In spite of warnings by financial experts persuading consumers to use credit wisely, many people continue to use credit immaturely and accumulate several thousands of dollars of debt. Although many homeowners explore various options of debt elimination, such as refinancing a mortgage or obtaining a home equity loan, the odds of accumulating new debt is high.
Fortunately, there are ways to access potential credit dangers. Some people live in denial, arguing that their credit situation is “not so bad.” However, before one can gain control of their debt, and prevent it from spiraling out of control, it is important to be realistic and recognize the tell-tale signs of debt and credit troubles.
1. Evaluate Debts
How many debts are you carrying? Some debts are unavoidable such as mortgage loans, car payments, student loans, etc. For the most part, lenders consider these necessary debts. On the other hand, unnecessary debts account for credit cards, retail store accounts, gas cards, etc. Occasionally, it helps to tally all debt amounts. This can provide a clear-cut answer as to whether you are headed for a crash landing.
Furthermore, take into consider the minimum monthly payments. Sadly, some people accumulate so much debt, that they are unable to pay the basic minimum. Next, evaluate your payment habits. Are the credit accounts maxed out? Do you submit late payments?
2. Spending Habits
Some people develop shopping addictions once they obtain a credit card. This usually amounts to spending more than they can afford. When cash is not available, credit cards become a trusted friend. Credit cards serve a useful purpose. Unfortunately, some people have difficulty exercising self-control.
3. Cash Reserves
Are you able to save money? Because of high debts and huge monthly payments, several people earning a good salary are unable to build a cash reserve. Paying off credit card balances each month is ideal. Still, credit card habits should not stand in the way of you building a nest egg. Instead of shopping, practice saving.
4. Minimum Payments
Never pay only the minimum payments. By doing so, you will always remain in debt. Thus, if you can only afford to make minimum payments, or cannot afford payments altogether- stop using credit! This is how the debt trap begins. Remember: credit cards must be repaid. These are not magic cards.
5. Increased Anxiety
Do you lose sleep because of debt? Does debt cause a lot of family tension? If so, you might consider creating a plan to lower your debt obligations. Use your home’s equity to reduce debts, or seek help from a debt consolidation agency.