September 19, 2017
 
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Debt Overload - How to Know When Enough Is Enough

So many Americans are overloaded with debt but seem to function under the pressure. Cash advances here and there, rotating which credit cards to use, bouncing checks, and so on. Keeping up with the Jones' is a full time job, but as long as the kids are happy and they can take their yearly vacation to Disney World, they bear the stress. But when is it too much? How do you know when your financial future is in jeopardy?

It may surprise you to know that just because you can pay your minimum payments every month doesn't mean you don't have a credit problem. Making low minimum payments only benefits the credit card companies. You quickly become a slave to your debt problems, taking years to pay off goods that have already been consumed.

Here are some preliminary red flags:

  • No savings.
  • Making minimum payments on your credit cards.
  • Using credit cards to purchase things you used to buy with cash, such as food.
  • Using more and more of your take home pay to pay off debts.
  • Have more than two or three major credit cards.
  • Have many department store credit cards.
  • Never pay off your credit cards in full each month-always increasing your balance.

If you see yourself in any of these, you can change your spending habits before it becomes unmanageable.

Here are additional signs that your debt has gotten out of control:

  • You're at your credit limit on your cards and have asked for more, or you've paid over-the-limit fees.
  • Writing checks hoping they'll be covered by the time it clears the bank.
  • You bounce checks.
  • You don't know the total amount of your debts-you don't "want" to know.
  • Taking out cash advances on your credit cards to pay other bills or just to spend.
  • You've been "declined" when trying to make a purchase.
  • You don't open your mail/bills.
  • You seek additional credit, only to be denied.
  • Collectors have been calling you at home or at work.
  • You owe friends or family members money.
  • You lie to your spouse or other family members about your spending or bills.
  • You hide card statements from your spouse.

 

 

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