I Have a Sick Great-Aunt That Needs My Help But What About My Debt? – Amber

“Dear Steve,

I am a single mom who has gotten in over my head in debt. There are many factors which include loss of job for several months, living off credit while I went to school full time, trying to work for myself now which is a slow start and just enough income for us to survive. I have not paid any one of the 4 creditors for almost 6 months now. The calls are relentless and I fear legal consequences are around the corner for me.

To make matters more complex, my great aunt-who lives in Mexico-has fallen ill and wants me to move down there and help with her farm and her health. She has offered to totally support me and my son over the next 2 years.

My initially thought was that there was no way I could do that because I have to stay and try and figure out my debt. Now I’m wondering if I should just take off and let the debt be. I have relinquished the quilt and depression associated with my situation and I just want to be emotionally healthy and able to care for my son and family. My intent was never to dodge my responsibility but now I am wondering what I should do.

Should I claim bankruptcy? Should I just leave the country without a word? Or both? I’m so confused and would love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Thank you so much for your time.

Kind Regards,


Dear Amber,

What you are facing is a serious of events that has left you feeling trapped and without much economic hope. That’s one issue.

The other is that it sounds like a family member needs your help and you could provide her with much needed care. I think the answer to that is obvious, if you can go, go help your Aunt.

There are two strategies for dealing with the debt. You could file bankruptcy before you leave and use the time away to rebuild your credit using this approach. You could do this even in Mexico if you had a U.S. mailing address, like a forwarding service such as Earth Class Mail. By the time you returned to the U.S. your debt would be behind you and you’d be well on your way to a fresh financial start.

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If you wanted to repay your debt as you could when you returned there is nothing preventing you from doing that if you wanted to honor your previous obligations.

The alternative approach would be to leave the country now and you will probably be sued while you are gone. Those lawsuits will sit and earn interest and when you got back you’d have to deal with them. It might be possible to settle them for less than you’d owe but they will probably be waiting here for you on your return.

Which approach seems to make more sense to you?

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.


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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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