Debt Warning Signs

If any of the following describe you, you may have too much debt or be heading down a dangerous road to high debts:

  • I’m not sure how much I owe.
  • I can only pay the minimum amounts due on my credit cards and other bills each month.
  • The total amount of money that I owe isn’t getting any smaller.
  • I often pay my bills late.
  • I often juggle who and how much I pay each month.
  • I am borrowing from one credit card to pay another credit card.
  • More than 20% of my monthly take-home pay goes to pay off debt (other than a home mortgage payment).
  • I put off going to the doctor or the dentist because I cannot afford it right now.
  • I spend more than I earn.
  • I would have financial problems right away if I lost my job or missed a paycheck.
  • I borrow from friends or family and cannot pay them back.

Some ideas that may help you:

  • Keep a record of your current living expenses for a month. Look for ways to reduce expenses so you can pay back your debts.
  • Cut back on your credit card use. Leave your credit cards at home.
  • Set up a plan for paying back your debts. Then inform your creditors, using WISER’s sample letter, about the debt repayment plan that you are proposing to them.
  • Get help from a nonprofit financial counseling agency. Check to see if your local state university (Extension Service) offers a free debt management service.  They can help you set up a repayment plan and write to your creditors.
  • For one-on-one credit counseling, contact the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at 800-388-2227 or

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