I’m Buried in Grief and Trying to Deal With My Debt. – Rebecca

“Dear Steve,

At the moment, I’m overwhelmed to the point where I’m not sure what to do. Last year my [redacted]. I find myself in over my head with credit card debt. In the middle of such grief, you’d think debt would be the last thing on my mind, but it is only adding to the stress, plus I can’t seem to think clearly. I can find no way out except bankruptcy.

I contacted a debt consolidation company who informed me that I don’t make enough money for consolidation. I’m saving up to hire an attorney, but won’t be able to afford it for a few months. In the meantime, visions of angry mobs of credit card companies camping out on my lawn, lawsuits, and not the least, my own guilt for not being able to pay debts that I do owe, is causing me much pain. I’m scared, really. What happens to people like me who just can’t pay their creditors, and who can’t get an attorney to protect them until months after they’ve already stopped paying the credit card companies? I’m nearly $16,000 in debt to several different credit card companies. I don’t even know how I ended up owing such a huge sum.

I do own a home, but I’ve only been in it for nearly three years, and do not have very much equity built up. I live in Ohio. I’m afraid I’ll lose my house to the credit card banks. I’m not behind in my mortgage payments and don’t plan on being; I just can’t continue to pay the credit cards. My mortgage I can pay.

I don’t own a car or have any money in the bank, so I really have nothing for the cc companies to take, except for the house. And maybe my sanity, but I understand that’s my own fault.

If you wouldn’t mind, I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t publicly post [redacted above].

I guess my main questions are: I don’t have a bankruptcy attorney yet, as I can’t afford to hire one. It will be several months before I have the fee. In those months not paying my credit cards, what can and will the credit card companies do? Will I be safe in those three or four months it will take me to get money for an attorney? And should I avoid the Banks calls until I get a lawyer, or answer and explain to them that I’m going to file?

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Thank you so much for your help,


Dear Rebecca,

First let me say how very sorry life has served up such much loss and grief for you in the past year. I respected your request with the question you submitted to not disclose what that loss was, but anyone that knows your situation knows what a tremendous burden you are suffering under.

The credit counseling group you contacted did you a favor by not letting you in to their debt management plan when there was no reasonable expectation you could afford it.

Here is the game plan I think you should follow.

  1. Click here to find a local bankruptcy attorney. Go talk to them and make plans to file bankruptcy.
  2. Stop paying all the credit card companies and save that money to pay for your bankruptcy.
  3. Just let the collectors call. As long as you flow through the normal collection process it buys you some time to save for the bankruptcy. When the collectors call just tell them you can’t afford to pay right now and don’t make any promises to pay that you don’t intend on keeping. There is no need to tell them you are going to file bankruptcy if you don’t want to, they’ll find out when they get the bankruptcy papers.
  4. Rest assured nobody is going to come to your door or camp on your lawn and nobody wants your old stuff back.
  5. If you are feeling depressed, please go talk to your medical doctor about how you are feeling. There are treatments that can help you with the depression and that will help make it possible to face the day.
  6. Above everything, make sure if you want to stay in the house that you continue to pay your mortgage payment on time and in full.

With everything you’ve been through your emotional defenses are down right now and everything is feeling raw and immediate. But your creditors are not judging you over this situation. You are just a number on a page to them. The best thing you can do now is to go meet with the bankruptcy attorney ASAP and get the solution moving ahead.

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You need to remember, you are no more a loser in this than the tree that falls during an intense storm. If the tree could feel guilt would it feel it failed? You need to forgive yourself here and realize that at this point in your life, it just is what it is. Realize the only person that can judge you is you so stop it, please.


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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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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2 thoughts on “I’m Buried in Grief and Trying to Deal With My Debt. – Rebecca”

  1. Thank you, Steve, for spelling out everything I need to and the order in which I need to do it. The first thing you gave me was piece of mind, and that’s something I desperately needed. I’ll follow the game plan you mapped out for me, and will keep you updated as far as my progress.
    Again, thank you!


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