Louisiana is well-known throughout the country and beyond for its incredible French and Creole heritage, including fabulous cuisine and friendly hospitality. It became a state in 1812, and since that time, it has produced many well-known individuals. This includes Louis Armstrong, Paul Prudehomme, Truman Capote and others. While it may be most well-known for its urban hot spots, such as Bourbon Street and the French Quarter in New Orleans, the area has spectacular natural landscapes that distinguish it from other states.

The state is home to almost 4.7 million residents, and approximately 68 percent of its residents are homeowners. This is somewhat below the national average. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, area homeowners pay an average of $1,200 per month as a mortgage payment, and renters pay $788 per month for their housing payment. Unfortunately, Louisiana is ranked among the top ten poorest states in the country, and its median household income is only $41,096 per year. With two to three residents in the typical home in Louisiana, you can see that this level of income is barely sufficient to make ends meet. An astounding one out of every five residents lives in poverty in this state. Furthermore, the typical credit card debt for the average consumer is $4,773, and unemployment in the area is around six to seven percent. The unemployment rate in large cities, such as New Orleans and Baton Rouge, is considerably higher than the state average. As you can see, there are true financial challenges for Louisianans to contend with. Paying down debt balances is a common goal, and achieving this goal may help you to live more comfortably. However, you may not be certain what type of debt relief is available to you.

Debt Reduction Options in Louisiana

debtKnowing who to call for debt relief in Louisiana can be challenging. There are actually several debt relief options available as well as different methods available for pursuing each one. For example, debt consolidation is often used by those who have a good credit score and who have not yet fallen behind in their debt payments. Home equity loans, unsecured bank loans and other financing options can be used to consolidate multiple credit card accounts. This can yield lower monthly debt payments and easier debt reduction over time.

If you have bad credit scores or have already fallen behind in your payments, debt settlement is a better option for many people. Settlement is most commonly used for unsecured debts, such as credit cards and medical bills. Through settlement, you may call your creditors, or a professional negotiator will contact your creditors on your behalf to request a reduction in your total outstanding debt. If they agree to lower the amount owed, you can benefit from faster debt reduction and lower monthly payments. For those who are challenged by payments they can no longer afford, this is a great option to consider before bankruptcy. However, there are no guarantees that your settlement offer will be accepted by your creditors, and bankruptcy may still need to be considered in some cases.

Louisiana Debt Collection Laws

Like many states, Louisiana has established numerous debt collection laws to protect consumers as well as creditors. You should be aware that your creditors are allowed by law to take you to court if you fail to pay your bills on time as agreed. If they win, your wages may be garnished or other actions may be taken to force payment. There is, however, a statute of limitations in place that creates a window when creditors may do this. In this state, the statute of limitations for credit cards is three years. After the three-year period of time, you may still owe the debt, but the creditor cannot take you to court to sue you for damages.

There are also laws regarding how frequently a creditor may contact you to attempt to collect a debt. The law states that only individuals residing in the home may be contacted unless the creditor has a justified reason to believe that you have relocated. In addition, the creditor may only contact you by mail four times and only one time each month. These written communications should not be threatening in any way. Those who have concerns about the state’s debtor laws may contact their attorney for more information about protections and rights granted by the law.

If you are challenged by high debt balances or bills that you cannot pay, rest assured that debt relief is available in Louisiana. While some are able to alleviate their debt situation through a consolidation loan, others need more substantial relief. If you have already fallen behind in your debt payments and are looking for a great way to alleviate the stress that you are feeling, take a closer look at how debt settlement may improve your financial situation as a first step.