It's Got To Go

Samantha is disabled and has a husband who’s been in prison for the last three years. She still has $20,000 in debt he left her with. Should she file bankruptcy?

QUESTION: Samantha in Birmingham is disabled and has a husband who’s been in prison for the last three years. They have a nine-year-old son, and Samantha sold their home to get rid of the debt. She still has $20,000 in debt he left her with. Should she file bankruptcy? Dave says it’s time to sell the car.

ANSWER: You have a car payment of $400 a month? Sell the car! You need a car without a car payment, kiddo. You have a $1,400 a month income. Your car payment is more than your rent.

You have been through hell and back. You’ve fought, and you’ve fought, and you’ve fought, and the last little thing or two that you have laying there I’m not going to beat you up over. But there’s no possible way a $400 car payment fits in your life. You know that. It used to. There are a lot of things that used to fit in your life, and they’re not there.

I’m sorry. I wish you hadn’t been through this. I wish this horrible thing your husband did had not occurred for a lot of reasons. Bottom line is if you’re going to raise your nine-year-old on $1,400 a month, I’m telling you there’s no car payment in that budget at all that fits. This car has got to go. I’m sorry. I wish it didn’t.

You need to have a $2,000 car that’s paid for, and don’t pay the credit cards. Just let them sit there. There’s no reason for you to file bankruptcy. Chapter 13 is a payment plan. You can’t make any payments and keep your lights on and feed your child. You don’t have any money. I’m trying to get you to solid ground so we can start growing again. We can’t do that with anything taking those precious few $1,400, and you’re telling me there’s no chance of you earning any more.

I don’t have any magic wands that turn $1,400 into $14,000. If I did, I’d give you one of them because you need one. I am going to pierce through your pain and make sure you hear me loud and clear that you still have to do math even in the midst of your pain. I didn’t say you were stupid. You are not stupid. You’re an amazingly courageous person that’s been through all of this hell. In the midst of all that, I’m going to love you enough to tell you to sell your stupid car. I want you to be able to eat and feed your kid.