I Did Everything Right But Now I’m In Trouble. – Wendi

“Dear Steve,

Single mom for ten plus years maintained good credit and bought my own home without the child support or alimony that was owed to me.

I worked 3-4 jobs at a time and learned to be frugal. I live a simple life, drive a used car, do not buy anything on credit…although I did over the last 10 years.

I have some residual debt left by my first marriage ($11,000 on a credit card that I have faithfully paid a little more than the minimum balance due each month,) $3000 in my own credit card debt..paid the same way.

I no longer use credit cards for any purchases..only cash. I have a small student loan for which I still owe approx. $4000. I am not behind on any payments except my property taxes for 2009-2010 which have not been paid.

I was married last September, but my husband and I do not share bank accounts or any property. Everything is in separate names. I made more than enough to keep paying my bills last year, but with the economy, my income has fallen from $55,000/year to $22,000.

I rent out my own home for half of the expense to own it and the economy has hit my career so hard that I am now only working a very part-time positin. I am not being harassed by creditors as my payments are made…but I know that within the next month or two, I will not be able to stay afloat. I will be cleaning out my savings account to stay current this month.

Shoud I consider bankruptcy or foreclosure? Is there any program that can help me? My primary residence is with my husband in his house, which disqulaifies me from all of the known govt. programs. Help??

Wendi”

Dear Wendi,

STOP!

If you are down to your last bit in the bank we need to save that and use those funds towards a solution rather than just prolonging a downward spiral.

This is unfortunately a classic example of why doing the best and managing your money the smartest way does not guarantee you won’t face money troubles. And then when people do they feel guilty, ashamed and sometimes like failures. While that might be a frequent emotional response, it does not make it either accurate or helpful.

While it appears you only have $14,000 in credit card debt you do have half a mortgage that you are trying to cover on a diminishing cash and less income.

Bankruptcy is a real and logical solution to hand your house back to the bank, include the remaining balance and potential deficiency in a bankruptcy with your credit card debt and get a fresh start.

It boils down to this. You can continue on the path you are on, which is not working, or you can take definitive action to change the situation and give yourself the best chance for a better future. Do you want to spend years trying to fix the past or focus on doing better in the future?

Time is of the essence since you are just about out of spare cash to keep this up. You either need to take proactive action and click here to find a local bankruptcy attorney and come up with a plan or take reactive action when you fall behind, wind up in collections and are possibly sued.

Please update me on your progress by

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.

Steve Rhode

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