Every day there’s good economic news in America. Unemployment is at a 50-year low and the stock market seems to consistently recover from temporary plunges.

So, why are American consumers struggling under so much debt? Well, there are several reasons why the average individual could be in a debt-related pinch:

  • Many haven’t recovered from 2008. While more than a decade in the past, the financial crisis left a lot of people scrambling to stay afloat and many people relied heavily on credit cards and loans to do so.
  • Student loans are a big problem. This is an issue that’s captured national attention, but it’s more distressing on an individual level for many. The interest can pile up and the hefty payments people are making on those loans make it hard to get ahead.
  • Unemployment is down, but wages haven’t kept up. Minimum wages are slowly increasing — but not fast enough to keep up with inflation. A lot of people are struggling to make ends meet on one job and have to resort to second jobs and side gigs to manage their bills.
  • There’s too much credit being extended. Banks love a good economy and low unemployment. That can make them inclined to lend money or extend credit a lot more loosely than they should. People take out loans without realizing how difficult they’ll be to repay.

If you’re struggling to make the minimum payments on your bills and never seem to be able to put anything aside for the future, it may be time to consider alternative options, like bankruptcy. While Chapter 7 can’t erase all debts, it can help you get yours under control and help you get back on your financial feet again.