I have lurked here for more than a year. I am frustrated because I know most of the information. My core issue is my spouse (who is the home maker) is very weak in these areas. Now of course I preach these tenants continuosly and my spouse occasionally has moments of adherance.

Unfortunately, theres no continuity.

I make good money, but never seem to have a penny. We have the usual:

  1. House and Second (I know, I know, read above)
  2. Two cars (One gets paid off in November 08)
  3. One credit card (less than 2K in balance)

Here is the biggie!

IRS debt! I currently owe 5K on a debt from 5 years ago that was 500 and was created by a tax preparer issue.

I think I am doing OK… But have moments of terror and fear. I currently work a contract at the “Largest software manufacturer in the world” It ends in November. The tech sector has been rough with multiple unemployments and such.

So thats me now you know.

What Dave told me last March when I called to tell him there was a 50/50 chance of my looking for work by the first of the year, was to stop baby step 1 and begin making minimum payments and save up because I could see the emergency which might be hitting. As it turned out, the new contract came through and I am not look for employment. The savings then goes directly back to baby step 1.

What is missing/lacking in her life that she is fulfilling by spending or ‘collecting’ or whatever it is? Some women ‘need’ clothes because they feel unattractive without, etc… Can you help her with that? I’m very goad oriented, I like to accomplish, and for a long time, collecting books seemed like an accomplishment to me. Esp. Ebay cause you get a rush with countdown etc… What is going on with her?

Perhaps, LOVINGLY, you can discuss this with her (realize you also have many faults, this is just one of hers). See what practical way to reign it in.

First, so where IS your money going? You don’t really seem to know or at least aren’t mentioning it. If you don’t have it to pay your debt, then where is it? How can you reduce that?

Practical steps can be, for me for instance, one is just not even going to the store as often (walmart etc..) because I love good deals. So going 2x a month instead of 4, or even once. Or hubby does the shopping for us – that’s even better.

Does she want to get out of the house? What could you substitute that won’t get you both into more trouble? I love things for the house and kids. Harder to buy it if you’re not there. Saves a lot.

Eating out too much? Help her cook, make it a special time together or family time. Make it a positive. Are you really willing to do what it takes to help her? Are you giving her time or attention, or is she filling that void with ‘things’?

More than likely you can help way more than you realize, by loving her. Not always I know, but it certainly can’t hurt. Few woman are going to be able to resist a honestly, deeply loving and humble man who communicates kindly with her.

Look high and low for spending YOU do, not just her. If you can also just cut out something. Are you eating $7. lunches instead of taking your own? What do YOU spend money on?

Make a deal with her, if either of you spend money on those problem areas, then you have to sell some thing to make up for it etc.. or something like that. Now, don’t get crazy and sell a family heirloom or expect that from her. Solve the problem, never create more.

This really has to be done in love. You have got to concentrate on your shortcomings or you will come across as holier than thou, and she will shut you out, and probably spend more to ‘feel better’. If you think you are better than her, I’m sure you are kidding yourself frankly.

Also, help her concentrate and focus and get educated about it.

Does she like to read or watch tv? Watch some user friendly financial shows like Ramseys or Suze Orman every week and go the library and get Kiplinger or Smart Money magazines etc… Easier the better, not ‘Forbes’. Read some books – together. It’s going to have to be her goal also.

The video to watch:

Honestly and humbly communicate exactly what is going on. Explain earnestly how much it worries you and feels like such a load, a burden and how much you need her help with this. If you have the right attitude (I can’t stress that enough, if you can’t tell). How much more happiness there would be, freedom, less stress, and you could enjoy everything without guilt, all the benefits. Share your HEART with her, just be humble.

Make a list of all your failures in life, write them down if need be before talking with her. Most of our lists would be pretty long. Is there someone, a couple, you could be accountable to? Neither of you will want to fail, when you have to talk about it to them also.

Remember, losing your marriage is way worse than debt. A much greater failure. If it makes you feel any better, your debt actually doesn’t sound so bad to me. :) One thing I found out, when I owed the IRS a little bit of money, is that they were willing to set up a payment schedule. I just had to keep careful records, because they tried to tell me I owed them an extra payment! If that debt is the one that’s really stressing you out, you might want to tackle it first and work out something with them. But keep track of *everything*–that was my experience.

I beg to differ. if I remember right, you can clain your fiance charges IF YOU ITEMIZE. and I think even then it is limited to a percentage of that. problem is, you would have to have a lot to itemize in order to make it worth your while.

You are wrong, I am a tax examiner with the IRS. YOU CAN NOT claim credit card interest, even if you itemize…sorry…wish we could…

Thank you all for your replies. I had a few people tell me I could. It didn’t sound right to me but figured I would ask anyways.

can you deduct mortgage interest if the mortgage is in another name because made an agreement that they could get the loan for you with their credit scores higher and put you on the title asap, and you moved in and lived there and paid the full mortgage, not them? also, how can i get a lien off of my son’s credit which is inaccurate? sorry to bother you. Happy New Year! I believe the only person who can deduct mortgage insurance is the person who’s name is on the title. That loan for the house is on the person’s credit report for that debt as well, so they get the tax break for owning the loan.

As far as a lien on their credit report, all you have to do is file a dispute with the credit bureau, TransUnion, Experian and Equifax…Mail them a letter and mail it certified so that you know they received it. Once they receive it they have 30 days to review it and if it’s inaccurate, they have to correct it or delete it off the report. If they refuse your request, they have to contact you within 5 days after the 30 days and explain why they didnt change it.

It gets more complicated after this but start there first and see. Hope this helps… Tax on mortgage interest is tricky when the loan is not in your name. You may have noticed that the financial institution sends a statement with boxes indicating how much you can take off for interest. There is a name (and I think SSN) on this form so if what you deduct doesn’t match with what the govt gets from the financial institution, there may be an issue.

Others can probably answer the other question about the lien but I think you just need to contact the credit reporting agency.

By the way, I had two friends who would do their taxes differently each year. One worked and the other made his money on real estate. They were a gay couple so they would put the mortgage interest on whichever return would save them the most money.

Although they cannot give recommendations about things like filing for bankruptcy, she did refer me to an organization that will recommend a reputable attorney to do it. Following the end of a 24-year marriage, I found myself in quite a pickle. As it is right now, I owe $45,000 on unsecured loans. I do have a full-time job that, including the time for commuting, means I am gone for 12 hours of the day. Even if I were to find a part time job in my rural area, would literally have no time left over to sleep if I had another job. When the counselor ran the numbers, it turns out I have approximately $100 a month “left over” after budgeting for basic expenses (i.e., not including the cc debts). If my exhusband cuts spousal maintenance as he is planning to do, I will have $600 less each month to juggle.

I’ve gone to a seminar similar to Dave Ramsey’s method of paying off debts. I’ve sold/turned off most of the things that are extraneous and not bolted down. I live pretty much on cereal and oatmeal. (I’d eat the Ramen noodles if I didn’t have food allergies).

I know that it’s not an honorable thing to do – to file for bankruptcy. I didn’t plan on having to consider it, and I know the CC companies, other taxpayers, etc., want to see me pay it back. I’ve gotten to the point, though, where it’s either file for bankruptcy or give serious thought to the fact that I’m worth more dead than alive.

A year ago, I had contacted my CC companies and explained the situation. Only two of them agreed to lower the interest rates. Chase lowered theirs to 2% permanently (after I voluntarily closed the account) and Target temporarily lowered theirs to 10% for six months. I’m current on all those payments, but am now to the point where I have a $350 medical bill and a $570 heating oil bill sitting to be paid, and there is absolutely nothing to pay them with unless I skip some CC payments this month.

Any other ideas, suggestions, or constructive comments from those who have been in a similar situation would be appreciated.

I have been in that same boat. The medical bill, maybe you could call them and explain everything and ask if you could pay $10.00 a month until it is paid off. With the heating bill, have you called them and explained the situation? Even if you have try again, see if they will help you in any way. Alot of the utilities are willing to work with you. A couple more suggestions about heating. I don’t know your health situation, but when you are talking to the heating company check and see what medical requirements they have to reduce you bill. Also see if you would qualify because of your income or circumstances for a reduction in your bill? I have learned the more honest you are with them and the nicer you are, the more helpful they become.

I am in the same position you are, my marriage lasted 15 yrs. Alot of my debt is from the husband spending and me trying to fix it. You are lucky that a couple of your creditors were willing to work with you, mine would not.

In our area, even with medical documentation, the electric company will only let you go ONE MONTH without paying and keep the heat on. Here, we get (usually), several days in below freezing temperatures.

I’m sorry, I did not explain well enough. I have called and spoke with our electric company here in california, they will send you a form for your doctor to fill out and with this form you are eligible for 500 kilowatt hours free of electricy each month. It is an avenue to try.

I might add a little to this although my story is 20 years old. I live in Northern California and have PG&E. I lived with my grandmother who was ill. My uncle thought she needed a new oven (so we lost the gorgeous Wedgewood). It was installed poorly and the pilot kept going out. I called PG&E to check it out. They said it would be two weeks or something ridiculous. As soon as I told them my grandmother was ill and we needed the oven for her meals, they came right out.

I think when you need extra income and your kids are little you need to stay clear of anything that could cost and possibly not pay off. This would include any marketing and sales like Avon and Mary Kay ect…

I agree about the minimum payments getting out of control. At this point, they are doable, and I was given some gift cert. for the grocery store for my birthday, so I’ve got some help there. I do worry about the minimum growing out of control though. I would love to be able to live off of hubby’s paycheck, but we can’t. I’d love to make some extra money, but I have close to ZERO time to do anything. My husband can’t help me out at all with taking care of my daughter if I wanted to work on the weekends or nights.

Do you have any ideas of how I could possibly make the extra $500/month? I’ve thought of a lot and can’t come up with anything yet.

Honestly, your advice was the most intelligent as of yet. You really understand the situation.

I’ve read some more of your posts…I understand, I just don’t agree. To find $500, if you can’t earn it than you must cut everything you don’t need to live, notice how I didn’t say liked to have to live. Cut the cable, cut the DSL, cut the cell phone, cut the haircuts and nails, perms or color, cut (literally) your daughters hair, don’t go to the movies, don’t go out to dinner, there is no vacation. There is your $500. A lot of the advice you have received is from Dave Ramsey’s book and talk show. Go get a book, and read it cover to cover. Listen to his show online or on a AM radio. Of course, you can also borrow money online from elcloans.com or similar websites, but this is not a long-term solution.

We are trying to help you, tough to hear or not. Also remember you won’t be a planned 25k in the hole, you’ll be a planned 25k + a planned DH student loan + a planned your student loan + a planned house loan + a couple of planned car loans. We are trying to save you the heartbreak called debt, sorry if we didn’t offer what you wanted to hear, intelligent or otherwise.

Looking for opinions on what to do next.

I had two Chase accounts that I agreed to settle by paying 40% of the balance by making four separate payments on each account. I made these payments on various dates as agreed. The first acount, Chase acknowledge recipt of payment of all four payments and closed the account.

However, on the second account, Chase states they don’t have record of receiving the fourth and final payment. I spent countless hours on the phone with Chase, faxed copies of my bank statement showing that the final and fourth payment was taken, however, no one was able to tell me where those monies were applied. They just kept saying they didn’t receive it.

So they sent my case to a collection agency and again I sent in copies of my bank statement and outlined in a letter stating that the account was paid as agreed in the debt settlement. They never responded to my questions as to where the final payment was applied, however, they continued to send letters stating that I was uncooperative and they filed with the National Abitrators Forum who awarded Chase.

What is the next step? Is this a new scam? Agree to debt settle and then they say they never received payment? I have bank statments and verified with my bank that the funds were received by Chase. Do I send a letter to Motion to Dismiss, a stay of proceedings and a Vacate arbitration Award? I’m just taken back that even when I showed proof of payment they awarded Chase. Did I miss something?

Any assistance is appreciated.

When you find out who your judge is, send copies of the documentation directly to the judge. Clearly explain in a letter (or in person, if you get to go to court) that you paid and have documentation from the bank that all payments were made.

The court will make Chase prove that they did not get paid.

I had a company try to get a judgment against me once by going to court and claiming that I did not show up. I got a copy of the proceedings from the judge, then I wrote directly to the judge that (1) I wasn’t notified and (2) I had already paid the debt, here’s the documentation.

The judge wrote back and the decision was reversed. I have that letter in a very safe place. I made sure that a copy went to each of the credit bureaus as well.

The company wrote about a week after the judge apologizing and agreeing with the judge. Ya think??????

The company’s letter also clearly states that due to their error, I owe nothing further on that account.

Sometimes, all you can do is document, and Thank God for signature receipts at the Post Office.

But I am struggling with whether to pay off debt and work on improving my credit score or sock the money into savings and sit on it. I think I would feel better if I paid off my debts but I need to save money as well.

Not sure of the full history……. As far as I understand credit is based on a judgement over time. So paying something that has been reported as slow pay lets say might not jump hsi credit score because it finally got paid off.

But paying on time consistently and reducing your balances to half your credit limit and eventually wiping it out helps.

To save or not to save. Think of your end goal… do you want money in the bank that you had to work very hard for or do you want to continue to throw away your money on interest charges.. month after month after month..

If you cant earn more on savings then you are paying in interest are you really saving.?

I vote for debt pay-off once everything else is gone you will LOTS of money that you have just freed to save aand grow at a much quicker rate then you will be able to whilke trying to re-pay debt.

Couldnt hurt to start some kind of plan that is automatic, but start real small and increase it as you start freeing up cash as your debt payments go down.

Thats my 2 cents…. hope it helps. There are alot of people that struggle in managing money because its kind of learn as you go unfortunately… To the question at the end of your email, if he takes care of the small debts on his credit report, it will improve his score. It might just take a little time to come off, I’m thinking about 2years.

The most important thing to start paying off debt is having a budget and knowing what you have coming and going out…Most people don’t have a budget and are afraid to see how much they owe each month compared to how much they make…. Why didn’t they teach basic finances in school, I’ll never know why..

Good luck…Glad you were able to write and join in on the conversations. Once you start talking to people in the same boat it helps stay motivated and inspired by others fighting to get through their situations.

Long story short on his credit….He fell behind in his mortgage a couple of years ago and the house went into foreclosure. His credit was shot so his Mom co-signed a loan to pay the mortgage, attorney fees etc… he has checked into several different [places to refinance and some have considered a bandaide loan which would lower the mortgage for a couple of years so he can get his debt paid off and credit score up but when it comes time to complete this loan they can’t seem to approve it. He has not been late on a payment since the foreclosure but has not been able to pay off his old debts. We are just barely squeeking by. We continually monitor his credit and it is gradually going up but not quick enough.

So I have been sitting back reading these posts quietly hoping I can find a way to help myself out.

My Story… It all started in my teens. My parents never really taught me how to manage my money so when I was 18 I became a Retail Store Manager and in my eyes I thought I had money to blow left and right.

I bought a new car, racked up credit cards, etc… But when it came time to pay bills including my rent and utilities I was lost.

When I turned 21 I got pregnant and resigned from my job (I had twins so I was a high risk pregnancy). My car was repossosed, I had debt collectors calling me all day long. At this time I moved back to my home town to where my parents let me live with them until my daughters were 1 yr. old. I decided to file bankruptcy and clear out the old debt. I have been struggling ever since.

I have racked up more debt which I am paying down but I have came to the realization that I can be debt free and eventually have money in reserve for emergencies. I started a new job this year which I took a small salary cut but my year end bonus will make up for it in the long run. Plus I have tax season and my return will help out. I think I can get most of my debt paid off.

But I am struggling with whether to pay off debt and work on improving my credit score or sock the money into savings and sit on it. I think I would feel better if I paid off my debts but I need to save money as well.

I currently live with my boyfriend of 8 yrs. He owns his home but is stuck in a high interest mortgage. His orginal payment was around $1000 but has sky rocketed to $1500 a month. I have been giving him extra money to help out but I have paying all of the utilities as well. But this has not given me much money to spare. He cannot afford this house without me. he has tried to get his house refinanced but his credit is shot as well. He has a few small things lingering on his credit report that needs to be paid off but we have not been able to afford to do so. Is it true that if he takes care of these it will improve his score?


I am not sure what you have tried but let me share with you a secret that I learned. I am testing a technique I learned but until I have the results I am not going to share them, but i should know come my next bill from discover and I will elaborate then..

Are your CC interests high.? and how many do you have.. ?

First a short story.. quick version.

I got laid off and wasnt finding good sources for work so I took anything that looked even remotely promising. One of these companies was a so called debt assistance company–a nightmare for me, however I did learn a few techniques that I have never thought of before..

DONT DO THIS IF YOU WANT TO KEEP YOUR CURRENT CARD…. but if your concern is to get debt free and learn to live cash free then this is a good option..

I had a card that was at 22% and the interest was killing me. What they showed me was the process on how to get your rates lowered. Here ishow we did it.

I would always call them in person..

called my CC company and obviously asked to get the rate lowered.. Of course they said NO..
The second series of questions is what I learned from this comapny..

Ask them if you are eligiable for any product exchanges or upgrades to something like a rewards card.. They again checked and low and behold the answer was yes.
They transfered my entire balance to the new card and my new rate was 12% which lowered my minimum greatly and gave me the additonal room tomake bigger payments and finally ake some headway.

This process will close the original card but you have to ask yourself the bigger question.. is it worth it. If you can lower your payment allowing oyu to pay it off faster you wil save yourself lots of money and get to your goal faster allowing you to be debt free and save for your future.

Good Luck and hope I didnt totally confuse the heck out of everyone. I have heard that divorce does not free you from any joint debts that you had when you were married. I would definitely double check that.

BTW – CCCS is in collaboration with the credit card companies. They work with them very closely to get the money and since you are obligated IN WRITING to make the payments each month, they are willing to take less, in many cases, towards their end of getting the most money possible from you.

Depending on your state. when i got divorced we put it in the divorce papers who was responsible for what creditors.


I hope this is not too long. As with a lot of you, I didn’t learn money management from my parents. They always seemed to live in debt. Fortunately, I got a good job after college and just spent my money freely. I was living at home, so I was helping out my family, too, BUT I never saved a dime. I have to take that back. The only smart thing I did was contribute to my 401K — that is the only savings I had for 8 years. Finally, I decided to buy my own place. I had $10k in cc debt and in order to be able to borrow enough for a decent condo, my parents paid that off. It was the first time I didn’t have cc debt, but that didn’t last long. Because I made good money, I just kept a cc balance. No big deal. I’d pay the minimum and keep going.

Then I met my (now) husband. He made half as much as me, had no debt, and even managed to have a savings account. After we moved in together, we co-mingled our finances and I learned how to live on cash only. We did pretty well. We were able to move into a house and buy an investment property.

However, two events have set us back financially over the past 5 years. DH needed to get his license and we decided to start a family. We used the proceeds from the sale of my condo, so that I could stay home for 6 months with our baby. A couple of years later, DH really needed to quit his job in order to study, and we decided that we could invest in ourselves rather than other stuff and took out an adjustable equity line on our house. BIG MISTAKE. We did not adequately plan for DH’s unemployment and didn’t have any contingency plans for the time it would take to get his salary back to previous levels.

We pretty much spent 3 years living on borrowed funds and then the birds came back to roost. We never really figured out that we didn’t have enough income to pay our expenses and things looked bleak. We cut every expense we could, but we were still in the hole. It got so bad that we had to ask for money from my father-in-law, but by then our credit was shot.

We tried to refinance the equity line a year ago, but the rates were just crazy, so we took out some of our 401k and paid off most of the debt. However, we just didn’t learn and started charging again. We just recently made another move that most will think is crazy, but we’ll see how it goes. Our credit score had gone up enough to get us a decent rate on a refinance and we went for it. We didn’t take out enough to wipe everything out, but I now feel we can at least meet our month to month obligations.

This is the year we wipe out cc debt completely and go back to living on a cash basis. I hope to have a clean slate at the beginning of 2009, so that we can start working on paying down our mortgages and possibly be debt free in 15 years. :-)

One thing I find fascinating is it takes a long period of time to get into debt until it slaps you in the face…tnen when we have to face the debt head on, it feels like it’s such an uphill battle and people give up or feel like they have to file bankruptcy…To get out of debt is hard work, alot of discipline and the willing to fight to be debt free….It’s not an easy road, but well worth it in the end when it comes to making it easier in life. Congratulations in getting through your financial situation.

One question as I am a bit confused.. You said you are NOT behind on nay of your payments.? So that means you can afford at least the minimums on all your accounts, but I assume they arent shrinking fast enough.?

Have you gotten a hold of all the accounts that were being hidden so you dont go even further in debt?

I personally am not a fan of bancruptcy and should be the very last resort. I think there are so many other solutions available that need to be explored way before that extreme.

Now if you were in a situation where you could no longer make payments and getting threats from creditors that may be a different story. I am currently not behind on any of my payments. However, I have sold/scrounged/shaved as much as I can to make those payments. They are getting progressively closer to being past due. In other words, there are times that I have let some of them go by, knowing that I could get away with putting them off but had others that had to be paid that would rack up late fees. Now I’ve pushed it as far as I can go.

Twice in the past 14 months I have contacted all my creditors (in writing) asking them to discuss with me lowering or elimination of the interest charges. With the exception of two (and one of those is only a temporary six month adjustment), they refused. Now that they know how tenuous my financial situation is, though, they are very good about sending me emails or a quick phone call just to “remind” me about the payment due date.

Since the divorce is now final, I am “supposedly” not liable for any more of his hidden debt.

Yes,I agree with you. Bankruptcy is a last resort. There are two issues I’m facing right now:

  1. Even if I enter into the CCCS repayment plan (which, not surprisingly, would immediately lower or eliminate the interest rates on all those same accounts who would not deal directly with ME), the minimum payments would actually go UP in some cases. Since I do not have anything extra as it is, where is the additional $$$ going to come from?
  2. My ex is now talking about revisiting the spousal maintenance amount he is currently paying me which he has always felt was an affront to his being totally free of me anyway, then it is quite probable that within the next three months my monthly income will be going down – not up.

So, the implosion is beginning.