I am a single mother of 3. I have a mortgage, a car payment and about 15,000 dollars of credit cards bills. I have recently taken a significant loss in income due to loss of a 2nd job and loss of childs support. I have some equity in my home which out weighs my credit card debt. I have recently fallen behind in my payments for just about everything. I have called a consumer counsler which suggested that I do a debt relief plan. That would only save me 100 dollars per month. I can not qualify for bankruptcy because I have equity, I can not refinance because my credit score has dropped. I have contacted my mortgage company about loan modification but that is at least 90 days if I qualify. I can only survive about 30 more days before I lose everything!!!
What can I do to keep from losing everything I own, getting sued or getting my wages garnished? Is there any help for people like me?”
Your question is one I’m often asked.
First, we need to look at the basic building blocks here. Before your loss of income you were able to support your lifestyle based on a previous level of income. By your own admission, that does not exist anymore.
The formula for determining financial success is easy Income – Expenses – Savings = Disposable Income.
In your situation it’s not the formula that needs to change but the Expenses variable. You need to adjust your life expenses to now fit inside your current income. Since the income has been reduced, so must your lifestyle. Alternatively, increase your income to compensate for the loss.
If you are now at the end of your rope and can’t hold on any longer, you will need to take drastic and swift action. The first consideration would be to fire sale the house to get a quick buyer and get out some of your equity if you can. And right about now you’ll probably be saying “there is no way I’m selling my house.” My response, don’t sell it and risk losing it and all your equity. It’s your gamble, your call. You don’t have to do a damn thing if you don’t want to.
You could always go for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and while that would allow you to keep the house, I doubt it would provide you with significant relief since $15,000 in credit card debt is only about $300 a month in payments. You could always hand the car back and stick the remaining debt in the Chapter 13 bankruptcy but then how are you going to get back and forth to work? If you could afford to pay $2,000 for a beater you could buy some cheap wheels for basic transportation. It’s an option.
But I would bet your mortgage is your largest expense. And by making one change, selling the house you can’t afford, you could get this equation to balance again.
Outside of that, any miracle quick fix is going to most likely be a scam in the making. Desperate people make horrible decisions and pursue magic sales pitches over reality.
This is your time to be in control and take action or do nothing and wait for your creditors to take action against you.