Spending more than one brings in is something many people in Illinois and elsewhere are doing now and have been doing for a while. Consumer debt is at an all-time high — sitting at roughly $13.5 trillion. It is to the point where most people feel that they will never be able to pay back what they owe.

According to a recently published article, the average person between the ages of 18 and 34 has roughly $36,000 in debt. Approximately 50% of these individuals do not know how they will pay off their debts. Another 20% believe that they will take the debt with them to the grave.

The thought process when taking on debt is that one will, at some point, be in a position to actually pay it off. The simple truth is, such assumptions are often wrong. Those who want to stay out of debt will put aside wants and only spend their funds on what they need, or be sure only to take on those debts that are considered good debts — such as a mortgage.

To break the shackles of debt, there are a couple of things that Illinois residents can do. They can work on living within their means, or they can seek debt relief assistance. Bankruptcy is just one option for those dealing with consumer debt. Chapter 7 allows for the discharge of debts, if one meets the income requirements to qualify, while Chapter 13 gives one the opportunity to create an affordable repayment plan. Some people may not need to go as far as filing for bankruptcy, but they won’t know without speaking to an experienced bankruptcy law attorney to learn about what options are available to them.