation Services
- Georgia Medicaid Transportation: The non-emergency transport system provides rides for eligible participants with no other means of transport to non-emergency medical services and appointments.
- Savannah Downtown Transportation System (DOT): The city of Savannah provides fare-free trolleys and busses for some of the most popular downtown spots through several bus and trolley routes.