Personal Finance

Are you struggling with debt? Have you successfully managed your debt? Share tips and strategies with others.
Replied By: zeppelin26 on Jan 3, 2013, 7:27AM
I'm not sure if this will help find a solution at all, but it's worth a try.  I'm basically drowning in debt due to a private student loan that I got for attending art school.  It is through the Sallie Mae company and they have never been kind to me in any way.  They are never helpful with lowering payments and everyone I come in contact with treats me in the rudest way.  The only thing they've ever done is to help me repeatedly put the loan on hold, but all that does is raise the interest and stop the payments for a few months at a time.  It has sky rocketed to over $100,000 now.  It makes me physically ill and depressed to even think about the amount that I owe.  I wish this would have been told to me before I went to school for a degree that would never help me pay this back.  Students really go into school blind and don't realize how or what they're paying back.  I honestly didn't think that I would be contemplating bankruptcy at 27 years old.  Like I said, this has caused depression and many feelings of hopelessness.  I understand that I may not have been smart with money in the past, but I was just never shown how.  And to be honest the extra money has just never been there.  I'm tired of relying on my parents for help, and sometimes I just don't know what to do.

Also in my personal life I have gone through a divorce, and moved out on my own for the first time.  During that time I also lost my job and was forced to cash out my 401K plan to basically live until I found a new job.  I have found a new full time job thankfully, but it doesn't pay nearly as much as my last.  Not that I'm complaining because it's absolutely better than nothing.  I am still barely getting by though.  I'm behind on some bills, and I haven't been able to touch the loans because it simply isn't there. 

I would just like to start over.  I have new opportunities as an individual that I just want to be able to take.  I think I've finally figured out what I'd like to do as a career, but I don't know if I'll ever be able to go back to school because of my loans.  I have a wonderful man in my life now that probably should have been the person I married to begin with, but I digress.  I want to start a life with him.  I want to get a good career so we could maybe start a family someday.  I want to go back as a medical assistant or an LPN, but as I said, it seems hopeless with so much debt. 

I'm currently trying to contact a financial assistance program that is through my new employer, but I haven't had any luck yet.  Is there any hope for me out there?
Replied By: poetician on Jul 9, 2012, 9:11PM
I am a very smart person when it comes to the esoteric, but anything practical - just call me a dunce.  All my A's in school never prepared me for the D- average, just scraping by routine that has become my life.

I don't even know where to start.  I hate money.  I hate, hate, hate, hate it.  I understand the necessity of it, but I disagree vehemently with the way that it has come to define and label each individual, assigning to them a monetary worth that has nothing to do with the content of their character.  The script in my head plays over and over: "You are broke.  Therefore, you are worthless.  What will Dad think?"  My Dad claims he does not, but everyone in my family knows that he judges every imperfection in spending.  My Mom is scared to spend money on anything because she is afraid of how he will react.  If I don't have money for food and out of necessity eat some food off my parents' refrigerater shelves, my Dad will react by eating everything he knows I like before I have the chance to get to it, just so that I cannot eat it.  (I am OCD about what I eat - I have an eating disorder, and only certain foods are "safe".  Get over it, you say.  Yeah.  I've tried.)

I feel so guilty all the time about my failure to live up to my parents' investment in me.  They sent me to college, and what did I do?  End up on disability living at home, working way too many hours a week for too little money (notice I still qualify for disability).  I did have Medicaid and Medicare, but I lost my Medicaid because I'm stupid and couldn't do the paperwork.  I can't keep anything straight to save my life.  I was diagnosed ADHD within the past year, and while the insurance was hemming and hawing about whether to let me get my medication that was supposed to help me concentrate to do my paperwork, my paperwork became past due, and I lost my Medicaid.

Well, it turns out that without Medicaid, I qualify for no talk therapy benefits.  What am I on stinking disability for?  I use practically no other benefits (except for my medication).  I have been falling so behind on bills - it seems like for every dollar I earn, I have $1.50 in bills.  I think I am going to have to quit therapy.  I just don't understand why Medicare won't cover it.  (I've met my deductible.)

I love my job, but it really doesn't help with my situation AT ALL.  I watch lots of little kids all day.  So during the day when any of the government places are open, I get at most a 2-minute break every two hours to use the restroom.  No time to make a phone call.  Most of the time the paperwork confounds me.  No time to ask for help.  Not to mention that I started selling on ebay awhile back to help make ends meet and can't keep up with records to save my life.  Medicaid wanted oh-so-detailed records.  I am so behind on taxes and bills and everything, and I have no car insurance and almost wasn't even able to renew my driver's license before my birthday (2 days from now).

I feel like such a mess and like I don't even deserve to live.  Which is stupid, because I vehemently believe that life isn't about money.  Hard to practice what I preach.  I want to get out from under Medicaid and Medicare, but I know I wouldn't be able to pay for my medication, I'd be totally afraid to ever go to the doctor.  I don't think I'll probably ever get to go to the dentist again, and I'm bulimic and have no idea what sort of damage I've done to my teeth.  Oh, well.  Guess they'll fall out by the time I'm forty.

Do I have any hope at all?  I've almost completed a student loan rehabilitation program, which will bring my student loan out of default - I've had lots of financial troubles over the years - let's say I've gone from pure F to D- now.  I am totally messy.  I can't even keep up with personal hygiene.  My time management is like nothing you've ever seen before.  It's like I constantly expect to pull loads of time out of nowhere to get things done.  I honestly don't know what I'm thinking most of the time.  I have all these things I need to do, and most of the time I'm ignoring half of the other things I need to do just for sanity's sake, and I don't even get half of the things I'm aware of done.

I need HELP.  Time management and organizational and paperwork-ical and concentrational help.  I'm always afraid to ask questions - I don't know why - I guess I think I should be able to find the answers without any help.  I can for just about any research questions - why are the answers not available for practical matters?  Or if they are available, they're written in legal double-speak, which always sounds to me like it could mean any one of about twenty different things.

So - how in the FREAKING WORLD do I get my act together?  Do I continue to mess with the government aid because I need it, and if so, where do I find extra help (more than they'll give at the medicaid office) with all the legal-ese when I'm so occupied all the time taking care of the kiddos for next to no money?  Or do I just throw the whole thing off, stop seeing my therapist, maybe even lose my meds, and hope everything turns out okay?  Both options have parts that I feel like I can't deal with, as well as bits that would be a relief.  Too bad they're opposite parts.  I know, I can't have it all.  So how do I choose which part I'm going to be stressed out about, knowing that either way the stress is going to be so much that I can barely handle it?  I can hold it together in front of the kiddos, but when I go home at night, I don't really have a whole lot I can comfort myself with.

I probably didn't make a whole lot of sense there.  I feel like I have a million contradictory thoughts pushing and shoving each other, bouncing around inside my head, creating this humongous cacophony.

Whatever happened to the girl who just wanted to write a book someday - I've had a million and one ideas, good ones too - or to make her music or something else meaningful?  It seems I've been shoved into the one area of life where I can't ace the test with no effort.  It doesn't seem quite fair.  Why is it that the only area I'm ever judged in the only area where I can't measure up?
Replied By: jessiek711 on May 23, 2012, 9:02AM
After moving from Oklahoma to Kansas and my husband taking a pretty big pay cut, I have found a few things that really end up saving a lot of money monthly! The first big thing is making my own laundry detergent and fabric softner. Its SO cheap and my recipe makes up to 2 gallons at a time :) it also smells nice and works well. i was buying tide for around 17 dollars a bottle and now spend about 10 a month or less on laundry soap. The next thing I did was quit buying bottled water!! Also, buy cheap shampoo and conditoner, it all works the same!! Trust me, i have swtiched from Salon shampoo to Sauve and theres no difference in my hair :)
Replied By: ladytiger on Jun 28, 2011, 10:10PM
i was in another forum on one site where they gave me such terrible financial advices acting as if i am lying! i maxed out my credit card last month and i do not have a job. i am not getting any help from my folks whatsoever. my card has $1250 on it and finding a job in AZ is a needle in a haystack. back in may, i finished my job workshops hoping i can get training from gov funding, but i didnt pass the math assessment and u can only get 2 tries - i used up my 2nd try. 

of course, i had to use my credit card for the simple necessities. what was i suppose to do? i maxed out my bank accounts last year because we had a fire incident and living in this so called temp unit which our old unit still isnt fixed! i have no money, $0.00 in the bank! i maxed out my debit card because we had a fire last may and i spent it up on me cuz they were not doing squat for me. so, what was i suppose to do? i gotta start all over in my bank accounts but no job hasn't come my way yet, so i dont know why ppl are still complaining to me about hitting the pavement. how many times do u have to hit the pavement until u get a job? i hit high and low still keeping rejected. im not volunteering nobody isnt gonna work for free, bills need to be paid and money doesnt fall from the sky either! i am hungry and staving, getting gov assistance since i have no kids. what am i suppose to do having a degree and nobody wont hire me?

nobody else is not helping me, i have reviewed options and i dont have any for myself. my question is what can i do about my credit card? my mom paid it off in April 2011 yet she doesnt know it is maxed out again. it isnt any of her biz im 25 not like she would pay it off again. i am hoping to get a job to pay off my credit card then get rid of it. i am becoming even more and more depress yet i cant seem to get out of depression. 

my bf cant help cuz he cant get a job right now either. any options?
Replied By: just_1me1985 on Jun 4, 2011, 10:48PM
Last year my job relocated my husband and i. We kept the house we left and attempted to rent it out.  After the move we split up. I gave the car he bought me back to him and bought one of my own A stupid decision made out of anger. In the mean time the house we moved from got forclosed on because we were not recieving full rent payments. Now him and i are back together. We are struggling with 3 car payments and a motorcycle payment. As well as insurance on all those vehicles. Rent that is too high where we live.We would move into an apartment but we own two rottweilers and it is very difficult to get anyone to even consider renting to us. We pay $400 a month in day care. I am just looking for advice on how we can resolve this crisis we put ourselves in.
Replied By: emdeengee on Apr 13, 2011, 8:40AM
If there was a stupid or irresponsible or just silly thing to do with your money we did it.  We are now debt free having paid off over $70,000 in consumer debt and student loans.  We are paying extra towards the capital on our mortgage twice a month and have so far reduced the time of the mortgage by 29  months.  Our last car payment will be in June.  We have a four month emergency fund and are going to save until we have a year.  We have doubled our pension contributions.  And all of this came about because the ca-ca hit the fan as it will and over half of it was done on a severely reduced income due to cancer.  This is my tip for getting debt free.  Google "Gail Vaz Oxlade".  She is a finacial  expert and all the information on her web site is free including interactive budget sheets.  Dr. Phil really needs to invite her on the show.  Just as he tells it like it is so does she.   Her show 'Til Debt Do Us Part  is now on some American chanels and I heard a rumour that she will be on OWN.
Replied By: cupofcoffee on Apr 11, 2011, 3:48PM
I used to shop all the time and had (still paying off) some credit card debt. I read some books and never got help until I read 101 WAYS TO STOP SHOPPING AND START SAVING on amazon. My husband bought it for me and I already saved $275 toward our goal-a trip to Paris in 2013!!!!! I now think twice before I go in a store and I go with a list. If I see something and dmy heart starts racing I leave and think about it for a few days at least. If we need it, I get it, if not, I decide is it worth taking money away from m y paris trip?? Nope!
Replied By: lori6466 on Nov 29, 2010, 8:19PM
I think it would be an AWESOME show to get Dave Ramsey on there with Dr. Phil to talk finance. They both have the same matter of fact, it's like this kind of teaching skills, and it would be a great learning tool for all of us having financial issues. I listen to Dave Ramsey EVERY DAY and Dr. Phil, I watch you every day.
I have to say, you two Texans could be very good together on a show.
So how 'bout it. Anyone else agree with this idea??
Replied By: dontodrin on May 9, 2010, 5:38AM
By: Donald Todrin


Many small business owners borrow money from their family to support a business endeavor. Family loan is natural and occurs all the time. Unfortunately, because it is family loan, it tends to be treated loosely, less formal transaction than if money is borrowed in the normal course of business, and loans of this type rarely carry a note or UCC filing, or even a written agreement.

It makes little sense to treat your family in such a shoddy manner as you are really sacrificing their protection if you ever get into financial trouble, and this happens every day. Most family lenders say, "I can trust so-and-so... I do not need a note or a UCC filing. My relative will pay me back." It is not about trust between family members, it is about priority and payback, and protecting yourself and your family in a default situation.

Additionally, it is entirely possible (and even likely) that family loan may be borrowed even before the bank lends. Thus, the family loan is on file in front of the bank's, assuring your family priority in the case of default, which can be very helpful to the borrower for many reasons.

An astute banker or bank lawyer may require you to subordinate a family loan to a bank loan, thus removing the family from first position to collect. Though diluted, significant power remains if the family loan is documented and publicly filed (and thus considered a legitimate obligation which must be respected and dealt with) and this can play an important role in the workout scenario. The bias of the lenders, bank and SBA is that a family loan from a family member need not be respected or repaid, and can be ignored and rolled over for the benefit of the bank. Proper filing prevents such a cavalier attitude.

This is exactly what will happen unless the family loan is documented, collateralize and publicly filed. This does not mean your family member will hard collect, or foreclose (or even collect at all), but it does create a barrier between the bank and your assets that may be very beneficial to your loan workout and survival, as well as making certain your relative's money does get returned to them if possible.

The point being, if your family loan for your new start-up is handled impeccably from the start, in default that will serve valid purpose as the terms are enforceable and thus it must be respected and dealt with. If not defined properly, the family loan will be ignored, and not only will a loss occur, but you will have lost the protective benefit of such a filing.

About the Author


Donald Todrin is the CEO and Founder of Second Wind Consultants, Inc. who specializes in SBA Loan Workouts, business debt forgiveness and solving difficult business problems in general. Follow Don on Twitter and join his Facebook fan page.
Replied By: sean7phil on Feb 9, 2010, 6:45PM
I have been helped a lot (although my recovery is still in progress)by Debtors Anonymous (a 12 Step Program for compulsive Debting).

It took years for me to realize that I was an addict-- but that my addiction was to debt and poverty and financial chaos.

Slowly I am recovering from the devastation of this pattern in my life, one day at a time.

**I am not saying that everyone with a debt problem is a compulsive debtor (not at all).

But a lot of undiagnosed compulsive debtors are out there, and this post if for them. I want my fellow compulsive-addictive debtors to know that there is hope.

Debtors Anonymous has (free) 12-Step Support groups and they are a non-profit organization.

**Some debtors are only addicted to debt-- and some are also addicted to 'under-earning' (sort of like income anorexia)

By the way, they call their Support Groups "Meetings". Here is the link to their website: (You'll have to cut and paste it).

Best to all, John
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