No Income, Growing Debt, and Fear


Dear Steve,

I’m a 61 yr old woman with 24000-26000—consumer debt.

The last 2 years I worked were 2017-2019.

I was not making enough full-time to make it.

I started not being able to pay my credit card off every month.

By August 2018, I had 8 debts. I haven’t worked since, occasional unemployment.

I own my home and old auto. However, trying to live very frugally, I don’t know the best option, if there is one, to get this debt paid off.

Any suggestions?

Thank you,



Dear Cheryl,

I think it is a good guess that your debt has been building because of your lack of income. As long as that situation continues and your life, however frugal, exceeds your income, you will fall further and further behind.

Since you own your home and car without a lien against it, they can both be at risk of having a client placed against them if you default on the debt and are sued.

If you don’t see yourself working and bringing in income, then it might be worth looking carefully at your assets and downsizing to use what money you do have to coast until you are eligible for Social Security or you can find employment.

Your particular situation is like balancing on the head of a pin. A slight breeze from any one side can force you off your ever so small perch.

The state you live in is important as well and impacts what the most logical path forward would be. For example, if you live in some particular states, you might be able to protect and keep your home in bankruptcy. In other states, the homestead exemption is very low, and it would not provide enough protection.

It would help if you also visited to discover what public benefits you might be eligible to help you stay warm, fed, and safe.

Just given what information you have shared, it seems logical that the game plan should be to develop a plan that allows you to reshape your financial life given the inability to find reemployment.

I hate to give you any specific advice on the limited information that might cause you to take drastic action.

So I think you should contact my debt coach friend Damon Day and have a call about your particular situation and your goals moving forward.

Now is not the time to overreact but to act with purpose and a plan.


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.

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

Steve Rhode

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