My husband and I are retired on a Gross Yrly income of $43,452. Our unsecured debts are over $94K. I ran all my information through CCCS Atlanta online counseling. They said I couldn’t do the Debt Management Plan because my income was to low. My net worth is a little over $69K. We have no cash savings; I used all of my IRA retirement funds since retiring in 2005. I started in April missing payments on 2 credit cards a month till I am now behind on 8 accounts and the interest rates are all over 26% and total minimum payments are $2900/month.
I”ve done a budget for my fixed income and only have $400 a month to pay on debts. I worked up a pro rada payment plan but I know the payments are not what they want. I have three questions. Should I pay only the ones I can still meet the minimum payments on (I have 14 accounts all together)? Should I keep sending in token payments on time even if it’s just $20 to each of the remaining accounts? Is my only option Bankruptcy and should I seek counseling before all my accounts have been turned over to collectors or they sue us?
While Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta (AKA CredAbility) has not been able to enroll you in a debt management plan because your available payments are too low for what the creditors want, in a sense they have given you an answer. It is a confirmation about what path is the most logical for you to follow at this point.
Token payments or pro-rata payments are not going to stop the creditors from sending your account to collections. Unless your payment is current and you are making at least the agreed upon minimum payment your account will flow through the normal collection process and possible to court for suit.
If I could turn back the clock I would have loved to have met you before you drained your IRA. If you had pursued bankruptcy back then you could be completely out of debt by now and been able to preserve your retirement account.
With $94,000 of unsecured debt the monthly minimum payment the creditors want to see is about $1,900 a month. Your available funds don’t come anywhere close to that.
There is no sense fooling around at this point or bargaining with yourself for a solution other than bankruptcy. It is fairly clear that you don’t have the current resources to enter into an creditor acceptable repayment solution that is going to keep you out of collections and/or out of court otherwise.
My advice is to find a local bankruptcy attorney that you like and make an appointment to go in and discuss your situation before you do anything else.
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.
P.S. Be sure to read ‘The Secret of Surviving Through Difficult Economic Times. What I Learned On My Journey‘.