Q: Since completing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy eight years ago, I ve raised my credit score from 300 to 689, bought a house and a used car, and saved $10,000. But recently, two collections for forgotten medical bills hit my credit report and dropped my score by more than 80 points. Should I drain my savings to pay off my debt?
Q: Though my husband and I are struggling to pay off our $4,000 credit card debt, he contributes the maximum amount to his IRA—$5,000 per year, or $417 per month; the account is now worth $19,000. I think he should suspend his IRA contribution until we’re debt-free. He thinks the IRA is more important. What are your thoughts?
Q: My husband and I are at a crossroads. We expect that the company I work for will pull out of our area and I’ll be laid off. We’ve been saving diligently, putting money away every month to keep us afloat while I’m between jobs. Then we realized we have enough in our savings account to pay off all our debts (cars, campers, one credit card) except for our mortgage. Doing so would free up about $2,000 a month. Should we pay off everything and begin saving again or keep the money in the bank for the probable end of my employment?
Q: I filed for bankruptcy in 1998 after a divorce. I started to rebuild my credit, but then, because of an illness that had me in and out of the hospital, I went from earning $23 per hour to earning $9. As a result, my finances are in the dumps. Creditors are calling me at home and at work threatening to garnish my wages. I will soon start a $15-an-hour job, but I need some time to get control of my finances. I want to remove my name from the house I bought with my current husband and file for bankruptcy again. Please help me start over.