I am new to posting but is no stranger to this site. I have come here many times for strength, encouragement and just to get pointers from others. My journey in Chapter 13 started Feb. 2012 after years of fooling myself into believing that each coming month I would magically have the money to pay my credit cards and get caught up. A couple of thousand dollars on four to five credit cards didn't see like much until the economy tanked. I found myself with high credit limits, thinking I'm doing well and all of a sudden, discovering those limits were sliced in half overnight by the creditors and causing me to become overlimit with one card. All of this during a time that I took a pay cut. Unbeknownst to me, this was what I thought was the beginning of the end. I picked up two part time jobs in addition to my regurlar job with the State and realized that even with all three jobs that it wasn't enough. I, the proud person who took pride in having a high credit score in my 20's and actually enjoyed paying my bills, found myself to be in a new and very unfamiliar place. For the first time in my life I was unable to pay my bills. I wrestled with this for 2-3 years, even enrolling in a Debt Management Program. After being unable to manage the high payment of the DMP, plus additional fees the program charged, I was back at square one, unable to pay and feeling helpless. I immediately began contacting creditors, explaining my financial hardship and asking for assistance. Many worked with me by slicing the interest rate, but this was only temporary for two to three months or so. After working the plans and paying what I could, those months soon ran out and it was back to my original high interest rates. I fell behind again. Eventually my accounts were turned over to collection agencies and even to law offices who called relentlessly and spoke in a threatening manner. One day while at work, I decided to search for bankruptcy lawyers. I found a website, left my information and a lawyer called almost immediately. He took the time to explain the process and what to expect. I found myself feeling relieved by just listening to the process. Yes, my credit score will take a hit from the bankruptcy and will be on my credit report for up to 10 years but guess what, my credit has already been hit. At the rate of my debt (like many Americans), I would have damage on my credit report for far longer than a 7-10 year bankruptcy mark. I met with my lawyer and was walked through the court proceedings. I am on a three year plan and is nearly in my second year already. Personally, bankruptcy has been the best form of relief for me. I only regret that I did not do it months or even years earlier when I realized that every effort to pay my bills all failed and even with three jobs, there was no hope. I find comfort in paying some form of the debt back. This is just a personal feeling for me. I will say that I also discovered true freedom in living life without credit cards. Yes, I can understand having a card to rebuild credit but I have discovered the freedom that cash can bring also. I want to encourage all who are truly at their wits end to not feel helpless and embarrassed about your decision to file. Do what needs to be done to better your situation. Bankruptcy will require adjustments but it can be done and you can restructure your life and begin again. Sometimes the hardest part of bankruptcy can be accepting what happened, where you are and where you're headed. Forgive yourself and reclaim your life.
Welcome to the forums!
You said it so well...filing BK is such a relief after years of hardship. You made a business decision and it sounds like things are going very well for you now. Congratulations! You will have a discharge before you know it
Thank you so much. I am in such a better place mentally, physically, emotionally and financially. I wanted to share my story for those who are contemplating going this route.
thank you for sharing your story. we put off filing our 13 for a while, like you, thinking we could get caught up and somehow make it work. we finally filed in early 2009. there really was a sense of relief. it's been a long journey, but we got through one month at a time, paying the Trustee, and our mortgage+property taxes outside of the plan. i'm about to make the last payment in mid-December, and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. good luck, and may your plan go smoothly.