Author Topic: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)  (Read 8210 times)

MoStache

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Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« on: June 09, 2017, 04:05:46 PM »
Hi All,

I'm looking for advice/strategies on finding work and getting by financially...

For various reasons I have been living the ultimate anti-mustachian lifestyle the last 10 years.  I've dug quite a hole for myself to say the least!  The good news is I've learned a lot from doing things wrong and I'm ready (and highly motivated) to turn things around.

Life Situation:  39-year-old male (with a cute dog and an amazing girlfriend) living by myself in Minneapolis. 

Employment:  Currently none.  I have been driving for Uber and Lyft full-time the last two years.  It was a huge mistake from the beginning and as of yesterday I can no longer do this because my vehicle will not pass the inspection (and I don't have the money to fix up my car). 

Employment/Education History:  Graduated with Computer Science degree from U of MN in 2000.  Worked as a software engineer at a major corporation for 8 years.  Eventually came to despise the corporate world and quit before I was financially ready in 2008.  From 2008-2015 I worked on my own doing internet marketing.  The internet marketing business model I was pursuing requires money to make money and I made the mistake of trying to make the business work "at all costs" financially.  Once I ran out of credit I needed money fast so I started driving for Uber and got "stuck in a rut" doing that job the past couple years.

Assets:
 - $500 cash
 - 2006 Toyota Highlander (240k miles):  needs new tires, struts, and currently making a funny noise when taking a left turn and accelerating from a stop.
 - iPhone 6:  screen has been replaced with inferior glass and mic doesn't work. 
 - iPhone 5:  power/sleep button doesn't work
 - 2014 macbook pro
 
 Liabilities:
 - Over $50k credit card debt (I haven't even made a minimum payment in 2 years).
 - Over $30k in taxes.
 - Too many smaller ones to list.
 
So obviously I've made some terrible financial decisions but I'm ready to put that behind me and move forward.  I have a good education, I'm pretty smart, and I'm an extremely hard worker when I have the right motivation.  The bad decisions I've made where symptoms of deeper issues that I've mostly cleared up now so I'm optimistic about the future.

In terms of big picture strategy I think the best move is to declare ch 7 bankruptcy and then get the best job I can find (in that order).  However, first I need to worry about finding work quickly to cover my living expenses and save up for attorney fees.  Also, from what I've learned I may have trouble filing ch 7 bankruptcy if I make more than $50k/year so going back to a corporate software gig in the short-term doesn't make sense.

So here's what I'm looking for help on...
1) finding the highest paying job(s) I can get quickly (that won't exceed about $4k/month).
2) minimizing expenses

Bills (in order of what's due next):
6/17:  Verizon, $74 (I have unlimited data because I needed that for Uber navigation.  I'm considering driving for Postmates as a backup plan so maybe I should keep this)
6/17:  Back taxes monthly payment, $137
6/22:  Internet, $62 (I could cancel this and use the hot spot with my phone but maybe I should keep it in case I work from home)
6/23:  Gas/Electric, $45
6/26:  Netflix, $9
6/28:  Macbook pro backup software, $6
6/30:  Health Insurance, $266
6/30:  Storage Unit, $63 (I'm renting a 5x5 storage locker for my camping equipment.  I imagine I can either get rid of it or find a place in my apartment for this)
7/5:  Rent, $700 (I'm locked into my lease through October.  I live in a small attic where I'm constantly ducking to not hit my head)
7/6:  Farmers car and rental insurance, $191 (I have a good driving record.  My insurance is high because I have a special policy for Uber.  I may do Postmates so I should find out what insurance I need for that)
7/6:  Dental Insurance, $15 (I started this in 2017 because I should really go in for a cleaning)
7/6:  Microsoft Office, $8 (my resume is in Word and I don't think it's worth the time to find a different solution)
7/9:  Bank overdraft credit line monthly payment, $45

I haven't included groceries, pet food, transportation, etc because I'm going to try and spend as little as possible on those things but I haven't tracked my spending in the past.  I think I can do under $300/month for all those combined unless I have a long commute and/or my car breaks down.

Thoughts:
 - I would consider selling my car but I don't think it's worth much given present maintenance issues and I would then still have to figure out transportation.
 - I signed up for Postmates and I may give that a run this weekend to see how much I can make.  I'm pretty sick of driving and counting on my car to make money though.
 - I signed up for WAG and I'm in the middle of their "hiring" process.
 - I've contacted 3 employment agencies and have gotten almost zero help from them.  I'm willing to do practically ANY job so I don't get it.
 - I'm unwilling or unable to accept "help" from family/friends/etc unless it's absolutely necessary.  I've done that in the past and it's NEVER worked out for the better.  I trust my girlfriend but it's waaay too early in our relationship for me to ask for financial help or for us to live together.

KungfuRabbit

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2017, 04:45:03 PM »
Hello from a fellow Minnesotan!

When I type "chemical engineer" (my field) into indeed I get 161 job postings. For computer science I get 2,354 job postings. Two thousand plus jobs. I have a few friends in c sci that take a month or two off work frequently by just quitting, when they are ready they find a new job within a week or two. Is there a reason you are struggling with such a crazy in demand degree?  My friend was actually hiring in that field and he had to increase his offer because a new grad with a C average, BOTTOM of his class, had multiple offers.

I feel you should be able to land a 6 figure job pretty easy. At your expenses that could help pay off $50k per year of debt - within 2 years you are in the green. Bankruptcy seems like a bad idea really if you can pull this off.

dmac680chi

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2017, 04:56:37 PM »
Agreed, 50k in debt isn't enough to warrant bankruptcy given your degree. Is there something your not telling us though OP about being able to hold a job? Is there a possible fear you have in going back to the corporate world?


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2Birds1Stone

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2017, 05:50:08 PM »
Don't declare bankruptcy. The rest of us shouldn't have to pay for your mistakes.

As the other posters have said, you should find a good job pretty easily if you put your mind to it! $50k in unsecured debt may sound like a lot, but with a decent high 5 figure, low 6 figure income......you should be able to get rid of it in a matter of 2-3 years.

Welcome to MMM forums and enjoy the ride!
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jooniFLORisploo

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2017, 06:07:56 PM »
Welcome, MoStache :)

You might enjoy the journal of Eric222. His debt is way bigger than yours, and he's totally committed to killing it. He just recently started his super high paying position. Reading other people decimating large debts can be really encouraging. He's great at frugality, too, so good info on that count.

Chippewa

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2017, 06:08:11 PM »
Remote programming and CS jobs: https://weworkremotely.com/#intro
Maybe it will help...
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wordnerd

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2017, 07:23:28 PM »
Welcome! It's great you're here, looking at your situation carefully, and making positive changes. Income is obviously the larger part of the problem right now, and folks have already touched on that.

On the spending side, you need to track everything you're spending to find out where it's going. Given your situation, paying for storage seems pretty ridiculous. Either sell the gear, if you don't use it, or stash in your place (or at your GF's). Your other optional expenses are small, but your mindset seems to still be in a spendier place. For instance, you say it's not worth your time to figure out something other than Word. As someone with a CS degree, I doubt it would take you more than an hour to figure something out. If you saved $8/mo for the next six months (don't know how long that expense will last), that's $42 for an hour of your time.

Additionally, I think you need to make a decision about whether you're driving through Postmates or not. You're continuing to spend money to keep that option open (and--I'm just guessing here--you may be not looking for a new job as hard as you would otherwise because you have it as a back-up plan). If you want to get out of driving and move to something higher-paying, that's awesome, but commit yourself to the life change. I obviously only know you from one post, but it sounds like you've been stuck for awhile, so I want to encourage you not to get caught in a maybe-I-will-maybe-won't situation.

I'm rooting for you!

PDXTabs

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2017, 08:47:45 PM »
Do declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy as soon as possible. You might not be able to after you get a job.

Feivel2000

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2017, 05:43:47 AM »
In my opinion, bankruptcy is for people who had been beaten down by life, not for spandypants who don't want to pay their bills...

Also, doesn't tax debts survive bankruptcy? That would make it less useful for you.

In Germany, bankruptcy includes basically a vow of poverty for seven years where your income over a certain level will be seized. If it's in the US similar, you may would be better off with a high paying job and paying your debts.

Also, you are 39 years old, at one point in the next 10 years, you might want to buy a house...


You should start by listing your debts with exact numbers and the interest rates. Then, stop wasting your time by being a underpaid taxi driver and start looking for a real job.
Also, really look at your expenses and stop saying "just 8$\month, not worth the effort".

You don't need a Mac Book backup plan, Netflix or Office. Use your USB thumb drive, the Netflix account of your girlfriend and apple's office suite (it's free, isn't it?).

Sell your defective iPhones, the outrageous data plan and buy a MotoG.

... To be continued.

I am ruling for you, as well!!!
« Last Edit: June 10, 2017, 07:30:38 AM by Feivel2000 »


KungfuRabbit

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2017, 08:27:24 AM »
O I totally missed that.

Yea $8 for word is a waste. Google Docs is totally free, and you can import your word documents into that.

PDXTabs

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2017, 08:29:59 AM »
In my opinion, bankruptcy is for people who had been beaten down by life, not for spandypants who don't want to pay their bills...

These are business debts. Businesses declare bankruptcy all the time.

Also, doesn't tax debts survive bankruptcy? That would make it less useful for you.

Some taxes can be discharged in Chapter 7: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/bankruptcy-tax-debts-eliminating-29550.html

In Germany, bankruptcy includes basically a vow of poverty for seven years where your income over a certain level will be seized. If it's in the US similar, you may would be better off with a high paying job and paying your debts.

In the US if you are poor you can file Chapter 7. If you make too much money you file Chapter 13, which is a 5 year repayment plan.

Also, you are 39 years old, at one point in the next 10 years, you might want to buy a house...

In a couple years the OP will still be able to buy a house, and they'll have $50K+ extra to buy it with.

EDIT - I've never filed for bankruptcy, and I make too much to qualify for Chapter 7. However, I watched my ex-wife and her new husband do so. Two years later they purchased a house. If you qualify I would not be quick to dismiss it.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2017, 08:31:58 AM by PDXTabs »

Feivel2000

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2017, 09:00:01 AM »
BTW, I would like to apologize if I came across rude. I think bankruptcy is a legitimate way to solve an unsolvable problem.
If you are legally allowed to declare bankruptcy, you should consider it.


The Gecko

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2017, 09:28:03 AM »
I concur with the recommendation not to declare bankruptcy. Many employers are running credit checks as part of employment offers. A bankruptcy could eliminate you from your job, though I suppose a low credit rating from not paying for years could also eliminate you. Employers look at poor credit as a risk that could lead you to more nefarious deeds when on the payroll.

It is a good thing that you realized you were going in the wrong direction and needed to change. Eliminating one bill will not really speed up your paydown, but it will help you start moving in the right financial direction, so get aggressive. Try to reduce the necessary bills to the lowest possible, and get rid of the unnecessary.

A couple of weeks ago I gave my cable provider a call, canceled my homeowners with one carrier which kept creeping up and bundled it with my car insurance policy carrier. Took me a couple hours of phone calls and applications but cut over 1K out of my annual outlay when it was all said and done.

highflyingstache

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2017, 03:23:12 PM »
Besides stating our outright opinions, there's no actual sustenance to what's being said.
Yes, credit scores are used in your potential employment, I'm positive yours is relatively terrible right now. Similarly, bankruptcy also comes with similar challenges for your road ahead. In my position, I see it as a 50/50, either way.

Indeed you're going to have your challenges finding work. What's worse, knowing there's many jobs out there that can reach 6 figures and put you on a good path is probably the envy of quite a few people here. The difference being, you need to cultivate and appease the personal touch. If you have friends from school, past employers or someone who can look past the ticks on a resume (or hiring process proper, in this case, that credit score) and recognize you as a person with talents beyond that, you may have traction. Being a person, in this process, not a resume, makes a big difference. With that in mind, if you can work hard enough to make the 6 figure move, I can foresee a few years of pain, with a clean act and probably a good place in 5 or so years. It depends; although I personally fear your lack of commitment. Considering you're not using Google Docs as mentioned or Open Office to cover an $8 monthly bill shows you may still have the wrong attitude.
If you want to step forward into positively cleaning things up, it may mean selling that camping equipment, finding a cheaper option for your phone and internet, picking up a second (actual) part time job on top of the 6 figure job you'd very actively pursue (or good overtime would be more likely). Put in two hard years, maybe 3. Make minimum payments, pay your debts down in order of highest interest first, understand how to recover your credit (including keeping accounts open, but paid off, having more available credit but not utilizing it, among the other facets of what the score is looking for, including actually checking and correcting errors on it).
However, if you're not willing to put in for the hard work to clean life up, for at least the short period, lets look at option two.

Declare. However this, as mentioned, gives you somewhere around 7 years, it means low income, budgeting and audits, and a clean slate. It may not work as a magic eraser, as it appears, however. Simply a company asking if you've "ever" declared bankruptcy, can make a difference yet again, or the fact that legal proceedings can take much more like 10 years, depending on how fast you're set up (forgive me, I'm taking a CRA angle, not IRS, but I'm sure IRS is similar. It's a long dubious process of hand holding on their part)
With that in mind, I know people who are closer to 1M in debt, who still could be years away from declaring, although they will in time.

A final note. If you do decide to put in the hard work to do the cleaning of slate yourself, which I believe you should, consider debt consolidation, of some form. Certainly paying one bill at a fixed rate could potentially be easier. It may not be cheaper in the short term, but with good income could become irrelevant. Finally, I would highly encourage paying minimum payments, it certainly would start the credit score ball rolling. As opposed to paying everything on the nose at up to 20%, I negotiated with the banks to roll things over to a 6% line of credit, that I filled up. Of course they were happy just to see their money; however floored when I paid it off so quickly. Where they were positive they would see indefinite interest only payments for some years, I cleaned up quickly. My social life suffered some and my time was carefully spent the past three years, albeit it was worth it, to clean my head and my slate.

Lordy

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2017, 03:46:11 PM »
Step 1:
Stop driving for money immediately!
Sorry to be harsh, but people who drive for Uber/Lyft/etc. have not figured out the math.

Step 2:
Forget about bankruptcy. You don't need that baggage.
If you are indeed smart find the highest paying job and starting working in your debt.
Yes, it will take a few years to get out of the hole but you spent years digging yourself in.

Sorry if that is rude but these two flaws in your plan are so obvious, it is killing me.

Dicey

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2017, 04:19:04 PM »
+1 for considering a debt consolidation approach. Do your research because not all are created equal. I've heard some are for-profit operations, which cannot be in your best interest.
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marty998

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2017, 05:36:41 PM »
Almost $800 a year for camping equipment storage?

Saying you despise the corporate world is childish. Not every business is the same, not every leader is the same - remember corporates are simply made up of other people.

The corporate word is going to pay your bills. Hold your breath, peg your nose, and go put up with the stench by using your computer science degree.


Lady SA

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2017, 06:04:03 PM »
I'm a bit boggled, here.

Minneapolis is a tech-worker starved city, competition from companies large and small is ridiculous. People who can code go for a premium. And you drove for Uber full time for 2 years instead?

If you are serious about "being willing and able to do any job", then I don't see why going back to the corporate world is so distasteful. You don't need an employment agency. Start getting active on git, and apply for coding jobs. I don't think you need bankruptcy. Even entry-level coders are being paid 70-80k in the twin cities, though idk how such a large gap on your resume will work out for you (which is why you need to start showing coding skills outside of work experience: git projects, etc). You are better off in the long run finding the highest paying job you can instead of artificially limiting your income because of wanting to declare bankruptcy. That's just shooting future you in the foot.
Not everyone loves their jobs. Simply find one that is "OK" and use it to get yourself ahead.

Yes, right now things are pretty tight, but as soon as you get a job, eliminating $50k debt is definitely achievable, plus with a properly high income you can actually start saving for the future. Don't take a low-paying job for short-term gain.
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MoStache

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2017, 11:09:35 PM »
Hmmm, so far it sounds like I came to the wrong place for help.  I could spend hours explaining to you how I got into my present predicament but I don't have time right now to convince you I'm worthy of your help.  Frankly, if you can't imagine a scenario in which you'd have compassion for someone in my scenario and take the time to give some practical advice then get lost.  I'm deep in the weeds right now so please do me the courtesy to not waste my time waxing worthlessly about your envy regarding my education or your opinions on the morals of bankruptcy.  There may be a time and a place for that kind of thing but it's not in this case study right now.

To recap:  I am unemployed and I have the assets, liabilities, bills, experience/education, and restrictions listed in the original post.  Key points...
 - I have $500.
 - I don't have opportunities to get help with money or housing from family or friends.
 - I have $50k+ on credit cards that I haven't made the minimum payment on in two years and I owe $30k+ in back taxes.
 
For those that aren't so good with the maths...  The average over/under for a nearly 40 yo man with a CS degree whose been out of the industry for 10 years and has a terrible credit score to get a high paying job is over two weeks.  If you disagree get lost.

I will absolutely consider options of high paying corporate CS jobs and avoiding bankruptcy but first I need to figure out how to pay my rent next month!

p.s.  I know this is a unique request for this forum so if I'm not a good fit here that's fine.  I just have a lot of respect for the unconventional success of MMM so I'd thought I'd give it a shot...

Feivel2000

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2017, 11:44:20 PM »
Hmmm, so far it sounds like I came to the wrong place for help.  I could spend hours explaining to you how I got into my present predicament but I don't have time right now to convince you I'm worthy of your help.  Frankly, if you can't imagine a scenario in which you'd have compassion for someone in my scenario and take the time to give some practical advice then get lost.  I'm deep in the weeds right now so please do me the courtesy to not waste my time waxing worthlessly about your envy regarding my education or your opinions on the morals of bankruptcy.  There may be a time and a place for that kind of thing but it's not in this case study right now.

To recap:  I am unemployed and I have the assets, liabilities, bills, experience/education, and restrictions listed in the original post.  Key points...
 - I have $500.
 - I don't have opportunities to get help with money or housing from family or friends.
 - I have $50k+ on credit cards that I haven't made the minimum payment on in two years and I owe $30k+ in back taxes.
 
For those that aren't so good with the maths...  The average over/under for a nearly 40 yo man with a CS degree whose been out of the industry for 10 years and has a terrible credit score to get a high paying job is over two weeks.  If you disagree get lost.

I will absolutely consider options of high paying corporate CS jobs and avoiding bankruptcy but first I need to figure out how to pay my rent next month!

p.s.  I know this is a unique request for this forum so if I'm not a good fit here that's fine.  I just have a lot of respect for the unconventional success of MMM so I'd thought I'd give it a shot...
There is nothing unique about your request, what's pretty unique is your reaction and attitude. You have gotten many practical tips and your only reaction is entitled whining.

MMM doesn't stand for magical money making.

You need money fast? Stop wasting it. Sell your crap. Sell your blood or plasma. Look at Craigslist for short term work.

But first of all, take responsibility and action. Take 10 deep breaths and read the thread and all answers again. This time, instead of thinking "where is the magic bullet", think "I can do this".
Seriously, work at your attitude and stop telling me that you don't have time for something or that something isn't worth your time.


Practical bonus tips: Sell your car and get used to biking and public transportation. Your car sounds like a liability, not like an asset.


a-scho

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2017, 12:22:25 AM »
1. leave the apartment even though you have a lease until oct. they can't get money out of someone who has none.
2. stop ubering. sleep in your car. reduce your driving as much as possible, even for personal use.
3. get rid of netflix, all subscriptions that are not really necessities. get movies, books, internet access at library.....you'll be there several hours a day applying for jobs.
4. get on snap and medicaid
5. put camping gear in a friends or families corner of a garage. offer to pay them twenty bucks a month. if you still get no's, then get rid of the gear completely. you cant afford to pay almost 800 bucks a year in storage fees.
6. take showers at gf's place or if she isnt into that, pay for a 24hr. fitness membership(or something equivalent) to use their showers.
7. unless you are in dire need of dental care, then put off dental insurance until you find a job. I have gone over ten years without dental work by brushing my teeth on a regular basis and eating a relatively low carb diet. carbs are what feed bacteria on your teeth, which creates cavities. reduce the carbs reduces cavities.
8. I know this all sounds very drastic. but you cannot afford to be spending any money on really anything. you have driven all of the usefulness out of your car as far as Uber is concerned. 
9.  buckle down to basically a homeless persons existence, for a month or so, putting all of your free time(which you will have a lot of since you will no longer be ubering to pay for rent or storage fees) at the library, on their computer, looking/applying for jobs. And, you stay in your car for a couple of months AFTER getting a decent job, you can throw all your income at your debt.
10. eat at soup kitchens, food banks, dumpster dive
11.  you may poo poo these ideas, i get that. Most of these things I wouldn't want to do either. it depends on how bad you want to get out of your situation.

jooniFLORisploo

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2017, 02:06:09 AM »
^ And know that a bunch of us forumites did exactly what a-scho laid out, as our very first steps in Mustachianism.

Villanelle

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2017, 02:35:57 AM »
Saying "don't declare bankruptcy" isn't lacking compassion, and it very much is practical advice. 

Creditors that haven't seen even minimum payments are likely to want to settle.  Bust your ass, get a job--even if that's working for the most Man of all The Man for a while, because you are in a hair-inferno emergency--live like a desperate college student, and you will make progress far more quickly than you seem to believe. 

The steps A-Scho mentions, or at least most of them, are perfectly reasonable and need to be your priorities.  You have Netflix?  You are in an emergency situation.  you don't get Netflix.  Sorry.  That's a great carrot at the end of some stick for you.  Once you negotiae and pay away all your debt and have $1000 in en emergency fund, then *maybe* you resubscribe to Netflix.  So if you want that to happen, you buckle down even harder.

Living in your car, or in that fancy camping equipment you have is probably viable in summer and weather.  Even if you only do it for 4-5 months, think of the rent and utilities you will save.  And you have a large car, so it shouldn't be too bad.  We have a poster living in a Prius.  Again, make it a reward for yourself.  Once you have secured a very good job and paid down/negotiated your debt to $15,000, you can start looking for a place to rent (but even then, rent a room in someone's home, not a 1 or 2 bed apartment).  Or see if your GF would let you stay with her for a limited time, free or for minimal rent (or perhaps in exchange for work around the house if you are handy, especially if she owns).

You are poor.  Apply for benefits.  Use soup kitchens.  Don't let your pride get in the way.

If you aren't ready to do things like this, then you aren't being realistic about your situation.  And there's a very good chance you will just re-dig a very similar hole after you fill this one in the Ch 7. 

PDXTabs

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #23 on: June 12, 2017, 09:34:23 AM »
I think I posted this in another thread: but I would be applying for every contract position you can find, dev, qa, qa technician, etc. If you get a $15/hr tech job it will be way more money than you are pulling in now and you can still mull over Chapter 7.

EDIT - I did this once towards the end of my college career in 2006/7. I was burned out, dropped out of classes that term, and got a QA Technician roll for $15/hr in 2006 dollars. I worked there for 7 months while finishing up my BS and networked enough to get an entry level, full time (not contract) developer role lined up before I graduated.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 09:38:43 AM by PDXTabs »

CloserToFree

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #24 on: June 12, 2017, 09:57:23 AM »
Compassionate pro-bankruptcy person here, but even I think it might not be a great idea in your situation.  While a lawyer, I'm no expert on bankruptcy.  But I think the harm to your mentality from waiting out the process (not looking for a good job in the meantime) outweighs the benefits (even if all 50k of the non-tax debt is wiped away).

Highly recommend that you read or re-read this post - one of my all time faves: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/08/01/a-millionaire-is-made-ten-bucks-at-a-time/  It'll help you take a fresh look at your expenses and may be the push you need to start seeing the little line items as low hanging fruit ripe for the picking. 

Then as someone else suggested go read Eric222's journal.  He has a bunch more debt, and what sounds like a much more complicated family situation (divorced with two kids), but he's killing it with his Mustachian approach to his debt.  He'll inspire you to do this.

As for practical suggestions, I love the idea of selling your car and using your bike to get around (MSP is so bikeable - not sure where you live but am betting you're pretty close to some trails or bike friendly roads); having an open talk with your GF to see if she can help you out via letting you stay with her for a few months; telling your landlord you need to move out asap given your dire financial situation, you hope they understand, you're happy to help advertise the apartment to help them find a new renter etc.; and most importantly START APPLYING FOR THE GOOD CS JOBS!  (Or really ANY CS jobs...you can work your way up once you're back in the CS workforce.)

I think it can be hard for folks to come on here for the first time and be met with the face punches that are routinely dolled out here in the MMM forums.  Try to accept the suggestions in the spirit in which they were intended -- to help you out of your situation.  No one comments on these to beat somebody up -- but some are more direct than others.  Hang in there, mull over these suggestions, and get going on crushing your debt situation (which honestly is fairly modest - I know plenty of people with upwards of 500k debt, with not much more earning potential than you, living in way higher cost of living areas).  Good luck!

Timmm

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #25 on: June 12, 2017, 10:24:45 AM »
I agree bailing on the lease is worth a try. We get some winter where I live and November 1 is probably the worst day of the year for a lease renewal - highly likely a couple of months vacant and 4 is not out of the question unless you go well below market and/or drop normal screening standards. A vacancy on July 1 (or a little before if you possibly can) is nearly ideal. Your landlord may be eager to work with you on this.

KungfuRabbit

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #26 on: June 12, 2017, 12:33:54 PM »
Hmmm, so far it sounds like I came to the wrong place for help.  I could spend hours explaining to you how I got into my present predicament but I don't have time right now to convince you I'm worthy of your help.  Frankly, if you can't imagine a scenario in which you'd have compassion for someone in my scenario and take the time to give some practical advice then get lost.  I'm deep in the weeds right now so please do me the courtesy to not waste my time waxing worthlessly about your envy regarding my education or your opinions on the morals of bankruptcy.  There may be a time and a place for that kind of thing but it's not in this case study right now.

To recap:  I am unemployed and I have the assets, liabilities, bills, experience/education, and restrictions listed in the original post.  Key points...
 - I have $500.
 - I don't have opportunities to get help with money or housing from family or friends.
 - I have $50k+ on credit cards that I haven't made the minimum payment on in two years and I owe $30k+ in back taxes.
 
For those that aren't so good with the maths...  The average over/under for a nearly 40 yo man with a CS degree whose been out of the industry for 10 years and has a terrible credit score to get a high paying job is over two weeks.  If you disagree get lost.

I will absolutely consider options of high paying corporate CS jobs and avoiding bankruptcy but first I need to figure out how to pay my rent next month!

p.s.  I know this is a unique request for this forum so if I'm not a good fit here that's fine.  I just have a lot of respect for the unconventional success of MMM so I'd thought I'd give it a shot...

Recap: finding a 6 figure job will take longer than two weeks so you're going to file bankruptcy instead.

You are in the wrong forum if you want sympathy. #complainypants.

NathanP

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #27 on: June 12, 2017, 02:33:42 PM »
Things that I would do:
  • Ride a bike
  • Quickly get a part time job working nights and weekends. Retail, restaurant, whatever. This cash will provide you food and probably enough money to cover housing.
  • Rent a room, not a whole apartment. Leave your current lease as others have mentioned.
  • Spend your day's looking for work, applying, interviewing.

I think back to college and I completely covered my living expenses working around 20 hours a week. Having your own apartment is a luxury you cannot afford. Currently, your vehicle is a luxury too. I might keep it for a few months until I got a real job, or saved enough to buy a sensible option that requires less maintenance.

Gone_Hiking

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #28 on: June 18, 2017, 11:18:17 PM »
I think back to college and I completely covered my living expenses working around 20 hours a week.
this ^

EDIT - I did this once towards the end of my college career in 2006/7. I was burned out, dropped out of classes that term, and got a QA Technician roll for $15/hr in 2006 dollars. I worked there for 7 months while finishing up my BS and networked enough to get an entry level, full time (not contract) developer role lined up before I graduated.
and this ^

Your situation is not unique and it can be overcome, but not without some drastic steps.  Sometimes one has to do what one has to do.  I once slept on a box spring I pulled out of the dumpster.  That's what I could afford at the time.  I'm not complaining; those times taught me to distinguish between needs and wants.   So take the advice given here, face punches and all, in the spirit of help, find a position, even contract, to get started, and buy those boots so that you can pull yourself up by the boot straps.  It's hard, long, and absolutely worth it.

You mentioned your GF - if she has your back through this, she is a keeper.

Fuerchtegott

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #29 on: June 19, 2017, 09:56:54 AM »
I stumbled upon an study of priceonomics:

https://priceonomics.com/how-much-are-people-making-from-the-sharing/

Uber is just a possibility and don't get you out of your debt hole.

SavinMaven

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #30 on: June 20, 2017, 08:55:30 AM »
This may not be a popular thing to say, but I think it's important that you know it, if you don't already.

There is a STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS (that varies by state) on debt. Meaning, after a given number of years (in many states, as few as 3 years on credit card debt), the creditor can no longer sue you/attempt to force collection. Depending on where you live, you may be only a year from not owing the 50k to the credit card companies, WITHOUT declaring bankruptcy. You've already taken the hit on the credit score. See these for more info:

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/state-statutes-of-limitations-for-old-debts-1.aspx
https://www.thebalance.com/statute-of-limitations-on-debt-960565

Personally, I just don't see how bankruptcy is going to help you. You're already not paying on the credit card debt, so erasing that liability doesn't help your monthly cash flow.

You already know that you are way behind for age, and that's why you're here. But you are going to have to dig deep now and do things differently than before if you want different results. It's not too late, but you don't have more time to waste. The only way to build a stash (sorry, 'stache) is to spend less than you earn and watch the difference grow. You've got to find ways to spend less AND make more - there is no one right way, so if you don't like the ideas presented, get creative!
« Last Edit: June 20, 2017, 08:58:43 AM by SavinMaven »

Feivel2000

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #31 on: June 20, 2017, 09:25:31 AM »
"Keep in mind when the statute of limitations expires, it only prevents a collector from winning a judgment against you when you can prove the statute of limitations has expired. It does not:

° Keep a collector from filing a lawsuit against you. It can keep them from winning if you use it against them in court.
° Erase the debt. If the debt is legitimately yours, you still owe it.
° Prevent the debt from being reported on your credit report. The debt can be reported as long as the credit reporting time limit allows."

The statue of limitations in Minnesota takes 6 years to take effect. So that would mean another 4 years to go.
Also, what would happen if the creditors take action shortly before the six years are over?
Also, the second bullet point is interesting. If you plan to get on your feet, wouldn't it be bad to still owe 5 figures, even if they can't enforce you to pay? Wouldn't the interest continue to accumulate?


Heroes821

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #32 on: June 20, 2017, 01:37:04 PM »
Damn forum didn't take my post.  It's been 9 days since the OP posted.  I hope you're still reading this.  Good advice here. At MMM we facepunch, you don't want facepunched, well too bad. You need it.  Don't post a case study and say $8 a month is too little for me to spend 30 seconds solving this problem.

Respond to me as soon as you can that you've fixed this, I'll even provide you with solutions:  https://www.openoffice.org/ and gmail.com.  Bam $8 a month, $96 a year, or $1550 in 10 years. Two choices 30 seconds of your time and that is done.

Don't give up, post your full expenses and debt breakdowns here, sometimes strangers are the best people to talk to since we will be more blunt and truthful.  The truth is if your work ethic is half as good as you say it is this job hunting and debt destroying will be very do-able if you commit.

Louisville

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #33 on: June 20, 2017, 01:51:23 PM »
  If you disagree get lost.

Dude, you've dug yourself into a hole. But, when people try to give you solid advice that doesn't jibe with the mindset that got you there, they can get lost?
I'm starting to see why you didn't fit in in the corporate world. You're clearly the smartest guy in the room.

Steelers1982

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #34 on: June 26, 2017, 11:36:46 AM »
-  Sell your camping equipment on Craigslist or Facebook Buy and Sell Groups.  If it's worth paying $60/month to store, it HAS to be worth something, right?  Then obviously cancel the storage. 
From the blog:
"5. You donít Pay to Have Shit Stored

I was shocked to learn that many people pay to maintain a permanent storage unit in this country. No, not just for a month after selling one house and before buying another one. They do it for years. At $100 per month or more.

This is a sign from the Stuff Gods that you have too much stuff. Thereís a new way to store stuff that actually makes you money instead of losing it: Craigslist. Use it to store the stuff you donít need. Re-buy it in the unlikely event you ever need it again."


- Sell vehicle(assuming you can take public transport, walk or bike to potential job interviews).  Reduce insurance coverage.  Sell whichever phone you're not using.

- Sell whatever else you can to survive for the next couple of months.  Start looking for temporary type jobs that suit you... Minimum wage if need be.  Nothing that requires you to spend money to make money though. 

- With a degree that's as potentially valuable as yours, I don't think bankruptcy is the way to go... Hustle your ass off to find a higher paying job, and as has been mentioned before, stop taking trendy driving for money jobs.  The cost/benefit of these is awful!  $50k isn't really that much if you can find a job in your field making $60k+ and you're willing to live frugally.

thesvenster

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #35 on: June 26, 2017, 11:55:33 AM »
If you're still reading, I'd figure out how to get rid of that car ASAP or at least drive as little as possible. It sounds like it might need repairs soon and a car that needs repair is hard to sell. As it is you can probably get at least $1200 for it.

anonymouscow

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #36 on: June 26, 2017, 12:07:25 PM »
Sounds like the Dave Ramsey plan might work for you. There are plenty of people on his show who have been in more debt and were able to get out of it.

I think one of his suggestions is to save up a certain amount of money and try to settle with the credit card companies. FOr example you owe 20k, save up and offer them 5K. Not sure of the specifics here, but that's the general idea.

Cali Nonya

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #37 on: June 26, 2017, 06:13:38 PM »
MoStache:

As for getting more helpful responses, you may want to outline what you think your short, mid, and long term plans are.  You don't clearly state if you want help just figuring out how to get rent paid or help on a longer term strategy.  More pointed single questions get better answers.

And I hate to say it, but with the numbers you posted, the most realistic answer is that you need help from either or girlfriend, or family & friends.  I know you said that is what you don't want to do.  But from this posts it looks like it will be one of two things, either A) you just need temporary help to get you tided over and back to a stable soul-sucking job, then slowly work your way up (this is basically relying on fam & friends in the short term); or B) let everything go, pick yourself back up and start over (but get to stay independent). 

Kyle Schuant

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #38 on: June 27, 2017, 12:22:35 AM »
An investment advisor friend told me he thinks about 20% of people are hopeless. That is, however much money, advice or help they're given, they'll always be a mess. I think his job makes him overestimate the numbers a bit, just as doctors think everyone is sick and cops think everyone's a crim, but still.

By the same token, a certain fraction of people will be alright no matter what happens to them.

By his responses, I think we can tell which group the OP is in.
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SugarMountain

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #39 on: June 27, 2017, 05:41:02 PM »
I'll second what was said above about getting temp/contract work ASAP.  Tomorrow, go to 4 temp agencies and take the typing test.  Show up clean, shaven, and polite and you'll probably get placed by Thursday.  I did this 23 years ago when I quit my coding job to move to another state.  I was easily able to get $12/hour back then and had as much work available as I wanted.  Now I would assume you can get more than $12.  Take anything.  I answered phones, I did data entry, I took inventory of a fishing/hunting supply warehouse.

This will solve several of your immediate problems:
1) It will get some cash in your pocket. $12/hour isn't great, but it's infinitely more than you're making now.
2) Closes those gaps in the resume.  If you end up doing data entry that can easily spill into actual coding if you end up helping them with macros in excel.

And really it would help with a third thing. It sounds like your self esteem is in the shitter right now.  Just going to a job, even a shitty one, and getting a paycheck at the end of the week will help with that.  You also can make contacts that can lead to other jobs.  The temp agencies I worked for told me that if I found a job at one of the companies where they had placed me, they wouldn't stand in my way since I was looking for much higher level work than what I was doing for them. (If you answered phones and the place where the temp agency sent you wanted to hire you full time to answer phones, the temp agency is supposed to get paid).

Other ideas for quick cash:
- Dog walking.  You can easily get $12/half hour walk.
- Lawn work if you have access to a lawn mower from a friend.  You can probably make $20/hour mowing lawns this summer.  If you don't have access to a lawn mower, advertise gardening/handyman work. 
- Clean out garages/houses/garages for people's rental properties.  You've got a truck that while shitty could get this done.




Gronnie

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #40 on: June 27, 2017, 06:23:01 PM »
I knew as soon as I started reading OPs last post in this thread there was ~0% chance of him ever posting itt again.

Kyle Schuant

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #41 on: June 27, 2017, 10:00:53 PM »
It sounds like your self esteem is in the shitter right now.  Just going to a job, even a shitty one, and getting a paycheck at the end of the week will help with that.
Agreed. At one point I worked in a sheet metal factory for what was then the minimum wage of $12ph. I remember my investment advisor friend being shocked at that. But I worked 50 hours a week so got $600. I had been getting unemployment of $200. This was triple that! I was happy. And the job was not great, but not as awful as I'd expected.

Gronnie, that was obvious. However, on other forums my practice is to reply even to outright trolls, since the reply might be useful to someone else. And the OP's not a troll, just a typical male: wants to complain, asks for advice, and keeps going around until he hears the advice he wanted to get.
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Feivel2000

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #42 on: June 28, 2017, 12:15:30 AM »
I am feeling like we are talking mostly to ourselves.

A reaction from the OP would be appreciated.


Cali Nonya

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #43 on: June 28, 2017, 09:20:40 AM »
Gronnie, that was obvious. However, on other forums my practice is to reply even to outright trolls, since the reply might be useful to someone else. And the OP's not a troll, just a typical male: wants to complain, asks for advice, and keeps going around until he hears the advice he wanted to get.

Wait.  What?  That's really a male thing?  Now I understand my boyfriend a little better ...

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #44 on: June 28, 2017, 09:52:24 AM »
Gronnie, that was obvious. However, on other forums my practice is to reply even to outright trolls, since the reply might be useful to someone else. And the OP's not a troll, just a typical male: wants to complain, asks for advice, and keeps going around until he hears the advice he wanted to get.

Wait.  What?  That's really a male thing?  Now I understand my boyfriend a little better ...

LOL!
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a-scho

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #45 on: June 28, 2017, 12:51:54 PM »
No, it's not just a male thing. My sister does it all the time. She'll complain about something, ask for my opinion of what to do, I give my opinion, then she'll tear apart why my opinion is not a good one. I'll then come up with another idea, then she will tear apart THAT. I will then say something like, "Well, since you think my ideas won't work, you must already have an idea of what will." If she asks again I say, "You already asked for my opinion and I already gave it."

But, back to this post. When someone asks for our ideas, we give them. But, once they respond with "No, that won't work because of blah blah blah. And that other idea sucks cuz, well, I don't know, I just won't go there".....ad finitum, I'm thinking, "It's your problem, you figure it out."

DarkandStormy

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #46 on: June 28, 2017, 01:15:12 PM »
FYI - the OP has posted sporadically in other topics.

Another point I didn't see - he says he's unwilling/unable to accept financial assistance from friends/family.  Why?  He needs it.  If someone is willing to help out, take it.

Anyway, the OP is still around, just not in his thread.

Skills Barterer

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #47 on: June 28, 2017, 01:41:36 PM »
Getting back to the recommendations, I would recommend narrowing your job search.  As others have mentioned there are thousands of jobs for programmers, so start with the type that you really like to do.  From there, update your resume and cover letter to focus on that.  After exhausting all of those applications, move on to your next favorite, and so on.  The only practical example I have of this was a buddy who was willing to move anywhere in the country had little success getting interviews until he narrowed in specifically why he wanted to be in any of those given areas in the cover letter.

Cheers and good luck.

Kyle Schuant

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #48 on: June 29, 2017, 10:13:33 PM »
Wait.  What?  That's really a male thing?  Now I understand my boyfriend a little better ...
It is predominantly but not exclusively a male thing.
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davepac7

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Re: Case Study: I've hit rock bottom (financially)
« Reply #49 on: July 08, 2017, 02:19:25 PM »
While I can't give you financial advice I can give you advice on how to get a programming job. Send me a message if you're interested in learning how I did it. It will take you 1-2 months to get a 6 figure job if you do it right.