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Mounting bills impact New Jersey couples trying to retire

Where do people turn when they are crushed by paralyzing debt? A recent interview with a New Jersey couple reveals just how difficult it can be to manage debt and return to a state of financial peace. The interview focused on the story of a husband and wife, aged 63 and 59 respectively, the couple can't seem to pay down their bills despite earning a substantial income. Now, a financial advisor is recommending bankruptcy protection to help them get their lives back on track.

The couple, who is behind on mortgage payments and owes back taxes, told interviewers that paying down their financial obligations is a constant struggle. But despite the overwhelming debt, the pair plans to spend even more money. They believe their house needs repairs before it will be ready for the current real estate market, as they hope to downsize to a smaller home.

The pair makes around $200,000 per year but still find they are living paycheck to paycheck because of their debt.

In most cases, debt builds up over time and changes in circumstances contribute to a struggle that can rapidly become too much to handle. The couple has put three children through college, resulting in more than $300,000 worth of student loans. They also have a tendency to use high-interest credit cards to eat out and take vacations, which exacerbates their difficult financial situation.

This couple's story is similar to hundreds of other couples in New Jersey. Bankruptcy lawyers in the state hear the same concerns again and again. When couples begin to struggle financially and they're faced with debt they can't pay the stress escalates. The domino effect of not being able to pay bills soon segues into creditor phone calls, letters and even wage garnishment. The advice of legal counsel with experience in debt management and bankruptcy may provide couples with additional options they may not have normally considered.

Source: NJ.com, "Debt-ridden couple needs to cut back on expenses," Karin Price Mueller, 10 July 2011

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