Is Bankruptcy the Only Way Out?


Dear Steve,

My husband is 68 and I am 62. He has always been in charge of our finances — He recently lost a good-paying job (actually, it was 8 months ago and he just told me yesterday) and started a new one 2 days ago.

He went from making $70,000 to $16 an hour. We have been married for 16 years.

I pulled my credit history and am stunned to see I alone have $33,000 worth of credit card debt! Mostly from him opening cards in my name and using them. As well as using his own.

I asked him to itemize all the bills we owe because I am sure we must be double the $33,000 just in credit card debt. We rent and have 1 car payment.

Is bankruptcy the only way out? I don’t want either of us working until we are 95! I am quite afraid of our future as well as afraid he will do this again behind my bank. Your advice is appreciated. Thank you-



Dear Karoline,

Well, it is clear you should take a more proactive role in monitoring your credit report, maybe with the free service from CreditKarma.com.

The deeper issues about lying about not having a job and engaging in credit fraud to make ends meet are more about trust, fear, and deception than about a financial issue.

Your husband lied and cheated when it comes to income and debt, and I’m not giving him a free pass here, but you are going to have to be the financial adult in the room.

You didn’t mention what kind of retirement assets you have saved but I would suggest you take a look at that account to see if it has been robbed as well.

Ultimately the answer here is going to be based on what assets you have, how much time until retirement, and how much you already have saved for retirement.

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If you don’t have enough saved, any money you spend now trying to dig out of the current mess is going to be money not saved for when you will need it the most.

I would suggest you find a good local bankruptcy attorney and have a free discussion about what bankruptcy would mean for you. Bankruptcy is the fastest way to get a fresh start for the least amount of money.

It would also allow you to get to saving for retirement quickly considering the limited time you may have left to work.

You may want to read the following information:

Those That File Bankruptcy Do Better Than Those That Don’t

How to Know if You Should File Bankruptcy

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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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.
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