wife laid off, money troubles:(



Age: 35
Spouse’s/Partner's age: 33

Annual gross income from employment or profession: 38,000
Annual gross income spouse: 21,000

Type of employment: me, store manager. her, former hr, now a pa

Expenditure pattern: In general are you spending more than you earn or are you saving? spend more

Rough estimate of value of home: 400,000 maybe
Mortgage on home: 400,000
Mortgage provider: bank of scotland
Type of mortgage: Tracker, interest only, fixed rate: 35 year variable
Interest rate:5.1%

Other borrowings – car loans/personal loans etc
two car loans worth 31,000 together, both half paid
credit union loan of 20,000, hardly paid
credit cards limit is a couple of thousands

Do you pay off your full credit card balance each month? no
If not, what is the balance on your credit card? 8000 altogether

Savings and investments: none

Do you have a pension scheme? no

Do you own any investment or other property? no

Ages of children: 7 and 2

Life insurance: no


sick with worry at the moment. wife was laid off recently from her job as a hr manager, had to take a big salary drop because she couldnt find any relevent work. shes still looking so im hoping she can get something better. meanwhile weve got so much debt were struggling to pay back that all of my wifes redundancy is gone just servicng bills. also, we just came off our discount mortgage rate, combined with the interest rate increases, were really been hit with repayments. we have already missed two of our mortgage repayments and the bank is sending out threatening letters. were also getting letters from the creditcard companies looking for money. ive tried to tell them we cant pay them all back but theyre saying theres nothing they can do.

should we get a topup loan to consolidate all the payments together?if we miss mortage payments, can we even get one? can the bank take our house? please help!

sam h

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Cashless...should be asleep. but could see it's your first post & the real experts are probably in bed !! You are probably waiting for some reply.

Main thing that spring to mind is MABS: they can help with your debt. Will deal with banks, CC's etc. DON'T ignore the letters. Your debts are very high and you will definately need to rein them all in. Deal with this ASAP.....and good luck


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Hi Cashless,
Would you think of selling a car - or possibly downgrading a the cars and any money left can be used to clear can be made to the bank and CC - for the moment if you can manage it try and pay the minimum off the CC at least that would keep them happy for a while.
Hopefully this will be temporary as your wife will hopefully get something more suitable pay wise.

Above poster is correct contact MABS immediatly.


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MABS is definitely the way to go. In the meantime though, as the previous poster said, don't ignore the letters. Ring your bank and credit card...but don't ring their customer service desk, ring their credit control dept. These people are trained to deal with your circumstances and you should find them sympathetic to your plight. The banks are always happy once you make an approach to them and offer to pay some amount per month, but if you do agree an amount, it will have to be realistic and you will have to keep it up.
It is a very worrying time, but once you approach these people and come to some arrangement it will really take the worry off your shoulders. Try to deal with it immediately.
Best of luck with it.


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Oh and one other thing, MABs is alway suggested, but many people don't contact them out of a perceived sense of shame or embarassment. There is nothing to be ashamed of, there are thousands of people in your situtation (I have my own debt troubles which are coming around slowly but surely) and in the last 5 years MABS are seeing more and more working couples, who are in debt due to large mortgages and the general high cost of living, so don't delay and give them a ring.


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If you are already on a LTV (Loan To Value) ratio of 100% (i.e. mortgage is €400K and value of the property is €400K) then the chances of getting a topup to consolidate other loans would be slim to none as far as I know. You certainly need to stop spending more than you take in now to avoid exacerbating the debt situation. As mentioned above you should not ignore letters from the lenders and you should certainly consider contacting MABS for assistance.


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you need to get rid of the high car loans,you cant afford them.sell both and pay back the bank,use public transport/bike/ walk ontill you find your feet,try not to go behind in your mortgage,you are not in a position to consolidate your loans as you have no equity in your home,ring and ask the bank for any relief,some banks offer a break in payments etc.if this is poss.use this time to pay off your cc best of luck


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A mortgage interest rate of 5.1pc seems very high if it's interest only - any chance of haggling with them to get it a bit lower? Unfortunately if you've missed a few repayments you won't be able to switch to a different bank because they'll be put off by your missing payments


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Hi Cashless,

I have just been running over the figures:

I would also suggest you sell both cars and clear the car loans - They must be costing you 1000 per month??

I take it your spouse now has an income of 21k??

Your Income 38,000 Net Monthly Income 2533.34
Spouse 21,000 Net Monthly Income 1662.50

Total Net monthly 4193.84

400k mortgage - interest only repayments @5.1% 1700 per month
TRS 266 per month
Repayment 1434 per month

CU loan 20,000 - don’t know what the interest rate is. However, I will take the repayment to be approx. 500pm

Total Repayments 1,934

I would suggest you approach your bank, explain your situation. The bank will be happy that you approached them before you ran into arrears. Ask the bank for a payment break on your mortgage to allow you deal with short term debt. This may be difficult as you have zero equity in your property. The bank may take a sympathic view in light of your situation.

If the bank grants you the payment break. Concentrate on clearing your credit card over that period. Repay as much of your short term debt within this period. You should have the CC repaid within 6 months.

At the end of the 6 months your spouse may have found a new position. You will have your CC repaid. Car loans gone.. & will only have your mortgage repayment & CU loan to service.

Even if your income remains the same (38k & 21) 1900 per month should me manageable in the short term. Your debt service ratio would be 47%.
Best of luck.


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it's asking a bit much to use public transport when you have two kids, why not sell the cars and buy a banger? I have an old reliable five door, it does the job and no car loan.


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Is the €21k for a full time pa position? It seems very much on the low side for an experienced employee. Unless her confidence has taken such a battering that she is in no shape to do so, I would be encouraging your wife to look for a better paying job immediately.

As already suggested, sell both cars and buy an old one for no more than €1500.

Pay off the credit cards with the surplus from the car sales.

Go through every single item of expenditure and cut down all unnecessary ones; Get rid of cable or satellite tv if you have it;

Get rid of mobile phones (it is perfectly possible to live without them for a few months) or switch to pay as you go and limit yourself to €10 every two weeks;

The interest alone on your mortgage makes your present situation virtually untenable; If you or your wife cannot get better paid jobs, you may have to sell and rent. Better that you sell (even at a loss) than that the bank sell; If they sell, it will cost anything from €5k-20k more.

Consider looking for part time evening or weekend work.

Stock up on cheap food from Lidl or Aldi and stop going to the local convenience store; If you have been in the habit of eating ready meals and chinese takeaways, ditch the habit for a few months. This won't save all that much but there are two reasons for doing it. First, every little helps; Second, your situation is very close to the edge - you need to give yourself the ability to say that you are doing everything possible to get control of your finances.

Forget about membership renewals and such like for this year.

Whatever child minding arrangements you have, consider getting something cheaper for a while. Although you are too old to be asking either of your parents for financial help (unless they are rotten with money and willing to give it) they (or indeed siblings) may be willing and able to give some practical help, like school collections or childminding, especially if it is made clear that it is a temporary arrangement.

You probably need to let your close friends and your families know that you are in a financial squeeze; not to tap them for money but so that you will not feel pressurised to go on that night out with the lads, or buy tickets for the various annual events which tend to cluster around this time of year, or put €200 toward your cousin's wedding present or whatever. Your support network is of use to you in a lot of practical ways - but they can't support you if they don't know that you have a problem.

If you have a lot of stuff that you don't particularly need, consider putting it all on Ebay.


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And with Xmas coming up you may need to bite the bullet on this front too and economise.


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mob is all that not a bit extreme? Some of it makes lots of sense, like shopping in lidl, (the coffee is great) but isn't some of it like telling an overeater to drop the doughnuts and live off cabbage soup? These folks will not be able to afford to go out much so surely they should keep the ntl and have a bit of telly to watch? And childminding is not something to take lightly and fling the little ones to whoever will put up with them for a few hours!


mob is all that not a bit extreme? Some of it makes lots of sense, like shopping in lidl, (the coffee is great) but isn't some of it like telling an overeater to drop the doughnuts and live off cabbage soup? These folks will not be able to afford to go out much so surely they should keep the ntl and have a bit of telly to watch? And childminding is not something to take lightly and fling the little ones to whoever will put up with them for a few hours!
Moneygrower, they owe €43,500 in addition to their mortgage debt.
They are paying interest only on their mortgage.
They have no savings and no pensions.

IMO they are in a very difficult place and unless they take hold of their spending by the scruff of the neck they will go bust.

The advice to spend nothing until the short-term debt is paid off is the best advice they can be given at the moment. Anything else is kidding them.

A few months of living on spuds and cabbage, reading books from the library and listening to the radio for entertainment has never killed anyone. IMO it is a lot more relaxing than vegetating in front of the box.


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I think that there is a lot of good advise here. But I think that the problem might look un-approachable (if thats the right word!) unless you break it down into tasks/goals. So set yourself goals, priortise most expensive debts. Get a plan and stick to it otherwise the problem will look too big. Good luck.


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Re: wife laid off, money troubles:

Maybe it's time to be mopre radical here

you are almost €500k in debt, 35 years old with a 35 year mortgage that you probably won't have paid off before you retire.

No offence meant but your job is not paying great money so perhaps you should considre moving.Don't know where you live, (although I assume it is in the Greater Dublin area) but is there anything like family tying you to there.

I have lived in Kildare for the last few years, moving to Carlow and will reduce my mrotge from €350k to €185k. You sholuld pick up a similer house down the country for €100k less at least and you should be able to reasonably replicate your salary

If it is not working out for you now, maybe it is time to be radical

good luck


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Part of the problem here is that the c. zero or negative equity on the house plus the existing debts may leave the original poster with no room to manoeuvre in terms of trading down/moving etc.!


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Ummmm! The O.P. is in deep dooh and having sleepless nights appropriate to an untenable situation. 'Hoping' his spouse will get a better-paid job soon or relying on negotiating deferring debts just puts off the evil hour rather than dealing with the issues. My fear is that the projected value of the house - 400K - might be optimistic in a market where values have dropped 3.5% since the beginning of 2007. Economising a 'little bit here, a little bit there' and feeling trapped and unhappy isn't going to ease the social and emotional cost of the situation.

Advice from the experts (MABS) is an important step.

The facts are clear. The crux of this might be to explore the obstacles to selling the unaffordable house in response to the changed financial circumstances and buying - or renting renting - within budget?


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For what it is worth, with the limited information here is what I would do myself.

1. Sell both cars and get say 30k

Use this 30k to pay off the car Loans 16k
the credit cards 8k
mort arrears 3k (assuming 2 months)

This leaves 3k to buy one or maybe two cars if absolutely needed.

2. With this all done, your monthly situation should be something like this

Income from two Salaries 4500 (roughly)
Childrens Allowance 360

Pay mortgage -1435 (net of TRS)
Remaining 3425

From this you must pay for the Credit union Loan of 20,000,
and what is remaining is your disposable income. Obviously you will have to pay all utility bills, food, petrol etc out of this.

These calcs do not take into account the payment of the early childcare supplement of 1000 per year for your 2 year old either.