Through many bad decisions on my part, a divorce, 2 kids in college and a third heading there in the fall, I am in over my head. I have been robbing Peter to pay Paul for a few months now (paying utilities, gas, groceries, medical bills etc...with credit cards) and have now reached the point where I cannot make the minimum payments as well as my living expenses. I am upside down in my vehicle and only purchased my home 1 1/2 yrs ago (no equity). I also have a student loan of my own coming due in 3 months. My credit was decent enough for a mortgage then, but I spent way to much money since then - some necessities and some foolishly.
My question is, at 47 years old, do I take the substantial hit in cashing out an IRA (about 50K) to pay off this debt and start over or am I better off going through a debt relief agency (A+ BBB rating). I am already in a high tax bracket so debt relief seems more appropriate. I have tried working with the CC companies to no avail and I could care less about my credit rating at this point because I am tired of being in debt and WILL NEVER go there again. Bankruptcy is not really an option for me and I would rather (would feel better about) pay what I can rather than wiping out the debt. I need this to be painful to learn my lesson well.
Just a bit of additional info, I owe about 45K in unsecured debt with interest ranging from 18-27%. My total money in various retirement plans is about 150K, not including the 50K IRA. With retirement closer than I am comfortable with, I think I need to really concentrate on that.
Thank you in advance for your wisdom.