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Subject:  NEW MEMBER CONFESSION Date:  7/12/2005  2:16 PM
Author:  mew5280 Number:  208083 of 312185

Hi, I'm new to the board but have loved reading it as a guest. Now I'm getting serious and I joined because I need the help support that seems really great here.

My Confession... I think it helps to admit your debt, so here goes.

In 1997, I moved to my current city newly divorced, with some money and a brand new job. From 1997 - 2001 I was flying high. I bought a house, I switched jobs about every 9 months or so (not by choice, most were layoffs, completely closings, etc. - I'm in IT) but upped my salary so it was doubled in only 3 years.

Fast forward to 2001. I had a great job as a contractor making a TON of money (per hour, I was not working all year). I had a 401K, savings, mutual fund and was starting to do a little stock investing. BOOM, 9/11 happened, the IT world started to come down, salaries started slipping, jobs went away. Between 2001 and 2004, I was employed on and off, each year working from 6-9 months on a contract basis (all I could find). I wasn't disciplined with money, I didn't expect this to last so long and the next thing I know:

-I had depleted my 401K, mutual fund, stocks and savings
-Racked up 30K on credit cards (I was in TOTAL denial)
-refinanced so many times that my original mortgage of 130K was now 200K (still should have about 50K equity)

Last August I got a permanent job and went to town on my finances. I put together a budget. I looked at my credit card statements (YIKES), wrote down each balance, the APR, etc. I spent hours on the phone re-negotiating balances and started snowballing. Eventually I was able to move about 8 cards down to 2, one with FF rewards and 6.9% and the other with 0% interest for 6 months. I also got married but my husband is starting over in a new country so cannot make much money yet, but does make enough to help.

I was on a track to pay off the debt in one year. We were going great guns, I felt SO good. Then in May this year, lost my job.

I'm back where I started 8 months ago. Fortunately we can keep afloat without incurring more debt until I find a new job (close to getting one I think) but here is my issue:

My husband doesn't like debt (again, he's new to the U.S. and it's debt-happy population) and most new jobs look like they will pay less than I was making before so it might take 2 or more years to get that 30K down. He wants it gone today and wants us to sell the house to pay off the debt. The house has about 50K at most in equity. 20K would not be enough for downpayment on a smaller house or condo, right? Is this ever advisable? To sell your house to pay off consumer debt?

Also, currently this is the only consumer debt we have. No school loans, no car payments, just credit cards. My husband won't even use a credit card, only a debit, he's SO afraid of falling into the debt trap.

Sorry this is kind of long and rambling but I wanted to introduce myself and hopefully use this board for advice and support. I loved reading some of the stories of people who were able to pay off triple what I have in debt! It's inspiring to me.
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