In 2019, consumer debt reached a record high, according to Experian. The consumer credit reporting company says that during this year, consumer debt was estimated to be $14.1 trillion, and that number may have since increased. The total debt amount for 2019 is comprised of totals from various debt types. For example, consumers accrued about $9.6 trillion in mortgage debt alone.

Below is the total consumer debt for the other debt categories for 2019:

  • Auto loans-$1.3 trillion
  • Student loans- $1.4 trillion
  • Credit card debt-$829 billion
  • Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs)- $420 billion
  • Personal loans- $305 billion
  • Retail credit card debt- $90 billion


While many U.S. consumers are actively paying on their debt (e.g. auto loans, mortgage loans, etc.) there are plenty who have fallen behind.


Why do consumers fall behind on debt?


There are many reasons why U.S. consumers fall behind on their debt. Below are a few common elements that, once added to the mix, can make it difficult for a consumer to manage their debt:


  1. Loss of employment. When an individual purchases a home or vehicle, they must be able to prove through proof of income, that they will be able to pay. Unfortunately, things happen after the fact, such as a loss of employment, that interferes with a person’s ability to pay their mortgage, auto loan, or other debt.


  1. Natural disaster or national emergency. When a natural disaster (e.g. hurricane) or a national emergency (e.g. pandemic) strikes, it can throw everyone and everything off course. During these times, money often becomes scarce to those who are affected by it, making it difficult for an individual who has debt to continue paying it down.


  1. Too much debt. Sometimes, consumers take on more debt than they are able to afford. For instance, someone with good credit might take out a personal loan, purchase a vehicle, and actively use various retail credit cards. At some point, they may have extended themselves just a little too far and may find themselves unable to pay all of their creditors.

What can a consumer do if they have fallen far behind on their debt?


There are a few options a consumer can explore after they have gotten behind on paying down their debt. Debt consolidation loans are one option to consider. However, if a consumer has gotten so far behind and is now facing the legal consequences for doing so, he/she may wish to discuss filing for bankruptcy with a skilled Tulsa, OK bankruptcy lawyer. The Henson Law Firm, PLLC is a bankruptcy law firm in Tulsa, OK that can provide legal advice and assistance to those who have questions or concerns regarding filing for bankruptcy.

To connect with a Tulsa, OK bankruptcy attorney to discuss whether filing for bankruptcy is an ideal option for getting debt under control, call 918-551-8995.


The Henson Law Firm, PLLC is located at:


601 S. Boulder, Suite 600

Tulsa, OK 74119

Phone: 918-551-8995



*We are a debt relief law firm in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

*We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

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