I Run a Much Needed Non-Profit But My Finances are a Wreck. – Sher

“Dear Steve,

We had a small business for 24 years (semi truck body shop); like most body shops, we felt the economic crunch prior to everything collapsing-when money gets tight, people repair their motors, not their bodies. Blew through all our savings keeping employees on as long as possible. We shut business down and my sig other started to collect SS (62 at this point). We’d been trying to sell our business property (plan all along was use sale as our pension, should have brought appr $1M) but when the ecomony crashed, we coudn’t get a buyer.

6 months after we shut down I recognized a health flag and needed surgery for [ ]. Had never heard of [ ] prior to my diagnosis, but because it is extremely common (I’m very famliar with health concerns, diagnosed with MS in 1983 and since then have been researching health), I felt all women should be made aware so wrote a book about it. 18 months into marketing book, I recognized the need to found a nonprofit to reach more women needing guidance and [ ] was founded (is a 501(c)3, found a pro-bono program at Marquette U to guide) in Sept 2010.

Have been doing everything I can to create recognition for this health condition, over 3 million women in the US and millions more around the world suffer in silence because the symptoms are embarrassing and women aren’t comfortable talking about it-even with their husbands or drs. I’ve been financing the path out of my pocket from the get-go, both book and nonprofit, no salary (no profits to date even if I wanted to pay myself a salary as [ ] CEO). Much shifting, I’ve been able to gather significant steam with lay women suffering with [ ], with multiple tiers of healthcare professionals, and multiple medical device manufacturers. However I have built myself a fortress of debt in the process, plastic maxed out at 40,000, credit line maxed out at $30,000. No idea how I’ll pay the bills on my desk and no corporate sponsors on deck yet.

Stomach can’t take much more of financial stress, meditation is the only way I keep the MS from rearing it’s ugly head from stress. Any insights you can provide will be hugely appreicated. I need to maintain a clean record, I am a nonprofit founder and there is no way I can file bankruptcy. I am pushing hard to get the speaking path started (it pays really well), and I am positive my 2nd edition is going to be NY Times best seller (the voices of women I guide tell me all I need to know, women are ready to talk about this out loud-here’s a press release I sent out last week). Until the big shift comes however, I am in high distress daily.

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The only mortgage we have is the credit line of $30,000 on our property in Wisconsin. Is there any way to restructure our plastic into one bill at a reduced interest rate? Credit rating is bad at this point. I don’t want to get out of paying bills I owe, I need to find a way to manage it. SS coming in is app $1750 month, that is our only income and we have 2 properties in high prop tax state. We own 40 acres in AL that we have been trying to sell but no luck to date. Any suggestions would be HUGELY appreicated-my stomach can’t take much more of this. Thankfully, the joy my path brings me helps tremendously.

Thanks so much for your time and consideration!


Dear Sher,

The path of championing causes is not an easy and stress free one. I’d love to tell you there is a magic wand to wave to accelerate your mission and be debt free, but honestly, there isn’t one.

Many people have been the voices for causes to their financial detriment. And believe me when I tell you I completely understand the conundrum that you face. On one hand you know you are doing important and good work. On the other hand, it is not valued enough by some many because they don’t know about or understand your cause.

You laid it on the table that you want to avoid bankruptcy. Nice wish.

You’ve also stated that you have bad credit and are looking for a low interest rate debt consolidation loan. Again, nice wish, and not a reality.

The important decisions at this point need to surround your health/stress and your commitment to your mission to help spread the word about your educational goal.

From a health point of view, I think we’d both agree that without dealing with the debt your fear and stress will not diminish. Continued stress will most likely exacerbate your MS and you don’t want it to flare up. If it does it will hamper your ability to champion your mission.

See also  Live in Wisconsin and in Debt? Chapter 128 is Your Bestest Friend.

It seems to me that you can deal with your unsustainable debt with bankruptcy and discharge it quickly. But before you even get close to either accepting or rejecting bankruptcy as a possible solution I urge you to click here to find a local bankruptcy attorney and discuss your individual situation with them.

Having founded and run a successful non-profit myself, I don’t buy into the statement that you can’t file bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is your legal right and the only debt solution mandated under the law.

But when you meet with the local bankruptcy attorney in Wisconsin, ask them about a Chapter 128 plan. It’s a unique approach to dealing with debt in Wisconsin that might technically allow you to skirt bankruptcy but deal with your creditors.

My homework for you, that I want you to meditate and contemplate is the following question, which is more important, your financial health or your physical health, so you can continue with your important charitable mission?

Bankruptcy doesn’t make you a loser or an untouchable.

I’d suggest you read How to Get Out of Debt. The Honest and Unvarnished Truth

Then use the free How to Get Out of Debt Calculator to review your options.

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.
Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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