MJ – “I’m Ill, I’ve Got Bills, And I Don’t Know What To Do”


“Dear Steve,

I’ve been able to work very little because of severe health issues. Sadly they are on going, with uncertain prognosis. Medical bills mounting as well. (about 5K).

I’ve been living off of credit cards and can no longer keep up with payments. Approx 2k per mo. in credit card payments. I’m not late on anything yet.

I’m wondering if you have any tips or tricks for relief? I’m working on selling my “stuff” to raise money but the state of the economy is a hindrance for that.


Dear MJ,

If I had a magic wand to wave to make your situation repair itself, I would wave it for you. To be ill with an uncertain future is stressful enough, but to add about $40,000 of credit card debt on top of that, only compounds the stress and potentially shortens your life.

I know you have tried to do what is right for you, your obligations, your sense of right and wrong and what you have been taught. But I’m afraid that trying to meet the goal of not falling behind on your bills has left you in a worse situation.

At first, I bet you used the credit cards to make ends meet in an uncertain time but latter the cards got used more and more just to get by. And before you knew it, the balances were so high and so out of control. You might have actually found yourself taking a cash advance or two from one card to pay another.

And then when that day came, when you had no more money on hand to pay your bills, you started selling stuff to help make ends meet. But let me ask you, what is your plan to make ends meet when all your stuff is sold and the money is spent?

Selling stuff and draining assets to perpetuate a path that does not lead to a resolution is a comfort only while the money lasts. When all the cash has been spent and at the stuff has been sold, you will have nothing and nothing to give. You will discover that all that you have accomplished is to postpone the difficult day of reckoning and not made the actual problem go away.

Before we turn to solutions to euthanize your debt we must first set our attention to making sure that without reliance on credit, credit cards, and selling stuff, that you will be able to make it from month to month and live a life worth living. It does no good to eliminate your financial responsibilities, which you can no longer meet, only to leave you unable to afford food, shelter, utilities and clothing.

From what you wrote I can only assume that your severe health issues are not only ongoing but also may lead to your death. Unless you take bold action to eliminate your debt your struggles to repay debts that you can not afford my linger to your absolute last living day.

I would suggest that you take a long walk or go to that favorite cafe or restaurant that brings you joy. Order something to drink, maybe a hot cup of delicious coffee and and tuck in to a tasty treat. I want you to sip the coffee slowly and concentrate on the wonderful flavor of your edible gift and as you enjoy that moment, I want you to visualize how you want your remaining days to be. Ask yourself the following question, “Do I have a greater responsibility to fix my financial past or create a safer financial future for the time I may have left to live?”

If you decide that the next hour, the next day and the next year are most precious to you, then I would urge you to click this link and go see a bankruptcy attorney and seriously contemplate bankruptcy to eliminate your credit card and medical debts.

It certainly sounds to me as if there is no reasonable expectation that you will be able to live both a life where you can heal and a life where you can repay your debts, without sinking further in either health or debt.


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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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