My wife and I met in 18 years ago. We were truly blessed with our beautiful daughter in a year later. My wife worked at a large auto manufacturer and I worked at a small auto parts supplier; we were comfortable. We made the unfortunate and, in hindsight, naïve decision to purchase a house at the top of the housing boom. When the economy entered the “Great Recession,” we were soon upside-down on our mortgage to the tune of about $40,000, and therefore no equity available. The auto company where my wife was employed offered her a buy-out. She had previous college credits from years ago that would transfer to other universities and part of the buy-out offer was to pay tuition to college along with a stipend for four years. My wife always had dreams of completing her bachelor’s degree and she was very unhappy at her place of employment for several reasons, including feeling mistreated by fellow employees and management. She decided to take the buy-out offer. During this time, the stipend she received was quite a pay-cut from what we were used to. This meant that many purchases we made for the four years were on credit cards and in some cases, personal loans through our credit union. We figured that once my wife had her degree, she would be able to find employment with significantly more pay than she was previously earning, and then we would catch-up on our debt. That has not happened. She has been employed since graduation, but the pay rate is no where near where we were hoping it was going to be so the credit spiral has continued through to today so that were have credit card debt around $75,000. I know, crazy! I cannot believe we are where we are. We are maxed out on our retirement fund loans at this time as well.
We obviously lived beyond our means, although with the plan that we were going to catch-up later (I suppose that is what everyone in our situation thought in the beginning). However, one of the costs we decided to pay no matter what, was to send our daughter to private schooling. This was expensive, of course. We believe, even to this day, that it was truly the correct decision because she has thrived at every level to where now she has an overall high school GPA of over 4.0. We never pressured her to do that, that was her own decision. Our daughter is like an angel on Earth; she has never been in any trouble whatsoever. She is very empathetic and volunteers her time to help others. She is now a senior and has been accepted to each of the five universities to which she has applied. She has also qualified for some tuition assistance to four of the five universities; however, it is a small percentage of the total costs. She has entered competitions for additional aid as well and we are following the procedures to apply for aid through the government as well. One problem with the federal aid, as far as I understand it, is that they do not consider the parent’s debt at all in formulating whether a student qualifies for any amount of aid. I feel we have let her down to an extent because I do not believe we are going to be able to help her much financially. She will ultimately have to take on thousands of dollars in student loans that will no doubt be hounding her long after I am gone.
I am not asking for $75,000 to pay off our credit card debt, that would be ridiculous, I know. I am not even asking for someone to pay my daughter’s tuition (how great would that be though?!). What I am humbly asking for is to catch-up on a few bills, mainly our mortgage payment which come December 2 will be two months behind ($2,245.16), our utilities that was due November 17th which covers water, sewage, etc., electric, natural gas, cable TV (we only have the basic package), and internet ($429.52), and our largest credit card payment that was due on November 19th ($594.00). This totals $3,268.68.
I do not know how we are going to purchase gifts for Christmas, but if we receive any help, it will go a long way to buying us some time, at least until our income tax refund we usually get in March which gets our heads above water for a short time.
It seems as though there is not a lot of help out there for people like my wife and I where we are not quite to the level of foreclosure or bankruptcy, but yet were are struggling week to week to pay our bills and in many cases some are perpetually late. And then the late fees are added, and the downward spiral accelerates.
I sure hope you can find it in your heart to help us out with anything you can afford. Certainly, once we are in a better financial situation, we will pay it forward as much and as often as we can.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
We are truly grateful for any help you can provide.
p.s. I do feel ashamed to be asking for a hand-out. It sucks to be in this situation. I am sorry.