Chicago Lawyer Makes $75,000, But Worries About Bankruptcy

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Aukse Rimas earns about $75,000 a year as a Chicago trial attorney.

But “I constantly feel like I am teetering on the edge of falling into the hole of financial ruin,” says Rimas, 29, in a letter to the Chicago Tribune requesting a financial makeover. “If I lose my job, it’s game over for me, and I know I will have to declare bankruptcy.”

Rimas admits she made financial mistakes, including an expensive graduation trip to Costa Rica. And it appears that some discretionary shopping sprees helped boost her credit card debt toward $35,000 (some of the total was from bar study expenses, however). She also has about $190,000 in education loans to repay.

An unexpected $6,000 vet bill, when her cat suddenly became ill, was what put her over the edge financially, the newspaper recounts. Rimas just couldn’t put her beloved pet down, and she began having trouble paying her credit card bills. That cost her some hefty interest rate increases.

A recent raise, careful budgeting and spending cuts have helped Rimas come up with another $700 a month to apply toward her debts, and the newspaper suggests that she contact her creditors and try to negotiate more favorable payment terms.

To get her started, the Tribune talked with representatives at the banks that hold her highest-interest credit cards.

In response, Capital One agreed to cut her interest rate from 24.9 percent to 16.9 percent on a $3,130 balance and waive some penalties.

And Chase Card Services, which handles a Washington Mutual account on which Rimas owes $2,945 and pays interest of 26.74 percent, has also made concessions. It will cut about $230 from her balance by waiving three months of interest and an additional finance charge.

Hat tip: Above the Law.

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