Warning signs that you are in financial distress
1) No savings. You don’t have a rainy day and an emergency fund.
2) Your credit card(s) are maxed out.
3) Once you have paid down your card you go shopping.
4) You don’t pay your credit card off in full each month (unexpected expenses are not an excuse. You should have a rainy-day fund and an emergency fund. See #1). You only pay the minimum.
5) You apply for a new credit card because yours are maxed out.
6) You have been denied credit.
7) You take cash advances on your credit card.
8) You are still spending money on non-essentials when you have credit card debt and no savings. You know, stopping for a latte, going out to eat, doing every activity your kids want to, buying your kids new clothes for every function under the sun when they have perfectly good clothes at home….
9) You keep refinancing your house and taking money out. You owe more than your house is worth. Or you have two or more mortgages.
10) You can’t refinance your mortgage to take advantage of low rates because you credit score is lower than a politician’s IQ.
11) You haven’t pulled a credit report in the past year, or ever. Want one? You are entitled to one free one each year. Don’t go to one of those websites that you see ads for. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com, the only official site, to get them. All other sites are trying to up-sell you something.
12) You borrow from friends and relatives to meet everyday expenses.
13) You have no money leftover at the end of the month.
14) You bounce checks.
15) You lie about your finances to your spouse, family and friends.
16) You are stressed about money and can’t sleep.
17) You fight with your spouse about finances.
If more than a few of these apply to you. Through your own fault (overspending, not saving etc...). Or through happenstance (long term unemployment, medical emergency etc...) Get help. There are plenty of free financial counselors out there. Check local organizations first; churches, civic groups, your town government, assuming your town actually balances their budget.