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Well here it goes...

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  • Well here it goes...

    Hello, everyone! First time poster here.
    I just recently made the difficult decision to file for Chapter 13.
    I never thought it would come to this.
    I'm in my early 30's and had some credit card debt (29k) that just got out of hand.
    It destroyed my credit and I have a car loan (24k) that just compounds the issue.
    Creditors weren't willing to work with me for reasonable terms and I just couldn't take the constant barrage of phone calls.
    I know I made some bad financial decisions and couldn't juggle forever.

    My attorney is filing my petition today.
    He'll then be sending me something in the mail which should include information where to begin sending payments immediately.
    So far I've read, to use a cliche, there is a light at the end of the 5 year tunnel.
    Just budget and stick to it. Know this will end if you stick to the plan.
    I think I can do it.
    I never want to make these mistakes again.

    What were your thoughts when you first started this process?
    What was some good advice that others gave you that you might want to pass along?


  • #2
    Welcome! You have come to the right place! So many great people here willing to share! All i can add is just try to stay under the radar as best you can! Good luck!
    Discharge date: October 2017 (will it ever get here?)


    • #3
      Welcome to bkforum!

      I'm very near the end of my 5 year plan. I also ran up too much credit card debt, beginning in my first year of college. I didn't see there was a problem until 10 years later than you did. When I first filed BK, it was a big relief to have my $500 plan payment replace around $900 in credit card and 2nd mortgage payments and a $300 car payment. But, things were still tight because I could no longer turn to credit cards to make ends meet. Without being able to fall back on credit cards as a safety net, a Chap 13 is a great lesson on living within your means. Think of the next 5 years as a learning process and it will help in your financial future.

      Based on my experiences and the experiences of bkforum members over the last few years, here's my advice:

      Review everything you receive from your trustee, attorney or the court. If you don't understand something, ask your attorney to explain it to you.

      If you haven't already, be sure to provide copies of your 2014 income tax returns to your attorney, or directly to the trustee if your attorney tells you to.

      Do not communicate directly with the trustee unless your attorney tells you to.

      Don't hide anything from your attorney. Your attorney can't help you if he doesn't know all relevant facts.

      Spend as little as you can and save what you don't spend for those unexpected expenses that will come up. Don't forget to put money aside every month for quarterly or yearly expenses.

      Let your attorney know if you have an increase in income or a bonus so it can be reported to the trustee if required. You may receive instructions from the trustee regarding how much of an increase must be reported.

      If you have a decrease in income or will be unable to make a plan payment for any other reason, let your attorney know right away. The sooner your attorney knows of a problem, the more likely he will be able to help you find a solution.

      Get 60 envelopes with "forever" postage and address them to the trustee. Watch the stack of envelopes shrink as you make your plan payments! Or, if your trustee allows it, sign up for electronic payments.

      When you need moral support or have questions about the process, post at bkforum. There are a lot of helpful people here who will do their best to answer your questions. While most of us are people who were once where you are and post here to help others based on our own experience, there are a couple of bankruptcy attorneys who are generous enough to take time to answer questions. But, when you get help here, please remember that the advice of a stranger on the internet, whether an attorney or not, is not a substitution for communication with your own attorney.

      No matter what you encounter over the next five years, remember: DON'T PANIC. There is always some solution, even if things don't turn out as planned. You will get through it one way or another.
      Last edited by LadyInTheRed; 02-24-2015, 05:20 PM.
      LadyInTheRed is in the black!
      Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
      $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!


      • #4
        "No matter what you encounter over the next five years, remember: DON'T PANIC. There is always some solution, even if things don't turn out as planned. You will get through it one way or another."

        Thats the best advice ever!!!
        Discharge date: October 2017 (will it ever get here?)


        • #5
          If no one died, you can get through it!!!! Keep life simple from this point on, live well under your means, pay with cash, hoard cash, and do not use credit cards (if you can not pay cash then you cannot afford it for most items), never take out more than a 3 yr car loan and put 50% or more down then add extra to your payment each month, allow yourself to be a leader of your own life and do not follow the crowds (or keep up with the Jones), you will be stress free and have cash in your pockets. It is a wonderful way to live.....


          • #6
            Welcome to the forum and welcome to the Ch 13 club! Like you, I overspent, overextended credit and made some ill-informed and plan ole bad decisions to land my wife and I in BKland. I like to think of what happened to me as the financial version of obesity with the heart attack scare. I have 15 payments down 45 to go.

            Advice and pointers? Some specific things come to mind:

            -You should sleep better post-petition and have less stress that pre-petition, and come to believe that this is one of the best decisions you have ever made. However, you may experience a different kind of stress: the stress of a debit card/cash-and-carry lifestyle. It's a different kind of stress, but it can be managed.

            -You will need every penny of your income after the Ch 13 plan payment. Spend it wisely and save what you can. What is left over at one time may be needed to cover a big expense like a car repair later.

            -Find out how your trustee/court deals with income tax refunds. Some want your refund and will state that in the Confirmation Order you will receive months from now, some are a bit more squshy and vague about it. Other districts take over a certain amount (over $1500 for example) If you can hold onto your refund, that's a nice amount of cash to build your fallback savings. If you have to surrender it,you should consider decreasing your tax withholdings to give you extra cash, but not to the extent that you owe taxing authorities. I went for having past due taxes to all my taxing authorities to a potential 2k refund from the IRS this year (stil haven'f filed 2014 taxes yet).

            -Find ways to bring in "under the radar" income. You know, the $50 here and the $100 there kind of deal. When I travel for work, I forgo big dinners and try to eat as cheap as I can to pocket dining $$ at the end of the trip (I get reimbursed perdiem, not per meal). I go to an airport further away than the closest one so I can get higher mileage $.

            -Don't get stressed out over the 341 meeting. Most are no more than 15 minutes and many here have a good experience (mine was). Usually, the less complicated your financial situation, the easier it should be. Read up on this board over others' 341s. If your attorney doesn't prep you before the meeting, ask how you should prep and most likely, your attorney will let you know how it will go down. Always listen to your attorney on what to say (and especially what not to say).
            Filed Ch 13 Fall 2013, 60 month plan


            • #7
              Originally posted by switch625 View Post
              If you have to surrender it,you should consider decreasing your tax withholdings to give you extra cash, but not to the extent that you owe taxing authorities.
              If you are required to turn tax refunds over to the trustee, do not decrease your withholding without consulting with your attorney. If the refund must go to the trustee, it is because it is because it is disposible income. If you receive it in each paycheck instead of as a tax refund, it is still disposible income.
              LadyInTheRed is in the black!
              Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
              $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!


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