Hi everyone! I wanted to end this year on a hopeful note. I know many of you out there might feel discouraged about your debt or overall money situation, but work hard and you can get to where you want to be. Today’s story gave me hope to those out there who feel trapped by their financial situation. I corresponded with this gentleman through email and took our conversation and pieced it together. You can find Andy over at pennylessdad.com
I filed for bankruptcy protection when I had over $70,000 in credit card debt.
Maybe I was too confident in my abilities as a financial planner. I started out pretty good after I graduated from college. I married my beautiful wife Steph and God blessed us with a handsome son and a beautiful daughter.
My desire to keep up with the Joneses got me into debt and every possible mistake someone could do, I did. I misused credit cards, missed paying their balances off on time, took loans of all kinds – be it a payday loan or other personal loans from family and friends. I owed money to a lot of people.
I also didn’t follow a budget either and never saved a dime.
Before I was married, I had three credit cards with a total of $42,000 I owed on it. Then Steph and I had wedding expenses which totaled $29,858. Not just that, I had a combined debt of $18,000 from buying appliances for the house, space heaters, and some other outstanding bills.
We owed more than $71,000 dollars, not including our mortgage payments. So basically, we were headed towards a bad situation without any life support.
One night, I stumbled upon a dozen of late notices from the debt collectors on my desk. So, I sat down and started going through them. I was shocked to find out that I only made the minimum payments, if any.
Bankruptcy was on mind for quite some time, but I was really afraid to break the bad news to my spouse. We started getting more letters from collection agencies and bombarded with tons of phone calls in a day.
Getting new loans were getting harder because my credit report reflected all my default loans. All my financial decisions made my family’s life a living hell.
At this point, I had no other option but to file bankruptcy.
Initially, I was quite a bit apprehensive about the whole idea.
But, being a player of the financial industry, I knew that bankruptcy was common. And every year, millions of ordinary people like me file one, just to straighten up their finances.
After I got into damage control mode. I stopped spending money on anything that was unnecessary and started couponing. Seeking legal counsel really helped when my wife and I felt demoralized. We just did everything we could to pay off the debt and reduce our expenses. At one point we carpooled to work so we didn’t have to use two cars. Doing all of this with my wife gave me the confidence to press on.
Filing bankruptcy was like an eye-opener for me. It showed me that anyone is capable of having a financial disaster like this. I don’t want to take anything for granted anymore.
I felt like I had to start my life over again, but everything right now seems so much better. I’m so lucky I didn’t have to go through a bitter divorce or anything.
I also hope that my children will never have to go through this. I want them to be smart money managers and make a mess of their finances like I did.