Ask Paul: I owe $70k in credit card debt and can't see a way out
Q. I am a 56-year-old engineer who has a $400,000 mortgage via an interest-only loan and $70,000 in credit card debt.
My 49-year-old wife works part-time on $20,000pa and we have two children, six and eight.
My credit card debt accumulated via repeated cyclical bouts of employment/unemployment in the resources industries.
I decided instead to try for sustainable self-employment.
Year one was $18,000, year two was $48,000, year three projected $60,000 but still a long way from my usual $160,000. I am paying 5.75% on my mortgage, and about $700 a month in credit card interest.
My bank lender said no to rolling all debt onto a mortgage, as my income is not high enough when averaged over the past two years. I have sufficient security and an excellent credit history.
Is there a sustainable solution? - David
A. The resources industry has been a volatile ride for shareholders, companies and in particular employees, David.
I am saddened to hear the impact it has had on you and in particular the build up of credit card debt.
As an engineer, you are a man who gets numbers and logic and it further saddens me that I have nothing you do not already know.
With your wife's income and yours combined, it makes little sense for me to tell you the obvious and to pay down the credit card debt. With two kids and a mortgage, you will not be able to.
The next part you also already know. Your business is showing nice income growth and the success in building it up is critical.
My hope will sit alongside yours: that the business gets to $60,000 in year three and hopefully well over $100,000 by year five.
But until that happens, unless the recent surge in iron prices brings a job paying big money, it is all about building your business.
Sorry that I am pretty useless here, but I do wish you all the best with your business.