No. of Recommendations: 3

First time seeking help, but really need it. Not sure if this is the best board b/c it covers a broad range of questions, but decided to start here. I'll make this as simple as possible. The facts are pretty simple, but my best options are unclear in my very chaotic head.

I have been self-employed for over a decade. I actually began to work from home for a company I worked for onsite for 5 years prior, but as a “contractor” so no benefits. None. Period. No unemployment, no benefits, no SEP, no medical spending account, etc. The work was waning, and then stopped in January. I got a little work from someone locally but it was temporary. Ended in April. No income since then.

I have pared down all my monthly bills as much as possible, but my rent is almost $1000/month. W/everything else, my minimum is about $1600.

> This includes a $195 car pyt that ends in Oct.
> I have a Credit Union Card at 14.9% (some at 12.9%) with balance of about $2000.
> I have a cat with cancer and big vet bills – accrued mainly for diagnosis, doing very little treatment, most at home. (please don’t tell me to put her down, it will be soon enough and it’s not free).

> I have a deferred interest card (Care Credit) which is for dental, vet and eye care. I had been fine with those pyts but do not want to put anything more on it because I REFUSE to EVER pay a dime of interest on it. I have been using it for years and manage it fine. Not putting vet bills on it for this reason so any dental or vet is out of pocket.

> I can’t find a new apt. w lower rent w/o a job

$$$/ IRA:
My savings are gone, I do not have family who can afford a loan (one brother eked out $1000, I need to repay by next May.

> IRA. I have a meager rollover IRA (rolled over from my 401k 13 years ago. Actually into a Calvert Fund which ended up at Vanguard a year or so later) which has a mere $4300. It is not great, wish I’d made some changes, but did not. I am going to HAVE to get money for July rent (non-negotiable) and the IRA is it.

* I DO understand that whatever I take out I have to pay 10% penalty
* I DO understand that I will have to pay income tax (maybe this is a good year b/c my income will be so low –$5500 to date).
* I DO understand that if I somehow can pay it back in 60 days the fees are waived.

In April, my IRA was worth $4600. I have watched it go down to $4100 and slowly back up to $4300. I am getting worried I will need it when less and less is there.


1- Does it matter if I take it out a little at a time or should I take out as much as possible while it is there?
2- Should I use part of it to pay of the car (as of today payoff is $800). This would ALSO lower my car insurance b/c I could get rid of collision (mandatory w/loan) which is about $200/year.
3-should I use part to make pay off a big chunk of credit card bill (I only have a limit of $2500 so hardly have room for an emergency car problem) I try to pay $75-100 on card each month, but it is hard to do that. My mind is about $50 (hate to do that!)
4- Doing either of the above would minimize my monthly bills (considerably), BUT might use up $$ for rent if I am out of work much longer.
5- Should I take out the entire IRA (bite the bullet) and put it somewhere else where it will be accessible and maybe make a little in interest than my savings account?

So, you can see I have thought most(?) some(?) of this thru but I just keep going around in circles as I look for work. I could use any facts I am missing as well as thoughtful input, suggestions, advice into my way of thinking.

Btw, I am single, 57 y.o. woman, no dependents.

Thank you!
Print the post  


UGC Disclosure Notice Regarding Credit Card Posts
Community board discussions about credit cards are not provided or commissioned by banks who may have advertising relationships with The Motley Fool. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
TMF Credit Center
The Motley Fool Credit Center arms you with real tools and simple messages, that will help you in every credit situation.
What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.