How to know if your are in financial trouble
Americans are seeing their credit card balances growing, their savings account balances diminishing and are unsure how to escape from that vicious cycle.
Lutheran Social Services financial counseling service suggests that consumers take the following quiz. The results will reveal whether or not you need to seek professional help to avoid falling into a deeper financial crisis.
The first step toward a financially stable future is gaining control of your finances right now. Answer True or False to the following questions, and then tally your score. See the suggested scoring at the bottom to determine whether or not you would benefit from credit counseling.
My credit card balances increase each month and I usually pay the minimum amount due.
There are arguments in my home about money and/or I sometimes hide purchases from my spouse.
I frequently use my credit cards or cash advances for necessities that I used to pay for with cash.
Most of my credit cards are near the limit, so I've begun applying for new lines of credit.
I skip paying my bills some months, or pay late.
My debt interferes with my job and/or home life. Collectors have begun contacting me.
I have taken money from my retirement account to satisfy debt obligations. I have no emergency savings account.
I do not know the total amount that I owe and/or I do not open my bills when they arrive.
These are the top warning signs seen by LSS financial counselors who serve people in financial trouble. If you said "True" to one or more of the above statements, you may benefit from credit counseling with a certified counselor at LSS Financial Counseling Service.
Through LSS Financial Counseling, you can receive a free, comprehensive financial analysis that includes a realistic spending plan and an action plan to help improve your financial situation. The individualized plan will also address realistic debt options, such as a Debt Management Program, which consolidates your unsecured debts into one monthly payment. This plan allows you to pay off your debt within five years and may also lower payments and interest rates.
"Regardless of the reason for your financial problems, LSS provides consumers from all walks of life with realistic options for debt repayment and a plan to move toward financial wellness," said Elaina Johannessen, a Counselor Supervisor with LSS.
For more information or to talk with a certified financial counselor, call toll-free at 888-577-2227 or visit www.lssmn.org/debt to get started.