Forum Rules (Everyone Must Read!!!) (updated: 04/28/2015)

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To BK or not to BK?

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  • To BK or not to BK?

    Hi, all!

    Just wondering what my best course of action would be concerning my rather large credit card debt. I'm underemployed and have about $22,000 in credit card debt, mostly things like car repairs, dental work (two crowns), and such. I'm currently working two part time jobs and don't have any extra money left over for savings.

    The only major assets I have are my mother's diamond engagement ring which has been appraised at $2,000 and a pair of diamond earrings that she gave me that were appraised at $3,000. I also have a 2016 car that I bought last year on a five year loan plan.

    I haven't missed any credit card payments yet, but I can only afford to pay the minimum. I'm having to charge some of my utilities and groceries though. I've heard about debt settlement programs and things like that but don't know if I should go that route. My concern with declaring bankruptcy is that I don't want to lose the ring and earrings. I'm in Michigan and it doesn't look like I'll be able to exempt them. I also know that bankruptcy can prevent you from being accepted at a lot of apartments and I may be moving soon due to a full-time job I've applied for.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Should I declare bankruptcy? Try debt settlement? If I get the job I've applied for or find some way to make enough to not have to charge my utilities and groceries I can stop adding to my debt and start paying it down, so there's also that. Or should I look into BK now and just start over?


  • #2
    My first thought is that when you exempt property, you're told to use garage sale values. I've got a nice wedding set, a 3-diamond anniversary ring, small diamond earrings, and my husband's wedding band -- we listed $1500 for all of it. Do you think you could get $5000 for these items on eBay? Have you compared?


    • #3
      Hi, Chrysalis!

      No, I haven't really looked into any of that yet. I can poke around ebay and see what the prices look like. Thanks!


      • #4
        Also ~ personally, I would not file if there were any way to avoid it until after you've secured a new place to live. Some people have no choice, that's just the way it works out -- but it's certainly not ideal. Perhaps, like you said, the new job will enable you to pay off your debt. If not, I would begin free consultations with attorneys so you can get questions answered about your particular situation in your particular state. You are not obligated to do anything after a free consultation. Just take the info and process it.


        • #5
          It looks like Michigan allows you to choose federal exemptions instead of state exemptions. Have you looked at federal exemptions? Since it sounds like you don't own a home, the federal wildcard exemption ($1,250 plus $11,850 of any unused portion of your homestead exemption) may be helpful.

          I agree with Chrysalis that if you get the new job and it pays enough to pay down your debt in a reasonable amount of time, you should not file BK.
          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!


          • #6
            Thanks, guys! I haven't looked at federal exemptions, that would sure help out.

            What's the general attitude towards debt settlement programs and lending services? I keep hearing about those but I'm not sure if that would be better than BK. I've gotten lots of offers from Prosper and BestEgg but the most Prosper would loan me is $6,000.


            • #7
              Many bkforum members have reported trying debt settlement programs before filing BK and regretting it, saying it was a waste of money that only delayed the inevitable. They are just as bad on your credit and often do not help because not all creditors will participate. Some have even reported that a creditor receiving payments in a debt settlement program suddenly filed a lawsuit.
              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!


              • #8
                Hm! OK, thanks for the information, I'll keep tossing those offers in the shredder, then! Those commercials and mailings always seemed sort of shady...


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