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Wisconsin Debt Relief Guide

One of the most unique states in the country, Wisconsin is home to “cheeseheads” (fans of the Green Bay Packers and cheese fanatics alike). For years, the “Badger State” has drawn people in with its low cost of living and low housing prices. But recently there has been an uptick in the prices of homes and a decline in the number of available homes compared to the previous year.

While Wisconsinites are actually fairing much better than the rest of the country in the wake of the pandemic, the state ranks 15th for consumer credit card debt. residents carry an average credit card balance of $4,376.

“Carrying credit card balances that high is not good for people’s budgets, especially when we’re already getting squeezed by inflation,” says Gary Herman, President of Consolidated Credit. “Paying off credit card debt as quickly as possible to eliminate those bills can be immensely beneficial right now. It will make it easier to maintain financial stability in the face of rising costs.

Consolidated Credit Helps Wisconsin Residents Reduce Their Total Credit Card Payments by Up to 50%

Consumer Debt in Wisconsin

This chart shows a breakdown of average consumer debt in Wisconsin based on the latest Household Debt report from the Federal Reserve.

In 2020, 11,436 Wisconsinites filed for bankruptcy compared to the previous year’s filing total of 16,621.

Income and employment in Wisconsin

Since Wisconsin is a right-to-work state, employees cannot be denied employment whether they are part of a union or not. Additionally, employees cannot be forced to join or leave a union against their will, nor are they obligated to pay union dues. Regardless of their union membership, employees are still allowed to enjoy the union benefits.

Furthermore, Wisconsin is an employment-at-will state. This means that an employer can, at any given moment and for any reason, terminate employment. Conversely, employees can also resign in similar fashion. In layman’s terms, neither the employer nor the employee guarantees they will uphold employment.

Throughout 2020, Wisconsin maintained low unemployment rates of around 3.9%. And by January 2022, that percentage dropped to 3%, which was 1 point below the national average.

Unemployment Benefits: 

  • Minimum per Week: $54
  • Maximum per Week: $370
  • Maximum availability of Benefits: 26 weeks

General Information about the Unemployment Insurance Program:
Apply for Unemployment Benefits

To file a UI claim online:
Apply for UI Benefits

To file a claim by telephone number:

Online assistance: (414) 435-7069 or toll-free (844) 910-3661

Job Centers:

CareerOneStop.org

Banking and taxes in Wisconsin

Wisconsin has an income tax that ranges between 3.44% and 7.65%. The state also imposes a state sales tax of 5%. When combined with local taxes, the total sales tax rate can range between 5%-5.5%.

Banking is fairly common in Wisconsin, as 2.9% of Wisconsin residents do not have a checking or savings account.

Wisconsin housing market

Wisconsin enjoyed a booming housing market in 2021, according to the Wisconsin Realtors Association. But by February 2020, there was a 17% drop in active listings compared to the previous year. This directly correlates to the fact that inventory is tightening up and housing prices keep going up. In February 2022, the average Wisconsin home sells for $235,000, which is up 9.3% from February 2021. 

Milwaukee, for example, is suffering from a lack of new development in single-family homes and condos. The demographic boom of Millennials and Gen Z coupled with historically low loan rates and a rising economy has resulted in a very tight housing market. And most people look to Milwaukee for its low average home prices ($149,800) compared to places like the state capital, Madison ($369,900), or Lake Geneva (439,000). And because of the highly competitive market, most homes spend an average of 26-49 days on the market.

“Wisconsinites enjoyed a boom in their housing market in 2021, but by 2022 that boom led to tighter inventory and higher pricing for homes overall” explains Gary Herman, President of Consolidated Credit. “Homebuyers to bide their time while taking steps to minimize their credit card debt so they can compete in this type of market.”

Talk to a HUD-certified housing counselor to customize a homebuying action plan today.

Wisconsin has a $75,000 homestead exemption to protect equity in your home. If you are married and filing bankruptcy jointly, that amount is doubled to $150,000.

  • 67% of Wisconsinites are homeowners
  • Median mortgage payment: $1,418
  • Median rent payment: $856

If you are finding it challenging making rental payments, you can seek assistance through Wisconsin’s rental programs. For those seeking mortgage relief, Wisconsin offers a lending hand through the Wisconsin Housing Assistance program.

Retirement in Wisconsin

Currently, the average Wisconsinite has $428,872 saved for retirement, which is about $497,000 less than what you need to retire comfortably in the state. The average retiree needs $925,000 saved to live comfortably in retirement. 

Exquisite lakes and forests, as well as the presence of all four seasons, and an affordable lifestyle draws people to the state of Wisconsin. But unfortunately, the state income tax rate (3.44%-7.65%) may draw people away from retirement here. And when you consider that nearly one in four retirees rely on Social Security for at least 90% of their income, it’s no surprise people may consider states with no income taxes before they consider a state with income taxes.

Average Wisconsin insurance premiums

Wisconsin, similar to most states across the U.S., operates under a tort system, or an at fault-based system, when it comes to car accidents. That means the person determined to be “at-fault” for causing any collision will be responsible for the any other’s expenses as well. That’s why it’s important you have insurance for coverage. The average year auto insurance premiums are fairly low at $938.

Similarly, average annual home insurance premiums are fairly low at $1,084. And when it comes to average health insurance premiums, expect to fork out a hefty $5,527 annually.

Helpful resources for Wisconsin facing hardship

Food Insecurity

RegionFood BankPhone NumberAddress
EastFeeding America Eastern Wisconsin – Fox Valley(920) 202-36902911 W. Evergreen Drive
Appleton, WI 54913
920-202-3690
East-centralFondy Food Pantry(920) 322-0369573 W. Rolling Meadows Drive, P.O. Box 492 Fond du Lac, WI 54936-0492  
East-centralWatertown Food Pantry(920) 390-4252209 N 9th St. Watertown, WI 53094
East-centralFreedom Center Food Pantry(920) 412-75821110 S. Oneida St Appleton, WI 54914
Madison MetroMilton Food Pantry(608) 868-1166City Hall
710 S Janesville Street
Milton, WI 53563
Madison MetroSecond Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin(608) 223-91212802 Dairy Drive Madison, WI, 53718
Madison MetroSt. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry & Center for Vincentian Charity(608) 257-09192033 Fish Hatchery Road
Madison, WI 53713
Madison MetroThe River Food Pantry(608) 442-88152201 Darwin Rd.
Madison, WI 53704
Madison MetroSecond Harvest Foodbank of Southern WI – Food Distribution Center(608) 216-7221  2802 Dairy Drive  Madison, WI, 53718
Madison MetroOregon Area Food Pantry(608) 291-0709107 Alpine Pkwy, Oregon, WI 53575
Milwaukee MetroFood Pantry of Waukesha County(262) 542-53001301 Sentry Drive
Waukesha, WI 53186
Milwaukee MetroFriedens Community Ministries (Friedens Food Pantries)(414) 289-6030PO Box 05411, Milwaukee, WI 53205  
Milwaukee MetroFeeding America Eastern Wisconsin – Milwaukee(414) 931-74001700 W. Fond du Lac Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53205
SouthFort Atkinson Food Pantry(920) 563-6992715 Jones Avenue
P. O. Box 275
Fort Atkinson, WI 53538-0275
SoutheasternHartford Food Pantry(262) 673-574724 N Johnson Street
Hartford, WI 53027
SoutheasternLake Geneva Food Pantry(262) 248-2337715 Wisconsin St
Lake Geneva, WI 53147​
SoutheasternRacine County Food Bank(262) 632-23072000 DeKoven Ave., Unit #2,
Racine, WI 53403-2481
SoutheasternMuskego Food Pantry(262) 679-6448P.O. Box 231 S81 W19150
Apollo Drive Muskego, WI 53150
SoutheasternNew Berlin Food Pantry(262) 789-804017300 W Horizon Dr.
P.O. Box 510111
New Berlin, WI 53151
West-centralFeed My People Food Bank(715) 835-94152610 Alpine Rd Eau Claire, WI 54703

 

Veterans

As of 2019, Wisconsin was home to 331,340 Veterans. These resources are available to help Veterans that are facing unemployment, homelessness, and other hardships.

State of Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs »

Helpful employment resources for Veterans:

How Consolidated Credit helps Wisconsin residents find debt relief

Consolidated Credit has provided free credit counseling services to 2,231 credit users in the state of Wisconsin in 2020. Of those, 116 went on to consolidate their debt with our help through a debt management program (the average amount of debt enrolled was $10,466). Those who did not enroll received a free debt analysis, complementary budget evaluation, and were directed to the right solutions for their respective situations.

Relief options to consider if you’re in debt in Wisconsin

If you have good credit and need to pay off credit card debt and other non-secured debts, a debt consolidation loan is an excellent option for you. By having good credit, you can refinance your debt at a low-interest rate and enjoy one monthly payment. This will help you get out of debt faster, and you may wind up paying less each month. This is an excellent solution for Wisconsin residents with high debt and a good credit score.

Wisconsinite homeowners may qualify for a home equity loan or a home equity loan of credit, sometimes called a (HELOC). These types of loans use the equity in your home. Due to rapid home value increases, many residents have equity in their homes. The loan allows you to borrow against the equity in your home and pay off credit cards and other debt. This is not a step to take lightly because you could lose your home in foreclosure if you can’t make the payments. If you are considering borrowing against your home, call 1-800-435-2261 to speak with a HUD-certified housing counselor to make sure this is a safe option for you.

Consolidated Credit helps Wisconsin residents with counseling programs that identify the best way to get out of debt after considering their situations. Wisconsin residents can get a confidential debt and budget evaluation from a certified credit counselor. Afterward, the counselor will go over the available options and which course of action best meets a person’s needs and goals.

In Wisconsin, as in other states, it’s best to avoid bankruptcy. If you can afford to repay all that you owe to avoid credit damage but can’t do it on your own, a debt management program can help. You enroll through a credit counseling agency. The agency will work with your creditors to reduce or eliminate interest and work out a payment schedule. Qualifying Wisconsinites can get out of debt in 36-60 payments, on average.

Another option for Wisconsin residents is debt settlement. With debt settlement, you settle your debt independently or with the help of a debt settlement company. In this program, you agree to pay your creditors a portion of what is owed. This will damage your credit rating because you are not paying on the terms you first agreed to. Late payments, which are often part of this program, will hurt your credit rating for seven years. Even with those negatives, this can be an excellent program for Wisconsinite residents with overwhelming debt. It can help you avoid bankruptcy.

If you’re curious how we can help you, below, you will find a few case studies from clients that we’ve helped in Wisconsin. If you’re facing challenges with debt, call us at (844) 276-1544 to receive a free debt and budget evaluation from a certified credit counselor.

Don’t let credit card debt hold you back. Find the best debt relief option for you and join other Wisconsinites who eliminated their debt.

Case Study

Sherry from Oshkosk, WI

“I’ve had excellent communication with the staff. Every time I’ve spoken with a credit counselor they have been very helpful and courteous. ”

Where she started:
  • Total unsecured debt: $31,549.00
  • Estimated interest charges: $17,923.80
  • Time to payoff: 13 years, 8 months
  • Total monthly payments: $1,265.00
After DMP enrollment:
  • Average negotiated interest rate: 4.14%
  • Total interest charges: $3,267.38
  • Time to payoff: 4 years, 7 months
  • Total monthly payment: $635.00
Time Saved

9 years, 1 month

Monthly Savings

$630.00

Interest Saved

$14,656.42

Case Study

Terry from Milwaukee, WI

“It would have taken us at least 15 years to pay off our debt or we most likely would have had to declare bankruptcy. I’m so glad I paid attention to that commercial. I recommended them to a coworker and she is very pleased also. Thank you so much! ”

Where he started:
  • Total unsecured debt: $22,802.00
  • Estimated interest charges: $12,931.02
  • Time to payoff: 13 years, 8 months
  • Total monthly payments: $915.72
After DMP enrollment:
  • Average negotiated interest rate: 4.33%
  • Total interest charges: $2,563.31
  • Time to payoff: 3 years, 9 months
  • Total monthly payment: $516.00
Time Saved

9 years, 11 months

Monthly Savings

$354.72

Interest Saved

$10,367.71

Case Study

Wendy from Port Washington, WI

“I have nothing but wonderful things to say about Consolidated Credit – from the beginning when I felt so embarrassed to be calling, you made me feel at ease. It’s taken less than five years to become debt free and that is a HUGE accomplishment. ”

Where she started:
  • Total unsecured debt: $54,063.00
  • Estimated interest charges: $31,173.09
  • Time to payoff: 15 years, 11 months
  • Total monthly payments: $2,162.52
After DMP enrollment:
  • Average negotiated interest rate: 7.39%
  • Total interest charges: $5,653.13
  • Time to payoff: 4 years, 6 months
  • Total monthly payment: $1,118.00
Time Saved

11 years, 5 months

Monthly Savings

$1,044.52

Interest Saved

$25,519.96

It’s time to find relief from credit card debt! Get a free debt and budget evaluation from a certified credit counselor today and find out if you qualify for a debt relief program.