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Like many consumers, you could be in a financial predicament without realizing it. You may think you’re managing your debt, but in reality your debt is managing you. Poor money management is the number one reason consumers experience debt disasters. If you suspect you might be on the brink of a financial disaster, here are five tell-tale signs that you need to make some serious financial adjustments.
If you’re robbing Peter to pay Paul, pretty soon your financial house of cards is going to come crashing down around you. Sustainable debt management plans never include increasing credit limits or opening more lines. Additionally, having multiple lines of credit open is a huge precursor to bankruptcy for many consumers.
If your open lines of credit are maxed out and you haven’t paid them off each month, you’re setting yourself up for financial failure. According to the Foundation for Credit Counseling, one in three adults in the U.S. admitted to carrying credit card debt from month to month. Some people can make it work, but this habit is like setting up dominoes; eventually everything is going to collapse leaving the consumer deeper and deeper in debt. Here are some good tips on how to get yourself out of credit card debt.
If you’re using your credit cards to pay for gas and groceries you’re not using your lines of credit appropriately. Credit cards were never meant to supplement your regular income. Treating your credit cards like an extension of your paycheck will only lead you deeper into debt and an inevitable financial crisis.
If you’re not paying yourself first, you’re not managing your money properly. Having a healthy savings is essential to weathering future financial setbacks. If you have a healthy amount built up in savings, you’re less likely to rely on credit to escape financial difficulties. Additionally, you should be saving up for your retirement years as early as possible in order to build up a decent-sized nest egg.
If your debt is increasing because of high interest rates, you should look into raising your credit score to help you negotiate a lower interest rate. Many credit repair companies can help you, but you can also do this yourself by contesting negative marks on your credit report with the credit bureaus.
You’d think this would be an obvious sign of financial trouble, but if you’ve had issues paying bills for an extended period, you may just think your salary is too low or your boss is cheap. This might be true, but if you’re paying late fees and overdraft fees on a regular basis, it’s best to change your habits and your thinking before a financial emergency happens.
Money management can seem like a complex process, but it’s really not. These signs of impending doom can be reversed if you pay close attention and adjust your financial course accordingly. The biggest thing you should remember is that it’s important to be aware of your spending habits instead of functioning on autopilot.