I thought I'd share some history about how many Balance Liquidation Plans I have entered into with the credit card companies. This is a response I sent to someone who had asked me about my story.
Adding to my story, I do realize that this is a situation that I created. I know I'm responsible for this and I regret the decisions I made - the multiple refinances, especially the last one.
Also, a major mistake I made last year (Summer, 2006) is that I refinanced the house so I could get cash out - a nominal $19,000 after pre-payment penalties and broker fees - in order to pay back some family members, friends and credit card bills. Paying back family members and friends was the right thing to do but instead of refinancing the house I should have just renegotiated with my credit card companies and asked for "Balance Liquidation Plans" to lower the regular monthly payments.
Since November, 2006 I've arranged fourteen Balance Liquidation Plans with fourteen credit issuers. After I went delinquent more than 30 days with them because of my insufficiency to pay - they said I had to be delinquent in order to get put on Balance Liquidation Plans - they agreed to close my credit cards and lines of credit in exchange for my agreement to payoff my balances (about $128,000 now - I know it's terrible but I was a single bread winner in a household of four people and my layoffs didn't help) over the next five years at rates ranging from 0% to 6% interest and monthly payments at about 55% of what used to be the minimum payment. That has saved me almost $2500 per month. I've got three at 0%, two at 1%, four at 2%, three at 3% and two at 6%.
All the credit card companies have been very understanding once I explained my situation and showed proof of my mortgage payment obligations. Discover Card was the best.
Also, last year I took on two part-time jobs but they ate into the time I needed for my full-time work so I had to quit those part-time jobs.
Maybe my story will help someone else to avoid the mistakes I made.