Borrowing money is not always bad. In fact, taking out a loan — like a mortgage — is just one possible way to grow one’s net worth. But things can spiral out of control much faster than some realize, leaving them with more consumer debt than they could ever pay back. So how much is too much? Here is what the typical person in Alabama might owe.

In America, homeowners owe an average of $203,296. Depending on where one lives, this could be very reasonable or fairly high. Whether it seems like too much or too little, mortgages still tend to be the debts with the largest balances. Most mortgages have low interest rates though, so even though it is a lot of money they can still be considered good debt. The biggest problem that people encounter is buying houses that are out of their price range, in which case they end up house poor with mortgages they cannot pay back.

Consumer debts tend to pose a more serious threat to financial stability. Consumers owe an average of $6,194 on their credit cards and $1,155 on retail cards. These cards usually have much higher interest rates, and carrying balances month to month usually means that payments go mostly to interest.

With another $19,231 in auto loans and $16,259 worth of personal loans, a lot of people are struggling to make their monthly payments and even falling behind. This can be an extremely distressing situation, but there are options for addressing consumer debt. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a smart choice for people in Alabama who feel as if there is no way out of their debt.