This will be a very personal post and it has nothing to do with the Lap Band or Weight Loss, so if you want to skip this post, I understand.
As I said, this will be a really tough post for me as it is very personal. But I feel that it will be very beneficial for me to put it all out there. If for no other reason than to get it off my chest and out in the open. We have been dealing with this for quite some time now, and it has been very hard not being able talk about it to others. I feel that we have been in the closet so to speak hiding our problems, and now we are coming out of the closet and airing them for all to see!!
I really hope that this doesn't change the way you, my fellow Bandster's feel about me/us. This is something that many people feel strongly about, and may look down upon those of us that find ourselves in this predicament.
Yesterday, we filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. It was the last thing that we wanted to do. We did major research and had all the options given to us by our Attorney. We did of course consider Chapter 13 as one of the options available to us, but due to our advancing age and circumstances, decided that it wasn't the best solution for us.
Before you think that we are just using this as a way to get out of our debts, please don't. We tried to work with the Banks that hold the 1st and 2nd Mortgages, as well as the Credit Card Company's, to try to get our payments under control. But they refused to work with us. After all, we were making the payments!
Probably the thing that started the ball rolling out of control, was one of my Credit Card Company's. They raised the way they figured my payment amount. It caused my minimum payment to triple in amount!! We're talking like from $300 to $900 per month (and this with a very low interest rate)!! I had never been late with a payment, nor had I missed one!
So I called them to find out why. They said that because of so many other accounts with higher balances defaulting, they felt that they needed to raise the payment amounts on accounts with higher balances, so that they would be paid off sooner!! They refused to keep my payments at the agreed upon amount. Up until this point, we were making at least the minimum payment if not more! This of course happened shortly before the new law went into effect last year keeping the Credit Card Company's from screwing us over for no reason. So they were penalizing me for others defaulting! I had 2 different Credit Cards through this Company, so this happened to 2 of my Credit Cards!
Well about this time, Walt's income went down as well. Our income has dropped by over half in the last 2-3 yrs. He contracts with the State of California, and I'm sure that everyone knows the problems our State is having. This put us so far beyond our income, that we began to default on everything, or at least paying way late! This is when we started to look at what we could do. Only then, did they start to try to make different arrangements!! But by then we were only able to pay the necessary bills like electric, food, water, etc. If they hadn't been so unreasonable, when it could have helped us to work our way out of it, we may have been able to avoid Bankruptcy.
Like many that find themselves contemplating Bankruptcy, we never thought in a million years that it would happen to us. After all, Walt is extremely well educated, with two separate degrees. One in Computer Science and the other in Chemical Engineering, plus a Master's Degree in Computer Science. He has had great jobs, with great pay. But we, like many other's, took advantage of the housing boom a few years ago, when our homes were worth double what they are now. We refinanced our home to make the many upgrades that were needed.
We upgraded all of the bathrooms in our home, plus repainted the house inside and out (we painted the interior ourselves), and replaced all the carpeting with tile or wood flooring. The only room we hadn't remodeled yet was the Kitchen. We were planning on upgrading it in another year or two. Plus we had our pool built so that I could have something to exercise in. And due to my medical conditions, I needed warmer water, so we also had to add Solar Heating. So just about every penny that we refinanced was put back into the house!
Then the housing downfall began, and our home is now upside down in value by about $125,000! Not to mention the rest of the debt. So after many months of soul searching and research, we came to the conclusion that this was our best and only solution. We feel like we let ourselves down by allowing ourselves to get into this situation. But now, all we can do is hold our heads up and continue on with our lives. This along with Walt's smaller income has put us in our current financial problems.
We do not plan on using Credit again. We plan on purchasing by cash. We are adopting the philosophy that if we can't buy it with cash, then we don't need it.
We will be allowing the Bank to take back the house, and we are also giving back my Honda CRV. This is why I am getting my Motorcycle license. So that when Walt needs to drive the truck, then I can get around on the bike and vice versa. We will also be saving up during the time we are waiting for the Bankruptcy to discharge, for our future home on wheels. Thus, no need for the CRV. We cannot pull the CRV and the 5th Wheel, not to mention the bike! One of us may have to drive it while the other tows the 5th Wheel as it is!!
Walt has been trying to convince me to downsize to an RV for years!! He has wanted to live the nomadic life forever. So now, we are planning on doing it! We will be purchasing a used 36'-40', 5th Wheel that we can live in and pull to wherever Walt accepts work. He has hopes to be able to find work in different States, allowing us to travel and see the Country while earning an income at the same time. We may or may not put down roots along the way. Walt's jobs usually last anywhere from 3 months to 3 yrs.
So for now, we have to wait until we attend the 1st Creditor's Meeting to find out what, if anything, they want to try to take to sell off. Our Attorney believes that they won't want anything that we have, since it is so hard to sell. Unless they can get at least $500 for each item, they won't bother with it. So once we have the meeting, we have to wait another 2 months to see if any of the Creditor's will be disputing the Discharge. If none do, then the Discharge will go through and we can breath a sigh of relief that it is over, and we can get on with rebuilding our lives.
So, if you have hung in here this long, I hope this doesn't change the way you think of me. I am still the same person, though much more humble. I know first hand how easy it is to get in over your head.
So, till next time...
Aloha My Friends