You are currently living the ‘American Dream’. Right now you are blissfully married, you have two kids, a dog, the nice home with a white picket fence, you drive an SUV and a station wagon and you are in debt. Your story is just like millions of other people out there. Okay, so your story isn’t exactly as I just described but its pretty similar. In fact the debt part is probably the only absolute truth. You are able to make all of your minimum monthly bills and are making ends meet – or so it seems. You’ve been drawn into the false sense of financial security and assume that you know how to manage money. The reality is you may be in too much debt. I’ve created a list of ten warning signs indicating that you might be in over your head.
- You have little to no savings
- You are only able to make the minimum payment on your credit cards and other bills
- You have been denied credit
- You use cash advances from your credit cards to pay other bills like heat and hydro
- Once in a while you’re late with your bill payments
- You keep buying things with your credit card adding to the balance
- You don’t even know how far in debt you are
- Your bank accounts are overdrawn and once in a while you bounce checks
- You have one or more credit cards that are close to the limit or are maxed out
- You have been secretive to family and friends about your debt and over spending
Does one or all of these statements sound like you? Even if just one of those is true you might be in some sort of financial trouble and may need to learn how to manage money all over again. The good part is you can. The bad part is you need to start taking control of your finances ASAP. The longer you wait, the worse the problem will get. Finances are something that can’t be ignored or forgotten about.
STEP 1: Now is the time to create a check list and go through it. Sift through these ten things and find out the parts that correspond with your life.
STEP 2: Find a way to correct those problems. You have no savings? Start creating your emergency fund. Add $25 a week or any amount that is possible to increase that balance to $1000. You keep adding to your credit card balance? Start buying things with cash and start making larger payments to your credit card. The list goes on and on but you have to fix those problems.
STEP 3: Set goals and start making them into reality. Next week isn’t the best time to begin making goals. Start today – better yet, start right now. Don’t set your goals too high, create financial goals that are able to achieve like cutting your hydro bill by 5% or 10% or save some cash by quitting smoking. Small steps are key to goal setting and learning how to manage money.
Being lured into a false sense of financial security is easy if you don’t know the signs of serious financial problems. If you have gone through this list and have found any matches it might be time to start fixing those problems before your security becomes a huge issue. Understanding how to manage money can be simple and everyone is able to make it happen.