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Your Guide to Personal Debt Relief Options in Nevada

Are you struggling with overwhelming personal debt in Nevada? You‘re not alone. Many Nevadans are facing financial hardship, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is, there are several debt relief options available to help you get back on track. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the various personal debt relief solutions in Nevada, so you can make an informed decision about your financial future.

Understanding Personal Debt in Nevada

Before we dive into the debt relief options, let’s take a quick look at the personal debt landscape in Nevada. According to Experian, the average credit card debt per cardholder in Nevada was $5,422 in 2021, ranking 13th highest in the nation. Additionally, Nevadans have an average household debt of $54,800, which is higher than the national average.These numbers highlight the importance of addressing personal debt head-on. Ignoring the problem will only make it worse, as interest and fees continue to accumulate. So, let’s explore the debt relief options available to you.

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Credit Counseling and Debt Management Plans

One of the first steps you can take when facing personal debt is to seek credit counseling. Non-profit credit counseling agencies, such as Money Fit, offer free or low-cost services to help you assess your financial situation and develop a plan to manage your debt.During a credit counseling session, a certified counselor will review your income, expenses, and debts. They‘ll help you create a budget and provide guidance on managing your finances. If you qualify, they may recommend a Debt Management Plan (DMP).A DMP is a structured repayment plan where you make a single monthly payment to the credit counseling agency, which then distributes the funds to your creditors. The agency may be able to negotiate lower interest rates and waive certain fees, making your debt more manageable. DMPs typically take 3-5 years to complete and may have a negative impact on your credit score initially, but can help you get back on track in the long run.

Debt Consolidation Loans

Another option for managing personal debt is a debt consolidation loan. This involves taking out a new loan to pay off multiple existing debts, leaving you with a single monthly payment, often at a lower interest rate.There are several types of debt consolidation loans available in Nevada, including:

  1. Personal loans from banks, credit unions, or online lenders
  2. Home equity loans or lines of credit (if you own a home)
  3. Balance transfer credit cards with 0% introductory APR

When considering a debt consolidation loan, it‘s essential to compare offers from multiple lenders and read the fine print carefully. Look for loans with low interest rates, minimal fees, and repayment terms that fit your budget. Use a debt consolidation calculator to estimate your potential savings and monthly payments.Keep in mind that a debt consolidation loan doesn‘t eliminate your debt; it simply restructures it. You’ll still need to make regular payments and avoid taking on new debt to succeed with this strategy.

Debt Settlement

Debt settlement is another debt relief option that involves negotiating with your creditors to accept a lump sum payment that is less than the total amount you owe. This can be done on your own or through a debt settlement company.If you choose to work with a debt settlement company, they will typically advise you to stop making payments to your creditors and instead make deposits into a dedicated savings account. Once you have accumulated enough funds, the company will negotiate with your creditors on your behalf to settle your debts for a reduced amount.While debt settlement can significantly reduce your debt, it also comes with risks. Your credit score will take a hit, and there’s no guarantee that all your creditors will agree to settle. Additionally, any forgiven debt may be considered taxable income by the IRS.If you‘re considering debt settlement, it’s crucial to work with a reputable company that is licensed to operate in Nevada. Be wary of companies that charge upfront fees or make guarantees that seem too good to be true. You can check a company‘s reputation with the Better Business Bureau and the Nevada Attorney General’s Office.

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In some cases, bankruptcy may be the best option for obtaining debt relief. Bankruptcy is a legal process that can help you eliminate or reorganize your debts, depending on the type of bankruptcy you file.The two most common types of personal bankruptcy are:

  1. Chapter 7 bankruptcy: Also known as liquidation bankruptcy, Chapter 7 allows you to discharge most of your unsecured debts, such as credit card balances and medical bills. To qualify, you must pass a means test based on your income and assets.
  2. Chapter 13 bankruptcy: Also called a wage earner’s plan, Chapter 13 involves reorganizing your debts into a 3-5 year repayment plan. This option may allow you to keep certain assets, such as your home or car, if you can make the required payments.

Filing for bankruptcy can provide significant debt relief, but it also has long-lasting consequences. A bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for 7-10 years, making it difficult to obtain credit, rent an apartment, or even secure certain jobs. It’s essential to consult with a qualified bankruptcy attorney to determine if this is the right choice for your situation.

Protecting Yourself from Debt Relief Scams

As you explore debt relief options, it’s crucial to be aware of potential scams. Some red flags to watch out for include:

  • Companies that guarantee to settle your debts for pennies on the dollar
  • Firms that charge upfront fees before providing any services
  • Businesses that advise you to stop communicating with your creditors
  • Organizations that promise to improve your credit score quickly

To protect yourself, always do your research before working with a debt relief company. Check their licensing, read reviews, and ask for references. Never provide personal or financial information to a company you don’t trust.

Rebuilding Your Credit After Debt Relief

Regardless of the debt relief option you choose, it’s essential to focus on rebuilding your credit once you’ve addressed your debt. Some steps you can take include:

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  1. Making all your payments on time
  2. Keeping your credit utilization low
  3. Disputing any errors on your credit report
  4. Considering a secured credit card to establish a positive payment history

Rebuilding your credit takes time and effort, but it’s a crucial step in achieving long-term financial stability.

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