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I Feel Mentally and Physically Sick About Our Debt. – TamaraJane


“Dear Steve,

I feel sick about this debt and it’s taking it’s toll mentally and physically! My husband & I are in huge credit card debt ($83,000) due to some tax issues and his unemployment for more than a year. We currently rent a home, but just before my husband lost his job we purchased a small cabin and have a mortgage on that. We are barely making the minimum payments on the cards and will be behind soon. Most of the cards have upped our APR due to large balances and have lowered our limits to make us within a few hundred dollars of the minimum.

We called Care One and they told us we didn’t qualify for debt management but did for debt settlement. Honestly, that makes me a little nervous as it sounds like you don’t pay at all and then try to settle when you are REALLY behind…but they could also garnish your wages, too as well as send you to a collection agency. We want to pay the debt as it is our responsibility, but honestly coupled with student loans and daycare for 2 kids, we are strapped.

We have not looked into bankruptcy yet. We are looking for a solution that would allow us to keep the cabin as this is the only thing we truly own. Does bankruptcy allow you to do that? Is there another way to do that?

Can you file bankruptcy separately so that I could file but not my husband? What would happen with joint items?


Dear TamaraJane,

I’ve lived through financial problems myself. I stilly clearly remember what it felt like to be in those dark days of debt. I found myself stressed, depressed and uncertain about where to turn or what to do.

Your instincts about debt settlement as a solution in your situation are spot on. It is not a reasonable course of action for you. If you are struggling already and you have physical and mental manifestations of your debt then not only do I not think that debt settlement is appropriate but I’m shocked that it was suggested to you. It sounds like whoever you spoke to was going more for the sale than listening to you.

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Before we start making any knee-jerk reactions or acting impulsively, would you agree with me that getting the facts first makes logical sense? I think that only then can you make a well informed and educated decision about what path is best for you to follow.

I think I understand your reservations about bankruptcy. Many people feel that they have failed in some way or have become losers by considering or going bankruptcy. That is just not a reality.

In your case a Chapter 13 bankruptcy might be the best solution to consider. Even with the cabin in the equation a Chapter 13 bankruptcy would allow you to keep your homes and pay what you can afford towards your debts. Best yet, you are protected from creditors by law.

I would strongly urge you to contact a few local bankruptcy attorneys, pick one that sounds friendly and make a free appointment to go in and specifically talk about bankruptcy and your situation. Once you do that, come back and leave me an update in the comments section of this question.

If you feel so committed to repay your creditors what you owe them, you can always pay them back after your bankruptcy is discharged if it will make you feel better.

Depending on what you learn and how you feel after your appointment, I’ll gladly help you further if you still need me.


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.

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