America runs on debt. It is something that most of us have, yet people rarely feel comfortable discussing it with people they know. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your own debt, the comforting news is that you’re not alone.

According to a recent survey, more than 65 percent of American adults who have debt say they don’t know when they will be debt-free. In fact, 25 percent believe that they will die in debt. Statistics like this suggest that bankruptcy is still a very necessary legal tool in the United States.

So what kinds of debt do Americans have? According to the survey:

  • Mortgage debt: 54 percent
  • Credit card debt: 53 percent
  • Auto loans: 47 percent
  • Student loans: 21 percent
  • Medical debt: 13 percent
  • Personal loans: 11 percent

If you are considering bankruptcy and don’t know whether to choose Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, the type of debt you have matters nearly as much as the amount. Chapter 7 might be appropriate for people who have credit card debt and/or medical debt. Both of these are unsecured debts that can be discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 focuses on restructuring debt into a manageable repayment plan over a period of years. It might be more appropriate for someone with mortgage debt and auto loans. Because these are secured debts, defaulting on payments could result in foreclosure and repossession. Filing Chapter 13 might allow you to catch up on payments and keep both the house and the car.

Before deciding on bankruptcy or another form of debt relief, it’s a good idea to speak with an experienced attorney who can assess your financial situation, explain your options and help you choose the course of action that is right for you.