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Dear Sheila,

I am a forty-one-year-old divorced mother of a happy pit bull named Freckles. I feel like I have hit a bit of a financial rock bottom. For the past few years, I have been spending a little more than I earn regularly, and recently I found out I have a judgment from a debtor. The people I owe money to are constantly harassing me. I already work two jobs and am now struggling to keep up with Freckles’ vet bills.

Before my divorce, I always had a stellar credit score and tracked every penny. Unfortunately, it has been challenging to switch to one budget, pay all the related attorney fees, and settle old debts. Now I’m considering filing for bankruptcy to have a fresh start.

My relatives are angry with me because they’ve discovered my situation. Sadly, most of it was my ex-husband’s purchases on joint accounts, and now I am saddled with both our bills.

I keep getting notices in the mail and I have given up, so I just throw them into a big box because I don’t have the money to pay them. What do you think I should do?

—Bankrupt for Freckles, Florida

“We are Divine enough to ask and we are important enough to receive.”-Wayne Dyer

Dear Bankrupt for Freckles,

 

The most empowering thing a person can do who is entangled with the debt monster is to face it. I know that often seems impossible; yet you are among thousands of people who have also hit a tough spot in life and need to get financially reorganized. The good news is that because this is a common symptom that shows up after dealing with a rock-bottom event, it is also a sign that a life reboot is imminent.

 

There are some easy fixes. Because this is very common, credit companies are more than willing to make reasonable arrangements with you. The first thing to do is organize all of your bills. This will energetically show that you are now taking your power and life back. Open them up and then contact a few credit repair services for a free consult. These companies can refer you to a good attorney to advise you on the judgment and also review what else is showing up on your credit score.

 

Having a judgment is not a sign that bankruptcy is the only answer. Even if you need to wait on hiring a service, their free advice will be priceless. Credit repair companies can help you dispute incorrect information on your report, tell you if bankruptcy should be considered, negotiate payoff amounts to often half what one owes, and help you strategically rebuild your credit score.

 

The moment you accept the responsibility of these first few steps, the answers will relieve a ton of stress. Then, as you start to walk forward in your rebuilding, you will be able to also start creating ways to save up for Freckles. In the meantime, work out a payment plan with your vet as well. He or she will appreciate your call or letter, and in most cases will be more than happy to work with you on that plan and keep your little one as a patient.

 

There are also many veterinarians who offer a sliding fee scale based on need; ask your local humane society for some referrals. I have an entire chapter on finances and a formula to help you set up a strategic new life plan, so that this will be the last time this situation shows up for you and Freckles.

 

As always, I wish you,

“Life, Love, Laughter & Light!”

—Sheila Mac

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