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Thread: Getting my stuff together

  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    Getting my stuff together

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    Don't feel like I can really talk to anyone about this. Friends here don't know anything is up, and I don't want to discuss any of this with DB since he is deployed and we may continue to be long distance after he gets back from deployment. I just don't want him to worry about anything that he can't do anything about and quite frankly at this point I'm rather embarrassed that the situation has gotten to this point.

    To begin. About four years ago I separated from my ex-husband. Despite repeatedly telling him that I couldn't handle keeping track of our finances, managing our household, working full time, going to grad school, and running my own pet-sitting business, he would not pick up the slack in terms of finances. After separating, I dropped everything. I quit school, quit my job, quit the business, and looking back, I was very depressed and not dealing with anything well. I was able to find and hold down a job after a few months, but one that just paid rent and enough to live on. I neither had the financial means or mental capacity to deal with filing taxes or paying bills, so I just let everything go. I was definitely enabled by my living situation since all utilities, cable and internet were included in rent, and the fact that my car was paid for.

    So, over the last few years I've been slowly coming out of the depression and getting my life back on track. I got a better job and was able to get my own apartment without any roommates. Part of the reason I was able to do this is because I got to know the property managers for the apartment building I'm in and was able to talk to them about everything and explain my absolutely horrible credit. They gave me a chance and I haven't taken that lightly. I even have all the usual bills (utilities, cable, cell phone) and have been really good about staying on top of them - even budgeting for a bit more that they are every month so if they happen to be larger than normal I'm not scrambling. I was tracked down by my student loans (they can find anyone, anywhere!) and one of them is now in good standing again with the other one scheduled to be within the next six months. Within the last few months I even landed a fantastic "real job" complete with benefits.

    Relationship wise, while I dated several people over the last few years, it wasn't until this year that I considered myself ready to really be someone's partner (I thought I was ready before - I REALLY wasn't). This year I was mostly single, but happened to be dating someone when DB and I met. I think this was a good thing as it gave us a chance to get to know each other as friends for a while. I liked him so much that even after I stopped dating the other guy (we weren't even serious enough to say that we broke up), I wouldn't tell DB because I knew that it would turn serious quickly and I wanted to make sure I was ready to be in a serious relationship. Less than a month after I agreed to a "real date" with him, he got the news of his deployment which did move things along a little faster. In the time leading up to his leaving we talked about a lot of things, but it never seemed to be the right time to bring up that, "oh, yea, I know you just met me and we don't know where we are going, but honey, my financial life is an absolute mess." So I never did.

    Both the new job and the realization that I'm not in a good financial position to be anyone's long term partner, and I really would like to be a good long term partner for DB, has really gotten me off my butt the last few weeks to get my shit together. A few weeks ago I called the IRS to find out just what years I needed to file taxes for and to get wage and income statements for those years since I'm sure I have no clue where the original paperwork is. All of those came in the mail Saturday and I've spent this evening filling out the last few year's taxes. They will be copied and mailed tomorrow. Most years I should have a refund, though I'm not sure what to expect, if anything, given how late they are being filed. We'll see.

    The next step after those are taken care of will be to file bankruptcy. I have looked at all my options, and there just isn't any other way. My student loan payment is almost half my monthly income and there is no way I could catch up on all the other bills with what little income is left over at the end of the month. After the bankruptcy, I figure I'll talk to the student loan people about consolidating everything together, but I don't want to refinance everything for a longer period of time, I would rather try to suck it up for the next six years and get them paid off as soon as possible.

    Anyway, if you got to this point, thank you for reading. Its been hard not having anyone to talk to about everything, but it feels good to get this all off my chest and be moving in the right direction. Hopefully, the motivation won't wane.
  2. Pour a little salt, we were never here
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    #2
    It's great that you are taking steps in the right direction! I would definitely tell you DB as soon as it's appropriate so he has an idea of what's going on, but it sounds like you are doing the right things to get back on track!

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    #3
    It's wonderful that you are getting yourself right back on track. Better late than never! It sounds like you're being more positive than negative too, which will help keep you on track as well =) Tell DB when the time is right. If he knows you're on the right track and see that you're taking initiative to make things better, he shouldn't have an issue! I hope everything works out
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    #4
    I am happy to hear your getting back on track. and not to throw a wrench in your plan, but student loans cannot ge used when filing bankruptcy. So no matter what you owe the only way it is going away is to pay for them or to work for a non-profit for 10 years.
    if you do not have 25,000 or more in other debt do not file bankruptcy, it will hurt you more for longer than settling the debt and paying it off.

    there are banks like NAvy federal Credit union that can give you a consolodation loan to pay everything at once and then make 1 payment to one person----- very different than a company that does it.
    this does hit your credit score a little but having one payment instead of 4-5 can be a huge help, lowers the interest you pay and the payments are smaller.
    recently someone was talking about lowering thier student loan payments and deferrment- if you do a site search you may be able to find that info, maybe it will help you with the student loans.
    HTH's GL!
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    #5
    Congratulations on the turnaround! Sounds like you are making some fabulous positive changes!

    PLEASE take a second thought about bankruptcy. There will be a lot of long term pain involved with that and it will cause you a lot of trouble if things get serious like you are hoping and you guys want to do anything serious like buy a house. Try getting a free consultation from a financial counselor!
  6. Dancing Backwards in High Heels
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    #6
    I think we could be in similar boats. I just posted recently about swimming in student loan debt: Student Loan Repayment Options?

    I got some great advice. I would agree with PP's that if the majority of your debt is student loans, bankruptcy is NOT the way to go. Most student loans are not discharged in bankruptcy. I will be working on getting on the Income Base Repayment plan as soon as I can get some face time with my accountant.
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    #7
    First off congratulations on starting to make changes in your financial history and future. It is not an easy thing to do and when you do not have anyone to confide in it can be ever harder. As others have posted and perhaps you know student loan debt will not be taken into consideration on the bankruptcy. You said that you are filing taxes and should be receiving refunds. I am not sure how back taxes work and what amount you might receive in a refund, but perhaps you could wait on any decisions till you know what is happening with the taxes. Because after getting some of the refund you can take that money and put it directly towards your current debts.

    I also want to ask that you reconsider filling bankruptcy as PP have. This is huge step that will be with you for a long time. Have you called to work with your creditors to see if they would be willing to forgive part of your debts. Often this means any accounts you have open will be closed and you will just make payments on a settled amount. If you have not looked in to consolidation loans I would encourage you to check on that. I know that you said you did not want to change the student loan accounts to have lower payments and longer to pay on them. However, this might be a good option just to get other debts paid off first, as you can always write student loan interest off of your taxes. Then once you have your other debts paid off you can start to make larger payments to the student loans to pay them off quicker.

    My last thing I am going to offer is a non profit credit counseling service. I have refereed clients here in San Diego to this nonprofit and have a good working relationship with them. DebtWave:: Non Profit Debt Consolidation Credit Counseling - Credit Card Consolidation, Loan Debt Consolidation, Debt Calculator, Debt Consolidation I am not sure if they are national but contacting them may at least get you a referral to a similar agency in your area that may be able to help you avoid bankruptcy.

    Wishing you continued success on your financial path.
    ~ Sara ~
  8. Pour a little salt, we were never here
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    #8
    I read this when I was pretty sleepy, but the PPs are right, student loans are a no-go on bankruptcy. I hope you figure out something that works for you!
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    #9
    That's great that you are dealing with this head on and have such a positive attitude about it all. I know it can be difficult to see the light when things get messy but keep your head up, we're all here for you



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  10. Senior Member
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    #10
    Thanks for the encouragement and advice guys. I really appreciate it.

    I did know that student loans can not be included in bankruptcy. I have talked to both several financial counselors and an attorney to find out what all my options are and what the best ones would be. All are in agreement that in my situation, bankruptcy is the best option. It is my fault really, I let it get as bad as it is.

    Pixi - Thanks for the suggestion, I'm not sure what the rules are with back taxes either, I'm not really counting on any of that money. I do know that if there is anything refunded to me, I plan on putting it into an emergency fund. It wouldn't make much of a dent at all in terms of paying down any debt at the moment and I think it would be better to have it on hand in case of an emergency. My student loan payment doesn't allow for any budgetary wiggle room. It quite literally eats up half my monthly income.

    Again, thank you all so much for the encouragement and advice!

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