Headed for Debt Disaster? Here’s How to Tell

This is a Guest Post written by Tisha Tolar. Tisha is a freelance writer providing content for CreditCardAssist.com, where she regularly writes about credit cards, rewards programs and general consumer finance issues.

Busy, busy, busy. That is how so many people describe their lives today. There is not always time to truly focus on the important things like family, friends, and finances. Some days it seems near impossible to get it all done in just 24 hours. This is one of the main reasons people in financial trouble don’t often realize they are headed down a dangerous path, where the big bad wolf of debt is waiting to pounce.

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DEBT FREE AT AGE 28!!
Creative Commons License photo credit: lemonjenny

Because so many people do not take the time to truly understand their finances or to track their spending, debt disaster can be overwhelming. So how do you know when things are going in the wrong direction? Here is a list of some red-flag warning signals you need to pay attention to or risk your financial well-being:

Do You:

  • Make minimum payments, or less than minimum, on most or all of your accounts?
  • Have no established budget to refer to for spending?
  • Have nothing left of your paycheck after paying your debts?
  • Miss payments just to survive from day to day?
  • Pay your bills more than 10 days late each month?
  • Use your credit cards to sustain basic living expenses?
  • Delete several messages from collection agencies each day?
  • Seek information about payday loans?
  • Apply for more credit cards for balance transfers or cash advances, having spent the limits on all of your other credit cards accounts?

While several of these warning signs may seem outright obvious to some people, the truth is not everyone understands what debt really means. Because some people will never hit rock bottom (ie: losing a home, a car, a job), they may not immediately realize that what they consider to be a normal way of life is in actuality  a train wreck waiting to happen.

There Is No Time for Waiting

In order to prevent further damage to your finances and your credit score, it is imperative you take action now, rather than procrastinate and allow the situation to worsen. Debt can spin quickly out of control and once your feel overwhelmed, your chances of repairing the damage get slimmer. If you have friends or family you can trust, they might be the best source of free advice you will find, provided pride does not get the best of you. If you find you need professional assistance, debt counseling services, provided they are legit and priced right, can be an added resource to help you pay down the debt you already have in a manner you can afford. If worse is really coming to worse, a part time job may be the solution you need to pay down debt faster. Allocate your entire pay from your second income strictly to debts you already have.

One of the most important things to remember when surviving a brush with debt is to not get yourself in the same situation in the future. Make a budget, manage your money, review your statements, and don’t be so quick to use your credit card outside of emergency situations.

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Last Edited: 2nd July 2009

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