The current economic downturn has many debtors scrambling to pay off credit card debt, personal loans and even their mortgage while they still have an income to do so. But many debtors are finding that no matter how hard they try, their debt load just seems to increase or decrease by very little. The reality is that just because a debtor pays "something" on their credit card debt (or other debts), there is no guarantee that the debt will be paid off in a reasonable amount of time or in some cases it may not even be paid off in their lifetime. This is why Chapter 13 bankruptcy is designed for debts to be repaid within a 3 to 5 year window. Five years is a reasonable amount of time to repay debt, 35 years is not. Without bankruptcy, many debtors are paying on credit card debt with payment amounts that don't even cover the entire amount of interest. For example, if a debtor owes $40,000 in credit card debt, he/she would need $400 to $800 a month just to cover the interest on the debt. For those debtors who are serious about paying off debt, working with a professional to thoroughly examine your financial situation is highly recommended. Find out how much it will take (in monthly payments) to pay off your debts within five years, while still paying your basic living expenses (mortgage, food etc.). If you find that it would be impossible, you may be a good candidate for bankruptcy. Both Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy have discharge options for debt that cannot be repaid. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is an excellent way to repay debt if you're a wage earner and still get a fresh start, while Chapter 7 bankruptcy is perfect for those debtors who have no income or too little income to repay their debts. Speak with a bankruptcy attorney to find out more about how bankruptcy can help you get control over your financial situation.