You may think it is natural to have a lot of credit card debt and other bills. That’s because it is not uncommon for many Americans to juggle multiple credit cards, mortgage loans, auto loans and other debt on middle class incomes. It can become easy to buy into the notion that “you’ll always have a car loan” or “you have to borrow money to get ahead,” among other myths.
Take a look at these 5 warning signs to see if you have too much debt:
You think about your credit card debt and other bills constantly. Do you have trouble focusing on your job or other tasks because debt woes are always at the forefront of your mind? Getting help with debt can help relieve some of the stress and allow you to make progress on a debt reduction plan. Look for a reputable debt counseling firm that can help.
It’s getting more difficult to make the minimum monthly payment on your bills. Being unable to make the minimum payments will result in late fees and probably an interest rate increase to the default rate. It will also keep you from making much progress in paying off your balance.
You are frequently late with bill payments. Part of what goes into determining your credit score is whether or not you are on time with monthly payments. Pay close attention to the deadlines for getting your payments to creditors. Being even an hour late will have negative repercussions.
You have just about maxxed out credit cards. Are you using credit to buy groceries, gas and other necessities because your income just doesn’t stretch? Wracking up credit card debt this way is a losing proposition no matter how you look at it.
You are afraid to total up your debt. Knowledge is power, so equip yourself with the information you need to make progress on a debt reduction plan. As shocking as your debt total may be, you need to know it to get moving in the right direction.
Get help with debt
Once you admit that you have a debt problem, commit to get help. Depending upon your situation a debt consolidation or debt settlement could help. Talk with a debt counselor to rind the right approach to your money woes.
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Chris Rocks is the Regional Director of the National Credit Federation (NCF). NCF is a nationwide membership-based organization that assists consumers recovering from a financial difficulty and those who need a significant increase in their credit score.
Chris began his financial services career as a Financial Advisor helping young families with risk management and asset accumulation strategies. It was during that time that Chris realized that many of these young families also needed someone to guide their choices with regards to debt management.
He made the transition into the mortgage industry where he first worked as a loan originator and later the Vice President of a small mortgage company. As Chris came across clients who had suffered through financial challenges and saw the difficulty they had in re-entering our credit driven economy, he discovered there was a real opportunity to leverage his unique background and help others.
He can be contacted by visiting his personal site, GoodCreditLiving.com.
Francine L. Huff is the Publisher and Editorial Director of Super Savvy Publishing, LLC, which provides editorial and publishing services. She is a gifted author, freelance journalist, and motivational speaker who has entertained and motivated a variety of audiences through workshops, panels and keynote addresses. Francine is the author of The 25-Day Money Makeover for Women, which has inspired and motivated many readers to rein in poor financial habits, become good stewards over their money and work toward a debt-free life. She has appeared on a variety of TV and radio shows. Francine previously worked for the Wall Street Journal, where she was the spot news bureau chief, a news editor and a copy editor. She has interviewed a variety of financial professionals about financial issues and strives to present information about managing money in an easy-to-understand format that is accessible to people of all backgrounds and income levels.
Karen Lawson is a freelance writer with more than 15 years of experience working in mortgage banking and loan servicing. She holds BA and MA degrees in English from the University of Nevada, Reno. She enjoys writing informative articles about debt management and personal finance.