Montana Debt Relief
20 MIN READ
Published April 08, 2023 | Updated May 04, 2023
In a Nutshell
While finding debt relief in Montana might seem daunting, we’re here to help make it easier with our complete guide below. We’ll cover the most effective forms of debt relief, the top types of debt that we see residents struggle with, as well as helpful financial assistance and hardship resources in the short term.
Based on our work helping thousands of happy customers get into debt relief programs specific to their needs, we understand how essential it is to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each debt relief option. After reading this article, our goal is to have you leave feeling much more confident in your ability to choose a relief option that suits your financial situation best. By addressing your debt, you can regain control of your finances and work towards a debt-free future.
Montana: Economic Picture
The big sky country is well known for its abundant natural mineral resources, diverse wildlife, natural beauty, and expansive rugged terrain. Additionally, the state is reliant on agriculture, with wheat leading in crop production. However, besides its richness in resources, the residents of Montana have been affected by debts leading to the need for a debt relief program.
The economy of Montana grew by 1.4% from 2021 to $59.3 billion, as the economy added more jobs and unemployment rates fell to 2.5%. The gross state product growth rate is 0.49% against the national 0.19%, showcasing that the economy in Montana outpaced the national economy.
The leading industry in the state is petroleum refining, with revenue of $15.1 billion, while the leading employment sector is healthcare and social assistance, with a growth rate of 2.1%.
How does debt relief work in Montana?
Getting debt relief in Montana involves taking steps to reduce or eliminate the amount of debt that you owe. This can be achieved through several key methods, including debt consolidation, bankruptcy, or settlement. Out of these options, the best ones work to reduce secured or unsecured debts by lowering high-interest loans, negotiating for better interest rates, extending monthly payments, cancelling portions of debt, or waiving late payment fees.
Debt and finance statistics specific to the state
Based on our research, the most impactful debt and finance statistics in Montana include the following;
- The average consumer debt in Montana increased by 5.1% to $98,843
- Montanans have an average credit card debt of $5,039, below the average American’s $5,589.
- Residents of Montana owe a monthly average auto loan debt of $547
- The monthly median mortgage cost is $1,538, while the median gross rent is $886
- The average student debt loan in the state of Montana is $33,149
- The total number of bankruptcy cases filed in 2022 was 591 from 654 in the previous year
- The unemployment rate in Montana declined to 2.5%, making it the 4th state with the lowest unemployment rate in America
- Residents of Montana have a personal income of $64,932, which is an increase from $61,495 in Q3 of 2021
- Montanans have an average credit score of 731, up from 730 in 2021
Average consumer debt
The average consumer debt in Montana increased by 5.1% to $98,843 from $94,008 due to the high cost of living and increased interest rates. This has made the cost of loans rise, therefore impacting consumer debt as spending increases.
Credit card debt
Montanans have an average credit card debt of $5,039, below the average American’s $5,589.
Although their credit card debt is below the national average, it has increased from $4,778 in 2021. This increase in credit card debt can be attributed to the high cost of living that consumers are grappling to maintain and the increased interest rates imposed by the federal gov.
Auto loan debt
Residents of Montana owe a monthly average auto loan debt of $547, which is lower than the national monthly average auto loan debt of $568. The average auto loan debt is $6,564. Although Montanans owe less than the average American, their auto loan debt has increased by 8.2% since 2017.
The pandemic and high demand for cars due to supply chain disruption are responsible for the increase in auto loan debt.
Most of the residents in Montana are homeowners, with the state enjoying a homeownership rate of 69.1%. The monthly median mortgage cost is $1,538, compared to the median gross rent of $886. Out of the total homeowners in the state, 55.4% of them make monthly mortgage payments resulting in mortgage debt.
The state has a median home value of $263,700, with Metropolitan areas like Missoula and Butte having median home values of $324,700 and $165,60,0 respectively. The financial insecurity created during the pandemic resulted in almost 25% of households with annual incomes below $25,000 falling behind on mortgage payments in the state resulting in the accumulation of mortgage debt, which further grew due to the rising interest rates on consumer debt.
Student loan debt
11.7% of Montana residents owe a total student loan debt of $4.2 billion. The average student debt loan in the state of Montana is $33,149, and the median is $28,727. 50.9% of the debtors are below 35 years, while 33.7% of the residents have attained a bachelor’s degree or higher.
In Q3 of 2022, household debt increased by 2.4% to $16.90 trillion. This led to the moderately high debt-to-income ratio in Montana to 1.772, as much of the resident’s income is going towards debt settlement.
Residents of Montana owe a median household debt of $107,312 since their median income is $60,560.
Montana’s bankruptcy trend has been declining as consumers find alternative means of paying consumer debt, thus avoiding bankruptcy proceedings.
The total number of bankruptcy cases filed in 2022 was 591, from 654 in the previous year. Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings were leading with 486 cases, followed by chapter 13 bankruptcy cases at 94, then chapter 11 bankruptcy cases at 9, and other cases accounted for two filings.
Average income and employment
The unemployment rate in Montana declined to 2.,5% making it the 4th state with the lowest unemployment rate in America. There has been a historically low unemployment rate in the state since 1976, as Montana added 1,500 new payroll jobs in January 2023. The construction industry is the leading employment industry in the state.
Residents of Montana have a personal income of $64,932, which is an increase from $61,495 in Q3 of 2021 as the state continued to add more jobs to the economy. The median household income is $60,560, while the per capita income is $34,423.
Montanans have an average credit score of 731, up from 730 in 2021. This is a good credit score for residents of Montana to access lower-interest loans.
The yearly increase in credit scores can be related to the low mortgage delinquency rates in the state as residents found alternative means of settling their debts. Montana’s mortgage delinquency rate is 3.16%, which is among the lowest in the state.
Montana ranks 43rd nationally with 707 identity theft cases. The top types of identity theft include the following:
- Credit card fraud at 35%
- Phone or utility fraud at 26%
- Other identity theft at 23%
- Bank fraud at 13%
- Employment or tax-related fraud at 9%
The total number of fraud and other reports, inclusive of identity theft, filed in the state is 6,064. The median fraud loss is $300, while the total is $3.6 million.
Banking and tax info
The top individual income tax rate in Montana is 6.75%, but it’s set to decrease to 6.5% in Q1 of 2024. The state and local tax burden is 10.1%, while the top corporate income tax rate is 6.75% ranking the state 5th in the state business tax climate index.
Even though the state doesn’t impose a state and local sales tax rate, it has an excise tax of 33.25 cents per gallon of gasoline and $1.70 per 20-pack of cigarettes. The property tax rate is 0.74% of the owner-occupied house value.
The state of Montana has 39 banking institutions with a total deposit of $76,425 million, which is an increase in deposits from when the pandemic was at its peak. The largest financial market in the state is Billings, with a total deposit of $7,763 million, followed by Missoula, with deposits totaling $3,831 million.
How TurboDebt Helped Montana Residents With Debt Relief in 2022:
TurboDebt is a debt relief company that has worked with 408 clients in Montana last year to better manage their debts. Out of these individuals, 150 enrolled in our debt relief program with an average enrollment debt of $21,777. This led to a total enrolled debt of $3,266,603 in the state last year. The debt relief program saved 53.45% of our client’s total enrolled debt resulting in total savings of $1,745,999 before service fees.
Top Types of Debt to get Relief from in Montana
In Montana, many residents struggle with debt and seek debt relief solutions to manage their financial obligations. At TurboDebt, the follow types of debt are the most common that we see Montanans dealing with when they enroll in our program.
Credit Card Debt
Credit card debt is largely influenced by the rise of interest rates, which can jump to 25% APR leading to high-interest payments and accumulating credit card debt. Such a financial situation makes clearing credit card debt difficult, especially for residents with low disposable incomes and a high cost of living.
When you work with a certified credit counselor or one of our experts, you will be able to receive help in managing your credit card debt, which can provide you a path towards a debt-free life. There are many nonprofit credit counselors willing to assist with this type of debt as well, who can provide further support in budgeting, debt, and money management, as well as help you to choose a debt management plan convenient to your income.
The state of Montana is an equitable distribution state. As such, assets and debts accumulated during marriage are divided equitably between spouses while considering factors like the marriage duration, amount and sources of income, needs, vocational skills, and employability, among others.
These factors, as well as the cost of divorce, which can surpass $20,000 depending on the complexity of the divorce process, make the accumulation of divorce debt possible.
At TurboDebt, we’re passionate about helping you deal with and break free from divorce debt through our debt settlement plan. This debt relief option is curated to your income and debt and requires a consistent monthly payment until paid off.
The state of Montana is ideal for starting and running a business because it doesn’t charge a state and local sales tax rate.
However, the operational costs of doing business in the state can make you accumulate business debt. These range from high transportation costs to low purchasing power within the state.
In this case, a debt settlement or debt management plan is often the perfect debt relief solution for residents struggling with business debt. DMPs can reduce high-interest rates and assist you in clearing the debt in 3 to 5 years with consistent monthly payments. Reach out now to benefit from our free consultation.
10.4% of Montanans lack medical insurance, meaning they can’t access premium medical aid without incurring extra costs that result in high medical bills.
Additionally, 29.3% of Montanans live below the 200% federal poverty level and cannot afford premium medical packages leading to the accumulation of medical debt. If you need relief from medical debt, don’t hesitate to get in touch to see how much we could save you.
The onset of the pandemic brought financial hardship to homeowners as unemployment rates spiked above 10%, leading to difficulties in paying mortgages and rental fees. Nationally, the number of houses that didn’t fall behind in rental fees remained below 18% at the peak of the pandemic. This led to the accumulation of homeowner debt as residents of Montana struggled to meet consumer demands.
Montana’s pension fund is 75% funded, resulting in a $2 billion deficit of unfunded liabilities. The highest average retirement income is $79,500 in Silver Gate City, and the lowest is $735 in Indian Springs. When these facts are coupled with the average monthly home health care cost of almost $4,382 and $2,582 for adult day care, life in retirement can easily result in the accumulation of retirement debt for some Montanans.
We can assist you in avoiding retirement debt through a tailored program.
Montana debt relief options
Debt relief options in Montana include debt consolidation, debt settlement, and bankruptcy, among others. You can access these solutions from reputable debt relief companies who operate in the state such as ours.
Debt management programs
Debt management programs are administered by nonprofit credit counseling agencies. They work on eliminating unsecured debt like credit card debt by negotiating for a reduced interest rate that will make monthly payments affordable.
For you to be eligible for a DMP, you must close your existing credit cards to avoid accumulating new debt and commit to making monthly deposits to a savings account. The account will be used to pay off creditors in a single lump sum payment, thus escaping the never-ending debt cycle of unsecured debts.
The loan repayment period for a DMP can last for 3 to 5 years, and that’s why some debt collection agencies may be opposed to DMPs.
Debt consolidation loans
Debt consolidation loans work by taking out a larger loan to make a lump sum payment of your existing debts. This eliminates the need to make multiple payments to your creditors, reduces interest fees by eliminating high-interest loans, and lowers the monthly payments since you’ll be paying your consolidated loan.
The eligibility of residents of Montana to a debt consolidation loan is assured as they have a good credit score of 731. Debt consolidation loans may work against residents with a bad or poor credit score as it may be costly.
Some of the loans used in debt consolidation include personal loans, home equity loans, and balance transfer credit cards.
Debt settlement plans are ideal for borrowers who struggle to meet their basic needs and make monthly loan payments to lenders. This debt relief option is administered by third-party debt settlement companies, which negotiate for a partial cancellation of your existing loan balance.
For debt settlement to work, borrowers must present an acceptable amount of lump sum payment to their lenders or creditors, which can be half or more than half of the debt balance.
You’ll need to be careful not to fall for scammers when pursuing debt settlement plans. You can do this by checking their eligibility on the better business bureau platform and through online reviews.
Once you choose credit counseling as your debt relief option, you’ll be attending free educational workshops on money and debt management, accessing free credit reports, and being guided on how to come up with a budget. The credit counselors will also assist you in selecting a debt management plan based on your DTI ratio.
Credit counseling works when certified credit counselors negotiate for an extended pay period where monthly payments are lowered. They can also negotiate for lower interest rates and waivers on late repayment fees by credit card companies to escape debt.
Many borrowers dread filing for bankruptcy even though it clears their debt burden or reorganizes their repayment plan, upon approval by a bankruptcy court. This is because bankruptcy cases last for 7 to 10 years in your credit report, thus affecting your eligibility for loans in the future.
Chapter 7 bankruptcies which are the most common ,require debtors to liquidate their non-exempt properties to cover their debts. Debt balances that remain after liquidation are discharged, and you no longer need to repay them.
Chapter 11 bankruptcies are for businesses that are struggling with debts. It helps businesses reorganize their debt payment plans without interfering with their business operations.
Businesses or individuals with a regular income can also file for chapter 13 bankruptcies, where they decide which assets to keep and have an extended repayment period of 3 to 5 years.
Bankruptcies are suitable for unsecured debt as secured debts are prone to repossession or foreclosure. Get legal advice from your law firm on the best type of bankruptcy for you and your business.
Debt forgiveness works by canceling your existing debts and giving you a fresh start in life. This debt relief program benefits a borrower who is struggling with their basic needs. However, to qualify for debt forgiveness, you must enroll in an existing debt forgiveness program like the federal student debt loan forgiveness program.
Once your debt balances are forgiven, you must file them with the IRS to avoid the accumulation of tax debt.
Debt and Financial Hardship Resources
Low-income residents struggling with debt or living below the federal poverty level in Montana can access the following debt and financial hardship resources. They will help them combat the financial crisis they’re in by offering the following financial assistance programs;
Temporary assistance programs
TANF is a temporary cash assistance initiative for needy families that lasts for a maximum of 60 months in an adult’s lifetime. You must fulfill certain requirements to qualify for the program, such as a financial requirement of owning countable resources not exceeding $3,000 in value.
The Low Income Home Energy, Water, and Weatherization Assistance Program pays a portion of winter energy bills and household water bills, and it improves the heating efficiency of eligible low-income residents of Montana.
CDBG CARES is a financial relief program offered to low-income residents dealing with the effects of the pandemic and living in entitlement areas, which are cities, towns, and counties or are working with these entities.
State health and human services
Montana Medicaid and Healthy Montana Kids Plus is a healthcare coverage program that is available to eligible low-income residents. Apart from the several medical benefits the program offers, you can access additional benefits subject to an annual cap of $1,125. Residents who are below 20 years, blind, disabled, or aged are exempted from the annual cap.
The supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program is a food assistance program for eligible households that meet the program’s requirements. The program has monthly deductions that members make and includes the SNAP Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Program and SNAP Training and Employment Program.
Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) is an advanced home model that offers primary medic care based on a value-payment system instead of a fee-for-service system. The program focuses on the following five key functions;
- Care management
- Patient and caregiver engagement
- Planned care and population health
- Access and continuity
- Comprehensiveness and coordination
Developmental Disabilities Program is a tailor-made program for people with developmental disabilities and their families to access care in a natural setting.
WIC is a supplemental food program offered to women, infants, and children. The program supports breastfeeding, gives nutrition tips, and connects eligible members to community resources.
Big Sky Rx Program is an initiative that pays for prescription drugs by enabling Medicare recipients to meet the generous income criteria and access insurance premiums.
Healthy Montana Kids offers free or low-cost medical assistance to eligible Montana kids below the age of 19 years. The program covers dental, medical, eyeglasses, and other related medical benefit services.
Early Childhood Services Bureau seeks to improve the accessibility, affordability, and quality of early childhood care and education administered to qualifying young children, their families, and professionals who support and work for the program.
HELP Medicaid Plan (Medicaid Expansion) offers quality medical coverage for members who pay their monthly premiums.
Shelters for the homeless
Mental and Substance Use Disorders and Homelessness Resources is a program for people experiencing homelessness due to mental issues or substance abuse. It offers them shelter as their conditions stabilize.
Montana Program for Homeless Youths offers runaway youths access to food, shelter, guidance and counseling, and education.
CDBG Housing Program offers to construct homes for families below 80% of the area’s median income to avoid homelessness. The program offers housing grants through the annual CDBG Competitive Housing Grant and the open CDBG Noncompetitive Housing Grant.
The HOME Program is a housing program meant to offer families living below the 50% and 80% median income safe, affordable, and decent houses.
The Housing Trust Fund Program seeks to establish affordable houses for residents with extremely low incomes, including those that are homeless, with special needs, and are at risk of homelessness.
The HOME-ARP is a grant fund administered by the federal government through the HOME program to provide stability in the housing market and reduce homelessness.
Montana Homeless Shelters have been established to provide temporary shelters to residents facing homelessness. You should confirm the availability of the shelters before visiting them.
Free transportation services
Medicaid Transportation Services is a funded transportation program that offers Medicaid members transportation services to and from medical appointments.
Seeking debt relief in Montana can be a viable option for individuals struggling with debt. Before you pursue a specific solution, it's crucial to research and understand the various debt relief options available so that you can make an informed decision that best suits your financial situation.
Professional assistance from debt relief companies, credit counseling agencies, and bankruptcy attorneys can provide guidance and support throughout the process. By taking action and addressing your debt, you can regain control of your finances and work towards building wealth once again.
Take advantage of our free debt relief consultation services now to learn more about debt relief and how much we could help you save.