While Nevada is predominantly known throughout America for the glitz and glamor of Las Vegas with its opulent hotels and dreams of massive paydays, many residents of The Silver State deal with a very different reality on a daily basis.
In gambling parlance, far too many Nevadans crapped out in 2020 because of the drastic downturn of the economy thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Historically low rates of unemployment in 2019 suddenly spiked in April and May in Nevada when the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered Nevada’s usually booming tourism industry. Unemployment rates that were a manageable 6.9% last March shot up to a staggering 30.1% by April. Those numbers stayed shocking high for several months and didn’t mercifully fall back into single digits until December when the unemployment rates stood at 9.2%.
Sadly, thousands of the state’s job losses have yet to return and some likely won’t be coming back. Those job-loss and sluggish economy factors have left many Nevadans, struggling financially and understandably worried about future solutions.
A state’s financial health can be determined by its poverty levels, per capita income and state revenue, and unfortunately Nevada is struggling to keep up nationally in all three of those very important areas, ranking 34th out of 50 states.
Fortunately, there are private and governmental agencies that can help Nevada residents still in financial peril from an otherwise awful 2020.
Debt Relief Options for Residents of Nevada
One top option for consumers struggling financially is InCharge Debt Solutions and its debt management program. InCharge’s certified credit counselors will work with creditors to consolidate the amount of debt from credit cards, lower your interest rates and come up with affordable payments that work best for your individual financial situation.
InCharge has working agreements with credit card companies that help reduce the interest rate to around 8%, sometimes lower. On average in 2020, the credit card companies billed customers interest rates of 16%.
The goal for InCharge is to help customers eliminate their credit card debts in 3-5 years. However, know this going in: It is suggested that customers should use a detailed spending budget — and strictly follow that budget — so that their credit card debts can be eliminated in the 3-5 year timeframe.
InCharge manages the plan by taking your payment and distributing it monthly to creditors in amounts that have previously been agreed upon.
Want more good news about the consolidation plan? Your credit score is not a factor in enrolling.
You can apply for InCharge’s debt management plan online or over the phone.
Here are some of the other assistance programs that are available to those Nevadans facing stressful financial crises:
- Debt Consolidation Loan – If you already have a solid credit score, you could receive a low-interest debt consolidation loan. You still must pay off the consolidation loan, but at least you won’t be hit so harshly by the high interest rates that the credit card companies charge.
- Debt Settlement – This debt-relief plan involves a lump-sum payment that is less that the amount of debt that you are currently facing. While this is sometimes the best option to help customers rid themselves of the crippling debt, it also can be potentially troublesome. The debt-settlement plan goes on your credit report for the next seven years and will have a negative effect on your ability to use credit for major purchases. Also, not all credit card companies will agree to debt settlement
- Bankruptcy – This option could allow you to wipe out the debt you have built up on your credit cards, but it should only be used when all other options have been explored. Bankruptcy might benefit you in the short term, but the long-term effect is the negative impact that it will have on your credit score for the next 7-10 years. The hit to your credit score will likely hamper your chances of buying a home or a new vehicle if you hope to do so over the next decade.
- Do-It-Yourself Plans – If you are the adventurous type and prefer a do-it-yourself option, you should consider a DIY-style debt management program that most closely matches up to your personal finance needs.
Nevada Debt Resources
Nevada residents who are struggling to pay their monthly bills can get help through a variety of state assistance programs. Here are some of the services that are offered to Nevadans in need:
Free Child Care Subsidies and Financial Aid: The Department of Welfare and Supportive Services offers the Child Care Subsidy Program, which is designed to assist low-income families and those transitioning out of public assistance to obtain affordable childcare so that they can work. These funds are also used to improve the quality of the childcare so as to better the learning environments for children younger than 12 years old.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF): The program is designed to provide temporary assistance for needy families to care for dependent children in their own homes or in the homes of other caregivers. The program provides childcare, transportation and other services on a temporary basis for those in need.
Governor’s Office for Consumer Health Assistance (OCHA): The Office for Consumer Health Assistance helps consumers of healthcare understand their rights and responsibilities under the many plans and policies that exist. The OCHA provides education, access to health care, prescription medication assistance and mediation to resolve disputes between patients and providers.
Nevada Senior Rx: The Senior Rx Program assists low-income seniors and persons with disabilities who are not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid with pharmaceutical needs. The 2021 program benefits include monthly subsidies of up to $37 for Medicare Part D or Advantage Plan Part D premiums for eligible members.
Nevada Check Up: This program under the Division of Health Care Financing and Policy will allow patients to pay their medical bills on a quarterly basis. Enrollees are not required to pay co-pays, deductibles or other charges for covered services. The quarterly premiums are $25, $50 or $80 based on the gross income of the enrollee and those rates are charged per family and not per child.
Free Health Care from Clinics: The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services offers medical assistance through a number of programs designed to help individuals and families in need. Some of the services provided include doctor visits, prescription medications, dental care and eye exams. There are several Medicaid-related programs available and enrollees will need to meet various eligibility requirements.
Immigrants and Migrants Assistance: The Nevada 2-1-1 programs provide legal assistance to immigrants looking to apply for visas, asylum seekers and permanent residents who are hoping to become naturalized. The Nevada 2-1-1 programs also provide daily hot meals and educational services to help immigrants learn English as a second language.
Nevada Food Banks and Center Provide Assistance: The Department of Health and Human Services identified hunger and access to food a top priority across Nevada in recent years and several programs have been put in place to help needy residents have access to nutritional meals. One of the state’s key strategies is to create “one stop shops” to help individuals and families in need of food in a timely, streamlined manner. These programs also help teach individuals the reasons for food insecurity and they help them better stabilize themselves and move toward self-sufficiency.
Financial Assistance in a Crisis: Nonprofit organizations such as The American Red Cross and Salvation Army can provide immediate help in the way of clothing, emergency food, medical assistance, shelter, furniture and transportation to those people in crisis situations. The Single-Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants program also can provide loans to low-income homeowners to assist them in removing health and safety hazards.
Rental Assistance Vouchers: The CARES Housing Assistance Program was created to help you pay your monthly rent if you have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. You can qualify for this program if you lost your job or had your hours dramatically reduced because of the pandemic. Other Nevada programs, such as the Housing Choice Vouchers, can give you financial relief if you are struggling to pay your monthly rent for other reasons.
Nevada Debt Statistics
According to the Federal Reserve, Nevada was tied with Hawaii for the highest median household debt-to-income ratio in the nation in 2020. That means more Nevadans are in debt than ones who are turning a profit and adding some money to their savings on a yearly basis.
Here is a look at some of the amounts of debt that Nevadans are carrying in 2021 following a taxing and tiresome 2020.
- Mortgage Debt: Nevada residents saw their average mortgage debt amounts rise by 5.6% from 2019 to 2020, according to Experian. The average individual mortgage balance in Nevada went from $226,812 in 2019 to $239,477 in 2020.
- Auto loan debt: Nevadans tend to show relative restraint when it comes to piling up auto loan debt. The average amount of automobile loan debt climbed just 2% from 2018 ($20,633) to 2019 ($20,969), according to Experian.
- Credit card debt: On average, Nevada residents have $5,422 in credit card debt. That total puts the state No. 13 nationally in terms of credit card debt.
- Household debt: Nevadans have an average of $54,800 in household debt, a number that ranks just outside of the top 10 nationally. The good news in Nevada is that poverty rates dropped to 12.5% in 2020, a figure that ranks 30th in the nation.
- Student Loan debt: Consumers in Nevada owe an average of $32,402 on their student loans. While that number certainly seems to be a big one, it’s actually 12% lower than the national average of $36,689 in student loan debt. Those Nevadans still in debt from student loans pay an average of $266 a month.
- Credit scores: The good news is that the average credit score among Nevadans jumped from 686 in 2019 to 695 in 2020. The bad news, however, is that Nevada’s credit score is still much less than the national average of 710. Even after its rise in 2020, Nevada still has the nation’s 10th-lowest average credit score.
- Identity theft: Nevada was one of the top states in terms of the most cases of identity theft per capita. Some 256 out of every 100,000 Nevada residents were victims of identity theft, according to the most recent data published.
- Bankruptcy and foreclosures: Total bankruptcy filings in Nevada plunged from 8,219 in 2019 to 6,613 in 2020. As for Nevada’s foreclosures, the federal government’s protection orders led to the national rate hitting a 16-year low. In Nevada, foreclosures were down 71% — the nation’s fourth-largest decline from 2019 to 2020 behind only Oregon (79%), Kansas (77%) and Arkansas (77%).
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