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Our Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Will Be Over Soon But I’m Worried We Suck at Money Management

By on June 13, 2018

Question:

Dear Steve,

Hi! My husband Dave and I have been married since 2005 and It is our second marriage. We are soulmates and have a very strong relationship.

He has no children of his own and I have two ages 19 and 26 years. we were financially stable and built a brand new home which we moved into in January of 2010.

Dave had a major stroke in August of 2010 and almost died. To make a long story short his recovery was a miracle. He made his return to work as a Salesman at Verizon Wireless after five and a half months which I felt was too soon, he was not ready.

But, disability was being reduced to 60% after 6 months and we felt we could not afford the cut in pay.

Because he returned to early he made several mistakes during the next 6 months and they fired him. We were now devastated. He had been there for 12 years. He was an excellent employee, top of the sales team every month.

How do you start over at almost 50 years old with no college background. He was on unemployment for a year. Fortunately we qualified for the save the dream program which helped us maintain our mortgage payments during that time.

After unemployment, he went from job to job, but nothing he pursued was enough to maintain our standard of living. We ended up filing chapter 7 to get rid of credit card debt and 6 months later chapter 13 to get us out of a foreclosure in the making and save our home.

Chapter 13 has been a huge struggle for us. Our trustee payments are high and our budget is extremely tight. We are not good money managers to begin with but under this stress it’s even worse. Fortunately we will be out of bankruptcy in a year and a half! it did save our home but is one of the hardest things we’ve ever done.

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On the good side, Dave got a wonderful job with Apple, Inc as a work from home technical advisor. He has been there three years now and recently got his first promotion. He is doing great and they appreciate him at this job. He is good at what he does. He is hoping to move into management within the next year as this has been the discussions with his boss.

We have been in a downhill spiral for so long. We need help with money management. We truly have a second chance because of his employment with Apple. He finally has a career again.

Our budget with this bankruptcy is unrealistic. We have given up TV, our cars are falling apart and there just isn’t any money left for anything extra.

Bankruptcy does not care they just want their payments. You don’t pay, your case gets dismissed.

it’s just that simple to them. we want to come out of this bankruptcy strong and we never want to look back.

But I don’t feel we have the money management capabilities we need and I don’t know who to turn to for advice.

Could you please let us know where to start? I am scared because I have a $40,000 Parent PLUS Loan facing me when the bankruptcy finally ends. I don’t want to go from trustee payments and replace them with incredibly high student loan payments. I don’t know if I have options. It’s like the nightmare will never end. She did not even attend the school and they took the money anyway. I would appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.

Thank you

Janine

Answer:

Dear Janine,

What was the school and what year did you pay for? Tell me more how this happened. Post an update in the comments section below.

The good news here is it sounds like you managed to save your home. When the bankruptcy ends will you be caught up on the mortgage? Is there other debt included in it as well? If you are current on the mortgage you can terminate your bankruptcy early but more information is needed.

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Not everyone is good at money management. Some people make good bean counters, some are good at art or sales, but nobody is good at everything.

If you’d like to determine your own money personality you can use my online calculator here.

If it is determined that the school was accredited or the funds were used for normal expenses then the student loan may not be eligible for a bankruptcy discharge. But at the very least you could consolidate the loan into a new Direct Loan and then repay it via the income-driven program ICR.

Clearly, more information is needed to create a plan moving forward. But one stop would be to discuss your situation with a knowledgeable debt coach like Damon Day who can personally review your situation and help create a strategy as you move forward.

It’s good that you’ve recognized your weaknesses and are actively seeking a solution ahead of time. That is a very positive step to take.

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About 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.

2 Comments

  1. Karen

    June 20, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    I know your bankruptcy payments are high, mine are too. But I’ve been thinking even if I save just half or a third of that amount each month when the Bankruptcy is over then I will be ahead eventually. So I’m planning to take about half of my Bankruptcy payment and have it automatically transferred to a savings account each month that way it’s automatic. You could do a portion into saving and a portion to pay of that loan or something similar making things automatic makes it easier cause if you don’t have that money where you see it everyday you won’t spend it.

  2. Jannie

    June 13, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    Question asked.

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