Diagnosed With Cancer, Income Dropped, and Deep in Debt. – Betty

“Dear Steve,

Household income dropped in 2009 by $75,000, during that time I was also diagnosed with cancer, thus, medical bills on top of everything else.

Now I find myself with $55,000 in credit card debt and yes, I am making minimum payments but that’s it. I have talked with a couple of different debt relief agences, both debt settlement and debt consolidation.

I just don’ t know who to believe and what option would have the least negative impact on my credit score. This is very confusing. When I read about debt settlement, I get sick to my stomach, wondering if any of the creditors would refuse to cooperate and if I would end up in a courtroom before anything was paid to them. But have also been told that debt consolidate can be just as bad. Is there a company that is trust worthy? What are the options?


Dear Betty,

I understand the struggle you are under and facing. Right now you are stuck early in the seven stages of debt. Your mired down in the paralysis of analysis.

Using your credit score or credit impact as the primary goal would be a terrible mistake. You see credit can be easily rebuilt. In fact I even tell you how to do it here.

The better question you should ask yourself is what approach is the most logical given your situation and debt. And as it stands now you are a prime credit for getting scammed by a debt relief company that is just trying to sell you their product rather than providing you with the best advice.

The good news is I think I can help you with a fairer assessment of options and solutions.

I’d suggest you first read How to Get Out of Debt. The Honest and Unvarnished Truth and The Truth About The Success Rates, Failure Rates and Completion Rates of Credit Counseling, Debt Settlement, and Bankruptcy. They will give you a great overview of what we need to deal with to get you moving in the right direction.

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

And if you want to do extra homework on the company you select, you should read the following free guides.

  1. The Ultimate Consumer Guide to Checking Out a Debt Relief Company Before You Sign On the Line
  2. 10 Must Do Steps to Find the Best Credit Counseling or Debt Settlement Company for You
  3. How to Check Out a Business or Company to Avoid Getting Scammed or Ripped Off

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.

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Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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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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