Robert Says “Please help. I never knew financial burdens can cause so much stress.”

“Dear Steve,

I have a $190,000 mortgage @ $1614. mo w/escrow. I am $66,000 in credit card debt @ $1520. per mo. Married with 4 children and over my head in bills it’s hard to put food on the table. My income is $5400 mo. I have $34,000 of credit card debt and my wife who does not work outside the home has $32,000 of her own credit card debt not in my name. At the end of the month our budget shows a -$400. when we add in the car payments/ins., utilities and food. 2 of my children are away at college using student loans to get the through.

My family is well respected in the community we live in, however no one not even our family knows how much trouble financially we are in. Much of this debt comes from building a house in 2001 and losing my tail on. Its hard for me to look at my daughters and tell them we cannot afford new school clothes, etc…

My wife and I were wondering if bankruptsy was the only way out or start paying off 1 credit card at a time and letting the others go, until it was time to pay the next and so on. We know that either way are credit is going to suffer real soon, becuase we keep digging the hole deeper and deeper each month.

Please help. I never knew financial burdens can cause so much stress.


Dear Robert,

It is ironic that those like you that have more, feel much more pain in financial loss, yet society has the least amount of sympathy for you and your situation. We aspire to be successful and then those that are successful and fall we revel in their demise. It’s all very twisted.

I can empathize completely with what you are going through and I’m impressed that you have the foundation of a good plan already. Let’s step back for a moment and review your situation.

It appears that you have been successful to date but the maintenance of those outward signs of success have left you in a very difficult position where you’ve relied on borrowed money to maintain the facade.

It is now impacting your children, which hurts and pains you deeply. Those are natural and normal emotions and feelings. That pain, the pressure of juggling bills and the fear that the sham is going to be up soon is what is causing your stress and pressure.

The stress will subside once you can take an honest look at your situation, face the pain, and do what must be done. Trust me, there is no one absolute right answer here so the ultimate path that you select will really depend on your intestinal fortitude and your ability to be honest, internally, with the family, and outwardly.

Now if you’ve watched my story you will know that I went through the very same fears and pressures. I’ve walked in your shoes and what I am about to tell you is from the luxury of what I have learned from helping others and a lot of time passing.

The God’s honest truth here is that you have to decide what it is that you want to live for. Do you want to live a life of truth or continue to perpetrate a lie. The lie is the financial life that you have been leading.

If you decide that you want to abandon the lies and reduce your stress by living a life of truth, then you are going to pay a big price in a rotten credit report and bad credit score while we dig you out of this mess. It is just the price that you have to pay.

I’m going to give you three plans here for you to choose between.

Plan 1

  1. Use the debt snowball approach and pay off your lowest balance cards first by abandoning payments to your other credit cards. The sooner you can use all your debt repayment dollars towards eliminating your debt the more money it will free up to use on the higher balance debts.
  2. This approach will result in you falling behind on those other credit card bills while you execute this plan. You will go into collections but it will all be normal fear and threat stuff. Before things to too bad hopefully you would have cleared a couple of those lower balance debts and started to pay attention to the forgotten ones.
  3. Falling behind will hurt your credit report and credit score.
  4. If you abandon this path before you completely pay off creditors you will still owe all the remaining creditors.

Plan 2

  1. Enroll in a debt management program or credit counseling program. It will also hurt your credit report and credit score and you may not get out of debt with the same speed as in plan 1 since all your creditors will be getting some payments each month and that payment plan will be based on the what is best for the credit counseling agency with your creditors and not what is best for you.
  2. Expect this approach to take six to eight years if you complete it successfully.
  3. If you abandon this path before you completely pay off creditors you will still owe all the remaining creditors.

Plan 3

  1. If you don’t have much equity in your home you may decide to go bankrupt and stay in your home.
  2. Bankruptcy is the most drastic action but it also may eliminate your debt for the least amount of money overall since bankruptcy will eliminate credit card interest rates and what you can afford to repay over about a three year period will be all you will pay.
  3. The only way to find out if bankruptcy is for you would be for you to go and talk to a bankruptcy attorney for a free bankruptcy review. Talking to a bankruptcy attorney does not mean that you will file bankruptcy. Go and talk to the bankruptcy lawyer with the intention of educating yourself more about how bankruptcy may impact you.

But No Matter Which Approach You Select

I can not emphasize enough how much I feel you must come clean with your wife and your children about the realities of this situation. If you are going to stop living a lie you will have to trust truth to those who you love the most and are most impacted by this situation.

Once you lower that veil then you can live each day, digging your way out, in honesty, and hold you head up that you are authentic and doing the best you can do to resolve this most difficult problem.


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.

See also  Unemployed, Broke, No Family, and in Debt. - Shelia

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