Those golden years for which we all hope can offer us so many things. Many of us work for decades with a singular vision – to completely retire one day and enjoy our latter years full of peace and restful tranquility.
This was the hope of our client. We will call him Steve.
He Works Hard for the Money
Steve worked as a security guard for nearly 40 years. His income was never high, but he always enjoyed his work protecting people and property from theft, property damage, and other crimes. He had worked for malls, for an amusement park, for several parking garages, and of course for his favorite, a Major League Baseball stadium.
On Golden Pond
Steve never made enough to afford putting money away for retirement, but he wisely kept his expenses low. He knew that if he and his wife learned to live frugally, he would be able to afford to live off of his Social Security income once he retired.
And finally, that big day arrived.
Steve was able to retire at 65. He and his wife began to enjoy their sunset years by golfing, taking short road trips, and hanging out by their back yard pool.Things were good, and the blissful retirement he had envisioned was exactly as he had pictured it. But then he got sick.
Steve came down with what he thought was a cold, but it wouldn’t go away. It persisted and quickly became a serious bout of pneumonia. He refused to go to the hospital and became sicker and sicker. Finally, his wife convinced him to go to the emergency room when one day he could barely get out of bed. She simply called the ambulance and had him hauled in.
This hospital stay was expensive. He ended up being there for two weeks, and his insurance only partially covered the stay. By the time he was billed for copays and items not covered by his insurance, he owed over $30,000.
Steve tried hard to make a dent in what he owed. But short of going back to work, he did not have enough surplus income to make reasonable payments towards these bills. He even attempted to find a part-time job, but nobody was willing to hire a 69 year old security guard for part-time work.
Then the harassment started. Collection agencies began to bug Steve and his wife day and night. It got to the point where they were both afraid to pick up the phone or open their mail.
Out of desperation, they searched for a way to get out from underneath this debt. It was then they thought of bankruptcy and turned to us for help.
In part 2 you will learn how bankruptcy got them out of this mess and back to enjoying retirement.