Louisiana Financial Incentives for Going Green

renewable energy system

Louisiana homeowners who want to install a renewable energy system at home, such as solar or wind, can take advantage of a state tax credit to help offset the upfront cost.

Through net metering you can get credit for the excess energy you generate. There is also a property tax exemption on renewable energy systems.

You may qualify for rebates and low-interest loans for energy efficiency improvements you make in your home. There are many loan companies in Louisiana offering short-term loans from $100 to $35,000.

Tax credit for residential solar and wind energy systems

According to the Louisiana Clean Tech Network, a state tax credit for residential renewable energy systems went into effect on January 1, 2008.

If you install a residential solar photovoltaic, solar space heating, solar water heating, solar pool heating, or wind system you may qualify for a tax credit of 50% of the first $25,000 of the cost of materials and installation, for a total credit of up to $12,500. You can apply the credit against your Louisiana state income tax and if the credit exceeds your tax liability, you can receive a refund for the difference.

A solar system can be AC or DC generation and can be either connected to the grid and net metered or stand alone. Wind systems that qualify for the tax credit include AC or DC electric generation and mechanical systems.

The electrical equipment must be UL certified and the installation must meet all applicable building and electrical codes. You can qualify for the credit if you use a licensed contractor, a person who has received certification by a technical college for installing these systems, or if you install the system yourself.

Solar energy property tax exemption

The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency points out that solar energy equipment attached to a residence or swimming pool in Louisiana is considered personal property exempt from the ad valorem tax.

The value of the solar energy system is not included in the property tax assessment. This includes passive and active solar space heating, solar water heating, solar pool heating, and solar photovoltaic systems.

Net metering

When you install a renewable energy system at home or at your business and are connected to the grid, you can take advantage of net metering to receive a credit on your electric bill for the net excess electricity you generate.

Qualifying systems include solar photovoltaic, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal electric, biomass, and fuel cells or micro-turbines that use renewable fuels.

The net excess is credited to your next bill at the utility’s retail rate and is carried over indefinitely. You must notify the utility company 90 days before the interconnection date. The utility company must provide you with a meter that can measure the flow of electricity in both directions.

The utility company bears the cost of the meter, but you will have to pay a one-time charge for having it installed.

Home energy rebate

The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources offers cash rebates when you make energy efficiency improvements to an existing home. New homes are no longer eligible. The rebate is 20% of the resulting energy savings, referred to as the Energy Efficiency Premium, up to a maximum of $2,000.

To apply for the rebate, you must first contact a Louisiana Home Energy Rater to have an evaluation of your home’s energy efficiency, before making the improvements.

You can find a list of qualified Home Energy Raters on the Louisiana Department of Revenue website under Home Energy Rebate Option. The website indicates that the cost of a rating is generally between $300 and $600, depending on the size and complexity of your home.

The rater proposes the energy efficiency improvements you can make. Once they are completed, a verification rating is done, and if you have improved energy efficiency by at least 30% you will receive a rebate based on the calculated energy savings – the Energy Efficiency Premium.

Home energy loan

Through the Louisiana Department of Energy’s Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) you can obtain a 5-year, low-interest loan to finance the cost of making energy efficiency improvements including appliances, dehumidifiers, ceiling fans, water heaters, air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, programmable thermostats, building insulation, and windows. The Louisiana Department of Energy finances 50% of the cost at 2% interest to the lending institution, up to a maximum of $6,000.

There are two ways to qualify for the loan. You can have an energy rating done on your home by a qualified home energy rater. The cost of the rating can be financed as part of the loan.

Or you can choose from a list of pre-approved improvements posted on the Louisiana Department of Energy website. You must use one of the participating lenders from the list on the website.

Credit Card Debt Consolidation Explained

Credit card debt consolidation is generally a process where an individual will try to consolidate debt into just one or two cards. This process is often recommended by debt consolidation counselors as a way of managing debt issues. Unfortunately for many people, debt problems are usually ignored until it is close to being too late. This process of consolidation can be simplified and can usually be done in as little as an afternoon if given the right information. It does take a bit of work, but once it is completed it is very much worth the effort, given that it does help you figure out your debt and how to narrow it down.

It all starts with looking at the debt that you have collected on your credit cards. Credit card debt consolidation works because you are going to choose which cards have the oldest credit lines and have lower interest rates. Having both is important, and people might debate which is the better way to go if you had to choose between the two. It really depends on how much financial trouble you are in. If you can afford the higher interest payments on the two older credit cards, go with those. If you need to go with less interest, and most people choose this, then it is okay to go with the lowest card.

You can also usually negotiate with your credit card companies to get a lower interest rate. Some people might feel funny about this, and sometimes they don’t know what to expect or how to ask. It is easier than it sounds. If you have another card with lower interest, but you want to keep a different card, call the card company you want to keep the card and tell them you have another, better offer. They might lower your interest rate for you. It never hurts to try to negotiate and it can save you so much money when you try.

Once you have all these things in place, you can start moving debt from your old credit cards, and then consolidate them into the chosen card. In this way, you can pay down your old debt in one or two payments on the two cards, instead of having a mix of cards. You can also get the interest lowered, and make payments as needed. It might take several tries and several phone calls, but it can be done when you work at it.

There are many other ways to handle credit card debt consolidation. This way of selecting one or two cards and narrowing down your options can help a lot though. It is usually easy enough for someone to do on their own without assistance, as long as you can read your statements. It might take some time to get comfortable with learning how to read your financial statements, and if you do need help, it is certainly recommended that you talk to a credit card or debt counselor about your available options.

Debt Consolidation Loan Explained

To survive in this competitive world, you may have taken many loans, at various interest rates, at various times of your life. You have to keep track of all the payments made for these loans so that you pay in time and do not attract a penalty. Instead of this exercise, you can take a $1000 loan and then pay off all your previous smaller loans. So now, you have only one loan to repay and only one monthly interest payment to make. Thus, you consolidate all your previous loans with this one new big loan, which is effectively called a debt consolidation loan. Hence, a debt consolidation loan is a single big loan that helps to merge or consolidate all other smaller loans or debts.

Debt consolidation is not the removal of debts. All your previous smaller debts are simply consolidated in one big debt. The total amount of debt remains the same as before. The difference is that you are paying a single moneylender at a fixed time, instead of paying numerous moneylenders at different times.

A debt consolidation loan can be a secured debt consolidation loan or an unsecured debt consolidation loan. With a secured debt consolidation loan, your home, jewelry, shares, debentures, bonds or any other asset is kept as a security or collateral. This collateral secures the moneylender if you fail to repay the loan. With an unsecured debt consolidation loan, nothing is kept as collateral; hence this loan is usually given to individuals with a good credit score.

If you want to consolidate smaller unsecured debts like credit card dues, higher education loans, unexpected medical bills, etc., then you should take an unsecured debt consolidation loan. Taking a secured debt consolidation loan to consolidate smaller unsecured loans means that you are converting short-term unsecured loans into a long-term secured loan. This puts additional pressure on you for timely payments as your home or any other asset is at stake. However, taking an unsecured debt consolidation loan removes that pressure as nothing is kept as collateral.

The interest rate of a loan depends on the conditions of the interest rate market. If you find that the market is down and you are paying higher interest on your smaller debts, then taking a big debt consolidation loan at a lower interest rate is beneficial. This way you would be paying off smaller high interest loans with a big low interest loan. This would result in saving money if you decide to repay the big low interest loan, in a timely fashion. However, if the big low interest loan were of very long duration, then you would ultimately end up paying more. Hence you have to carefully judge your options and then take the decision that is most beneficial to you.

The general eligibility for taking a debt consolidation loan is that the borrower should be an adult of a minimum of 18 years, should earn an income, should not be bankrupt, and should have resided at the current place of residence for at least three months. However, people with low and irregular monthly income or people with bad credit scores can also take secured and unsecured debt consolidation loans. For people with a higher credit rating and a regular income, the rate of interest would be low. For people with a lower credit rating and an irregular income, the rate of interest would be high.

Many moneylenders offer debt consolidation loans. Some are genuine, some are tricksters, and some are outright frauds. Hence, you must be careful before entering into an agreement with a moneylender whose credentials you are not aware of. To verify the credentials you may check the third-party registrations or other certifications that they may have. You may also ask for references and check them out. It is advisable not to proceed further with any moneylender who does not give a straight answer and who is incapable of answering all your questions.

However, moneylenders like banks, financial institutions, credit unions, and reputable private firms are genuine. You will have to visit their offices, collect the details of the loan, and then finally decide on the offer and the respective moneylender. This process can be greatly accelerated if you research over the Internet. All trustworthy and honest moneylenders have websites, which contain all the pertinent information required for successfully obtaining a debt consolidation loan. The online application forms can be submitted electronically and instant quotes can be obtained. These quotes can be compared and the best deal may be arrived at.

To take the utmost advantage of the debt consolidation loan, you must change your financial habits. If your habits are not changed then a debt consolidation loan only serves to promote your habit of getting into debt. The reason why you went into debt is not looked into; therefore it offers only symptomatic relief and cannot become a cure for your financial worries. You must cultivate the habit of efficient financial management to wipe off your financial troubles.

With efficient financial management, like surrendering all credit cards, maintaining a tight budget, decreasing expenses wherever possible, increasing savings, and taking up a part-time job, the single large debt consolidation loan can be totally repaid. With the continuance of financial management, your savings will slowly build-up, you will never have to take a loan, and you will never be in debt again.

Always remember that a debt consolidation loan, irrespective of it being secured or unsecured, is after all a loan that has to be paid back. The earlier you pay it back, the faster your financial condition improves.

I would get it in writing

I would get it in writing..i’ve never settled an account so i’ve never gone thru it before but it seems that if you don’t get it in writing they can change the terms…. good luck!!!

Before we got married my husband had to go to the hospital- he had a ruptured appendix. He only had medical insurance thru the VA. He was taken to another hospital then transferred to the VA hospital where they could perform the surgery needed. He received a bill from the 1st hospital,-( the VA would not pay for it) we then asked if the bill could be wiped out.
He then submitted an income and expense report to have the bill eliminated because he could not afford to pay it. It took a while for them to wipe the bills out but the hospital and doctors did. You may want to try that.

If that does not work, then what you will need to do it. 1st pull all of your credit reports- check and see what is on each one. Then prioritize the bills. I really would not worry so much about the medical bills as long as you make something whether it be $5.00 or $100.00 per month they are getting something and chances are they are not charging you interest. Focus on the credit cards first. You will need to sit down with pen and paper and write your income and expenses and go from there.

As for the credit card companies, put it in writing that you will make 3 consecutive payments ( in the amount of $$$ )to them in exchange for a lower interest rate and late fees and over the limit fees to be eliminated. Send it to them certified mail and make sure you a return reciept. I used to work for debt management company and I used what I learned to get my self out of debt. It will take time. Remember if the customer service representative will not help. Ask to speak with a supervisor or manager- keep asking until someone will help you.

Get it in writing before you send them any money. if you don’t they will change the terms on you. I was helping a friend settle a debt with Capital one they sent a letter to her stating one amount ,but when she went to make the payment they told her another amount. She had it in writing and she told them that they had came to an agreement on a certain amount and that is what she was paying. They then backed down and realized that they were not going to get one over on her. Also remember to get the first and last name of the person you spoke to date and time.

Capitol One called again last night

Capitol One called again last night and we were able to agree on a settlement but he refuses to put it in writing and mail it to me. He says once I pay the amount, the account will close and I’ll get a letter in 5-8 days saying the account has closed.

I don’t believe him.

DAve Ramsey says to get everything in writing before paying anything.

I found it while I was trying to find a group to help with decisions my hubby and I have to make in order to get out of the dark hole of debt we are in.

We found ourselves in a rut when my hubby broke his leg and ankle and was out of work for over a month after two surgeries to fix them. We were already on our way in the hole before the accident and it only made things worse. We were unable to make the minimum payments and the amounts sky rocketed. Then he was unable to go back to his previous line of employment and took about a 1/3 off of his income. So once we got behind we were not able to catch up on the income that he is on now. Going back to the previous line of work is not an option.

We are debating on bankruptcy (the one where we make payments) or trying to get a company to consolidate the credit card and medical bills into one payment. We are trying to find the pros and cons of the two. We now have bad credit and are unsure whether we can even get someone to consolidate. Our minimum payments on our credit cards are unrealistic because of charges that were added. Some of the credit cards were only $500 limits and are now over $1000 because of fees. They will not work with us to get them lowered, we have tried.

Can anyone give any suggestions or opinions on how we can get this figured out?

Right now I am trying to focus on our medical bills, about 18 different bills. We do not have insurance, because we cannot afford it and do not qualify for any assistance because we make $100 too much a month. We have had 4 broken bones in about a year and a half and are trying to get them all paid down. It is such a slow process.

This sounds like a sob story and I don’t mean for it to be. I am just trying to get it all figured out so we can get everyone paid. We really want to pay everyone, we just cannot seem to find a way past all of the built up fees.

Digest Number 334

I am able to pay the monthly amount on my credit card statement now, but cannot catch up because of overdue and overlimit charges. I am not sure what to do here.

I was where you were at. I did talk to the CC company and got a 0% interest rate for 5 yrs…The payment I make is what it will be to pay it off in 5 yrs. Very hard…but well worth it to me.

I have spent the last 3 months dealing with this. I honestly think it just depends on who you talk to. Some had nothing to offer…one lied to me, and didn’t end up helping at all….

I told them the truth…I feel like any payment I make is just a waste of my $$…since it will only pay late fee’s or over the limit charges. I might as well keep those $$ and eat for that month! I also told them that I needed an offer that looked better than Bankruptcy…

Now..I don’ot know if it was the right thing I did…but I am very happy. I am paying my debt…but cutting my payment WAY down. It is something I can achieve…it will be very hard…lots of rice and beans for dinner…but I feel it’s worth it for me.

You are going to rely on a tax refund to pay off your loans

One thing that stood out from your post was that you are going to rely on a tax refund to pay off your loans to friends and then next year, pay off your loans to CC’s with your refund.

I know some people like to get a nice big check every spring, but it’s actually the equivalent to allowing the government to have more of your money than is required. Essentially, you are floating them a loan all year long.

From what I’ve read (I am no expert believe me ;-)) and I’m sure others would confirm, is that it would be better for you to have your refund money up front and working for you for 52 weeks out of the year. To get this done, you would adjust your withholding on your W-4.

Now you may thinking…”But, I might owe something at the end of the year.” Well, the IRS website has a tool to calculate the appropriate amount of withholdings you should adjust to so that you are as close to having no refund or charge at the end of the year.

Would anyone else confirm or agree in principle with this plan? I’m sure your friends and the creditors would rather have their money up front rather than after you have saved it up for a year by over paying your taxes.

The problem with this for us is that we get back double of what we pay in. We have lots of child tax deductions ;o) LOL

I do agree with you that we could have our money working for us all year long IF we were diligent enough to do that. My mother is an accountant. I’ve had her figure up all the different ways we could go about this. If we were to get back more through out the year it would only *work* if we put it directly into a savings. My dear husband would never let it get to the savings….he would order a pizza or something with the little extra we would get each week. Also, next time consider this better alternative to payday loans. Yes, I am talking about installment loans.

I know many people do this and I think it’s great. It just is better for us to get a lump sum at one time. Normally we don’t have problems keeping our finances on track and use the tax refund for big things we need. Pay our property taxes, car ins for the year, home owners stuff like that.

Thanks for the advice!

Is this good? CC settlement

I’ve been lurking here for months reading every little thing…trying to figure out how in the world I am going to get back on track…

Today I got a payment plan set up with my Chase acct. It SOUNDS good…I hope I’m not missing something here. I’m pretty paranoid about dealing with CC companies!

My balance is 15,600. I am a month behind now and they want around $2000 payment. There is no way.

I got a payment plan of $262 a month with 0% interest for 5 yrs. All late fees and over the limit fees will stop too. If I get 2 months behind I will loose the program, so I will have to be diligent about my payments. Even that amount will be tough now, but I felt like it was my *light at the end of the tunnel* We will be eating lots of mac and cheese for awhile ;o)

Is there anything I’m missing? I hope not. They are sending it to me in writing.

One question…is there any way that they can take my tax refund? I wouldn’t think so, but I hope not as we owe family members and I promised to pay them back out of that. But next years refund will go ALL to this CC to get it GONE!

I’m feeling so much relief right now…that is until I have to start making the payment ;o)

They can’t take your tax refund so don’t worry about it! Make sure you get this in writing and read the document so you will know what is expected….

Thanks so much! They are *supposed* to be sending me a written agreement. I have 10 days to make the first payment, and that is my acceptance. I will wait to see what I get in writing first. I was told many things on the phone, but you know how that goes….I’m trying to think of what to do, and keep remembering they are not here to really help me…just get their money.

I’m hoping for the best though.

My daughter is unable to work due to emotional problems

Thanks for all of the advice. My daughter is unable to work due to emotional problems. She has had them since teen years. No one seems to understand that she will not get better. She has applied for disability (Social Security, etc.) and can’t qualify because she has never worked. What does that tell you? I can’t figure these agencies out.

I know she and the grandkids are not legally my responsibility, but I don’t know how to let go of my feelings of guilt if they don’t have a place to live, etc.

We talked to Consumer Credit Counseling Service and an attorney. Both said that Chapter 7 BK is the only way. I don’t see it that way. I told my husband that if we cut down on cable, internet service, and a few other items, we could work out a budget. We now only have 1 car, so that is saving some money there.

I would like to know if it is possible to stop late fees, over limit fees, etc without filing BK13 or going through an agency. Do any companies ever listen and actually take into account someones financial situation?

Again, thanks for advice. I really do appreciate it. Maybe I could email a few members and have them assist me with a budget if that’s possible.

Watch this video related to emotional problems:

Unfortunately, the banks could really careless about your financial woes. Hell they actually perfer them as they then can charge more in interest and other penalty fees when you go behind.

Chapter 7 BK (bankruptcy) is a solution if you absolutely cannot find the cash to handle the bills. Do not do Chapter 13 BK. There are alternatives that would better and charge less.

You should look at debt settlement at this point to handle your debts. There are some good companies out there that handle you.

I recommend NationalDebtRelief as a performance based company.

I recommend Credit Solutions as a front-fee based company.

If you wish to settle the accounts on your own then I suggest www.edebtfree.org as a company to guide you hand n hand through the steps.

Settlement is not the best but at least you will pay the creditors something back rather than just dumping your debt. It does show that you made an effort.

If your daughter is truly mentally incapacitated then what the hell is she doing raising children. If she can responsibile enough to raise children then she is responsibile to work and make a buck.

Raising children is a lot more stressful than working…and you should know that.

If you are buying into this then It is my opinion that you are just as negilent as your daughter.

Tough thoughts I know…but lets be realistic.

I don’t wish to come off condescending ( and I know that I am) But some has to pull the blinders off at some point here.

Stop being reasonable with this situation and do something that is really effective here.

I apologize for being offensive, but I had to get that off my chest.

Anyone else here working within one income?

Is there anyone else here that had to make adjustment to one income, for whatever reason? This is been our problem, even though now Im getting SSDI, its still only half but at least its something.

Yes divorce. I have gotten some child support but about half of what the state says I should be but I figure better half then none. The food budget is about I’ll I have left that I can shrink some.

Paying cash and avoiding interest charges is the only way to make ends meet. It is easily to get trapped in the my kids “need” this and that but in the end they don’t remember a year later weather they had it or not.

The first 5 years was very hard because my child care was over $1800 a month now it is less then half because they are both in school.

I also work for a start up and took several pay cuts over the last 3 years and am just now making what I was 5 years ago.

I really need a new car but don’t have that money saved so I’m going to have to keep my current one running for 4 or 5 more year. I can’t afford the interest and the car so I have to wait. Plus I’m now only paying liability insurance.

It has not been easy finically but the kids have what they need and we are all healthy.

What is your favorite debt-free living book?

Hello! I’m just getting started & am not sure in what direction to turn. Thanks for your book suggestions!

Total Money Makeover by www.daveramsey.com . In my opinion there’s no equal.

Mary Hunts books are also good. I like her a bit better then Dave. She is more positive. Both books contain the same strategies. You can get a snowball spreadsheet from a link on DebtProofliving.com. All the tools you really need are free. The paid service is just a convenience but you don’t need it if you have excel.

I also put my savings for large items like a car in the spreadsheet and put it in the order of when I would need it. So I have my debt payoff plus emergency fund build up and car savings and I know when each will be fully funded. I put the car and emergency fund just before my mortgage. It is very motivating to see this all and be able to adjust it every time you have a little extra.

Both authors are well read and most public libraries have both books so put any money you would have spend toward your debt payoff.

Anyone heard of ARS/Ameriquest Recovery Services?

I had an account with Chase Bank with a balance of abut 6,000. I got WAY behind and this ARS starts calling me…The first call to me, the guy tells me that I had to pay at least 1,000 by 3:00p.m. that afternoon or I was going to receive a judgement letter(i think thats what he called it)…to appear in court. The thing that worried me is that my mother is also on the account. I explained that i could pay a reasonable amount each month but not large amounts. They start reading me my mothers credit bureau report and advising me that it looked to them that she could qualify for a loan or another credit card through some company called Beneficial. When I said “absolutely not, thats not reasonable”..they started telling me that I was not an honorable person and they would just call my mom. I don’t want that. My mom is in very bad health and even though her name is on the account, i want to pay it myself. So, they scared me enough to go to H&R Block and get my tax refund overnight and Western Union the bullies 1,000 so that hopefully they would realize I had good intentions to pay.

They accepted that of course but 2 days later start the harassment again. They are telling me they are NOT a collection agency. I just wonder if anyone else has dealt with these folks. Are they a collection agency or not? They tell me the “creditor” will only give me one more week to pay the balance in full. So, I asked if I could contact the creditor myself since and of course they said no. If they are not attorney’s or a collection agency, who are they?

They are relentless bullies! Also, I don’t think they had any business reading my mothers entire credit report…just because she is on the account..can they give me all of her info? Sorry for the long, rambling post. I would appreciate any advice as these people are scaring me to death!

ARS is a collection agency since they are not the original creditor. So you need to research the FDCPA and make sure they abide by it. They can tell you what they did to scare you into paying which you did. So lets learn real quick here that lesson one is to NEVER speak to a collection agency and never without a recorder for any reason.

Now for your mom – if she is on the cc then she is just as responsible as you and they can call her, pull her credit report, report negative information to the CRAs and even sue her. Doesn’t matter who used the cc. So you hopefully told your mom you re in a tight spot and fell behind but are making arrangements to pay this. Better to hear it from you than the CA.

Send a letter CMRRR from both you and your mom telling them to cease all phone calls to you at home and/or work and anywhere else and to only contact you by mail at such and such address. Also give notice that should they fail to stop calling you in violation that you are notifying them in advance that ALL calls to such and such numbers will be recorded for any future use in any federal and/or state court cases. This will at least stop the calls

Here is what I use:

You are not to communicate with my by phone at any number(s) you may have. You can communicate with me by mail at (address) only! Please also note my file that all calls to (phone numbers) are recorded for any future legal purposes.

This letter is intended to serve as legal notice and may provide a basis for complaints being filed in accordance with FDCPA, FCRA, attorneys general, Federal Trade Commission and other federal and/or state statutes.

We are personally responsible for our business debt

I am in my early 30’s, married with 2 kids-4 y/o and 21 mths. Our debt began when we started our own Heating and Air Conditioning business 3 years ago. Since that time, our annual income has DECREASED by ~ $50,000!! We were so used to living on ~ $90,000/yr, and never really adjusted to the drop in income.

Now, the business is $50,000 in the hole, and us personally are
$50,000 in the hole. Unfortunately we are personally responsible for our business debt, so that means we are $100,000 in the hole.

Long story short…My husband lost motivation to go to work, thought he had ADD, he was treated for ADD, only made him worse, finally now treating him for Depression. I too am depressed and have anxiety. Not only that, but we had other stressors along the way: my grandma passed away 4 months ago, she was really sick the last year, petty issues with family, and toher stuff.

My husband is doing better on his new meds. I’m trying to find the right meds for me, nothing is working right now. I sleep a lot, and feel so blah. I have to work to bring money in, my husband can’t find a job that pays anything decent, now has decided to go back to school to complete his mechanical engineering degree.

My house is in foreclosure, behind on our car payments, had one service van repo’d. stopped making payments on Credit cards in Sept. Our annual income last year was only $52,000…my husband rarely had paychecks.

Before we can file chapter 13, I have to get my corporate taxes done, they were due last week, had to file extension b/c I just don’t have the energy to do them. I want my refund before I file, or else they’ll take it.

I feel for you, being a single mom…it’s hard going through all the debt stress. Now, my husband is feeling better, I’ve been pushing a lot of things onto him, b/c I just can’t do it anymore…I tried to stay functional for so long, while depressed. It was almost like I was a single mom at times, b/c I didn’t have my husband, he just wasn’t “there”…he didn’t seem to get how deep in debt we were, he didn’t see the reality of what was going on. He was in La La Land. Now he’s coming out of it some.

I hate to see our business go, but it is way too much stress for me, so we’re going to close it down, assume its debt, and file bankruptcy…it’s the only light I can see. I could settle my personal debt, I have some money to do that, but can’t do the business debt too….they won’t settle, it’s distributors and credit cards.

Preparing to File Chapter 13

I have made the tough decision to file Chapter 13 and am in the process of getting my paperwork together and trying to find a lawyer.

I am in my early 30s, single with no kids and have suffered all my adult life with the build-up of debt from college – the typical horry story of student loans combined with easy credit that snowballed to $80,000 in debt at its height. My monthly net take home has hovered between $2500 to $2600 in recent years. I was on a debt management plan for two years with a monthly payment of $1,600 (this does not include $200+ per month in student loans that I have had placed in forbearance). I tightened up, but it is very difficult to pay rent, utilities, food, transportation, household goods, clothes and other stuff on just $900-$1000 per month. I may have been able to get by, even though it was rough, but then the car transmission went out and since I had already depleted my savings and could not get new credit, I could not pay the lump sum to fix the car. I found a cheap garage to rent a car, but I also had to pay to store the defective car. In a great perversity, I am paying almost double for a cheap car + car storage than I would with a new loan to get a car (but I don’t qualify for new credit) and my job does require reliable transportation. Of course, my monthly expenses shot up and I fell eventually fell behind.

In addition, last summer, I finally had to address personal and household issues that I had neglected. Even though I make a middle class income, I have been living like I was low-income, but I have a professional job where I do have to maintain my appearance and such. I went about 2 and half years without really buying any clothes other than worn out underclothes and shoes, but had to come to terms with the need to get some new clothes to replace parts of my wardrobe that had worn out or didn’t fit anymore. Last July, when I got a $500 bonus, I used it to buy new clothes, instead of trying to catch up on the debt payment. I was also recently made a manager and workers under me, some of whom make just over half of what I make and have kids, have better cars and stuff than me. If I am unable to maintain appropriate “trappings” that are commensurate with my job position, then I feel that my advancement is going to be limited.

I found a lot of info from this video:

Last December, I signed up for a new debt management plan, after the previous plan was terminated when I fell too far behind. To date, only half the 12 creditors have agreed to the new payment plan, but even some of the ones who agree to the plan are charging me off and one who rejected the plan is suing me to get a judgment, even though I have sent monthly payments the past 3 months.

When I got the notice about the lawsuit earlier this month, I first was thinking that I need to explain to that creditor that I was making a good faith effort to make payments and sent a letter to their lawyer to try to get them to dismissed the lawsuit. But I had a weekend to think about it and after reviewing the bankruptcy law and my personal situation, I determined that it doesn’t make sense for me to continue with the debt management plan anyways. The only way to avoid the judgment is to file bankruptcy, but that’s not the whole story.

I, of course, care about my credit rating and so I do approach the decision to file bankruptcy seriously. But my credit is already damaged, with the late or missed payments, charge offs, and participation in the CCCS debt management plans. There is not too much more damage that a bankruptcy can do to me at this point other than make part of the public record that which in private I already know, which is that I am insolvent. I have already been operating without new credit for 3 years and believe with the debt relief that I could live without credit.

The belt tightening that I’ve done has been so severe that I have neglected myself personally – I’ve really been on an austerity plan. I need to get glasses, I need to get my car fixed so I don’t have to pay car rental and storage fees, I have not paid annual fees to maintain an unrequired but nonetheless valuable professional certification, I need to get collision insurance for the car, I don’t have rental insurance for my apartment, even though I got medical/dental plan I don’t use it due to the copayment, and the list goes on. Meanwhile, my social and personal are impacted as I rarely go out and have never had a real vacation. Then, there is the nasty collection calls and letters that have my so frazzled that I don’t want to answer the phone, listen to my answering machine messages, or open the mailbox. They have also called me at work and called me at my parents home over Thanksgiving weekend! Meanwhile, I have no money to address other emergencies that may come up and I have disinvestment in other activities (continued education/training) that could end up making me more money in the future.

My concern about bankruptcy as a failure has also been mitigated.

First, I learned that successful people have been bankrupt. For example, Donald Trump has had business bankruptcies and Abraham Lincoln had business and personal bankruptcies. So with me in my early 30’s, I feel that in the long-term, I can restore my financial and personal credibility and still be successful. From the moral perspective, I don’t feel like I am leaving the creditors in the lurch. As I was going through one of my recent statements, I noticed that the balance had not changed from the previous month. Even though the creditor accepted my DMP Payment, they didn’t re-age my account and so the interest, late, and over limit fees equaled the DMP payment (the only reason I had an overlimit fee is due to penalties and interest – I never actually charged up the card over the limit). This fed stronger into my feeling that I need to do something drastic, or else I would continue to make movement but no progress, like a little mouse running on a wheel in a cage. I have paid the creditors the principal balance and a healthy profit already!

I know some people have denounced the new bankruptcy laws, but I don’t really have a problem with them. If I filed Chapter 13, I would likely be looking at payments of student loans at about $200 per month and the Chapter 13 Plan Payments of about $350 per month for a total of approximately $550 in debt payments. As I have been belt tightening over the past 3 years, my spending has been well below the allowable living expenses calculated by the IRS. I should have more than $2,000 per month to live on and resume having a normal life and build a savings.


  • Gross Annual Income = $49,000
  • Unsecured Credit Card and Personal Loans = $52,000
  • Student Loan Debt = $13,000
  • Net Monthly Income = $2,600
  • Student Loan Monthly Payments = $200 (in forbearance)
  • Partially Approved Monthly DMP Payments = $1,200*
  • Transporation Related Expenses Per Month = $550
  • Rent & Utilities Per Month = $600
  • Food, Clothes, and Household Items Monthly = $200 or whatever is
    available (usually less)

*Some creditors have rejected the 2nd DMP plan, but take payments without further collection activity other than charge offs, though one creditor is suing for a judgment for about $5,000 which is a prelude to garnishing my wages.

Getting Control of Finances

First, Im so glad I found this group! Im working a budgeting or finances, there some things that I need to reduce and eliminate, but there are some huge drawbacks.

History: I became a disabled person after 9-11, it had nothing to do with 9-11 even though the DC area was also affected. Im a nurse by trade, I lost my voice completely, went through all the tests nothing organic and no masses or erosion, vocal cords move correctly but no voice. Referred to specialist, same answer. Finally after researching online I found the possible cause but need confirmation.

Convinced my Doc that I needed a referral to Neurologist, she did but for my migraines which had been getting worse. So after neuro evaluation, he said he could fix my migraines but not my voice. So he diagnosed me with what I thought was the problem affecting the speech center in my brain. Its rare, there is no cure and my voice will never come back. Okay so I was asked to leave work, I did because it was just to tough on me physically to try and throw what voice I did have up to any volume, lots of background noise in hospitals, and no one could hear me on the phone. Okay, I left, we have used up inheritance savings mainly because we were in denial of working with one income.

Well we aren’t anymore.

I have refinance or house to lower payments, we basically can live on my husbands salary, and I FINALLY got my SSDI, after 2nd go round, but it ain’t much but its something.

My question(s) are this, I can pay the CC down (we have CapitalOne also) but the Barclaycard they have huge finance charge per month so after making a payment of 205 only 40 goes to balance. Is there anything I can do about this, I don’t want to loose the credit cards entirely but I would like to hear pros and cons.

The second question is this: Insurance, We had a huge policy with NY Life for my husband to use for retirement and cover the house, it was 646 per qtr, well last year I contacted our agent and said it would have drop, okay so we did that but I never got a payment slip for it, well I started calling and email agent he said he was checking. Well I started harrassing him again, and he came back yesterday, and said he would have to resign Paul up for the larger policy, then lower it and if Paul (DH) passes underwriting then we pay them another $375 plus a higher quarterly payment than we talked about a year ago when discussed downgrading of $275, what he quoted me was $175. So I emailed he back and said that was unacceptable. He also gave me the name and phone number of the guy in Richmond, VA that handled this.

This was our agents error not ours. We had also talked to him originally about getting a good chunk of that money back, does anyone know if it can or cannot be done and how?

We also have longterm health insurance, which is $240 a month for both of us and Im thinking about nixing that, but Im not sure we can get anything back on it.

Thanks for any help, I can’t use the phone all the time, it depends on the day and how strong my whisper is, so if I can get opinions and ammunition that would help me tremendously. Also if someone things I should just write them a letter.

I can’t imagine what a difficult time you have been through

There is hope though. Remember to pay what you need to survive before feeding the wolves that are at the door. All the credit card company will do is call and harrass you, at least for a little while. And honestly, medical bills are less likely to sue or get nasty with you than credit card companies.

If I were in your shoes, I would try to settle the credit cards on my own and negotiate with the hospital for a low monthly payment. A garage or ebay sell of all the stuff that you don’t truly need to survive is a good place to start in digging out of the hole. We sold our boat, almost all of my nick-nacks, clothes we didn’t wear & books we had already read. We only made 600 bucks or so but getting rid of all the stuff, helped us focus more on what we were doing. A weekend or part time job for six months or so would really help as well.

I will be praying for you and your family. Let us know if you have any other questions. Posting your budget/income might help people better help you see what options you have.

From my own personal experience Capital One will put the settlement in writing IF you fax them an offer.

Just write down the terms you agreed to and fax for confirmation…. something like:

As per our conversation on (date) I am prepared to offer the following:

(offer here)

Please fax acceptance of this offer back ASAP so I can continue with this offer.

Please understand that this offer is not admitting to anything. This offer is only a “good faith” on my part to settle this long disputed debt.

Your Name
Your FAX Number

As for Capital One sending a closed letter…. when “toothpicks” freeze over! I settled in December and they adjusted my balance to reflect a reduced balance even though I have a signed acceptance and a cancelled check. Without these 2 items I would not have a leg to stand on.

If you learn nothing else PLEASE learn to


I am having a capitol One party with my husband this very moment!! Thank God thank God. After back and forth phone calls and faxes I just mailed a check- virtually our entire tax refund for 4900. The debt- 7100. PAID IN FULL! Maybe next year or the following that tax refund will go straight to my roth I will be starting. I cant even express how wonderful this feels. All over the envelope I wrote “goodbye capitol one’ ” goodbye Dana and Pariser law office” and “Freedom!” Next stop mbna- 2 accts- then the ‘hell’loan as Dave Ramsey says.

We have literally come back from the pit and have a very long way to go. I have made some overtures to mbna and will start faxing a hardship request- dh is still very much disabled and out of work following the 2 strokes and open heart surgery. But babysteps, babysteps.

Again, you guys rock!

Only pay what you have to in order to live

Only pay what you have to in order to live, keep a roof over your heads. Cut all non-essential spending; don’t pay any credit card or medical bills you have, they are secondary to keeping your home. Do keep your utility bills up to date, and work on getting your mortgage and equity loan up to date.

Do you have any family that can help with either the kids (so you can get a 2nd job for a bit) or with essentials?

If you get calls from creditors, don’t talk with them (unless it is the mortgage or home equity company); they can’t get blood from a stone and you don’t need the anxiety the calls will create. If you talk with them, don’t make promises, just tell them you have no money. If they sue you, they can’t take your home; they can only get about 10% of your gross via garnishment and that’s after several months time (It takes about that long to get the judgment and file the income execution). Hopefully by then you would have turned some of this around.

You could consider selling your home if you can get anything extra out of it over the mortgage and equity loan, but then you also have to consider what it would cost you monthly to replace the living space considering the kids. Not sure if this would work for your situation or not.

Hope this helps some.