Q: I am hoping that you can help!!! We have contacted so many people and everyone tells us the same thing. My wife and I make too much money for them to help us. There are so many issues and factors that the end of the rope is coming closer and closer and we don’t know where to turn.
We had an interest only balloon loan on our house that has now popped and the payments have almost tripled. Our second mortgage payment has also gone up.
There was a mistake on our income tax return in 2009 that was recently discovered and now we owe $ 24,000 to the IRS. We have had our accounts cleaned out and frozen, and now we have a lien on our house.
We have two boys in college and we’re paying that with parent plus loans. Since then, we have discovered our oldest had a drug problem and was arrested and have incurred legal fees for a lawyer. The court has required that he stay in a treatment center at a huge cost with mandated therapy at an additional expense..
The latest bad news is that our parent plus loans have been denied because of late payments (which we were advised to do in order to get help) and the tax lien on the house.
It is like we owe everyone and we are trying desperately to pay each person, but are stretched to nothing and not enough to even begin to pay all.
I have talked to our lender, a credit counselor, and a bankruptcy attorney. We don’t want to go into foreclosure or bankruptcy and we don’t want our bills washed away, but we need realistic payments and time to get everyone paid off.
Please tell me what we can do.
A: I wish I could solve your financial problems right now, but it will take time and a strong commitment to get on the other side of this mountain.
What you need now is a really good non-profit credit counselor who can help you go through your bills, liens and debts and can figure out whether you should be in a debt management program or in bankruptcy. I recommend Credability.org or an organization that is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC.org).
You need to find out your options as soon as possible, so please go online and make an appointment with an accredited non-profit credit counselor.
Make a list of all of your debts (and interest rates), your assets, and your income. When you go for your appointment, be sure to bring this list and all of your supporting documentation regarding the liens or debts.
Take a deep breath – this is hard, but you’ll get through it. One of the things that you seem to have going for you is that you have good income coming in to help you move through this financial and emotional storm you are going through.
You will need to focus on each one of your financial problems and see if you can find a separate solution. While you have an overwhelming number of issues going on, you need to attack them in order of priorities. And, as a family you have to determine what you can do now to help yourselves out to solve each of your problems.
You may have to make certain decisions that may not be popular with your children but you may have to do them nonetheless. That’s why you need a credit counselor to help you work through your issues or at least assist you in talking through them and setting priorities.