New and Looking for Some Support

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-04-2011
New and Looking for Some Support
7
Sun, 12-04-2011 - 9:53pm

Hi,

So why am I here...well, a combination of unfortunate life events and some poor choices has gotten me into a pretty bad financial situation. I've avoided dealing with it for some time now, but I'm tired of trying to decide which bills I'm going to pay this month, being terrified of my car needing unexpect repairs, and ducking collection calls that are coming nearly once an hour now. Tomorrow I'm going to credit counseling to see what exactly my options are. I know I'm going to have to cut back...I already live a pretty modest life style...but I work as a social worker at a non-profit and I'm not paid too much considering how much student loan debt I incurred getting the education I needed for the job. I can't take a second job because I'm starting Grad School in January-yeah more student loans, but I'm only 24 and the added income I can get with an MSW should pay for the education pretty quickly.

I looked around for debt/financial support groups and there aren't any-pretty odd considering I live in one of the poorest cities in the country. The biggest one in existence, debtor's anonymous looks too religious for my tastes anyway. I guess I'm just on here for some moral support...I don't really know how I will get out of this mess, but I've chosen to believe I will find a way to do it. I don't expect this to be easy and having some type of support will help. Debt is something I'm too proud to discuss with my friends or family, so here I am.

-J

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-16-2011
Mon, 12-05-2011 - 3:44am
Hi J!
Welcome to the boards. You've realized you need a change, and that's a huge step. I'm also hesitant to talk about debt with my family, and finding resources online is a nice relief. If you're not sure where to start, the other people on the boards can really help guide you if you post details -- net income and detailed expenses, do you use a budget, what bills are outstanding, etc. I found it really helpful to do that, as it let me make a game plan and see the progress instead of just blindly throwing money at one giant pile without seeing obvious progress. One word of caution: investigate your credit counseling group thoroughly. Many people have been burned by debt consolidation groups that take cuts of your payments, don't send the payments in a timely manner, or otherwise misbehave with YOUR money. A good firm will help guide you in making settlements, but plenty of people have done it themselves too.
Welcome!
Goldie
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2007
Mon, 12-05-2011 - 6:07am
Hi J,
If support is what you need, you've come to the right place! I agree with Goldie, many people on the board had bad experiences with Credit Counselling and hopefully they will chime into this thread.

In the meantime, you need to get organized. Make a list of all of your debts and make a list of all of your expenses. At that point, you'll be in a position to start making a plan. If you post your numbers on the board, we can help you.

We've all been where you've been - desperate, scared and alone. You'll find a lot of empathetic and helpful people here.

I believe you'll find a way to do it, too. Welcome to the boards!

Kate


empty purse

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Mon, 12-05-2011 - 1:52pm
Welcome!

Do be careful with credit counseling. There others here with more experience with that, but I know enough to know that they are not all created equal. (like the another poster mentioned already, they will often charge you and also pay your bills late. Plus, it does not look good on your credit) Point being, be very careful and only use that as a last resort.

Don't rule out Debtors Annonymous. Yes, it is spiritual, but it is not religious. I use the 12-steps with everything in my life.

You are in the right place and again, welcome. This board has been a Godsend for me.
Serenity
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2010
Tue, 12-06-2011 - 1:43pm
Sounds like your issue is on the income side and not so much the debtor side, so not sure debtors anonymous would help you.

Have you looked into Financial Peace University, or GreenPath credit counseling? Just some options as I am not a fan of credit counselors.

You can put student loans on deferral and also get them wiped off with 3 years of government work, prevalent in social work fields.

As far as debts, start with the roof over your head, food and medical, then rank you bills from transportation on down to debts, listing minimums for all, as well as your balances. Just putting things on paper can be quite cathartic.
Sometimes you need to work on the bills you can, and let those you can't afford just go for a while if it does not work. Then go to them when you get a bit more on your feet. Calling all creditors is also a pro-active way to go and ask for the hardship department - this is what credit counselors do and you can do this on your own.

While you might love social work, can you get a grad degree with more of a math/science focus so you can increase your income? You can always do charitable work outside a main job to help people and get that beneficial feeling, as helping yourself is a noble priority as well.

#Marie
Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Wed, 12-07-2011 - 5:29pm
MarketingVirgo wrote:

While you might love social work, can you get a grad degree with more of a math/science focus so you can increase your income? You can always do charitable work outside a main job to help people and get that beneficial feeling, as helping yourself is a noble priority as well.

I for one would disagree with this recommendation, unless it's in the poster's DNA.

People have certain talents and abilities.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-20-2001
Thu, 12-08-2011 - 3:18pm

I'm with a credit counseling agency & they have helped me greatlly.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-17-2007
Sat, 12-10-2011 - 3:18am

This is a great board and it will give you a lot of support and ideas.

I worked real hard to get out of debt. I had a total of around 30,000 It took me around 38 or 39 months to do it. it was really nice being out of debt.but I am sorry that it didn't last long. But the amount of debt we now have is a lot less then that 30,000

I feel the biggest thing you can do is to sit down one evening and make a list of all your bills and payments. Then go on line or go and get yourself a budget book. Most budgets work on percentages. I have learned over the years that when our financial percentages are out of line then we go into debt. Your goal is to get all your percentages in line. The more your percentage reach that point the easier you will find to make your bills.

So that is what you need to do first. And all it will take is some time and a pen and paper. Even when dealing with collectors . Just tell them I have started working with a budget