34 answers

Desperate for Financial Help

I am at rock bottom. My husband came to me today and wants to file for bankrupcy because of a 2 month unemployment and years of financial mistakes. I am desperate to talk to someone who has been through this process and can give me some insight into what to expect or alternatives to talk my husband out of this. Please help!

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I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and ideas that I have received. Thank you to everyone who took the time during thier day to write to me and help me feel that I am not alone.

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Research on line. You may have to have a lawyer and they can give you the pro and cons which are many. Free budget help is available - call Legal Services.
If you are interested in a home based business email me at ____@____.com H. H

If you can avoid filing bancruptcy, I would. My sister did this several years ago and has stuggled ever since to build her credit back up No one seems to trust her financially and won't give her another chance.

If you work at a pre-school you probably have a little bit of free time in the evenings and in the summer. Have you thought about a part time job that has full time income potential? I am a mother of 4 wonderful children that keep me very busy and am a Unit Manager for lia sophia jewelry. This company has helped me tremendously with finances for my busy growing family. As an advisor just starting out you can make an extra $1,000 or more per month working just 2 nights per week. It't easy to do since the jewelry sells itself and the start up cost is pretty inexpensive, I may even be able to work with you on it. If you would like more information visit my website: www.liasophia.com/carinkleekamp
Good luck!
C.

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Hi,

It not to late to get a book by Dave Ramsey called Total Money Make Over. He also, has a radio show and will be in Kansas City on May 2, 2008. There are churches all over the Kansas City area that host his classes called Financial Peace University...http://www.daveramsey.com/

I would also like to invite you to take a look at my opportunity that you can earn extra income around your present jobs. Call this number (3 min message) 1-866-852-0631 #51. If you would like to get more information I will call you back.

http://pamp.tellmethestory.com

1 mom found this helpful

A.,
Hubby should work at Lowes or a place like that for now until he gets one in his field. Look into the "Financial Peace" program. My neighbors did it and they have been sticking to the program for 9 months now and they are reducing their debt Big Time! Also, contact a credit counselor because they can really help you. They are meant to help people in your exact situation. Try to avoid Bankuptcy as much as possible. You need to be responsible for your own debt even if it hurts for a 'little while' - You will come out on top! I bet every one of these girls answering your question is praying for you. I am and I hope you reach your goal and find youself in a comfortable place, financially, in no time. Remember, It might hurt for a 'little while', but soon the weight will be lifted off your shoulders and you'll come out much smarter. No one has ever regretted strapping down to pay off bills but many have regretted bankruptcy. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Can't wait to hear what you plan to do - remember, it's Your Life and Your Descision, we're just putting in our two cents. Good Luck!
C.

1 mom found this helpful

Call and get a credit report from each agency for both you and your husband. They are free. Figure out who you owe money to and how much you owe each person.

Call each creditor and make a deal with them. Tell them you want to pay them back. Ask them to lower your interest rate and try to pay as much as you can each month. If there are too many different people you owe, talk to the bank to see if you can get all the loans consolidated into one bill with a low interest rate...because you are probably a credit risk, don't expect it to be too low....maybe if you'd get a cosigner it might drop a little.

Live within your means ...which is very hard in this society. Yeah, it sucks to shop at Aldi or Save A Lot...wouldn't we all love to shop at Whole Foods and Straubs? But cutting corners in places in which you shop frequently helps the most.

Try not to buy anything new and sell old stuff that's been laying around on craigslist.org . If you need something newer try to do a swap on craigslist.

Pinch your pennies at school. I know it's hard to say no to the soda machine but bring a cup and fill it with water or drink the coffee that they have in the lounge. Don't even shop the dollar menu at McDonalds....bring your own lunch etc......It's hard but it can be done. Once all debt is paid off continue living that way.

I'm a stay at home mom of 2 children. My husband did not work for most of the first year of our second child as he was in and out of the hospital. Even with medical bills, we were able to live off our savings account by living cheap. We didn't do food stamps or welfare or gov't assistance. Though, I tried talking my husband into it, but he said he's home by choice and didn't feel right taking a 'handout'.

Take the kids to the park, the zoo, etc....bring a sack lunch and have a picnic. Other free things around the St. Louis area....

1 mom found this helpful

A.,
I would suggest avoiding bankrupcy if at all possible! It will maybe give you relief at first, but will follow you for years to come!! I understand how you feel as we have been in your situation. My husband and I have been married for 30 years and have made some horrible financial decisions, but now we are very close to being debt free (except for our mortgage). It can be done! It takes a lot of hard work and most creditors will work with you if they know your situation.
Go to DaveRamsey.com. He has incredible advise on how to get out of debt and stay out of debt. You can also hear him at 1310 AM on the radio @ 2:00 in the afternoon.
Hope this helps you! God Bless! ~J.

1 mom found this helpful

I've heard good things about Dave Ramsey, too, but a book that I got that I thought was incredible was "Debt-Proof Your Marriage: How to Achieve Financial Harmony" by Mary Hunt. The reason I liked this book so much is because the author was something like $100,000 in debt which she initially hid from her husband and they managed to work their way back from enormous debt and save their marriage. It's an amazing story, but at the same time, logical and easy to follow. It seems incredible, but also very doable. Best of luck!!

1 mom found this helpful

There are a few different types of bankruptcies - and I would encourage you to look into it. Chapter 13 is more like a debt consolidation program - and may be a good solution. I know several people in similar situations, (my best friend, my husband's best friend) who took this option and their credit ratings actually improved while still in the program. It's not as scary a process as you think, and I know it helped them out. Think of it as a 5 to 7 year plan to getting yourself "fixed" financially. Chapter 11 does not require that you give up of all your assets and such (that is Chapter 7), it just takes all your debt and compiles it and then you use whatever your income is to pay the debts off - you pay only what you can pay, and your debtors have to accept that... They get a little rather than nothing at all - and you still get to keep all your stuff...

1 mom found this helpful

I'm sorry to hear about your financial situation. I had to go through a bankruptcy less than 2 years ago after a divorce of 23 years. I was in the situation because my ex took care of financials and was supporting someone else, while living a double life. It was after the "revelation" that I found out our financial situation was bad. This all took place in Georgia. I now live in Missouri. I have to tell you that it is scary when you file bankruptcy, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. I thought my credit would be totally ruined. Since then I have been able to rent a really nice duplex, even with the bad credit. And I was approved for a visa credit card...which I am using wisely. So it can be a scary proposition and some may give you different advice, but if you have to file, trust me, things could be alot worse.

1 mom found this helpful

My sister filed for bankruptcy a few years ago & discovered afterwords that most of her debts (student loans etc) were exempt from bankruptcy forgiveness so all it did was put a huge black mark on her credit so it wasn't possible for her to buy a house, but it didn't actually get rid of her debts.

My credit is bad enough that many people thought I "should" file for bankruptcy but I just haven't. I think refusing to file bankruptcy was the right decision. I haven't been able to pay off all of my debts but after 7 years many debts will "drop off" your credit report. That's not guaranteed though - sometimes creditors will renew past the 7 years or will continue collections attempts.

Just keep trying to pay things off a little at a time, or make something a higher priority when you get a letter saying it's getting reported to "legal". You want to avoid having any "judgements" hit your credit report. Most companies will be happy to get some kind of payment even if it's small. If you send something in every month they'll usually leave you alone. Sometimes when you try to set up payment arrangements, they'll tell you some large amount is the minimum monthly payment that can be officially accepted as a payment plan, but if you pay less than that, and just do it consistently each month they'll almost always leave you alone. ($25, even $10 sometimes - just do it consistently!)

But yes it definitely sounds like you guys need to add income however you can, and take a serious look at how you can reduce expenses. You might be surprised what you can actually live without once you get used to it! I actually eliminated the car expense for almost a full year recently by cycling/busing it to work. That was huge! The only reason I got a car again was that I'd started a business outside my 9-5 job, as a birth doula. I can't be on call for a birth when a bicycle is my only transportation. If you live anywhere close to your city's bus system, you can get around with your kids without a car. Or even consider moving so that you are on the busline, then you can definitely eliminate the car.

My parents worked through Dave Ramsey's course as well. It sounds really good from what they told me about it.

I've done the fast-food or retail thing on & off when I was between jobs. It's not ideal but at least it's something. Unless your husband is disabled he needs to be working. If he was homeschooling the kids or something that's a different story, but since you're a teacher I assume your daughters are in public school, so your husband definitely needs to be working somewhere. Driver jobs pay really well if you could handle being apart some. There's always SOMETHING you can do, and there are always ways to reduce expenses. Are you on welfare (food stamps etc). That helps, and many places have pretty good food pantries as well. Reducing or eliminating your food expense can help alot in tight times. If your troubles are bigger than that, you may need to seriously down-grade your housing expense.

It doesn't sound like you're quite at the end of your rope yet. I would strongly recommend NOT filing for bankruptcy unless you have so many aggressive collections - with creditors actually scheduling court dates & such that result in wage garnishments so that there's no way you can make ends meet. At that point you might be forced into bankruptcy but since it doesn't sound like that situation is upon you yet you've got time to add income & reduce expenses & get things straightened out before anybody forces you into bankruptcy.

That's my 20 cents.
Good luck!!
S.

1 mom found this helpful

My church just started a class last night called Financial Peace that comes from Dave Ramsey. If you can get a hold of one of his books, people have spoken very highly of him. I really don't have much advice, I just want to encourage you not to let this tear the two of you apart. After all you have invested in each other, that would really be a shame. Best of luck to both of you!!

1 mom found this helpful

We are just coming out from filing BK and all of our bills, less house and vehicles, will be totally wiped out. We filed ch. 7 so you can still file and not have to pay back. We didn't want to but it was best for us to. We didn't get into debt by just going out and buying anything and everything. It was due to our 2 daughters with special needs. Time spent in the hospital, open heart surgery, fighting with the gov't to get my husbands work permit and green card and all they want is more money. We still don't have that and it's been over 2 years. His work permit is almost expired and we found out if he doesn't get his green card within 120 days he can't renew his drivers license. He drives a semi and he needs a license. So I have no clue what will happen then. We do have our congressman helping now.

So if you are really deep in debt and can't get out, file. You can also go to www.cheapskatemonthly.com They have lots of advice there and a great forum. I like that place better than Suze Orman.

Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

I know how are this is. I filed ch7 about 10 yrs ago. For me it was the best thing. I tried consumer credit consuling first but was unable to repay my debt. I live pretty tight and fugal now but If you do deciede to file remember credit will be hard to get for several years. I was able to get a car and house with no trouble buy I pay a bigger interest rate than most people. It took me 10 years to get a credit card and believe me I dont use it except for medical bills and I pay off as quickly as I can. I just started reading Suzie Ormans book. Oh when we filed, we lost our car and home. The people we owed money too gave us an Pay your debt or lose everything deal. So we had to give up our car in order to file. So have a back up plan. I suggest making an appointment with an attorney fist to find out what the new rules are with filing. Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,

Been down this road and thanks to some help we've managed to get things back on track. It's been work and it took time, but we can finally breathe again! We took a Crown Ministries class through our church. If your's doesn't offer it, you can check with other churches to see if they do. We also sought help through Shepherd's Staff Ministries. They are located in Wichita, KS, but if you contact them they may be able to guide you to another christian based organization. Their number is ###-###-####. They do not charge for their services, but gladly accept donations after your sessions are done which we do from time to time. Initially they told us that, as bad as our situation was, we probably would be better off if we just filed BK, but we really didn't want to go down that road again (we both filed in our previous marriages about 10-12 yrs before) so they worked with us in settling debt and we were able to avoid filing BK. Plus, I started a home based business with a health & wellness company that offers over 450 natural personal care products. People are already buying shampoo, baby products, body lotions, make up, etc. I just show them how to redirect the money they are already spending on these items into a much healthier product and show them how to get it at a discount through an annual wholesale membership. This opportunity has allowed me to make extra money in the nooks and crannies of my busy schedule and pay off extra debt! If you want more info on that please check out my website at www.vickimartinez.myarbonne.com. There are various links you can click on to learn more and I would be more than happy to answer any questions you might have. This may not be for you, but definately worth taking a look at. My first reaction was "NO...not for me!!!", but I'm so thankful I at least took a look. Let me know if you have any questions about anything. Please feel free to contact me anytime! I'll keep you and your family in my prayers!

V.
###-###-####
____@____.com
www.vickimartinez.myarbonne.com

I married a man with a lot of debt that he accrued beforehand. He needed to handle it, but just couldn't do it. We had children together by that point, and there was just no way we could pay all the bills. It's not the best situation, but it isn't the end of the world either. My husband filed before they changed the laws on bankruptcy, and was relieved of his debt. Since then, we have still been able to buy our own home and he got a car with a payment just recently. He has been rebuilding his credit, but that has been very difficult just because he isn't good with money. I handle the budget. Is there any way that you could see a financial advisor? Premerica does this for the middle income people. The new laws now ruin your credit and actually only consolodate the bills, not relieve you of them, in many cases. My grandmother owns her own home, and so she has to pay all of the bills back even though her SSI is only $600 a month. If she was renting, they would have given her relief. Downside, I think, is that when others file bankruptcy, everyone pays in higher APRs. But, I am a no debt person myself, live without debt, and you don't pay the APRs anyway. Most have to finance a house though. So, we've been there, and I am neutral on whether or not anyone should do it. If it will help relieve his stress, and he is willing to start all over WITHOUT getting into anymore debt, then it may work for you. If it just frees up more money to get more CCs with higher APRs, then it is probably not going to relieve anyone of any stress at all. Just my .02

I'm currently in the same position i all of a sudden took sick and had to be put in the hospital i have not been able to go back to work at this time i don't have any time at work
all i can do is to tell you and your husband to hold hands and pray a family that prays together stays together i'm behind in every bill that i have but i'm beleiving god to bring me out and make a way for me.

Listen there's a way you can pull this off & get him to back off BUT you have to be willing to do it & put in some extra leg work. Are you ready? I've met women that has been in this situation & I offered them an opportunity to make some extra cash & it's through Mary Kay. The income potential is unlimited.....you would be your limit. YES! You can do this even as a teacher...I work my business about ten hours a week, around a 58 hour work week & my family of 7 & sometimes more when we have weekend visitors! It's NOT expensive to start & if you don't have money/credit for inventory...just order as you go. We teach you what you need to know. I needed $1000.00 by the end of the week one time & I made $1800.00! It's up to you & you can do it at work, church, friends & family...the sky is the limit! I've been at my current job for 13 years & I'm in the process of building up my team/unit, so that I can QUIT! I hate my full-time job but I LOVE doing Mary Kay. Some people have left their jobs to do it full-time because the money was that good. You get all types of write-offs on your home, taxes & so on. Just let me know & I'll be willing to send you some info. Good luck & God Bless!

There is one step in between that you are skipping, have you contacted a credit counslor to see what they suggest? Many times these services are free in certain areas. They saved us when we thought we were at the end, they put us on a budget and they contacted our creditors to have them lower interest or freeze accounts until we could get our heads above water.

Good luck,
D.

I would recommend Dave Ramsey too. I just finished the Financial Peace University course through a local church, and it was a godsend. http://www.daveramsey.com/fpu/home/ It takes some commitment, and can be tough at times, but it has the potential to enrich your life and the lives of your family members like you can't even imagine. If the fee of the course is not doable right now, most churches offer a scholarship to cover part of the fee (A friend that we invited to the course with us did this and it was not a difficult process at all) The churches will also provide child care during the classes which helps tremendously.

Good luck.

Bankruptcy is not the end of the world. We have had to go through it twice (just finishing up with the second). The first time due to major medical bills and the second due to a bad business decision. This second has devastated us alot because we had rebuilt our credit to almost perfect after the first bk but there is life after bk!! We filed a chapt 7 which is complete but I do know there is also the 13(?) that is reorganization and depending on how much you owe and your ability to repay is how they decide which is best for you. It is alot harder to file now than when we first filed 18 yrs ago, you now have to go through a credit counseling course(which you can do online and PLEASE make sure you don't pay an outside company for this, depending on your circumstances the credit counseling agency may waive your fees completely or at least be cheaper than some of the cards we got in the mail offering the course)and more expensive than before too. We ended up paying the lawyer $1500 this time but was able to make payments. Just know that you are not alone and it definately is nothing to be ashamed of!! This is a time of hardship for so many and we do what we must to get by!!
Blessings to you and yours!!
S.

daveramsey.com
He is a financial advisor takes emails and calls and is online. He has a show on daily, CALL them I have been amazed at all that has been helped. I am currently working his total money makeover, JUST because my husband does not believe in ANY debt! I have a little and want to suprise him that its all paid. Plus start my own seperate savings to show him I CAN!! See what he can do to help or suggest for you, I know he is NOT IN FAVOR OF CCARDS FIRST baby step CUT THEM UP~ use DEBIT cards... but he will assit in how to get help on the other.
Best of luck to you and yours~ You will be in my prayers.

A., don't do anything quickly. Instead, talk to someone at a place like CCCS, which is a consumer counseling service. These places will negotiate a payment plan for you on all of your bills, making a budget with you, and allowing you to avoid bankruptcy, which lasts on your account for ten years. They usually require you give up credit cards (but if you're behind, you can't use them anyway), and you make a payment you can afford which is then applied to all of your bills. Often times the creditors will even settle with the company and knock off some of your debt, so that they get paid, because if you file for bankruptcy, they may not get anything. I suggest you try www.cccsstl.org, ConsumerCredit.com, www.familycredit.org, or google to find something close to where you live. Don't pay them a big fee to do it for you-- make sure the company you choose is non-profit. Good luck! I'll pray for you.

Been there, doing that. My husband lost his job last year, and that hurt us financially. On top of that, the creditors were outrageous with the interest rates (for example, I had one card at 7%, but I was a few days late, and they raised it to 29%). We were about to file BK, but our bank talked us out of it. They recommended us that we try the consumer credit counseling service (CCCS) first. We did, and we have four more years before all our credit cards will be paid off. We have no more credit cards except one that can be used as a debit or visa card directly from our checking account. CCCS automatically deducts our monthly payments from our checking account. They take care of everything for us. No more annoying calls from those creditors! What we have in our checking account is what we have. We are still struggling, though, but our outlook should look a lot better when our mortgage and van are paid off in three years. You should consider filing BK as the absolute last resort because if you do, you will have to go to the court. Our friends filed BK and had to go to court to prove that they were definitely suffering so bad they were about to sell the house. The judge ruled in their favor, and they still have to pay for their bills (it's one of those chapters -- 7, 11, or 13). Going through CCCS is a lot better for your credit reports -- that is what we were told by our bank. Good luck with your decision.

Financial Peace University...Dave Ramsey.
Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.

He's amazing!

A.:
Please check out daveramsey.com Dave Ramsey is a financial teacher to helps people get out debt instead of filing bankruptcy (as well as build wealth after you are out of deb). I also know a financial advisor that is certified by Dave Ramsey in Hallsville if you are interested in speaking to someone. The financial advisor does it as a ministry so there is no charge for his council.

I don't know you're entire financial situation, but if you can keep from filing bankruptcy, I say do so, but if not, it's not the end of the world. I filed in March '05. I made the mistake of helping a family member out with a credit card in my name & they decided not to pay the payments. (I couldn't afford theirs and mine) I have a loan on my vehicle now, & I didn't have a co-signer, it is a 15% interest rate (ouch), I kept my house, my cell phone I have a new credit card (I know they're bad, but this one is very under control)with a fixed 8.9% interest rate, unsecured. I just switched cell providers and after a credit check was approved for their family plan of phones. You can recover from bankruptcy, just make certain you have a game plan for the first couple of years, as it will be tight. With the economy the way it is I never would've made it without filing (the economy was better when I filed than it is now). Good luck to you & your family! I don't know where you're at, but I used a very affordable atty in St. Charles, MO and he didn't get into my personal business (why I wasn't receiving child support & what I bought with the money)like other attys did.

A.,

I would suggest speaking with a bankruptcy attorney to find out exactly what the consequences would be for your situation. Erlene Krigel is excellent - ###-###-####.

There are many myths and misconceptions about what bankruptcy will and won't do, and how it will affect your credit in the future. I am a strong believer of making decisions with as much information as possible.

Best of luck,
L.

The rules have changed in recent years. A friend told me that you use to be able to just walk away from your bills. (Not your house and car) But it's not like that anymore I heard. Now you can file but you still have to pay back the bills. It just gets the folks off your back. If were talking about credit cards call them each and talk to them. Sometimes they will work with you. Or Go to a financial couseling place. They will do all the calling for you and schedule payments.

I love Suzie Orman. She says to pay the smallest debt off first. While paying the required payment on the others. Then it will encourage you as you pay off each one off.

Nothing would be better than (him?) getting a job or two.
Praying for you,
L. B

Your husband may be unemployed for what he is trained to do, but he can still get a job at a store or fast food restaurant or home improvement store or even an electronics store. I've had several friends whose husbands have done that for a first job until they've gotten a job in their field and some who have done it as a second job until their debt ratio came down. Dave Ramsey recommends this until you are financially stable, he even is against bankruptcy. Dave says a husband should do anything he can to help his family financially.

I have also heard of Dave Ramsey's program and the people that are using that program are very pleased and usually get out of debt within 5 years. I have also had friends use CCCS which is credit consumer counciling services and got out of debt in less than 5 years. They are cheaper than bankruptcy and will also help you determine which is the best way to go. We are also in a lot of financial debt and have talked about going to one of these programs but we are making it right now and trying to crawl out of debt on our own but is a lot slower process as our interest rates have all gone up on our credit cards and they have been closed for at least 7 years and have been working at paying down our debt for at least that long and still have a long way to go but if we had a job change and couldn't make the bills then we would definately be checking into CCCS. I have been working part-time so we can pay more on the bills.

Try contacting each creditor and telling them about your situation. Then ask is they have a hardship repayment plan. That type of plan will usually lower your interest rate and allow you to make minimal payments (16 - 25 dollars) and keep your credit score from dropping too low. Also with mortgage companies ask if you qualify for a loan modification. That would lower your mortgage payment. Car payment - you could ask for a deferment which would put your late payments at the end of your loan which would make your loan current.

when it comes to finances there is all kinds of different ideas... but to really talk about it and make plans we would probably need to chat 1:1
I filed bankruptcy 5 years ago and I would be glad to talk with you. email me and I'll try to answer your questions and give you my phone number
____@____.com

We too have been in your place. We went thru Dave Ramsey's program at our church. I know he is due here in KC soon for a crash course as well. In just over a year, we are now debt free except for mortgage and are building on our emergency fund. We couldn't have done it without his program.

One of the things that really hit home with us was to buckle down and add another job. We lucked out and found a home based business that not only helped us out of our hole, but has done so well that we are on track to have hubby's income replaced by the end of the year with RESIDUAL INCOME alone. Once we hit that mark, he will quit his construction job and do the business full time. That will also allow him to spend more time with the kids and work around the house.

It is NOT simple. Like any business, you have to treat it like a BUSINESS...not a hobby. Check it out. www.easylimu.com Email me if you have any questions or concerns, or just need encouragement!

If you can avoid filing bancruptcy, I would. My sister did this several years ago and has stuggled ever since to build her credit back up No one seems to trust her financially and won't give her another chance.

If you work at a pre-school you probably have a little bit of free time in the evenings and in the summer. Have you thought about a part time job that has full time income potential? I am a mother of 4 wonderful children that keep me very busy and am a Unit Manager for lia sophia jewelry. This company has helped me tremendously with finances for my busy growing family. As an advisor just starting out you can make an extra $1,000 or more per month working just 2 nights per week. It't easy to do since the jewelry sells itself and the start up cost is pretty inexpensive, I may even be able to work with you on it. If you would like more information visit my website: www.liasophia.com/carinkleekamp
Good luck!
C.

Hi A.!

If your husband is really ambitious about gaining financial freedom, there is a business meeting tonight at
8:00 at the Sheradan Hotel in Overland Park, Kansas. Take 435 S. to Null - make a left - then go to the second light which is (College) and make a right. It is by invitation only, so he must confirm that he is intrested so that I can put his name on a seat. He will need to dress business casual and bring a notebook and pen. Parking is free. Have him call me when he gets there. ###-###-####.
Most opportunities is about who you know, so I will be glad to get him in to meet business owners who can help him. One guy in particular is Mike Pilcher, owner of Pilcher International, he is my business mentor, and is very successful. I promise that he will not regret this opportunity. Take it or leave it, no pressure here. You may also join him or come instead. Knowledge is power!!
Be encouraged!!!!

Research on line. You may have to have a lawyer and they can give you the pro and cons which are many. Free budget help is available - call Legal Services.
If you are interested in a home based business email me at ____@____.com H. H

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