I Am So Stressed Over My Debt I Can Hardly Breathe. – Doug


“Dear Steve,

i lost my job in January 09 where i was making about 67K/year. at that time, i was pretty much just surviving financially, i had gotten divorce a year earlier and was having trouble adjusting to new expenses (W4 withholdings killed me). i was out of work for 4 months collecting unemployemnt and went through my savings. i now work but am only making $21/hour. I dont make enough to support my kids and pay off my bills. i owe $1700 fed taxes, $1200 for back child support, $1100 for something else, $8,000 for my car and $5000 for visa. my monthly living expenses have gone down. i have yet to start paying on the taxes or the other $1100 bill but they will want a monthly payment to start soon i’m sure. Child support services attached my wages.

i recently defaulted on a 403b loan ($11,000) that my ex and i used to pay off our second mortgage when we divorced. i didnt want this to happen, but i cant pay what i dont have.

Obviously the poor job market is not getting beter fast enough and dont know how long it will be till i get a job that pays what i’m worth.

i am feeling desperate and almost ready to cash out some of my 403b if i’m allowed just to get by till i find a better paying job.

What are my options. i’m so stressed out i can hardly breathe.


Dear Doug,

I hear the stress in your question. I remember those days and how it all felt like it was closing in and hard to breathe.

Borrowing from the 403(b) isn’t going to stop the situation, it will just postpone the mess for a few months and drain your retirement money.

The situation is actually one of an imbalance of income and expenses. Most of the debts you have are exempt from bankruptcy so bankruptcy alone isn’t going to get you out of this hole.

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Your only options are to go back to court and get your child support adjusted and/or reduce your living expenses by finding a less expensive place to live, handing back your car and buying a beater to get back and forth.

If you hand the car back then you should consider bankruptcy to close the car debt and credit card.


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.

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