When the economy takes a turn for the worse, many California families find themselves in financial trouble. This situation can occur no matter how wealthy or successful a family was before the downturn. When credit card debt far surpasses the ability to pay, a series of adjustments must be made. One family took an aggressive stance against high credit card debt and has emerged with a much improved financial outlook.

The family of four was living on the husband’s income of $71,000 when their financial situation became difficult to manage. They had made the decision that the wife would stay home following the birth of their twin daughters. Once she left the workforce, they made the common mistake of failing to adjust their spending habits.

The result was credit card debt load that required a monthly payment of $1,500 per month just to cover the finance charges on their credit balances. Their total debt load was nearly $123,000. As a result, the husband, who was already working a 60-hour week, picked up a second job at night. He often slept in his car between shifts to avoid the cost of the commute home.

After several years of hard work, careful spending and aggressive debt repayment, the couple emerged from debt and was able to purchase a home. However, their success required the husband to work nearly around the clock, and to miss a great deal of time with his wife and children. Not every family will be able to meet their debt load, no matter how hard they work or how much they sacrifice at home.

In such cases, filing for personal bankruptcy can lead to relatively fast debt relief by the discharge of a majority of credit card debt. While not an option that any California family plans or desires, bankruptcy is often the most financially sound decision possible. Bankruptcy can give families a clean financial slate, and allow parents the breathing room necessary to both work toward a secure financial future and spend time with the people they love.

Source: US News and World Report, “How 4 Families Conquered Their Credit Problems,” Christine Larson, Nov. 26, 2012