I Am a 63 Year Old Senior And Struggling to Make Ends Meet. – Carol

“Dear Steve,

I am a 63 year old single woman who has been living in a condo that I have been paying a mortgage on for almost 27 years.

I am presently collecting social security and have a small part time job. I have very little savings which I am using to pay bills. I am struggleing.

In April of 2003 I was laid off of a job that I had for 13 years. I was 56 years old at the time and have been unable to find a full time job with benifits. In 2008 my savings were diminishing and I have been having a hard time paying my bills.

Earlier this year I started talking to bankruptsy attorneys. In New Jersey where I live a person can not declare Chapter 7 bankruptsy if they have over $20,200 in personal assets. I have about $100,000 equity in my home and less than $8, 000 due on the mortgage.

One attorney advised me that being I was at least 62 years old I could apply for a reverse mortgage. The closing costs on this mortgage were about $7,500 and the younger you are the less you get out of it. For example a person 72 years old could get more than a person that is 62 years old.

I have contacted numerous attorneys and non-profit groups and no one can help me. The non-profits wanted a monthly payment of several hundred dollars a month which I can not afford. I can not afford to go for Chapter 13. As I spent months looking for someone to represent me to my creditors my debt was going to collection agencies and I have been sued. There may be liens on my home.

As I am not eligible for Chapter 7 in New Jersey and I can not afford the monthly payments on Chapter 13 I can not get any kind of representation or support in New Jersey. I have contacted NJ State Legal Aide and they will not represent me. The problem is that I don’t feel that I can go this alone or use “Do It Yourself” plans that a lot attorneys and non profits think that people can do. I really feel that I need someone that is legally qualified and will handle my case with understanding and respect.

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As a New Jersey resident who does not qualify for Chapter 7 and can’t afford the monthly payments on Chapter 13, will not be represented by the state legal aide what help and support is there for someone in this situation?


Dear Carol,

I’m curious, is the reason you can’t afford a Chapter 13 bankruptcy simply that your current income leaves you next to nothing to apply towards any debt repayment?

Do you have any heirs you would leave your home to in case you passed away? I’m wondering if you are worried about trying to preserve as much equity as possible for someone else to inherit?

What bills are you currently paying?

How much is your mortgage payment and what zip code do you live in?

If you could give me the answers to these questions I can better assist you.

Please update me on your progress by

You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

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P.S. Be sure to read ‘The Secret of Surviving Through Difficult Economic Times. What I Learned On My Journey‘.

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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15 thoughts on “I Am a 63 Year Old Senior And Struggling to Make Ends Meet. – Carol”

  1. I am a 73 year old man with no job. My girlfriend kicked me out after 22 years. I have a gun collection, tool collection, guitar collection, watch collection, deep sea fishing equipment collection, and a coin collection all combined worth of
    $ 75,000.00. I have no car. I am in okay shape and was planning to go on a Elk hunt this November. The girl didn’t think so ??? When I say girl I mean girl, a cute little female. My preference is two legs, two arms, any size tits and likes to kiss and have sex. I don’t care if you snore, fart or anything after I am asleep. I can cook, I am good at it if you like steak and potato. You make the salad. I am religious, Christian ordained Minister. I fish and hunt a lot. I never lie, cheat or fool around with other women. My new job will to be your man and live happily ever after. I hope .

  2. Steve
    Thank you so much for taking the time to work with me.
    You are the only one who has given me information that I can work with. Until I came to you I really had no idea how to handle this situation. When I turn 65 which will be 2 years from the end of this past November I will be eligable for 2 pensions from 2 past employers which will total about $750. so I will have more to work with in the near future. I am planning on keeping my present part time job for as long as I can. I am very happy with it. Right now I am limited to how much I can make a year being I am on social security. But that will change for the better the year I turn 66. I have been giving some serious thought to starting an online business at home but it may be awhile before I see any results with that. I will keep you updated.
    I am subscribed to your email updates so I will be checking in at your website.
    Big hugs to you and Pam and your family and I wish you all the best for the holidays and New Year. Best Regards Carol

  3. Steve
    Thanks for your response.
    Your first suggestion is most likely what I will go with for now. I know that there are liens against the house.
    If I should be able to do so in the future do I have the option of paying off these liens? Also once the creditor puts a lien on the house does interest accrue on the lien?
    I am saving all corespondence that I get from these creditors in a special file and have made separate files for each account. What ever they send me is all that I have.
    I will be keeping this file for as long as I am living in the house.
    Thanks for all your help. Regards Carol

  4. Steve
    Thanks for getting back to me so soon. I see you really want to help me so lets move forward.

    Yes I do owe on credit cards and lines of credit from credit card companies. These total about $35,000 to $40,000.

    As for the HE and HELOC these were used to pay off a previous credit card which is now closed and for living expenses before I turned 59 and a half so that I would not have to pay a penalty on a 401K withdrawal. There is a possibility that I will be paying one or both of these accounts off soon as I may be getting gift money from my family which I will not have to repay. I will wait and see and I will keep you posted.

    The last is my primary mortgage which is a few days late because of the timing of my social security check but I have managed to keep this out of foreclosure. I owe under $8,000 on this mortgage.

    I do not have an internet connection in my home at this time so I have been using public access. If you don’t hear from me again today I will be back in touch with you tomorrow.

    Thanks again. Keep up the good work. Regards Carol

    • Carol,

      OK, got it.

      If you want to stay in your house then the most logical course of action is to just stop paying the credit cards. Once you do this you will wind up in collections and the creditors may sue you. But they will not be able to garnish your wages if they get a judgment against you. They may be able to place a lien the against the house but since you are not concerned about passing on any of the value of the house to others then once you pass away the debt dies with you.

      The only other options would be a reverse mortgage, which you have already researched, or to sell the house, pay the obligations and find some place to rent. You could supplement the rent payments using the remaining proceed from the house.

      I’m still concerned that even without your credit card payments that you can just get by in the house with your current income. There is no sense going through the aggravation of dealing with collection calls unless that solution actually allows you to accomplish you goal of staying in the house into the future. I don’t want you to waste time heading down a road that isn’t going to lead to a better life for you.


  5. Steve
    Yes I have debt that I owe and can not pay. This is why I contacted you. If you go back and read my orginal story and my previous comments you will see that bankruptsy is not an option for me.

    My balance on the HE and HELOC together are under $10,000.

    Please pardon me for answering a question with a question but why are you asking me what I used these loans for?

    I understand that my answers to your questions are very abrupt. I also understand that you really want to help people from your heart and not get into their pockets like 2 other famous characters that were mentioned on this site.
    I did scan the titles of a lot of questions that are on this site and read a few of the details. As you well know debt is a tremendous problem in this country and there are money folks that were very responsible for many years and suddenly find themselves in a bad situation. Many folks like myself cannot afford quality legal representation and may ultimately end up getting screwed. I find it amazing that you can deal with all of these inquiries by yourself. Hopefully you do have some help. I’m just not sure that you would be able to offer other options besides bankruptsy as this is where your personal experience is. What I need is for someone to show me what options I have and which of these options are the best fit for me.
    Wish you all the best. Carol

    • Carol,

      We are on the same page here. With my previous comment I was trying to get to the bottom of what debts it is that you can’t pay. If you had any debts more than what you had listed. Do you owe on any credit cards or other lines of credit?

      About the loans, I’m trying to find out if the loans were used to consolidate previous debt or used to make ends meet in the past.

      I do understand why you want to avoid bankruptcy and I’m trying to get enough critical information to get you there.

      Thank you for the kind words. I do work very hard at helping people.


  6. Steve
    Thanks so much for getting back to me.
    You have asked me 4 questions which I will answer for you.
    Q1 yes
    Q2 No
    Q3 Utilities: electric, gas, phone, water/sewer, phone.
    Home Equity Loan and HELOC, Health insurance, Auto
    insurance, Homeowners insurance (I just paid this off
    and will not have to deal with it again until next
    March,plus gas for car, food and personal items.
    Q4 $400 M ZC:07747
    Thanks for any help and/or suggestions you can give.
    Hugs to you and Pam. Regards Carol

    • Carol,

      Bear with me, more questions.

      If you went bankrupt, what debts are you looking to discharge? The bills you listed are the core living expenses. Do you have debt that you owe but cannot pay?

      I was surprised to see a home equity loan and a HELOC. With these loans in place you still have $100,000 in anticipated equity?

      What did you use the home equity loan and the HELOC for?



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