I Was in a Debt Management Program and Now My Husband is in Trouble. Scared Mom in Michigan

Scared Mom in Michigan

“Dear Steve,

Back in November My husband and I fell into finacial ruin thanks to credit cards… I already was going through Debt management of my own and then My husband was adding to this without my knowledge…. why? who knows.. but too late now.

Anyway… My husband hours got cut drastically… He went from making $800 a week to $300 a week… I was about to give birth to our youngest, We have 4 boys, so I stay home with the kids ages 11, 5, 2 and 5 months… My 5 year old just turned 5 and don’t start school till the fall, and every time I look into work, The daycare is equal to my hourly wage,.. then it cost money for the gas to go to work.

Anyway, we could not make keep up with any of his credit card payments, nor the debt consolodation program payment as well. We attempted to work with all the creditors with no success, I called my debt management program to hopefully add my husbands as well, although we could not get the payment low enough to make things work. They recommended debt management, and we ended up doing this.

The payment is something we can handle, even though we sometimes struggle even now to make our house payment, hopefully things will get brighter?

We are working this the best we can, however, I fear we will go to court in the next few months. I am scared to tears.

Did we make the right dicission in this situation? If not what do I do now, and how do I go about this..??

Scared Mom in Michigan”

Dear SCMM,

I’m not sure I have the words to express how sorry I am that you are living through this situation.

I’m a little confused why you think you might be getting an invitation from the local court to come down and have a chat. If you are both in a debt management program now, you should not be looking forward to getting sued as long as you are making your monthly payments.

But your situation brings up a bigger issue, if you on the right path. A DMP can be one way to get out of debt as long as you make all of the necessary payments on a timely basis through the entire duration of the plan. If you run into trouble along the way and make four years worth of payments in a six year plan, while the debt is going to be reduced, you still won’t be out of debt and the creditors are going to come after you hard for the balance and increase your rates.

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What I’m most concerned about in your situation is not if you can make a debt management payment but what is best for you overall. Many people, probably including yourself, enroll into a debt management program to keep the creditors off their back. But that is a huge investment in a plan to tackle one primary issue.

Your overall situation is that you have a growing family with young children. Your household income has been cut and at your current level of monthly payments there is no room to save or for you to handle any unexpected financial emergency. And what is your plan if the car broke down or some appliance in the house needed to be replaced? If you are just squeaking by each month, you have no plan because there is no plan to have.

I just cannot imagine that you can make payments in a debt management plan and take care of your housing and food for your growing family on $300 a week.

Your current focus seems to be on trying to fix things from the past, but what is the plan for the future? You’re the mom here, your family and kids need you to face this situation head on and make some realistic and difficult choices. They need for you to have a plan to save some money each week and a plan on how you are going to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.

Do You Have a Question You'd Like Help With? Contact Debt Coach Damon Day. Click here to reach Damon.

And as long as you are just juggling bills, nobody is going to be safe, protected or happy. You and your husband will be stressed, the kids will feel the tension, the creditors won’t be happy if you miss a payment and the credit counseling group is going to be calling you for your next payment.

With everything you’ve shared with me, I think we’ll have to face that it is quite possible, if not probable that this situation is already beyond rescue with a monthly payment program.

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You felt you owed it to yourself to go and talk to a credit counseling company, but I think you also owe it to yourself, and your family, to talk to a local bankruptcy attorney and see how bankruptcy might be beneficial for you.

Look in the phone book and find a local bankruptcy attorney, and if you like the way they treat you, ask for a free appointment to come in and talk about your situation. Only by getting all the facts can you make a choice about if bankruptcy, or the path you are on, is the right path for you.

If you go bankrupt you can stop looking over your shoulder to see who is chasing you and instead start looking at what you need to do to create a safer and more secure home with the reduced income you have coming in for the foreseeable future.

Does this make sense?

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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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