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South Carolina Near Bottom of Nation In Terms of Financial Security

On January 31, the national nonprofit Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) released a report on the financial security of residents of each of the 50 states. For South Carolina, the results were not altogether encouraging: the Palmetto State ranked 48th in terms of the financial security of its citizens. This means many South Carolinians may be in need of a fresh financial start.

A quarter "asset poor" in South Carolina, double that when excluding non-liquid assets

The CFED report examined 52 measures of financial security in five different issue areas. While many South Carolinians have jobs, researchers found that over a quarter of South Carolina households are "asset poor."

Asset poor households have little or no financial cushion to rely on if unemployment, medical bills, divorce or some other unexpected financial hardship arises. A household is considered asset poor if its members do not have adequate savings or other assets to cover expenses for three months without a steady income. When excluding non-liquid assets (those that are not easily converted to cash like homes and cars), the proportion of South Carolina residents who are asset poor rises to 47.6 percent.

"Growing numbers of Americans have almost no savings or other assets to fall back on if they lose their jobs or face a medical crisis," Andrea Levere, president of CFED, said in a statement. Indeed, with no financial safety net, all it would take is a little bad luck to push almost half of South Carolina into insolvency.

Bankruptcy can be a good solution for struggling South Carolinians

Fortunately, even for those without savings to rely on, there are other potential solutions to financial difficulties. When you can no longer make ends meet, sometimes bankruptcy is the best solution.

Through bankruptcy, you can eliminate most type of debt and get a fresh financial start. Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves an almost immediate discharge of debt, and is a good option for those with few nonexempt assets. Chapter 13 bankruptcy, on the other hand, may be the better choice for those with a regular income who have some valuable assets that they'd like to hang on to. In Chapter 13, instead of being discharged immediately, debts are reorganized and paid off in installments over the life of a three to five year plan; at the end of the plan, most types of remaining debt are completely discharged.

Only a bankruptcy attorney can fully advise you on whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is best for your unique individual circumstances. If you are struggling with debt, however, do not wait to contact an attorney. Contrary to popular belief, it is never a good idea to "hang on" as long as you can before filing for bankruptcy, racking up credit card debt to pay for basic expenses. This can have long term implications for your credit, and what's more, you will have more and better bankruptcy options the earlier you seek help.

If you are one of the many South Carolinians facing down debt with little or no savings, talk to a bankruptcy attorney. You may be surprised by what bankruptcy has to offer.

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