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Maxed Out: My Debt Is Killing Me

This episode of Maxed Out is about Brooke, a 32-year old who has given up hope on her financial situation and the stress has begun to affect her physical and mental health. Sadly, Brooke says that she comes home from work and cries alone every night about her debt, and proclaims, “My debt is killing me. I am my debt.” Financial guru Allison Griffiths runs the numbers and finds out that in fact, it appears Brooke has become her debt. Find out more about Brooke’s situation when you


Her debt started out as $35,000 in student loans and now totals about $70,000. Forty-one percent of her paycheck goes to interest payments alone! If Brooke wanted to get rid of her debt in five years, she would have to make $21,600 in payments each year, leaving her with $4,800 to live for the entire year. Her $967 shortfall each month indicates that Brooke is spending money she doesn’t have, and her wages were garnished when she defaulted on a personal loan last month which means her finances are almost as messy as they get.

Allison gives her usual advice of taking out only $20 each week for spending and tracking every penny, but she also tells Brooke to visit a bankruptcy trustee to see if that might be the right decision for her. At the end of the episode, Brooke has cut expenses by $1,130 each month and is an overall happier person. She is working toward paying back a loan co-signed by her mother so that her mom’s credit isn’t affected if Brooke declares bankruptcy, which is still an option she is considering.

Join The Conversation
layna-2 layna-2 8 years
As long as she reaffirms the loan that is co-signed by her mother (and then pays the loan on time and according to the loan agreement), it should not affect her mother adversely.
LoveSarah LoveSarah 8 years
My mom filed for bankruptcy, and we had a joint credit card. Needless to say it looks bad on my credit, so good for that girl not wanting to mess up her moms credit.
Vaadsfweytes Vaadsfweytes 8 years
Am I the only one who doesn't feel sorry for the girl? Student loan is understandable, but rest of the debt, she obviously doesn't know how to manage money.
hithatsmybike hithatsmybike 8 years
god I wouldn't be able to sleep or eat or do anything but work to pay it off if my debt was $70 000. Poor woman. What the hell was she thinking?
0fashionqueen 0fashionqueen 8 years
I am one to admit that I thought that I got rid of my debt as well, but something has seem to sink in behind me and now I am in debt again. However, it is not by a lot and then their are my student loans, but I do plan on paying it all back. Therefore, what I am trying to say is that Brooke should take it one step at a time. That is one bill at a time. pay what you can and one day your debt will be cleared.
katie225 katie225 8 years
you know, madame bovary killed herself because of debt. well, she was also an adulteress and had issues with men, but in the end it was debt that she killed herself over.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i love this show - it really gives you some great ideas on what you can do in order to get spending under control. i think that it's even scarier when you have your parent's credit to think of.
myswriter myswriter 8 years
driversseat06, i agree with you 100%. and i can because i'm in that situation now. it took me a long time to come to grips with my spending problem and i'm now trying to dig my way out of it. i had to come to the realization (shall we call it shame?) that i was creating problems for myself - and my family - with my spending. and that a lot of the money i spent could have been much better spent. so, now i am digging. it's not easy! but i am so determined to get out of this mess - and NOT get back in it. Kudos to you. Hi! My name is myswriter and I have a spending addiction too!
carak carak 8 years
she should skip the country like the guy in that previous article! ha. i'm shocked that she could cut out $1100 a month! that is a lot of unnecessary spending.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I was just going to say what GeriAnne just said...even when you declare bankruptcy, you still have to pay back your student loans. I can't imagine owing that much in loans though...yikes! If she does decide to declare bankruptcy, I hope everything works out for her.
GeriAnne1932 GeriAnne1932 8 years
I think something that people need to be aware of is that most student loans, particularly private loans are not dissolved when you declare that debt will never go away. Susie Orman talked about that on her show one day. Just something I wanted to add..haha.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
oh good god, just reading this numbers gave me a little panic in my chest...i can't imagine what this poor girl is feeling
driversseat06 driversseat06 8 years
I found myself in a mountain of debt, too. I think spending is like anything else, once you are honest with yourself and realize you have a problem you're already on your way to helping yourself out of the hole. For example, last week I wanted new boots. I still want new boots and tomorrow I'll want new boots and next week I will want new boots. See where I'm going with this? But I don't have the money for new boots so I'm not going to buy them even though it's killing me, sort of. I'm wearing last seasons boots. I hate it but since I resisted the temptation to spend $200 on boots I went and got myself four pairs of jeans at a consignment shop for less than $100. I love my new jeans AND I can pay my bills! They are soft and broken in and look incredible and my bills are paid. Thank you to the girl before me who shrunk the jeans until they fit me! I was not always this strong and I have slip ups. I've gone to a credit counseling service and they talked to my credit card companies and worked out a deal where I can't charge anything but I only have to pay a fraction of what I was paying in interest rates. Some were cut from 17% to 6%! That's a lot of money. I also had to suck it up and tell some people I owed money to that I just don't have it. It's humiliating and I hated doing it but now I'm slowly paying them back and while it's not ideal at least it's getting done. So while I don't get to go to Express like I used to I do have a positive balance in my checkbook for the first time in a long time. Hi my name is Driversseat and I have a spending addiction.
teperry3 teperry3 8 years
Debt CAN cause people stress, and student loans is understandable, but 41% of each paycheck is interest, thats just crazy. With the current economic crisis at hand, I think that the number of years that bad credit should be lowered instead of 7 down to 5?
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 8 years
:jawdrop: Yeah debt can cause ALOT of stress!
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