I Might Have to File Bankruptcy Again But a Debt Settlement Company Wanted Me

Question:

Dear Steve,

Several years ago, I was so overcome with debt I filed for bankruptcy.

Three years later, I find myself in the same situation, overcome with debt because it’s easy for most to get loans even with a bankruptcy.

I opened an account with a “debt settlement” firm, but I’m still struggling to keep my head above water. I live on a fixed income of less than nine hundred dollars a month.

Granted, I’m seventy years old and probably, hopefully, not much longer in this world, but, in case, can I retain another debt relief organization and include the current organization and the bankruptcy as forms of debt?

If not, how much more can it hurt me if I stop paying on all debts owed and live on my eight hundred dollars a month?

Right now, my debt is almost four hundred dollars more than my income.

Any suggestions?

Judy

Answer:

Dear Judy,

There is hope, and there is a solution here.

Don’t beat yourself up over this.

A lesson to be learned here is that just because someone will give you an offer for credit does not mean you should accept it.

But I understand, those offers looked attractive because things were probably already tight for you. I find it very difficult to cast blame against people that took creditors up on offers. The creditors, the more sophisticated party in this transaction, took a risk. It was a bad decision on their part. It didn’t work out. There is no moral failure here.

Very few people I’ve ever met since 1994 have intentionally accepted credit offers to default on them. A shifting life happens for 99.99% of people, and the numbers don’t align moving forward.

The repeat filing rate for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is very low. But your situation is an example of how it can accidentally happen. From what you shared, it appears your income is limited, and inflation is eating into your buying power of what you do have. Credit was an easy way to stretch the money to meet your needs.

Whoever the debt settlement company is who sold you their services should be ashamed of themselves. From the facts you shared, it was not ethical, and it makes no sense other than to take what little money you have. Shameful.

Yet that happens every day.

I think your next stop should be to talk to the kind and compassionate people over at the nonprofit law firm HELPS. They specialize in representing seniors in similar situations for almost next to nothing.

You should also visit Benefits.gov and see what public benefits you might be entitled to. If your are eligible for assistance, apply for it.

Sincerely,

You are not alone. I’m here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don’t give up.

Do you have a question you’d like to ask me for free? Go ahead and click here.

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach