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Author: CanSecret Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 308858  
Subject: I don't know what to do Date: 12/31/1999 8:33 AM
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It has finally hit me....although it has been nagging at me for a few months..... I have left myself get in great debt.... debt that i am so afraid to let my husband know i am in..... 2 years ago we borrowed against a property we own to get ourself out of credit card debt....i swore i'd never be there again..... i have so much self pressure right now..... i am not able to cope with people for fear of myself...... i have two credit cards, one $6,000 charged, the other $7,000 charged.....several store cards, with the total accumulation of $1,500..... i have a car payment of $360 dollars..... up until christmas i was just bearly earning enough to pay my bills...now i fear i am not even going to make enough to get through..... i am fearful and scared....and don't know what to do..... i can't get myself to sit down and even look at things because i know i can't pay them..... i am current on most things....just a few small ones i am past due on..... i can't tell my husband..... i need help to dig myself out myself...... please give me some strategies..... tell me where to start..... i just want to cut the darn things up and get the hell out of Shiloh!
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Author: Tooner Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 22818 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 12/31/1999 8:59 AM
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<<<
It has finally hit me....although it has been nagging at me for a few months..... I have left myself get in great debt.... debt that i am so afraid to let my husband know i am in
>>>

1) STOP using credit cards.

2) You're in too deep. You're going to have to talk to your husband. Better you tell him now rather than him finding out. And when he finds out, you're going to catch more hell for lying and being secretive about it than you would for screwing up with the debt. You're just going to have to be honest with your husband. It's the better road to take.

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Author: Bweaver Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 22819 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 12/31/1999 9:14 AM
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It has finally hit me....although it has been nagging at me for a few months..... I have left myself get in great debt.... debt that i am so afraid to let my husband know i am in..... 2 years ago we borrowed against a property we own to get ourself out of credit card debt....i swore i'd never be there again..... i have so much self pressure right now..... i am not able to cope with people for fear of myself...... i have two credit cards, one $6,000 charged, the other $7,000 charged.....several store cards, with the total accumulation of $1,500..... i have a car payment of $360 dollars..... up until christmas i was just bearly earning enough to pay my bills...now i fear i am not even going to make enough to get through..... i am fearful and scared....and don't know what to do..... i can't get myself to sit down and even look at things because i know i can't pay them..... i am current on most things....just a few small ones i am past due on..... i can't tell my husband..... i need help to dig myself out myself...... please give me some strategies..... tell me where to start..... i just want to cut the darn things up and get the hell out of Shiloh!

CanSecret,

You've come to the right place for advice and support, and you've got at least one very good idea: ..... i just want to cut the darn things up.

The reason that's such a good idea is that (as you've experienced) credit cards are really easy to use despite our best intentions. You've accumulated more debt after taking a very serious step (home equity loan) to reduce it. Many have done the same, including me. I raided an IRA to reduce my CC debt but continued to charge. The charging behavior must be changed for any debt-reduction strategy to work.

I recommend you NOT close the accounts, as that's often an excuse for interest rate increases, but simply quit using them.

PAST DUE is an important issue. Contact those creditors and let them know your situation and that you're working on a solution. Send them SOMETHING to demonstrate your good faith even though it's not the full payment. Plus, it'll be harder to keep the secret when they're calling about past due payments.

The "get out of debt" section of the fool contains a wealth of advice, but two points I'd emphasize are:

1) selling stuff and sending the money to creditors is very effective, quickly reducing the principal and interest. Often, trading a nicer car for one that is simply serviceable is suggested on this board.

2) second jobs. They add income (most of which should be earmarked for debt reduction) and reduce the amount of time available to spend money.

I've you've accumulated debt by dining out, seeing movies, attending events, or taking cash advances, you'll probably not have much to sell. But if you've bought "stuff," electronics, clothes, etc., you may be able to turn it into cash toward your debt.

Good luck!

Bruce





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Author: don1941 Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 22823 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 12/31/1999 9:53 AM
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In addition to everything already said, you need to come clean with your husband. Marriage is a give and take, for better or for worse proposition. Prepare for your spouse's reaction, then have a plan for getting out of debt. Best 1st step - introduce all your cards to a pair of scissors and do the same to any new card that arrives.

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Author: Catleen Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 22824 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 12/31/1999 9:59 AM
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You have to talk with your husband first. Serious talk. Then sit down and make a budget. STOP USING THE CARDS. Only buy necessities. Build an emergency fund.

I know it seems scary, but you are need to change the way you are thinking.

I don't think that you need to visit cccs, but you might want to think about it.

It looks really bad right now but things can get better. Lots of people have been in exactly the same spot as you are right now. Keep your head up. Know that things can get better. Keep us posted.

I find that visiting Motley Fool every day keeps me centered and focused on the important things.

Catleen

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Author: Leviathan Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 22827 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 12/31/1999 10:45 AM
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It has finally hit me....although it has been nagging at me for a few months..... I have left myself get in great debt.... debt that i am so afraid to let my husband know i am in..... 2 years ago we borrowed against a property we own to get ourself out of credit card debt....i swore i'd never be there again..... i have so much self pressure right now..... i am not able to cope with people for fear of myself...... i have two credit cards, one $6,000 charged, the other $7,000 charged.....several store cards, with the total accumulation of $1,500..... i have a car payment of $360 dollars..... up until christmas i was just bearly earning enough to pay my bills...now i fear i am not even going to make enough to get through..... i am fearful and scared....and don't know what to do..... i can't get myself to sit down and even look at things because i know i can't pay them..... i am current on most things....just a few small ones i am past due on..... i can't tell my husband..... i need help to dig myself out myself...... please give me some strategies..... tell me where to start..... i just want to cut the darn things up and get the hell out of Shiloh!

CanSecret, you probably don't want to hear this but you really do have to sit down and have a talk with your husband. You can't and shouldn't go at this alone, and who better to turn to than the person whom you share your life with? I'm not saying he won't be upset, but if he doesn't want to help you then you guys probably have marriage problems worse than this debt. I know that's harsh, but no matter how bad the debt may seem I think you'll agree that the lying is ultimately worse.

A new year is coming. Sit him down and tell him the full extent of the damage. Tell him that you wanted to control yourself but you couldn't and you need his help. You screwed up badly, but you will never be hiding things like this from him again (and mean it!). If he won't help then that's probably a situation you need to get out of as soon as you can. I'm hoping that he will and between the two of you, you'll be able to work out a plan (and you may need profession help if your shopping binges are the cause of depression or something else. I'm not saying that you do, but there has to be a cause to this somewhere that you will have to treat). Then, once you both are on the same page together we can probably give you more specific advice. Good luck.

Leviathan

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Author: LeeSc Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 22828 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 12/31/1999 10:46 AM
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CanSecret wrote:
It has finally hit me....although it has been nagging at me for a few months..... I have left myself get in great debt.... debt that i am so afraid to let my husband know i am in..... 2 years ago we borrowed against a property we own to get ourself out of credit card debt....i swore i'd never be there again..... i have so much self pressure right now..... i am not able to cope with people for fear of myself...... i have two credit cards, one $6,000 charged, the other $7,000 charged.....several store cards, with the total accumulation of $1,500..... i have a car payment of $360 dollars..... up until christmas i was just bearly earning enough to pay my bills...now i fear i am not even going to make enough to get through..... i am fearful and scared....and don't know what to do..... i can't get myself to sit down and even look at things because i know i can't pay them..... i am current on most things....just a few small ones i am past due on..... i can't tell my husband..... i need help to dig myself out myself...... please give me some strategies ..... tell me where to start..... i just want to cut the darn things up and get the hell out of Shiloh!
******************************************************
Well, the best advice you've already given yourself. cut up the credit cards in little pieces and put them in a baggie. Fill the baggie with water and put it in the freezer. Then, when you feel tempted, pull the bag out of the freezer and sit on it. The cold chill will wake you up!

Seriously, you're not going to be able to fix this without getting your husband involved. I find it hard to believe that he doesn't already have some clue what you've been doing. How did you explain the purchases that you've been making?

You can fix this, but it's going to take a tremendous amount of comittment, and a willingness to make some drastic changes in your life. You'll need to establish a budget and stick with it; resolve not to charge another thing; start living below your means; and make a resolution to be completely honest with your husband.

Read back through some of the previous posts to this board for some excellent strategies. You might also want to visit the Living Below Your Means and Getting Out of Debt boards.

Good luck,
Lee

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Author: johnmoni Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 22832 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 12/31/1999 11:06 AM
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CS,
Take a deep breath. Ther are many stories out here of people with significantly higher balances who have changed their lives - so fear not - you can do it too. First critical step is to cut up the cards. You need to stop adding to the bottom line CC bill. You need to analyze every dollar going out against every dollar coming in. What discretionary bills can you immediately stop? Cell phone, cable, dinner out, etc., etc. I'm not passing judgement on any of your expenditures, but you really need to make a critical assessment of them, and develop a "lean and mean" budget that targets paying down the CC's as quickly as possible. Also critical in my opinion is honesty with your husband. My wife and I talk about every expenditure, and look at the bills as "ours" not "yours and mine." That is the #1 reason why we can manage our $ successfully.

I would recommend looking back at GeorgiaBoy's posts over the last 6 months or so for an excellent perspective on how to attack a very large debt. Will and his family are a fine example of how critical self assessment and behavior modification are in any debt reduction strategy. Hang in there and ask lots of questions; the Fools out here are ready to help. YOU CAN DO IT!!!!! Remember, your BEST credit is your own cash
johnmoni

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Author: TMF2Aruba Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 22837 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 12/31/1999 12:34 PM
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Hey Cansecret!

First of all, you've got to relax about this. We're talking about money, and that's all it is. Money.

By making yourself so stressed, you're risking your health, and there's no problem so great that it's worth having it affect your health.

The numbers you're giving us are not so great that they can't be overcome. Believe me, if you read this board, you'll find myriad Fools who have overcome their debt situations which were much greater, and turned everything around.

My suggestion to you is to use this new year, this new millenium to make some new beginnings. To do this, it's vital, vital that you share this with your husband, and attack the problem as a partnership. You can't do it alone. Together, you need to make the commitment to stop charging, and make a budget that will address your needs while paying down the debt.

Together you can find ways to cut spending in your daily life, and find creative ways to add new monies to the debt. Together you can find that the year 2000 could be a breakthrough for you both to get a handle on the debt and even move beyond that to make your money work for you instead of against you.

And we'll be here to offer any help, opinions, ideas and encouragement along the way.

Cansecret, life is much too short to forego the joys, and let things like debt take over. Speak to your husband, and start making the new resolutions to attack the debt.

And please keep us posted!

Best wishes to you!

Tony
...but I still am...

Off2Aruba

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Author: RPenders One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 22839 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 12/31/1999 1:28 PM
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Everyone's advice, tell your husband, is good stuff but I suspect you are in a situation where this could be the last straw for your husband? Am I right? I too was there many years ago. I literally never left my house unless he was with me for fear a creditor would call and he would find out how much in trouble we really were. I kept up a good front of pretending we were fine and I dug ourselves deeper and deeper in. Finally, as usually happens, it all blew up in my face. There were several years of recovery both our marriage and our finances. One way was for me to hand everything over to him and let him handle it. I never carried more than $5 in my wallet, left ATM card, credit cards everything else home with him. As the years went by and I felt more in control I have slowly taken over the finances again as he doesn't really like to do it and I do.

My point is if your marriage is in trouble this could indeed be the end but if your marriage is worth saving, it will weather this storm as well. As long as you make the commitment to let him take over and back away from the finances. I think it will be a very long conversation with a lot of tears but you will feel far better with him helping you then going it alone. I know, I've been there.

Tomorrow is the perfect day to take a deep breath, sit him down and spill your guts. Start the new century right.

I hope things work out for you, keep us posted.

Rhonda

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Author: forumcap Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 22841 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 12/31/1999 1:59 PM
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Dear CanSecret,

I agree with just about everything everyone else has said -- you must sit down with your husband, as painful as that may be. I too wonder how he can not know.

And I agree you have to quit charging, cut up the cards, and slash discretionary spending. Getting a second job is always a good idea in my book.

Now, the advice not mentioned thus far that I think is a really good option for you -- open the phone book and find a non-profit, reputable consumer credit counseling service that will help you consolidate the bills and negotiate for lower interest rates with your creditors. That will ease the squeeze.

I say, do that now, today.. and see what services are available in your area. What are their names? Come back on here asap and tell us who you have available because the great Fools here can help with background on who is reputable and who is not. This is where GeorgiaBoy1 got headed in the right direction. You should take the advice of the poster who said read all his posts here.

There are things you can accomplish TODAY and tomorrow that can help. 1. talk to the hubby. 2. Come back here with the credit counseling firms available in your area. 3. cut up the cards. 4. Cancel cable, cell phones, etc. 5. Don't charge anything more.

I too recommend the Living Below Your Means board.

So many of us have been where you are right now. I hit bottom in April 1998. I am almost out. You can do it. Please let us help.

Good Luck. Let us know soon what is going on.



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Author: CanSecret Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 22868 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 1/1/2000 10:25 AM
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I'm not sure if i have these Boards right yet....please forgive me for my ignorance....
I am going to sit down with my husband today...we have an odd sort of financial relationship i guess...we have been married 20 years...his finances are his, mine are mine.....he runs his own business, just a small one...and most bills he pays through that....we've never commented on each other..just agreeing that we would not incur more than each other could afford to pay.... well, after many tears shed yesterday for my stupidity, i come back to the boards and find much help and empathy......Thank you...
May i ask now.....i have a TSA that my employer is no longer participating with my provider....should i just take it and use that money to help to reduce my debt...or should i roll it over into a new one....and i have $100 a month deducted to go into a TSA...should i continue or stop......right now i have to drain into my summer earnings i have stored back to pay this month's bills....christmas is great but painful in the pocketbook sometimes..... i will have depleted my savings after this withdraw for now.....and i do have $1200 ($600 face value) in savings bonds i've had a few years now...that's if i cash them in now....they're about 3-4 years old now....... i would like to go to my husband with a strategy.......and helping myself in some way....i really don't have any frills except my internet service....and well that would be like cutting off my right arm.... i just found that i needed these dam cards to pay for the basics, gas, groceries at times, etc.... along with other luxuries, i guess....i can't believe how short a time debt can be accumulated...... my credit report at this time is just a little marred i am sure..... but my husband's is in great shape..... i really need to get mine back on track and relieve some pressure....by the way.....the cards are in pieces......

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Author: Catleen Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 22873 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 1/1/2000 2:07 PM
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I know that it looks really bad right now, but you have the credit card in pieces. That is a really positive first step.

Good luck.

Please let us know what is happening.

Catleen

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Author: TMF2Aruba Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 22900 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 1/2/2000 11:53 AM
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May i ask now.....i have a TSA that my employer is no longer participating with my provider....should i just take it and use that money to help to reduce my debt...or should i roll it over into a new one....and i have $100 a month deducted to go into a TSA...should i continue or stop..

Hi CanSecret,

Please do NOT withdraw from your TSA. This would not address your problems, and in fact would only be depleting from your future. Making withdrawls would cause you to incur taxes and penalties. Bad, bad idea.

As far as your employer not participating with your current provider, there are two choices here:

1. Simply leave the money in your current TSA to continue compounding, and add the new money to a provider your employer does participate with.

2. Roll your current TSA into a plan your provider participates with, and again, continue the contributions. If you choose this, make sure the new provider takes care of the paperwork, and under no circumstances allow any check to be received by you, as that would mean it was a distribution, and would be taxable and subject to penalties.

The reason you want to continue the contributions is because that is pre-tax money that is going into the plan. So while you are seeing $100 contributed, it's significantly less than $100 that you see coming out of your net pay--hence, a very good investment.

I'd highly recommend that your TSA does not become part of any equation for your debt reduction. Let that continue working for you and you'll be greatly relieved you did when retirement time comes around. It comes sooner than you imagine. Meanwhile, focus on many of the other wonderful suggestions you've received here, including cutting expenses and re-working your budget.

Good luck, CanSecret. We're all here for you. : )

Tony
...but I still am...

Off2Aruba

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Author: cdr5b Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 22946 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 1/3/2000 1:23 PM
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My suggestion is to do what my significant other had to
do after going thru bankrupcy 2 years ago. She did indeed cut up her credit cards and replaced them with a single Debit Card. That way when you use it it comes directly out of your checking account - that way you can't spend what you don't have. I has helped her get her house in order.

The other thought is that if you are paying 15%, 18% or more on your cards, then taking a loan against your 401-K may be the way to go, as most plans are set up where nearly everything you pay back is paid to your own account and it's enforced. Yes you loss earning money on that - but going thru Chapter 11 (or 7 or 13 or whatever) is not pleasant and it hangs over your head and has caused my S.O. considerable problems when attempting to get car loans, etc.

Good Luck - and tell your husband - no matter how independent you are, I would hope he would help you thru this and in the long run you will almost certainly affect his credit rating also, unless everything in your lives is separately owned.

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Author: mfmiv Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 22960 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 1/3/2000 2:34 PM
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CanSecret -

I have been in your situation, 3 years ago. Just got out of college and thought I was God's greatest gift to the world. Working at my first "real" job I went on a shopping binge. I was the best dressed at my office, had all the toys, new apartment down on the river, and bought a new car, with no money down.

In 6 months, I racked up $35K in bills. $20K was the car, the rest was Visa, and Visa, and Visa, and AMEX, and Visa, and storecards. Had a total of 12 credit cards, all but AMEX were maxed. Never used AMEX because you had to pay it off each month.

Solution, I sold off everything I could do with out. I took a second job, moved in with a friend for 6 months, and even ate peanut butter sandwiches with water for 2 months.

In the past 6 months I have a relaxed on the "living in poverty" style I took at first. But I am very careful. I have only 2 credit cards, Visa and AMEX. Both are clean. And in 2 months, I will be back in the black.

My suggestion for you, talk to your husband. Secondly, cut up the cards. They will most likely expire before you will be out of debt. Lastly, go talk with a professional financial advisor. Get a clear understanding of what you need to do!

There is light at the end of the tunnel, it's just a very long tunnel!

Just my $.02

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Author: RainMaker2 Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 22972 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 1/3/2000 3:10 PM
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I HIGHLY recommend Consumer Credit Counseling Services. They will be able to negotiate with your creditors for lower rates, lower payments, a freeze on interest and/or late payment/over limit/etc. charges and more. They will also work through a sensible budget for you and a plan to get you out of debt much sooner than you otherwise would without the plan (especially since they are able to help negotiate new terms to your accounts that stop or limit interest charges and other payments--though that is not always the case).



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Author: WorthMor Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 22982 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 1/3/2000 3:39 PM
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Can,

First, you need to TELL YOUR HUSBAND what is going on. Letting the secret out of the bag is going to provide some relief. Then, you can settle down to figure out what to do together.

Second, find out exactly what you owe and to whom. You may need some advice from a credit counselor or financial advisor. Seek it.

Third, you obviously have a problem with spending. So don't be shy about getting help. You can't keep doing this to yourself!

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Author: hondaman One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 22990 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 1/3/2000 4:32 PM
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As far as your Internet access goes, there are several free internet service providers in major cities. Depending on where you live, this may be an option. They display an ad bar on your screen in exchange for free unlimited internet access. Not much to give up in exchange for what normally costs $20/month.

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Author: Frontosa Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 22998 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 1/3/2000 5:04 PM
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CanSecret,

You've gotten some pretty good advice here. Pay attention to it. Stop panicing, keep yourself together so that you can think your way out of your situation. Intelligence, attention, and rationality are your most important tools. Panic and stress will leave you with nothing.

As others have said, do not take a distribution from your retirement account. You'll do more harm than good. I have a strong bias against using retirement funds for anything (loans included), but you probably have enough need to warrant taking out a loan from your retirement fund - make sure you use it properly. If you continue uncontrolled spending, you'll wind up in the same situation later (probably worse).

As for your marriage, if you have a good relationship, and you both care for each other, then you will survive. The only way for a marriage to exist in a worthwhile fashion is for the two of you to communicate and be honest with each other. When you tell your husband about the situation he's probably going to be upset. If you present possible solutions (especially action on your part) he may not be quite so angry. If this scene has occurred before, then be ready for the question, "what is going to change, what is going to be different from last time?"

Make the changes to your spending habbits. You mentioned in one of you posts that you were using CC's to pay for gas, food, etc. DO NOT use CC's for living expenses, that is a nasty trap that I am sure a few people on this board can attest to.

It sounds like your financial woes were seriosly aggravated by Christmas spending. I think this is not uncommon. The solution is to make a spending budget for Christmas gifts. Basically something like: kids $X each; spouse $Y each; parents $Z each, etc. It sounds callous, and not in the Christmas spirit but its better than facing what you are now. My wife and I have done this in the past, and it works well (we both broke our budgets when buying for each other :) ). This way, before you start buying, you know how much Christmas is going to cost. My wife and I haven't done this in a couple of years, but I think we're going to next year.

You're getting good advice from the people in this board - listen to it.

And remember what is really important: life, health, family and friends. When all is said and done, these will be the things that will mean the most.

Get financially and Foolishly well soon.

Jeff

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Author: NaggingFool Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 23007 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 1/3/2000 5:24 PM
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CanSecret-

You can do this!

Others have given you much good advice which I'll repeat.
-Stop charging
-Mail some amount of money right now to every past due account. Even if it's only $10.
-Sell things you don't need. Replace your car with a cheaper one.

I notice that you don't seem to know where the money has gone.
It will be very hard for you to find the money to pay off these CCs if you don't know where it goes. You could keep a journal of all of your spending to see where you can possibly cut back.

And please do tell your husband soon. The secret of the debt seems to be hurting you more than the debt itself. While you want to me fiscally responsible for your own debts, this emotional burden may need to be shared.

Good luck!
-Megan


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Author: ExEx Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 23008 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 1/3/2000 5:28 PM
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Go to www.fool.com/credit/htm. Read it carefully then follow it carefully.Get off the Prozac and get back on your self control pill.

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Author: lamarrranch Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 23013 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 1/3/2000 5:58 PM
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CanSecret
First thing you must do is tell your husband. Your going to have to tackle it together. The next thing you need to insure is you do not get behind on any payments. It will kill your credit for the future. As silly as it seems now, you may want some credit in the future. Then I would suggest you do everything you can to pay off your small bills first. It will make you feel you are getting somewhere and give you extra money to pay on your next priority, which should be those with the highest interest rate. There is no easy way to get out of debt. No magic formula and no easy steps. It is much the same as going on a diet. You have to work at it each and every day. You will progress toward your goal although it may take sometime before you really notice. Just like a diet. I've been there and getting out of debt can be done but you have to set your goal and stick with it.

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Author: RuaNY Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 23018 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 1/3/2000 6:13 PM
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Call all the credit card companies and tell them your delema. Be assertive and say that you are trying to prevent defaulting on any. Perhaps they can lower rates, payments or both. I'm sure the store cards have high percentages. Is it possible to consolidate with a home equity loan? At least then the interest is tax deductible. STOP USING THE CARDS! This is a MUST! Good luck!
Cath

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Author: mollymag Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 23026 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 1/3/2000 6:56 PM
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. i can't tell my husband..
Hey CanSecret,As a husband I feel qualified to respond and as a representative from husbandom your husband is just as responsible as you are for incurring this debt.
I firmly firmly believe that the "two shall become as one" as the Instruction Book says. Otherwise the two stay two and when the going gets tough, I'm gonna get going.
I used to let my wife do all the bill because she was doing most of the buying, for the house and kids and for me because I was working. But I was told by a very wealthy man that I should at least be as responsible as she was and I took over the checkbook. She still had the same authority to spend it on whatever she thought we needed but I knew where it was going.
So I agree the debt is too large to handle by yourself and I think the source of a lot of your anxiety is your fear of his reaction. Life is all about the learning and an unexamined life is not worth much. You have gotten into a mess of habits that are coming to a head.
You need his help and you need to be a team on this or it won't stick.
A budget is the best discipline you can impose on yourself. Set aside an amount for each category and use cash for everything you can. WHen the budgeted cash is gone that's it.
Larry Birkett has a great web resource about debt and finances. Do a web search under his name. Good luck and I will pray for you


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Author: PowerWealth Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 23047 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 1/4/2000 1:35 AM
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CanSecret,

To be successful in your situation, you must be open to considering -- even admitting -- that by racking up such debts -- for the second time -- you are displaying the symptoms of consumption addiction.

Basically, you are spending money that you do not possess or have not earned outright. The money you are spending belongs to someone else -- finance companies and banks. They are very eager to provide you this money -- for a fee (the interest rate). The more of their money you spend and the longer you take to pay them back, the larger their fee. Obviously, they want to make it as easy as possible for you to spend their money, so they even provide you with a handy plastic card and/or a "no money down" loan so that you can use their money whenever you feel the urge to do so. Problem is, you often feel the urge to use their money.

Why? I have a thought on that: You -- not unlike the typical, average American -- are addicted to consuming products and services. You frequently buy products and services and you do so for a variety of reasons, some based on needs, others based on wants. I'll bet that the majority of your purchases -- if you dig deeply inside yourself and inquire -- are based purely on wants.

Most of this wanting is based on our desires. But, I submit that the average American has misplaced desires. The average American says that they desire to be wealthy or rich, but really they don't. The average American doesn't want to put in the time, hard work, and discipline required to become wealthy or rich. I believe that the average American really desires to be accepted as "normal" -- to feel "normal" by owning products or buying services that "normal" Americans own or buy.

The problem is, the "normal" status does not really exist, but billions of dollars are spent each year by very talented marketers on very sophisticated advertising to portray that a "normal" status does indeed exist. You, your family, your friends, your co-workers, EVERYONE sees, hears, touches, tastes, and smells the advertising every single day of our American lives. After a while, your senses begin to portray a sense of "normal" -- what is expected by our society -- in your mind.

But, really, the average American does not earn a sufficient household income to keep pace with "normal". Based on your consumption patterns, I would suspect that you do not earn enough to keep pace either. So, you use other people's money to keep pace -- with the disasterous outcome you are experiencing now.

You basically have three choices: 1) increase your household income to a level commensurate with the "normal" pace you desire, 2)reduce your desire to keep pace with "normal" such that your consumption patterns fall well within the income your household currently commands, or 3) both.

I recommend doing both, today and after you pay off all the debt.

Ask for more responsibility at work, improve your skills, switch jobs to land a higher salary or bonus, take on a second job, or start a part-time business out of your home -- whatever it takes to increase your household income.

At the same time, reduce your desire for "normal" by taking some radical steps. For example, at least CONSIDER the following: sell all of the televisions in your home and do not replace them, turn off mainstream radio stations in your home and in your daily commute, stop reading glossy entertainment, fashion, or lifestyle magazines, stop shopping in shopping malls, reduce your meals eaten in restaurants, and chuckle to yourself when a friend or co-worker brags about the "deal" he or she got on the new $29,000 BMW they just bought (on a 60 month loan at 16.9% interest probably) -- whatever it takes to reduce your tendency to spend, spend, spend to keep pace with "normal".

To be honest, you really do possess the power TODAY to reduce your desire for "normal" drastically. It's up to you to make the decision to become the "abnormal" American, the wealthy American. If you take action on items #1 and #2 above, you should start to see more and more cash sitting in your bank account each and every month that you "forgot" to spend. This unspent cash is known as "savings" -- a phrase the average American is not as familar with as citizens of other countries.

This savings should be used to reduce debts to $0, and/or to invest for long-term needs -- NOT to consume products and services today. Reducing debts and increasing investments help to increase your "net worth" -- the financial expression of your value, your wealth. The more wealth you have, the more FREEDOM you have, and that's what I think we as Americans ultimately desire most.

I wish you the best!

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Author: saudi0003 Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 23051 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 1/4/2000 7:06 AM
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To CanSecret: "i am fearful and scared....and don't know what to do..... i can't get myself to sit down and
even look at things because i know i can't pay them.. "

I have found through EXCRUCIATING past experience, it is MUCH BETTER and less COSTLY for you to sit down and decide how much you CAN afford right now!!! If you call these creditors and arrange ANYTHING it's better than ignoring it. You'd be surprised just how accomodating your creditors will be, when you want to stay current and out of trouble!!

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Author: margieak Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 23165 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 1/5/2000 12:14 AM
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To: CanSecret

Run ... don't walk ... to your nearest Consumer Credit Counseling Service. This is a non-profit organization which will help you to lower your monthly payments, and can even talk to creditors to reduce your interest rates (substantially!). Their services are paid for by the credit card companies, with the feeling that getting some money from creditors is better than getting nothing.

These people are very, very nice, and truly care about helping you. They don't pressure you, or degrade you. It was the best thing I've ever done.

Please do yourself a favor and call them immediately for an appointment. You'll be so glad you did.

Margie

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Author: ClubJuggle Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 23170 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 1/5/2000 12:42 AM
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It should be noted that creditors will often indicate when accounts are being paid through CCCS as a comment on the credit report. Some creditors consider this to be adverse information. I would sit down and calculate your payments. If you can make them, try to work through this yourself. If it is going to be extremely difficilt to impossible, then you need to decide whether you want to try to negotiate more favorable terms with your creditors (not as hard as it sounds, they'd rather get something than nothing) or go through CCCS.

The key is to put the numbers together and determine where you are. Most times, it's more manageable than you think it is.

Fool on!
-Terry

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Author: solesister Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 23172 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 1/5/2000 6:50 AM
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"by the way.....the cards are in pieces...... "

CONGRATULATIONS! that's the most important step

"i do have $1200 ($600 face value) in savings bonds i've had a few years now...that's if i cash them in
now"

I'd cash 'em in and put them toward the debt: the cc debt is accruing interest at a MUCH faster rate than the bonds are. That $1200 would reduce your debt by almost 10%, and consequently reduce the interest you are paying every month.

"i really don't have any frills except my internet service....and well that would be like cutting off my right arm"

Well, we're glad to have you here, dear, but maybe you could cut off the service and use the terminals at the public library? Or perhaps you can get on-line service in the name of your husband's business, so that it is tax-deductible?

"along with other luxuries, i guess."

Your luxuries are none of my business -- but you admit you have them, and under these conditions, you'll have to give up some, if not all of them. Don't beat yourself up: indulge yourself with little low-cost treats: buy a bottle of no-frills bubble bath, fix a face mask out of egg whites, take a cup of hot tea in with you, and have a little "spa." Take long walks when the weather gets nicer. Go back to the library and take out some novels and movies.

I agree with all the lovely people who have offered their support so far: lots of folks have come back from far worse straits than you're in right now, but you have to change your way of looking at things.

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Author: ClubJuggle Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 23176 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 1/5/2000 7:55 AM
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"i really don't have any frills except my internet service....and well that would be like cutting off my right arm"

There is a service called NetZero which I have used and highly recommend. NetZero provides free Internet service. The only catch is that they place a small java applet in the corner of your screen that displays verious advertisements. Definitely a good trade off for anyone who could use that extra $20/month. Check them out (www.netzero.com) and see if they have local numbers in your area (they most likely do).

Fool on!
-Terry

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Author: sbaldwi Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 23209 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 1/5/2000 12:31 PM
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Congratulations! You've taken the first step toward change. I can assure you, you're in good company!

May I suggest the Consumer Credit Counseling Service? They are able to negotiate with your credit card company for lower interest rates & a stop on late fees. They give a helping hand while leaving your dignity intact. I highly recommend them.

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Author: kittycat1 Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 23230 of 308858
Subject: Re: I don't know what to do Date: 1/5/2000 2:55 PM
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Have you heard of Consumer Credit Counselors? They have branches all over the place. I don't know what area you are in, but this is the kind of stuff they specialize in. They contact all of your creditors and work with you on a budget, etc. You will pay them a small fee (don't know exactly what it is) but have read many articles about them from financial advisers. Check it out, and best wishes for your success! :)

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