73 Year Old Retired Teaching Assistant Drives Credit Cards up to $18,000. – Camille


“Dear Steve,

I have a 73 year old friend who, unbeknownst to her son, has driven two credit cards to their limit, approximately $18,000.00 in all.

She is a retired teacher assistant and has little to no money left each month after paying the minimums for each card plus her health insurance. She is unable to purchase medicine, go to the doctor, buy food, etc.

We (her friends) all help her out but there is only so much we can do for her. She refuses to tell her son. He believes that she is frittering the money away and asks her to try and save some.

She did try a credit agency that was advertised on tv but it wanted a monthly fee. She is a wonderful person and does her best to help others. Please, where can she turn? Thank you for any advice you can give.

What is the name of a reputable company that can help her reduce her debt?


Dear Camille,

Thank you for being such a good friend. You and the others in your caring group need a pat on the back. But now we’ve got to alter course.

A debt management company, credit counseling company or debt settlement company that you might see on television is not the right answer. Your friend needs to go bankrupt.

There is no reasonable expectation that she will be able to dig herself out of the hole she is in unless you, your friends and/or her son want to pay off her debt.

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Some might say that she does not need to go bankrupt, and that is true. With her income coming from social security and her probable lack of assets, while a creditor might sue her to collect on the debts, there is nothing for the creditor to go after.

My opinion is that this is a situation that is unlikely to change for the better and that your friend does not need the emotional and physical stress that is going to come from being pursued by debt collectors. Bankruptcy will close the door on the debts.

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The son needs to be brought into the loop and made a part of the conversation. He needs to know the reality of the situation.

Once she goes bankrupt of the cards reach their limits and are closed the next issue will be that if she was using the cards to try to help make ends meet, she won’t be able to do that anymore.

I think the best thing you can do for your friend is to share the truth with the son and take her for a free bankruptcy consultation with a local bankruptcy attorney.

Please give her a big hug from me.


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