Personal Finance

Assessing your financial counseling needs

One of the hardest things for many people to admit is that they need help with their finances. After all, for many people being in debt means that they are not in control, and that lack of control can be quite disconcerting. Debt is nothing to be ashamed of, however, and in many cases the circumstances that led to the debt are completely beyond the consumer’s control.

The key for consumers who are in debt is to get the help they need, and to get that help as quickly as possible. The longer a debt problem is allowed to fester, the worst it will grow, and the few options the consumer will ultimately have. While a debt problem dealt with immediately can often be cured with little pain, a debt problem that has gotten completely out of control can take years to resolve.

The first step to getting help, of course is to know that help is needed. This is the biggest stumbling block for many people, and it can be difficult for many to know that they truly need outside help. Too many of us simply hold on from month to month, hoping that the situation will improve. This strategy rarely results in a good outcome, however, so it is important to assess your own situation and take the actions needed to rectify it.

How you pay your bills each month can be a great indication of the level of help that may be needed. If you are able to pay your bills as soon as they arrive, chances are your finances are well in hand. If, however, paying the monthly bills resembles nothing so much as a juggling act, help may well be needed.

Likewise, if you have begun to receive collection calls and late payment notices, it may be time to act, before the situation has a chance to get worse. Paying bills late, and missing payments, is a sure sign of trouble.

If you are able to only pay the minimums on your credit card bills, that is another huge red flag. Paying the minimum payments on credit card bills is a sure way to be in debt forever. If you can pay only the minimums, it may be time to seek the help of a debt consolidation service or credit counselor.

About the author