Massachusetts Debt Relief
17 MIN READ
Published April 03, 2023 | Updated November 10, 2023
Many Massachusetts residents are in debt, with credit cards, student loans, and personal loans among the leading causes. In fact, Massachusetts has the highest level of debt per capita in the country and the fourth-highest total debt. Thankfully, there are several key Massachusetts debt relief programs available in the state, including debt consolidation, debt settlement, and credit counseling. In addition, the state provides a variety of resources for anyone struggling to manage their debt, which also includes nonprofit credit counseling agencies, legal aid clinics, and government assistance programs, among others.
TurboDebt's tailored debt relief programs saved customers in Massachusetts an average of 50.60% on their outstanding debts in 2022. Find out if you qualify for our services, and keep reading to learn more about debt statistics and assistance available in the state.
Financial Snapshot of Massachusetts
The United States, as we know it today, was practically born in Massachusetts. Plymouth Colony and the Massachusetts Bay Colony were among the first English settlements in North America. Later, tensions between England and the colonies came to a head during the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party. The first shots of the American Revolution were fired in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts.
Today, Massachusetts ranks #2 in the nation for healthcare and education and #5 in economic strength. Not surprisingly, many Massachusettsans work in the education and healthcare industries, but the state also has thriving technology, manufacturing, and tourism sectors.
In 2022, Massachusetts recorded a GDP of $543.6 billion, up 2.3% over the previous year. However, the state also boasts a relatively high cost of living. In 2018, it was ranked the 3rd most expensive state to live in.
Average Consumer Debt
Massachusetts has one of the highest levels of debt per consumer in the nation. Consumer debt usually comes from credit cards, auto loans, mortgages, and student loans.
Credit Card Debt
The average credit card debt in Massachusetts is $3,190. This is slightly higher than the national average credit card debt of $2,790. In 2021, Massachusetts ranked 9th in the nation for credit card debt, making it hard for many Bay State residents to pay down their outstanding debts.
Auto Loan Debt
The average resident of Massachusetts has less auto debt than the national average. While the national average amount of auto debt owed is $5,000, the average amount of auto debt owed in Massachusetts is $3,920.
Student Loan Debt
Across the United States, student loan debt is the second largest contributor to Americans’ debt. In total, Massachusetts residents owe more than $30 billion in student loan debt with an average of $34,573 owed in federal loans.
While Massachusetts ranks 28th for the average student loan debt, 28% of borrowers owe less than $20,000.
In 2022, there were 3,384 filings for bankruptcy in the state of Massachusetts. Of these, 65% were for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, while 33% filed for Chapter 13.
Average Income and Employment
Although the state gained nearly 700,000 jobs between April and December of 2022, Massachusetts’ unemployment rate continues to fluctuate in the high 3% range. As of April 2023, the unemployment rate in The Bay State sat at 3.3%, down from 3.7% in February.
Currently, over 3 million residents in the state of Massachusetts are employed, with the median household income rising 3.9% to $89,026.
Mortgages are the leading source of debt, both in Massachusetts and across the country. On average, residents of Massachusetts owe $306,899 in mortgage debt compared to the national average of $231,464.
As of April 2023, the median home price in Massachusetts was up 1.8% from the year prior at $568,244.
In March 2023, mortgage interest rates in Massachusetts were around 6.82% for a 30-year fixed mortgage and 6.00% for a 15-year fixed mortgage. These rates are slightly better than the national average of 7.10% for a 30-year fixed mortgage. The monthly payment depends on the price of the house and how much the homebuyers are able to put down upfront, but anywhere between $2000-$4000 is a safe estimate.
Credit scores take into account the length of an individual’s credit history, payment history and amounts owed, a mix of credit sources used, and new credit accounts. Anything below 579 is considered a poor credit score. A credit score between 580 and 669 is considered fair, 670 to 739 is considered good, and 740 to 799 is considered very good. A credit score above 800 is considered excellent. A good credit score can help you get more favorable loan terms and lower interest rates.
The average credit score in the state of Massachusetts is 732. As of February 2022, Massachusetts had one of the highest average credit scores in the country, just 10 points behind Minnesota, the nation’s leader.
If you’re curious about what your credit score is, you can order a free credit report once a year from the three major consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
Identity theft is when someone pretends to be you to apply for loans or open accounts. They will attach your name, address, and other personal information to the account so that when the loaner comes to collect the debt, you are the one held responsible. Identity theft is the second most common type of fraud, with credit card fraud as the most popular.
Massachusetts ranks 23rd in the nation for reports of identity theft, based on the number of reports per 100,000 residents. Massachusetts residents lost $25.7 million in one year to fraud, with the median loss per household falling around $288.
Banking and Tax Information
The Bay State has a relatively high tax burden. The Tax Foundation ranks Massachusetts #37 in the nation, with an average tax burden of around 11.5%. The top individual income tax rate is 5.00%. Sales tax is 6.25%, and the average property tax rate is 1.14% of the property’s value.
The State of Massachusetts has 140 chartered banks and credit unions. As of June 2020, residents deposited $362.5 billion in Massachusetts banks.
How We Helped Massachusetts with Debt Relief in 2022
Massachusetts has the highest levels of debt in New England. However, when you compare the annual debt to the state’s yearly gross state profits, Massachusetts comes out ahead of its neighbors.
TurboDebt helped 1,370 Massachusetts residents in 2022. Of these individuals, 483 enrolled in our debt relief program, with an average debt of $23,904. This led to a total debt enrolled of $11,545,582. However, the most impactful statistic came from the amount we were able to save people - a whopping 50.6% on total debt enrolled before fees.
What Are the Most Common Types of Debt in Massachusetts?
Credit Card Debt
Credit card debt is one of the largest sources of unsecured debt. When you pay for something with a credit card, you're borrowing money from the credit card company. Eventually, you'll need to pay that money back. Additionally, if you miss the original deadline to pay, you'll be charged interest on your balance.
The amount of credit card debt you have has a significant impact on your credit. Frequent delinquent payments and large balances can all lower your credit score.
However, the state of Massachusetts has debt collection regulations designed to protect consumers from unfair or deceptive debt collection regulations. This includes limiting the number of times each day a debt collector can contact you, limiting what hours you can be contacted, and limiting where you can be contacted. Debt collectors are also prohibited from threatening you with arrest or trying to collect any amount of money not expressly authorized by an existing agreement.
When a married couple decides to divorce, they have to equitably divide any joint property acquired during the marriage, including any joint debts. Mortgages and credit card debt incurred after the official marriage date are usually considered marital debts. For example, if a married couple purchases a home together and both of their names are listed on the mortgages, they have a joint obligation to make payments on the loan.
If one partner continues to live in the home after the divorce while the other partner moves out, the person still living in the house can consider refinancing the mortgage to remove their ex-spouse’s name from the loan. If both partners are listed on the mortgage and payments are not being made on time, the lender can go after both partners for recovery.
Financial struggles and debt often contribute to marital tensions that can eventually lead to divorce. Just because the marriage breaks up does not mean the debts disappear. If large amounts of debt are contributing to your divorce, consider making a plan to eliminate them once the divorce is finalized.
Going into some debt is an inevitable fact of opening your own business. Startup costs to rent a location and purchase materials or inventory can amount to thousands of dollars. Most new business owners take out loans to get themselves started and continue to borrow money over their business’s lifetime.
There is good business debt, and there is bad business debt. For example, government-backed loans usually offer low-interest financing, and the interest payments may be exempt from taxation. It is also smarter to invest in your business’s growth using credit instead of your own money. When your investment pays off, you’ll be able to pay back your loan and keep more of the profits. These are examples of good business debt.
Bad business debt is any debt you can’t pay back or losses you can’t recoup. For example, if you borrow more money than you can make payments on, you may start to fall behind and eventually default. Also, if you extend your credit to a supplier or employee, you cannot guarantee you will get that credit back.
Even if you try to stay on top of your health, an accident or unexpected illness can occur at any time. If you are not able to access regular preventative care because of a lack of healthcare coverage, you're also more likely to face an expensive health issue down the road.
If insurance and your own funds can't cover the cost of your medical bills, you may have to take out a loan or use a credit card to make up the difference. Unfortunately, it's easy to rack up thousands of dollars in debt thanks to one unfortunate accident or freak illness. If you are forced to take disability leave to recover or become permanently disabled and unable to work, trying to pay off your medical bills can become even more stressful.
There is help if you're facing medical debt. TurboDebt is here to help you find a solution to your outstanding medical bills so you can start building wealth again.
While owning their own home is a dream for many Americans, homeownership can be very expensive. Even after paying the initial down payment and the monthly payment for a mortgage, you'll still be required to pay for the upkeep of your property.
In Massachusetts, winters are cold, wet, and snowy. These conditions can cause all types of property damage, from burst pipes to leaking roofs to downed tree branches. Whether your home is damaged due to extreme weather or faces normal wear and tear over time, you may have to borrow money to cover the appropriate repairs. A sudden loss of income or other crisis can also cause you to fall behind on mortgage payments, accruing extra interest and increasing the debt associated with home ownership.
Starting retirement without any debt would be ideal. However, that’s not always the case. Paying back debt when you have a steady regular income can be stressful enough. Once you stop working, it can be even easier to fall behind on payments or burn through your retirement savings when you still have many years of life ahead of you.
Use TurboDebt to Get Debt Relief in Massachusetts
Despite the strength of Massachusetts’ economy, borrowers may still find themselves in debt. Debt can easily spiral out of control and ruin your life and your finances if not dealt with quickly and efficiently. TurboDebt connects clients with Massachusetts debt relief programs that fit their unique needs and provide strategic planning, advising, and consulting services for individuals and families struggling with unpaid debt.
What Options Do I Have for Debt Relief in Massachusetts?
Debt Management Programs
One of your first debt relief options is to enroll in a debt management program. For a monthly fee, a debt management firm will serve as your representative to your creditors and help you create a reasonable payment plan.
A debt management company may help to consolidate all of your monthly payments into one installment that you pay directly to the company and then disperse the funds to your lenders accordingly. Debt management programs can help you regain control over your finances by lowering your overall interest rates. Keep in mind, though, that each time you miss a payment, your interest rate goes up.
Debt Consolidation Loans
It might seem counterintuitive to take out another loan when you are struggling to pay off the debts you already have, but debt consolidation can help streamline the process of paying off what you already owe. A debt consolidation loan allows you to borrow an amount of money equivalent to your existing debts to pay them all off at once. Then, instead of making multiple monthly payments to several different creditors, you only have to make one.
With consolidation, you'll still have to pay off the entire balance owed, but this method can help you save time and money while paying off your debts. It's important to note, however, that without a good interest rate, you may end up paying more than the original accounts, so look carefully before securing a loan.
Debt settlement is another option for helping borrowers find debt relief. If you choose to enroll in a debt settlement program, choose a reputable, well-reviewed, and accredited company. If you have any questions about the quality of a debt settlement company, you can consult sites like the Better Business Bureau or Trustpilot to read about other consumers’ experiences.
A debt settlement company will work with you to reduce your outstanding balance, even up to 50% of what you owe. Like other repayment plans, debt settlement will consolidate multiple debts into a single monthly payment. You'll pay a fee to the organization for making the settlement and administering your account, but you can typically wipe out huge chunks of debt in 24-48 months using this option.
Credit counseling involves working with an advisor to manage your debts. Many credit counselors also take time to review your credit report, help you make a plan to pay off debt, and provide financial education.
While most debt management companies are privately owned, counseling services are often provided by government-approved agencies. These are nonprofit organizations that typically don't charge a fee for their services. Some private credit counseling companies also provide services at little or no cost.
The process of applying for Bankruptcy is similar across all 50 states, as you must file with the federal government. Most filings are for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must liquidate all non-exempt assets to pay your creditors. When you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can keep your property and have the opportunity to pay off your debt over 3 to 5 years.
However, both types of bankruptcy are best used as a last resort for debt relief, since they can negatively impact your credit for up to 10 years.
If you qualify for a specific program based on factors like your income or employment, you may be eligible to receive debt forgiveness. Federal agencies offer most debt forgiveness programs and provide aid in the form of student loan forgiveness for teachers or mortgage help for low-income families through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. These programs may erase some or all of your debt, depending on your financial situation and program requirements.
Are There Resources for Massachusetts Residents Experiencing Debt or Financial Hardship?
If you're experiencing financial hardship that makes it hard to meet your basic needs, Massachusetts offers temporary assistance programs to aid residents in need.
The Department of Transitional Assistance also offers help and programs to provide for low-income families through the Supplemental Nutrition Program and workforce training opportunities.
The Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services offers a wide variety of programs to help you meet basic healthcare needs when you find yourself in a challenging financial circumstance. These include temporary assistance programs that can help you pay for food and other necessities, free or subsidized childcare, and even temporary housing.