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My Husband and I Are In Over Our Heads. – Vicki

“Dear Steve,

Help! My husband and I are in over our heads. We have about 20,000 in credit card debt, a school loan of 33,000 in collections, and we are short about 1500 a month in income in order to pay all our bills. We are currently not paying credit cards and school loan and are just scraping by. My husband makes about 45,000 a year and I have been unemployed for about 6 months, with no unemployment benefits. My average income would still not be enough, even if I could find work. (I have been looking) Our mortgage takes one and a 1/4 of his paychecks. He gets paid 2x a month. He commutes out of town so it’s impossible for him to work a second job and I have health issues that limit what type of jobs I can do.(My jobs are uaually minimum wage.)

Our biggest concern is that we are going to lose our home. If we pay his student loan, we can’t make the mortgage payment. So we aren’t sure what to do. We have been trying to work with Dept. of ED to get another loan set up to get his deferment/forbearance restarted but are still waiting. My husband has already consolidated, has run out of deferment/forbearance, and Sallie Mae is demanding payment. We are about 4 months behind now. In the meantime, we are getting collection calls like crazy.

We don’t know what to do. What options do we you think would work for us?



Dear Vicki,

With the government backed loans the IBR, income based repayment, plan is the best solution. It will give you a payment based on your income. Follow the links to see if you are eligible for it and get more information.

Next, the only thing to do with the credit card debt is to get it out of the way and the only way to do that is with bankruptcy. You don’t need a solution like debt management that would still leave you with a monthly payment, you need it to be gone. Find a local bankruptcy attorney you like and make an appointment to go in and discuss your situation with them.

The SallieMae loans are a different story. No real options exist for those other than what SallieMae may offer. I find them to be stubborn, inflexible, and not very helpful.

Please update me on your progress by posting updates here in the comments section of your question. I’m very interested in how this works out for you.

P.S. Be sure to read ‘The Secret of Surviving Through Difficult Economic Times. What I Learned On My Journey‘.

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About Steve Rhode

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.
  • Vicki


    Thanks for your advice. We’ve already tried the IBR and other things with Sallie Mae and my husband doesn’t qualify. He’s used up all his time for deferment/forbearance.That’s why we’re working with the Dept. of Education on getting a new consolidation loan(We hope). Hopefully that will give us some help. I will discuss bankruptcy with my husband. We’ve thought about it but weren’t sure it would help, plus we’d really like to pay our debt. We made it so we owe it. Anyway, I will let you know what we decide. Thanks again.

    • Steve Rhode


      Just remember, going bankrupt does not mean that you can’t repay your debt, you just get to do it in a way that’s best for you and as you can.


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