I am a 23 year old student who not only has debt from college loans and also credit card debt from last year (on 3 credit cards that have all been closed). I ran up a huge amount of debt in a short time and as of now I am unemployed. I am not able to work cause I’m still in school and it’s just too much to handle at once with school work and a job. Hence, I have “no” money saved to pay off my debt from last year (2008 summer/fall) and not even anything in an account.
I closed my bank account a long time ago, as my parents have been helping me pay college tuition. I cannot stop the collection agencies’ phone calls, and they’re daily. They gave me a “settlment” amount, which was basically cut in half but even that I cannot pay.
What can do I do to hide? I can move in with my fiance at a n unknown address a half hour away. Will they be able to find me if I move in with him and switch my cell phone number? Or, should I consider declaring bankruptcy, since I have no money at all to pay the amount? If I was able to hide from them would they at least leave me alone finally and give up, or would I possibly be arrested if they found me? I really am scared and need your advice. I don’t have the money, PERIOD!
Of all the options I listed above, what would you suggest doing and what does it involve? Thank you so much.
The best I can offer you here is a fatherly lesson and a big hug.
Dora, you need to accept responsibility for the mess as it exists today. I realize that wasn’t your desired outcome. It is what it is.
Hiding is not an effective solution here. Hiding just means you are on the run but that does nothing to change all the underlying issues here. So let’s say you hide, then what. The creditors will sue you in your absence and you will then have judgments against you. What did hiding accomplish?
No, I’m afraid you are going to have to ‘cowgirl up’ (a bumper sticker I saw recently) and actually address the issue head on. The reality is you don’t have any income to repay your debts. You can either take some time off of college and go out and make money to repay your debts or you can go bankrupt, stop collections and rebuild your credit latter.
While you are learning a lot in your college course, this is a great lesson in the harsh realities of contracts. The creditors enticed or encouraged you to get the cards. At the very least, they made it easy. And guess what, they are going to punish you under the law for not living up to your end of the credit card agreement.
All of that is 100% legal. When you took out the card you made a promise to pay, you used the card, and now for whatever reason you are not paying. I’m not judging you here, just showing you there are real consequences to entering any offer or contract.
Contracts are not innocent or casual documents you sign to get the thing you want. They have real life consequences and that’s the lesson here.
My advice is that you should click here to find a local bankruptcy attorney you like. Go talk to them and learn what bankruptcy would mean for you. Under bankruptcy, which is a legal process administered by the courts, collection calls will stop, judgments will be blocked and your debt will be forgiven. Best yet, this issue will be closed and you will not have to hide from it in the future.
Facing your debt situation is emotionally tough but takes less energy that constantly being on the run. Don’t hide, deal with it.
Please update me on your progress by posting updates here in the comments section of your question. I’m very interested in how this works out for you.
P.S. Be sure to read ‘The Secret of Surviving Through Difficult Economic Times. What I Learned On My Journey‘.