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My Husband Had a Stroke, is Spending Down Our Retirement and Moved Out. – Anne

“Dear Steve,

Husband lost job in January, 2010. I had not worked in 12 years since having our oldest of 3 children. We’ve moved around a lot and were in current home only 2 1/2 years. Home is under water.

July 2010, husband had a hemiplegic stroke. October 2010 I went back to work to try and bring in some income/insurance, but am starting at 30K a year.

January 2011 husband moves out and wants a divorce. He is receiving disability along with a few hundred dollars a month for children, but is keeping it all.

How do I move forward on 30K a year? My current mortgage is 3200 a month but after several moves and job losses, we don’t have ability to pay. We are pulling money from retirement account to pay current bills.

Because husband is on disability I understand he can pull out money without penalty. There is about 80K remaining (I believe) in retirement account.

Can you give me some direction on what I should be doing/thinking to move forward? I don’t understand the process of bankruptcy or foreclosure and need to be armed with information so that I can make the right choices for myself and my children.

My husband is as good as gone and is in denial. I have come to terms with losing my beautiful home and our possessions that I probably won’t be able to fit in a smaller home. I want to deal with whatever I have to before we end up on the street.

Thank you.

Anne”

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The Answer

Dear Anne,

I’m so sorry to hear about how 2010 turned out for you.

Okay, let’s roll up our sleeves here and get you headed in the right direction.

You made a very insightful statement when you said your husband was in denial. I need for you not to be. The way we repair this situation moving forward is to focus on you.

The downward spiral of the retirement account is not a solution, it is only a slow death of your finances. If any of that money is yours then you need to get your money out and transferred into an account in your name only. Make sure it is a retirement account.

Logically the way this situation works is by adjusting your life to fit within your income. The changes you are going to have to make will be tough and painful but while it will be not fun, please remember it could always be worse. Look for gratitude and goodness where you can in this process and you will heal and move on quicker.

You are going to have to give up the house and find a place to rent that you can afford. Take the stuff from the house that means the most to you and sell the rest.

All of this is going to be tough and emotional. That’s natural. And never lose sight of the fact I’m here for you and will do my best to help you across this bridge from your old life to your new life.

I need for you to take these actions to protect yourself moving forward.

If you have any joint debt with your husband then I need for you to immediately talk to a local bankruptcy attorney. You will need to file to break the bond of that debt or it will drag you down. Divorce does not do that, only bankruptcy breaks those legal financial bonds. Click here to find a local bankruptcy attorney.

By doing all of this stuff you can get a legal second chance so you can create a safe place for you and the kids. Depending on where you live you may be eligible for some government benefits to help make ends meet as well. Check out Benefits.gov.

Much of what happened sounds like it was beyond your control. I need for you to take back your power and start taking charge to get you headed towards a new financial life. The old one sounds dead.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

Big Hug!

My Husband Had a Stroke, is Spending Down Our Retirement and Moved Out.   Anne
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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • Anne

    Thanks, Steve. I assure you I am not in denial. That is why I have contacted you. You are doing a wonderful service to so many people and I especially am very appreciative of your assistance. I will tackle these problems head-on, thanks to your help, and hopefully serve as a role-model to my 3 boys. I will keep you updated.

  • Anne

    Thanks, Steve. I assure you I am not in denial. That is why I have contacted you. You are doing a wonderful service to so many people and I especially am very appreciative of your assistance. I will tackle these problems head-on, thanks to your help, and hopefully serve as a role-model to my 3 boys. I will keep you updated.

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