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I’ve Got Eight Kids at Home and an Upside Down Mortgage. – Justin


“Dear Steve,

I have $56K in credit card debt between my wife and I. My debt is just over $22k and hers is just over $34k. I earn around $50k a yr and she only earns about $7k a yr. We have 8 kids living at home and an upside down mortgage that we owe about $200k on w/$1300 a mo payment. My CC debt equals about $1340 a mo.

Should I look into bankruptcy or debt management?


Dear Justin,

Personally I think you should look into both bankruptcy and debt management. I think you should look into everything possible and then, and only then, make a decision about what path is right for you.

Getting out of debt is really 10% technical but 90% emotional. It makes no sense for me to force you into any solution that isn’t going to be both appropriate for you to achieve your goal or that you are not prepared to face.

Let’s take bankruptcy for example, I don’t want you to go bankrupt if you don’t feel it is an appropriate solution for you. And at the same time I don’t want you to discount bankruptcy for fear of how you think you will feel being a bankrupt.

My advice and guidance is always based first on my memories of living through horrible debt and bankruptcy and years and years of helping people in the same situation.

Just based on what you shared with me I am skeptical that debt management is going to be a realistic way out since you only win with debt management if you dig yourself all the way out of debt and that will take 5+ years to do. With eight kids at home the chances of having some unexpected expenses that will through your budget out of wack are pretty high. If that happens it could scuttle your debt management plan and you are essentially back to square one.

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The key to your success is to understand how you got in this situation to begin with, and not repeat those actions again. Bankruptcy is a legal option for you and you should schedule a free bankruptcy consultation with a local bankruptcy attorney and go talk about what bankruptcy would mean for you.

What I am most worried about for you Justin is that with either a debt management or bankruptcy approach, your credit cards will be closed and not available to you. If those balances of yours have been used to help make ends meet, you won’t have that tool anymore and you will have to live within your income.

Keep me posted via Twitter at @GetOutOfDebtGuy on how things go for you or post updates in the comments section to this question.


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.


  • Well Steve, it looks to me like they’re both snake oil salesmen. The whole concept of there plan is the snowball effect on paying down debt and live frugal in your purchases. With that they make millions! (I don’t trust Dave Ramsey because of his close association with FOX news and he thinks the whole Tea Party stint last week was all grass roots and it’s all conspiracy to think FOX news sponsored it.) John Commuta seems like a nice guy, but like you said, it’s all built around selling his product, and little concern of people going further in debt to buy it. I’m going to try my own smowball effect on my debt for a couple of months to see if I can survive, if it’s only getting worse by June, then I’ll talk more with a Bankruptcy attorney and/or debt solution company like New Era. Talk soon Steve,

    • Justin,

      I have a previous post on the debt snowball approach that I think works well to keep people motivated on moving forward. I respect your approach to try what you think you must, first. This will allow you to clarify the situation in your own mind and not look back latter and wonder if another path would have worked for you. However, all I humbly ask is that while you are trying your own debt snowball (Awesome, BTW), that you go and meet with a local bankruptcy attorney simply to get better educated about bankruptcy in your situation. Don’t go to file. Go to learn. That’s all. You’ll walk away from that free appointment either knowing it is absolutely not for you or “Hum, I didn’t know that.” Either result is a plus as it provides you with greater clarity.

      Please keep me posted. I really do care.

      Oh, and one more thing. I would really appreciate your participation in comments on other questions. I think the insight you have to offer others as you move through this yourself is enlightening.


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