I Have Sleep Apnea and Debt. What Should I Do? – Karen


“Dear Steve,

I have been just getting by for the past few years and having to use my credit cards for most of the extras. My 12 year old son just moved in with his dad. I was getting 235.00 per week child support.

Now I am supposed to pay 20.00 per week. My x says he does not want the money. My bill are as follows:
mortgage 2300.00
car payment 338.00
car insurance 93.00
cell phone 200.00
cable, phone, internet 160.00
credit cards 650.00
food 500.00
misc. 150.00
Total 4391

I have been renting out my house for 1800.00 per month. I live with my fiance. He has his house up for sale due to his divorce. we will be moving into my house in about 1 month.

I take home about 1800.00 per month. He takes home about 2100.00 . He really does not have any debt. He will be doing a short sale on his house. I have put a deffered payment on 2 of my 3 credit cards for 2 months at the suggestion of a financial counseler i have seen 2 times. He does not think I should file bankrupsy but I think I should.

I would like to buy a car for about 2-3 thousand and turn in my other car. the car i have is a 07 hyuindia tuson 0% interest. I owe about 19,000 on it and the book value is only about 14000. My house is in my name but my x is still on the mortgage.

I would like to keep the house and get rid of the other bills. I’m not really concerned about my credit because all it does for me is allow me to get in debt. My total credit card debt is about 32,000.00 (ouch) I am not good with money. I have been looking for a part time job but there is not a lot out there and i really dont know if i could do it. I have sleep apnea and barely make it threw the day now even though i wear a cpap machine every night. Please help me!!!!

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What are my best options?


Dear Karen,

Thank you for providing some detail about your expenses. However, I suspect that the “budget” is missing a bit unless you came up with these numbers after actually tracking your cash for a month. Off the cuff budgets almost always underestimate expenses and overestimate income. If you wanted help tracking the real cash then follow the process outlined in my book Eliminate Your Debt Like a Pro, you can download it for free.

Even with the budget that you have here, and factoring in all of the income from your partner moving in, it still comes up short. Your combined income is $3,900 and your expenses are $4,391, not including any money for his expenses.

What concerns me greatly is that you were previously getting $940 a month in child support and still ran up $32,000 in debt to make ends meet. There is more to this budget that is simply not consciously accounted for.

I want to be honest, but not brutal here. I can’t see this plan of action working out successfully. Even if you were able to make it month-to-month here, all it will take is one unexpected expense to put you into a financial tailspin you probably won’t recover from. And the reason unexpected events are called accidents is because they are not planned on purpose, they just happen.

Your plan does not include any money for savings, which you will need, otherwise unexpected expenses will wind up on credit cards, which will only increase your debt.

Sure, there are some expenses, like your cell phone that look like they could be lowered, but in light of everything I commented about above, simply changing your cell phone plan isn’t enough to alter the path you are on.

As a financial counselor myself, I would have to respectfully disagree with the opinion of the other person you spoke about. If they were a credit counselor and trying to get you in a debt management plan I would be cynical and say they had an anterior motive to keep you away from bankruptcy. The only way I would suggest that you even tried a debt management plan would only be if you insisted and needed to prove to yourself that it would not work.

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Everyone is different but the odds say that those that attempt to live on a razor thin budget while taking years to get out of debt, will fail. Maybe you’ll be the one in a thousand that won’t.

It seems to me that maybe you are at a crossroad in your life and that this might be the time for change. You and your partner would be able to rent a place together and you can still go bankrupt. Bankruptcy would allow you to remedy the car situation, take care of the credit card debt and with some new focus on opening a saving account and tracking your cash, you could have a shot at a more successful and responsible financial future. The key here is that you learn from what mistakes you feel you made and not repeat those again.

Regarding the car issue, this is something I think you need to coordinate with your bankruptcy attorney when you meet with them. Call a local bankruptcy attorney, schedule a free bankruptcy consultation and go in and talk to them about your situation.

I think bankruptcy might be a painful experience and inconvenient for you but it is better to face short-term pain for long-term recovery. Besides, once you are saving and living within your income you can get some additional help for the sleep apnea so you can finally get a good nights rest without stress and worry.


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.

6 thoughts on “I Have Sleep Apnea and Debt. What Should I Do? – Karen”

  1. Today I met with a bankruptsy lawyer that I got hooked up with thru legalmatch.com. I just gave them some info and they hooked me up with a lawyer in my area. I met her today (saturday even) and got the ball rolling. I will be filing chapter 7 and I will be able to keep my house. I’m very excited about this chance to start over. I feel like I’ve been given a new lease on life.

    • Karen,

      I’m so happy that I was not only able to help you find a local bankruptcy attorney, because of the site, but that the advice I gave you was the first step in helping you towards your new life.

      I’m so happy for you.

      Big hug.


  2. Thanks for your concern Roger. I just had my 3rd sleep study and I am waiting for the results. I use the cpap every night and also take provigil every day. I should be getting my level raised on the cpap, due to the recent study. I will definitley check out that web site. Thank you. On a money note, I’ve been doing alot of on line research and hooked up with a company that hooked me up with a lawyer. I have a free consultation with her this Saturday regarding filing bankruptsy. I think this is my best option.

  3. Steve, I am very concerned about Karen’s comment about sleep apnea: “I have sleep apnea and barely make it threw the day now even though i wear a cpap machine every night.”

    It is only since Reggie White’s death from complications associated with sleep apnea in 2004, that our populace (and doctors) has started to recognize how dangerous sleep apnea is.

    Karen, You are doing the right thing by using CPAP every night. But it sounds like CPAP is not effective for you. There is a wonderful forum of CPAP patients that many of us credit with saving our lives. CPAP can be a difficult process and most people need advice about it. I recommend you join the forum at cpaptalk.com and ask for help from the wonderful members.

    Best of luck,

    Roger Van


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