Hi,Here, as they say, is where the rubber meets the road.OK, fools, as I write this I am terrified at the mess I've gotten my family into (as per previous e-mails, I will take full credit for this situation and stop blaming my innocent children who only know what credit cards are because they're fascinated with the frozen ones in the freezer).I've already alluded to the $50K in debt. Well, Ok, I did a full work-up and it is actually $63K.But now listen to THIS! My daughter is going to preschool for the first time starting in December, and they want a deposit of $358 by April 1. What is that, some kind of sick April Fool's Joke?That's it. Game over. The proverbial straw, as it were, breaking this camel's back.I can't do it anymore! Once again, for the 6th straight month another unexpected expense has reared its ugly head and I'm going to have to pretend a couple of these credit card bills don't exist. Like maybe I could tell them (the evil collectors) that "I tried to microwave my mail because of the anthrax scares and by accident I kept the mail in the microwave too long and lit the Citibank bill on fire and I didn't actually realize that I had lost the Citibank bill until 3 months later because somehow for some quirky reason I kept lighting the same bill on fire month after month and isn't that just the strangest thing? What are the odds? I better get a new microwave."Now look, I'm new to this budgeting thing and I think it's worthwile to go into a discussion on "theoretical" vs. "realistic" budgeting because if I have one more month where I have to pay $500 for unexpected root canals I'm going to become a dentist (second job, anyone?); however, I am in the midst of a very real and perplexing problem, and that is to say that I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY LEFT OVER EVERY MONTH BECAUSE OF THIS DEBT!This is nuts.So, here it is, my moment of truth. What does one do to get out of this mess because I am truly scared.I submit to you two options:a) I just qualified for a $50K home equity loan from 2 different companies. One is for 240 months at 10.5% and the other is for 5 years at 11.3%. Both would bring my monthly debt obligations down considerably. The 240 month loan, obviously, would have the most impact with a $499 monthly payment. The 5 year loan monthly payment would be $1094. One hitch with the 240 month loan -- it's got points, 3 of 'em. Since my total minimum payments to credit card cos. is around $1500 both of these options would certainly free up a bunch 'o cash.ORb) I could enroll in Consumer Credit Counseling Services (CCCS) and hopefully they could work with me to bring my monthly debt obligation into the realm of the do-able. The danger here, as I see it, is that they may not be able to help enough -- in other words, could they bring my monthly payments all the way down to $499 a month? Probably not. Oh, what I could do with $1000 more smackers every month. I could actually successfully pay my bills and be able to build up an emergency fund for the next time my wife calls a phone psychic and runs up a $200 phone bill (true story, just happened, but alas, I'm trying to stick to the disaster at hand, although I suppose this is a contributing factor in this month's budget debacle -- why didn't that psychic see this coming?).I suppose there is one other option:c) I could become a dentist, I mean, it would only take a couple of years of schooling and certainly THEY make a lot of money. Right?OK FOOLS... Which is it? Now before you tell me not to risk my house (I'm so tired of hearing that) and what a rip-off having to pay points would be, I urge you to consider that lowering my debt obligations from $1500 to $499 every month would significantly improve my ability to successfully meet all of my financial obligations. And it would lower all of those 18% and 24% interest rates that are niggling my financial soul to death (is niggling a word? well it is now!).Then again, it is my house and I don't want to lose it.Ok, let me have it and don't hold back. Honestly I believe in my heart of hearts that going with CCCS is the right thing to do but I really would enjoy only paying $499 every month. It's so enticing!Thanks for your help. As I fall asleep tonight, I will be safe in the knowledge that my financial future is in the hands of some very capable and none-too-wise fools. Thanks,Sean
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