Money Talks, So Should You

Q&A: Should I seek professional debt help?

Mechel Glass
by Mechel Glass, Dimespring Contributor  (@CredAbility)

Do you lay awake at night thinking about how you are going to pay all of your bills? What about when you wake up in the morning? Worst of all, do you often wake up suddenly in the middle of the night thinking about your debts?

I’ve always felt that one of the best early warning signs about whether a person needs professional help is if they think about money problems in bed. If you aren’t sleeping soundly on a regular basis, you probably need professional help.

READ: How can I get my debt under control?

But there are plenty of other early signals, too. Many people try their best; they set up a budget and follow it for a short period, but eventually fall back into bad habits. Others have simply never developed the discipline to set up a budget and follow it.

Still others don’t have any money set aside for unexpected car repairs, medical bills or emergencies and fall further behind when they need to borrow to cover these costs.

READ: How to budget monthly for typical car costs

If you have experienced any of these scenarios, a professional can help you. Below are a few other signs that you may need help. If you are taking one or more of the actions below, I would consider seeking the help of a professional to put a plan into place to reduce your debt:

• Using credit cards to cover daily living expenses, such as food, gasoline and utilities
• Making only minimum payments on credit cards; or struggling to make even minimum payments
Carrying multiple credit cards and rotating their use to juggle balances and due dates
• Making payments late or missing payments for more than one month
• Charging more each month on your credit cards than you are paying toward the balance
• Most or all of your credit cards are at or near the credit limit
• Not knowing how much you owe
Calls from creditors
Taking out loans or using equity in your home to pay off debt
• Realizing that a loss of your job or a second income in the household would cause immediate difficulty paying bills

READ: Sharing finances with your spouse

Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. Getting help at the first sign of trouble can make the difference between a financial setback and a financial disaster.

 

Mechel Glass is vice president of community outreach for CredAbility. She is responsible for coordinating community outreach and financial education activities across the agency’s regions and developing new education programs for both classroom settings and online. Glass, a U.S. Army veteran, is also co-author of “The Veteran’s Money Book,” scheduled for publication in April 2014 by Career Press. The book can now be ordered on Amazon.com.