December 2, 2014
If you're living beyond your means, you could be courting financial disaster. Here are some indicators that you need to get your credit card usage under control.
* Your income's dwindling but your credit card balances keep growing. Lost your job but can't seem to reign in those charge cards? Don't be surprised when the bill collectors come calling.
* You pay only minimum balances. Still paying off last year's Valentine's Day dinner? Bad spending habits?
* You practice the credit card shuffle. You take out a cash advance on one credit card to pay off another, then apply for another card when the first comes due. Practiced regularly, shuffling credit cards is a losing game. At some point you need enough income to cover your expenses. Eventually, the house of credit comes tumbling down.
* You're working overtime to cover expenses. Say you work for an airplane manufacturer that's building a new line of jets. To increase production, the company asks you to work longer hours. Bigger paychecks become routine and the cash starts flowing. So you take out installment loans to buy a new car or boat or house on the beach. But what happens when the production line slows down and the overtime pay dries up? The car payments, boat payments, and second home payments keep chugging along. And suddenly you're struggling to make the payments.
* You routinely charge everyday expenses. Do you use credit cards to pay for groceries, gas, and fast food? Unless you're disciplined and pay off the charges every month, your credit card balances can grow exponentially.
* The utility company calls. When the local water company threatens to discontinue service because you're behind on the payments, it may be time to seek financial help.
* You're refused credit. These days, even people with good credit may find it hard to obtain loans. But if your credit score is in the don't-call-us-we'll-call-you category, you may have a debt problem.
The best time to seek professional advice is well before your financial boat capsizes. If you'd like help, contact us.
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