The middle class was once seen as a stable place for Pennsylvania families. This might no longer be the case. Even individuals who earn steady, stable incomes that put them solidly in the middle class are struggling with more and more debt as time goes on. Although many believe that they can dig themselves out of that debt, this is simply not possible for some. Instead, focusing on saving the home and other important assets might be best addressed through personal bankruptcy.
Wages have not changed much over the past two decades, with the median income per household hovering around $61,372 as of 2017. Considering inflation, these wages are barely higher than in 1999. Despite stagnant wages, the cost of everything from medical care to higher education has skyrocketed.
The cost of attending a public university ballooned 311% in the last three decades. People also now pay about 51% more for health care expenditures than they did in 1990. Considering that a significant number of jobs that pay a middle-class wage require a four-year degree, middle class families are left with few other options than to take out sizable loans for their children.
Excluding mortgages, consumer debt recently hit $4 trillion. Understanding that wages have largely stayed the same while the cost of necessities have risen, it is important to understand that most middle-class households do not add to that consumer debt through frivolous purchases. Instead, they are taking on debt in an effort to stay in the middle class.
Even when done out of necessity or with the best of intentions, taking on more and more debt can become a problem. Pennsylvania residents may struggle to make monthly payments and end up avoiding harassing creditors, but still feel hesitant to take action. When faced with the possibility of foreclosure, waiting is no longer an option. Filing for bankruptcy is often an effective strategy for saving the home and discharging other debts.