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What Should I Do If I’m Deeply in Debt?

By Philip Tirone

One of my friends just told me that he owes $68,000 in credit card debt. He’s 26 years old. And he has that feeling in the pit of his stomach—you know that feeling. He can’t ever truly relax because he’s so worried. All these questions start racing through his head…

  • How I will ever pay all these bills?
  • Will I ever have fun again?
  • Are they going to sue me? And if they do, will my wages be garnished.

As I was talking to him, I was reminded of the last time I felt that way. Several years back, I carried a loan for a friend of mine. He was making a fortune, but he had declared bankruptcy a few years prior, so he didn’t qualify for the loan. So I foolishly agreed to carry the loan on his behalf. He would pay me; I would pay the bank. I knew he was good for it.

Until one day he wasn’t. The market took a nosedive, and so did his business. Suddenly, he couldn’t pay me one month. And his loan skyrocketed to $9,841 a month. I got that feeling. That terrible feeling. How was I going to absorb an extra $9,841-a-month when my own income was down?

The next month, he couldn’t pay me again. So I remember how it feels. It’s terrible, to put it mildly.

The trouble with that feeling is that it stops people from taking rational steps. They just want the feeling to go away. They’ll do anything to make the feeling go away. For some people, that means ignoring it entirely. Others start worrying so much that they cannot focus on the solutions in front of them. There’s so much emotion packed into financial problems that it’s hard to be clear-headed and strategic.

But here’s the truth: There’s always a way out. I’ve had clients who have owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt that cannot be discharged during bankruptcy—like most student loans and some back taxes. And there’s always a way out. Yet, you aren’t necessarily going to see it if you are panicking.

So here’s something I want you to try this week. Go sit somewhere peaceful and calm. Give yourself permission to feel that panic for five or ten minutes. Then ask yourself a question. Ask yourself: “If I were to consider every single opportunity for resolving this situation, what would be on that list?”

Then start making a list. It might include things like declaring bankruptcy, selling your house, or getting a second job. It might include things like dipping into your children’s college fund or selling your car and taking the bus.

These are things you might be thinking that you would never, ever consider. But don’t judge the things on your list. If you pile more fear on top of the fear you already have, you aren’t going to find a solution. The key is that you want to allow your mind to open up to all of the possibilities. Let it wander. Invite it to consider the absurd.

And see what you come up with. There are always options. In fact, the universe is filled with infinite possibilities. The question is: Can you see the options?

So take a deep breath. Believe that there is a way. And let me know what you come up with by leaving a comment below.

And one other thing because I want to give you an example of a solution that you might be afraid to think about.

Most people are terrified when they think of bankruptcy. Considering filing bankruptcy just makes them feel worse. But is it really that bad? I don’t think so. Bankruptcy allows people an opportunity to wipe the slate clean. It gives them the chance to start over, without having to feel financial stress day in and day out. And it also allows them to start rebuilding their credit score a while lot faster than if they just keep struggling to stay afloat for years on end.

But you won’t see options like this if you do not allow your mind to consider them. So if you would like a referral to a bankruptcy attorney, send an email to Info@720creditscore.com and we will put you in touch with a bankruptcy attorney in your area. Otherwise, keep us posted on your progress by leaving a comment below!

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