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StrawberryCheesecake

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Too Much Debt, Too Little Money
I got behind in credit card payments when my husband became disabled, and I had to try to keep things floating until he got his social security disability. Now, I have 5 credit card companies that want to settle, but the problem is that I can't afford a large payment on their terms. I have been sending small(very) payments, but they are saying it's not enough. I am sick myself, facing open heart surgery soon, and don't know what to do. I don't want to file bankruptcy, and have been current with everything else.

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Bankruptcy for credit card debt is not a good idea since credit card debt is unsecured, meaning there is usually nothing you have purchased with a credit card that can be sold to gain money to repay the debt.  You might check to see what Dave Ramsey suggests since he has some pretty good ideas about repayment arrangements.  The companies apparently have been accepting your small payments so they may just have to make do.  You can tell them they are going to have to accept what you can send since you are also ill and facing surgery, or else you will consider filing bankruptcy.  They might be more willing to work out a deal since a "bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."  I do suggest discontinuing further use of credit cards, though.  Reduce the stress, since that could interfere with your recovery from the surgery, which I hope goes very smoothly.   

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Unless you can come to terms on something, continuing to make small payments may not be the best idea if you feel that you will never be able to pay these accounts off. By continuing to make payments you are dragging out the start time of the seven year reporting time period as is will be started with the first missed payment that leads to delinquency. Be aware though, that if you stop paying completely, the accounts will most likely end up being charged off and sent to collections which will cause further damage to your credit, BUT if they are unwilling to work with you this will probably happen anyway.

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Contact the lenders and ask to speak with a supervisor or some type of management and explain your situation and see what they can do to work with you, make sure that you are talking to someone higher than the typical phone rep. If you can work something out, great. If not, then there is probably not much you can do except for go with the flow and let them charge off and go to collections (which I know isn't a good thing, but not much else you can do, unless you can get a loan to pay them off).

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Focus on getting yourself well and don't stress over this, your life is much more important than credit card debt.

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