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Debt Discussions about debt and how to deal with debt.

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  #1  
Old 10-25-2007, 11:03 PM
mayhem49 mayhem49 is offline
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Location: Iowa/USA
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Default What should I do?

I am 44 years old, married with two children. For various reasons, which I really don't want to go into, we have accumulated a large amount of debt. We both have decent jobs, not great, making around 90,000 per year combined. We currently have around 60,000 in unsecured debt...We are barely scraping buy and actually we are accumulating more debt each month to cover our expenses. I'm not thrilled about the thought of bankruptcy but I think it needs to be considered. Both my wife and I are currently looking for 2nd jobs which would put alot of strain on the family. I guess I just need to get some thoughts from anyone on the forums here. I appreciate any help or advice you can give me. Thanks in advance.
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  #2  
Old 10-26-2007, 11:23 AM
Hermes Hermes is offline
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Default Re: What should I do?

The first thing I will tell you is may be something you have heart before:

If you find yourself digging a whole...stop digging.

In other words you need to stop accumulating more debt.

I would suggest the following:

1. Write down all the income that you have as a family.

2. Then write down all the expenses, from most important down to less important.

3. See what the difference is, since you say that you accumulate more debt to keep up I assume that you will have a negative balance. With 90k in annual income you seem to have chosen the wrong financial approach to your lifestyle.

4. Now you need to look for opportunities to cut your expenses, and as hard as it may sound you will need to find ways to cut expenses. You need to cut expenses on all 'luxuries' from dining-out to cell-phone bills and any expenses which are not necessary. Without more details on your situation its tough to give you exact advice. You need to focus to repay your debt, interest payments will increase your debt and to accumulate more debt will continue to put you in a bad fianancial position.

5. Once you cut expenses and free up cash the first thing I would recommend is to set up an emergency fund which should consist of at least six months of living expenses plus another 2k just to be safe. I recommend a money market account for that.

6. I favor to invest your way out of financial problems rather then to pay yourself out of it. I rather play it smart, not safe.

Bankruptcy should be your last resort, ypur last option to get out of the situation you are currently in. Second jobs by you and your wife may put a strain on the family but it can't be any bigger then the debt burden you currently have. Any job is just a short-term fix to a long-term problem but a short-term fix may be what you need right now.

Once your debt is repaid and an emergency fund is in place I would recommend to set-up an investment fund and start to invest your way to a brighter financial future.

Hope this helps.
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  #3  
Old 10-27-2007, 03:51 PM
spiderwire29 spiderwire29 is offline
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Default Re: What should I do?

There is always the possibility of settlement with creditors. Also Like Hermes was saying figure out where all the cash is going where can you save. Save A little try and make a little above the min. And after a small accumulation of cash you may also pay a chunk off. There are also the possiblitity that if you are paying high interest rates on credit cards you can usually work with them.
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Old 10-31-2007, 12:12 PM
ukey ukey is offline
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Default Re: What should I do?

I hope this will help, but this book "The richest man in Babylon" gave an idea which made a deep impression on me.

Regardless of your financial situation, to save 10% of your total income every month religiously. Prepare for and make sure you only spend 70% of your income. The other 20% is for payment of debts.

What they suggested is that you talk to your debtors, and offer to pay them according to the proportion of debt you owed (must not have any order of importance). If they really want to get their money back they will probably acced to your request.

So there are 2 sacrifices to you.....to live on 70% of your income.....and also to negotiate with your debtors....which I think is the hard part....opps...
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Old 10-31-2007, 12:25 PM
James13242 James13242 is offline
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Default Re: What should I do?

My take is slightly different than what you have been given above but still in the same spirit.

1) Stop using credit, it will make sense as you continue on.

2) As mentioned, make a detailed list of all expenses and all income. Account for every penny.

3) Make a detailed budget that accounts for every penny that you earn. Begin to live off that budget. This may require that you make some lifestyle adjustments.

4) Review all of your assets. Put them on paper and see if you can sell or downsize them. Look around the house, what do you not use much or what could you live without. eBay and Craigslist will give you an outlet to turn them liquid. Use the money from these sales to pay off debt (as discussed later).

5) Make a detailed list of all current debt. List them by creditor and include the amount as well as the interest rate. If you have a spreadsheet application (Excel), sort them both my balance and interest rate. Use this list to begin your debt snowball. (More on this later).

6) Find every ounce of extra money beyond you basic living expenses and minimum payments to creditors.
A) Get $1,000 into a savings account as an emergency fund. This money is only for true emergencies and will keep you from needing to charge these events

B) Once the emergency fund has $1000, start to use this money toward making extra debt payments one creditor at a time.

7) When one account is paid in full (or settled in full) apply the amount of money that your were paying toward that (minimum payment + extra) to the next account. Repeat this process until all debts are paid.

Now, what order to pay the debts in... There are two schools of thought and neither is really best. Option 1- Pay them from smallest to largest. This will let you see the most progress. Option 2- Pay them from highest to lowest interest rate. This will in the long run save you some money.

I really recommend that you hit the library and pick-up a book from Dave Ramsey or Suze Oreman. If you go with Dave Ramsey, I recommend the Total Money Makeover. Make sure that your spouse reads it with you and is on board with the program. Unless you break the cycle and get on a plan, nothing else will help you. While bankrupcy may be an immediate solution to clear some debt, it is not the answer. You must first break the debt reliance cycle. You will also find that BK can cause you problems years from now with regard to employment and other issues.

Good luck.

Last edited by James13242; 10-31-2007 at 12:31 PM.
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  #6  
Old 11-02-2007, 06:08 AM
Hermes Hermes is offline
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Default Re: What should I do?

I have one thing to add here:

If you have 'real' assets then I would strongly recommend that you keep them as they, by definintion of an asset, will continue to earn you money.

Keep those.

Eliminate liabilities instead.
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