Los Angeles has one of the most thriving economies of any city in the world. Ranked 3rd for gross metropolitan product, just behind Tokyo and New York, there are few places that combine such vast concentrations of wealth with such powerful cultural leadership. Responsible for much of the world’s entertainment, including movies, video games and television shows, Los Angeles sets the trends which define the times.
On top of its chokehold on U.S. media, Los Angeles also has the largest port in the Western Hemisphere in the Port of Los Angeles, located in Long Beach. This facility generates a great deal of economic activity, and, due to the proximity to raw materials and pre-assembled goods, it has given rise to a manufacturing sector that is perhaps the strongest in the country. As a consequence of not only having the largest port in American but also having the largest airport on the west coast, LAX, Los Angeles has one of the strongest shipping and logistics industries in the entire country.
Los Angeles International Airport is also the busiest destination airport in the United States, meaning that many people fly to Los Angeles as their final destination. This is reflected in a vibrant tourist industry, with some of the finest hotels anywhere in the world and many beautiful resorts and tourist attractions within a short drive from the city.
All of this adds up to a city with arguably the most diverse and booming economy of any place in the United States. However, beneath all the glamour and glitz, there is a darker side to the Los Angeles economy. With over 1,000,000 illegal immigrants, most of whom do not participate in the official economy, and some of the highest housing costs in the country, Los Angeles has fostered an underclass with little chance for upward mobility. Many Angelinos are just one paycheck away from financial catastrophe. Add to that a backdrop of the state with, by far, the highest number of bankruptcies per year, and you start to see a city defined by stark contrasts between haves and have-nots.
Fortunately, for Los Angeles residents who have fallen on hard times and accumulated unmanageable debt, there are other options besides bankruptcy. For many, debt consolidation can be the ladder that finally makes it possible to climb out of the sinking pit of debt.
Who can benefit from debt consolidation?
Debt consolidation isn’t a magic bullet. It’s a tool. And, like any tool, it has appropriate uses and things for which other tools would work better. Generally speaking, the people who will benefit from debt consolidation are those who have private, unsecured debt, sufficient income to pay down their debts within three to five years and who have carefully analyzed and addressed the underlying behavior or adverse situations which led to the accumulation of debt in the first place. For people who fit these criteria, debt consolidation can not only potentially save tens of thousands of dollars, it can leave them in a much better financial position then either declaring bankruptcy or continuing to tread water with minimum payments.
But sometimes bankruptcy can’t be avoided and shouldn’t be. If someone’s debt load relative to their income is so high that they couldn’t pay the loan back in a maximum of five years, then bankruptcy will often be the better option. This is because the worst effects of bankruptcy usually only last for seven to ten years, and the value of total debt elimination will often be much higher than the cost of a ruined credit rating and a bankruptcy note on their credit report.
But there are compelling reasons to avoid bankruptcy, if at all possible. Once someone has declared bankruptcy, they will be unable to get a car or auto loan for at least seven years. They won’t be able to keep most of their assets and may lose their primary residence. They will likely lose any security clearance they have and may never be able to work in sensitive government positions or other high-trust jobs again. Finally, if the bankruptcy involves debt to local friends or associates, they may find daily life becomes extremely awkward and resentments fester.
Debt consolidation can avoid all of these negative outcomes. With a good debt consolidation plan, a debtor can reduce principal amounts and monthly payments and get their life back on track within a short time frame.