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I owe $15,000 in credit card debt and haven’t told my husband

Dear Pete,

I have gotten myself into credit card debt at the age of 69. I owe about $15,000. I haven’t told my husband. I can pay $5,000 but we’ll be out of savings. Help. I don’t know what to do.


Pete the Planner: If I were in your shoes, Maryann, I would feel exactly the same way. You very clearly made some financial decisions you felt you could tolerate, and even absorb into your finances, but your prediction or assumption didn’t turn out to be true. So not only are you coping with being wrong, but you’re also deep in debt, and worse yet, you need to break the news to your husband.

I didn’t itemize your problems to salt your wounds. Instead, I need you to understand the three distinct problems you’re facing. Viewing and trying to solve your situation as one problem is a mistake, and if you take that approach your finances will get measurably worse.

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