My Life is a Financial Lie. People Think I’m Successful But I’m Buried in Debt. – Jamie

“Dear Steve,

I have over $80,000 in debt NOT to include the first and second mortgages I owe on. I am seriously in debt and not making enough money to make a dent in it! I am single and won’t be getting a decent raise anytime soon. I have been struggling for 2 years now and have had some late payments on both my mortgages (4 total in 2 years) and now my credit score is down to 503 from 680.

I am currently trying to get a modification of both mortgage loans, but I am really really worried about this looming debt. All I do each month is pay my bills and I am left with nothing for savings, clothing, nothing. I am living on a shoe string, I don’t buy anything, I don’t go anywhere, it’s imprisoned me!

I am 39 years old and I don’t want to live like this anymore. I am trying my hardest by renting out a room in my house, but with a defecit of over $200 in my paycheck after paying all my bills, any rent I can get becomes minimized. $400 extra per month does nothing for putting a dent in this debt! I can’t get more credit, don’t want more credit and just don’t know what to do.

It’s my fault, I took out loans to pay off credit cards 4 years ago, and now I am paying the price of the loans I took out. I am going to try my best to pay down the two lower amounts of cards I have – one is $700 and one is $4,000 as that will help, but the ONLY way for me to do that is to get a roommate that is paying at least $800 per month, which is what I am trying to do now.

I do not want to file for bankruptcy, but at this rate, I don’t see myself EVER paying this debt off unless I get some huge pay raise, which is not going to happen in the next 2 years anytime soon…could happen in 3-4 years as I gain more experience in my job, but I have two years now after this year where I will be making little to no money.

Is the best thing to do to pay down the lower cards as best as I can to get rid of them? I was also thinking of asking my Dad to help pay down my car note to alleviate some cash flow so I can use the extra money to pay off other stuff?

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Currently, I am trying to get modifications on my mortgages and my Dad will help co-sign for the first if need be. He DOES NOT know my dire situation, he thinks my credit is stellar and that is another stressor in my life..I am living a lie but really don’t think it’s my parents business–I created this mess, I need to fix it. If they want to help me with my first mortgage, fine, but I don’t want them worrying about all this other stuff!!


Dear Jamie,

I want to say this in the most caring and loving manner possible, WTF, you want your dad to co-sign but you don’t want to come clean?

If you are going to turn to your family or friends to help you out in your situation, which is one path to follow, you owe it to them to tell them the absolute truth. If you let your father co-sign for anything and then you can’t pay on time, guess what, it trashes his credit and the collectors go after him. That’s not fair to him to walk into a mess he knows nothing about.

If you let your dad pay off your car, you then owe him. If your financial situation doesn’t improve it won’t be long before you fall late or behind on a payment to him. How’s that going to impact your relationship? Not good, huh?

If you truly believe that your parents have no business knowing what your financial reality is, then don’t ask them or let them help. Period.

The ultimate way to accept responsibility for your situation is going to be facing it head on and with some clarity. You consolidated your debts four years ago and now look at the situation, it’s worse. You can’t borrow your way out of debt.

Ultimately this situation is going to change if you increase your income or reduce your expenses. Your current life is on such a financial tightrope that it won’t be long before the home winds up headed for foreclosure, the car is facing repossession, or bills go unpaid.

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The path you are on now is not sustainable. You can’t save, you can’t buy basic necessities and leading a life of ongoing depravation is not a path towards financial or emotional success.

My advice from this situation is for you to suck it up, come to terms with the reality of your situation, don’t bring your parents into this mess without total honesty, and go talk to a local bankruptcy attorney about going bankrupt to get a life back. Bankruptcy will be difficult and painful but if you don’t want to face that then continue the path you are on and how’s that working for you?


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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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