How to Get Out of Debt that You’re Hiding from Your Spouse
With the right solution, Matilde was able to pay off $80,000 in credit card debt in less than five years.
Hiding debt is a form of financial infidelity. You withhold information about debt from your spouse. And it’s not always done for bad reasons. In Matilde’s case, she wanted to protect her husband from the truth about how bad their finances got after he couldn’t work anymore. But even though she was hiding debt for all the right reasons, it still created an $80,000 problem that Matilde needed to solve.
Matilde started hiding debt after her husband got hurt…
In 2008, Matilde admits she and her husband were overspending on credit cards. They were buying “crap” they didn’t really need, but it was fine because they had two steady incomes. Unfortunately, they weren’t saving either.
Then towards the end of the year Matilde’s husband hurt his back and couldn’t work anymore. That’s when the real financial trouble started. With no savings to help cover the loss of income, Matilde started to run up credit card debt to cover their bills. She intentionally hid the credit card debt from her husband, because she was already worried about him.
“I didn’t want my husband to worry about the bills. I started hiding debt because I wanted to protect him from that stress
“He was so depressed about what happened. Things were getting crazy, but I didn’t want to tell him about our money problems, because I figured it would just hurt him and affect him more. So, for three years, I paid the utilities and our bills with credit cards. Then I paid the credit cards with my paycheck.”
The balancing act didn’t work and Matilde fell behind…
Despite her best efforts, Matilde wasn’t able to get ahead of the debt. Her juggling act just created more financial stress for her. So, even though she saved her husband from the burden, her own stress levels were sky-high.
“We were so financially strapped. You think, “What if something happens or my kids need something and I can’t pay for it?” That was pretty intense and it stressed the heck out of me. I was on edge there for a little while.”
Matilde works as a manager in the psychology department of the University of Miami. So, she knew the toll this kind of stress can take on you physically, mentally and emotionally. She also knew there was a name for what she was doing. It was called denial.
Matilde realized she needed help…
“In the beginning, there was this sense of shame. I was mad at myself for creating such a mess and letting it get so bad.”
Matilde finally knew it was time to stop avoiding the mess she’d created. She sat down and totaled up the debt on her six credit cards. She had over $80,000 to repay.
“I was at the end of my rope, thinking “I can’t keep doing this. I can no longer meet my financial obligations and I need help. So, I called the Employee Assistance Program at the University of Miami. They recommended Consolidated Credit.”
Matilde called Consolidated Credit to speak confidentially with a certified credit counselor. She was skeptical that they could help, considering how much debt she had to pay off. However, debt management programs can work, regardless of how much debt you have.
Although only 4% of Consolidated Credit clients have more than $50,000 in debt, Matilde’s debt wasn’t the highest. In fact, in some cases, Consolidated Credit has helped clients who have over $100,000 to repay.