7 Signs You Need Credit Counselling
When you’re experiencing financial difficulty, credit counselling helps you develop a plan of action and stick to it. Not to be confused with “debt settlement” companies who ask for high fees and payments, credit counsellors are often free or very low cost. Here are seven signs that you may need one:
1. Too Much Month at the End of the Money
The first sign of financial trouble is when you’re living paycheck to paycheck. If you find yourself lacking enough money for necessities, like food or gas, then you know it’s signaling you to start improving things. Unfortunately, many people don’t take action at this first warning.
2. You Frequently Use Short-Term Loans or Cash Advances
Another sign things are moving in the wrong direction is when you need to take out short-term loans or cash advances against your next paycheck. Often, this comes because you’re making up for necessities you lack. However, you should recognize that you’re purchasing items you’ll consume. After they’re gone, the debt will remain.
3. Your Credit Cards Max Out Each Month
When you max out your credit cards each month and pay the absolute minimum, the effect will only snowball. The minimum payment barely covers the interest, and you can’t hope to put an end to ongoing payments. You may find yourself paying late fees, or the credit card company can sometimes lower your limit unexpectedly. When these emergencies strike, you’re left with very few options.
4. Debt Collectors Call You
After having any of the previous signs occur, your debt is at a peak. That’s when debt collectors start calling. You’ve fallen behind in payments, and you feel harassed or stressed by the constant barrage of phone calls. At this point, it’s time to talk to a credit counsellor.
5. You argue at Home over Debt
When you and your spouse argue over the amount of debt, your money problems have finally started threatening your family life. The most common reason for divorce and marital problems is money. Don’t take this sign lightly. If you find the tension mounting and arguments ensuing, then suggest to your spouse to make contact with a credit counsellor. It’s often a significant relief once you do.
6. Hiding or Separating Bills and Financial Statements
Much like arguing with your spouse, hiding bills, financial statements or spending habits means something is going wrong. Many times, those who hide the trouble are trying to avoid the inevitable arguments it would cause. However, the looming knowledge of your spouse eventually finding out can cause as much stress as arguing. Eventually, the time comes when you must face the facts and fess up. Credit counselling can help.
7. Dipping into Your Retirement Account to Pay Debts
Your retirement account should be money you don’t touch until you’re ready to quit working. It’s when you withdraw this money, usually with a penalty, that you know it’s a clear sign you’re in trouble. Don’t take it casually. Instead, recognize you need to do something to turn things around.
Those are the seven signs you need credit counselling. If any of these strike a chord with you, then it’s time to take action and improve things. Know this: What you experience now is painful. Admitting your problem to a specialist trained to help you is much easier. They know it’s difficult. Not only will they offer you a realistic plan of action, but also they will do it with the empathy and understanding you need. Don’t put it off any longer. Take action today.