Ask The Get Out of Debt Experts Bankruptcy Related

The Stress of My Debt is Killing Me. I Have a Chance to File Bankruptcy and Move to The Country to Start Over. – Michelle

“Dear Steve,

First and foremost…I love the way you write! Great, ethical, caring responses to reader questions. Thank you!

In a nutshell, my question has to do with bankruptcy and leaving my job. I am currently drowning in debt. Two homes that are both upside down and in the process of short sales…30K in unsecured debt…and a car that I owe 28K on that is worth 14. What a mess.

I have a great job making 70K a year but as a single mom of a 16 yr old it is not enough to keep the stress from killing me. I can physically feel it coursing through my body.

Hopefully the houses will sell but now my once solid credit is shredded. If they do I am not sure if the banks will hold a deficiency against me or not.

I have the opportunity now of moving to TN, starting over, and living on a ranch. I can actually breath when I am there. My son can go to school and work part time on the ranch until college. The issue is that I will not make 70K for sure, and cannot afford credit card payments/car payments (plus util, housing, etc) So…stay and completely stress out, or start fresh and breath again.

If I voluntarily leave a good paying job for a mediocre paying job would that impact my ability to file bankruptcy? I wouldn’t even ask if the stress wasn’t so thick I could feel the layers surrounding me every hour of the day.



Dear Michelle,

Thank you for the compliment.

Life is a one-way journey. There are no do-overs.

This is one of those situations where only you can make the right decision based on what will be best for you and your son.

Some may argue that you’d be walking away from your debt by filing bankruptcy, and while that is true on one hand, it is not the entire picture. You currently appear to be trapped in a decomposing financial situation where there is no likely expectation that more hard work alone is going to make things better. Even if you stayed in your current location you’d probably have to file bankruptcy anyway.

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The new opportunity seems as if it will provide you with a way to regroup and start over. It certainly sounds like the break many would appreciate to move from one phase of their life to another. But that path it is not without consequences itself. If you do decide to file bankruptcy and close the door on the old financial life you will need to jump right on rebuilding your credit, even when you are away breathing country air. You can follow this process to easily do that.

The other consideration is if being out of the workforce will diminish your opportunities to become reemployed back here in the stress filled world.

Ultimately I think the decision comes down to the following question, do you have a greater responsibility to fix the past or fix the future?

As far as the relocation to a new area, I can tell you that when I moved back to the U.S. from England and settled into a new area it has been a refreshing change and I’ve enjoyed every bit of it.

I think the time has come to find a local bankruptcy attorney and go discuss your plan with them. They will help you decide if you should file bankruptcy where you are now or wait till you get to TN and establish residency there.

You can click here to find a local bankruptcy attorney.

I started this by saying that life was a one-way journey. Only you have the power to decide if you want to make a change for a different future.

At times like these I think about our long distant ancestors who, millions of years ago, were living in bad situations. It seems that some picked up their arrows and animal skins are walked to a new continent to find a better life. In a way that’s what you would be doing. I don’t think that was a wrong approach then or now.

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Just make sure that rather than running from something you have a clear vision that you are running to something that can improve the quality of your life and give you a new opportunity to do better from this day forward.

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


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.

About the author

Steve Rhode

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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