Signs You May Need Credit Counseling

Debt, like so many other aspects of life, has stages. If you catch it early enough, extricating yourself can be relatively pain free. However, the farther along the spectrum personal debt progresses the more difficult it can become to resolve. 

With that said, if you’re past the point of dealing with it on your own, consulting a credit counselor can still be effective early on. The key lies in recognizing your setback is getting serious.

With that in mind, here are some signs you may need credit counseling. 

Each and Every Paycheck Counts
It’s time to seek professional help if you’re currently in a situation in which one missed paycheck could be financially ruinous. Further, if you’re spending every single penny you earn each pay period — and the vast majority of that money is going out to keep creditors at bay — it’s time to call somebody to help you turn that around as soon as possible.  

Late Payments Are Becoming the Norm
A fee, which is added to your outstanding balance, upon which interest accrues, accompanies each late payment. You will very soon get into a self-perpetuating situation when it happens regularly. 

The fees make your balance bigger, which makes you owe more interest, which gets added to your balance, which makes you owe more, which accrues more interest, which gets added to your balance — and so on and so on and so on. 

Another thing that usually happens with late payments is anAPR increase. So now, on top of everything else, you’re being charged a higher interest rate, which makes the debt grow even faster.  

Saving Is a Rapidly Fading Memory
Every financial advisor out there recommends establishing an emergency fund of at least three to six months of your living expenses to tide you over if your revenue stream experiences an interruption. 

Further, your budget should include savings in general, as well as tucking away bucks for retirement. If your debts have overwhelmed your ability to accomplish this, you’re getting into trouble. 

So Is Your Budget
Once upon a time, you had all of these nice neat categories into which your dollars were slotted. There was more than enough cash to cover everything, including savings and investments. Stuff is now so far out of hand; you're just paying whoever gets to you first and letting the chips fall where they may. 

That budget of which you were once so proud is now a wistful memory.

Borrowing from Paula to Pay Pamela
A credit card cash advance — for any situation short of a terrific investment from which you're going to reap a significant return with which you're going to make a profit and repay the advance before interest is applied to it — is a bad idea.

Oh wait, grace periods typically do not apply to cash advances. 

In other words, they’re a bad idea all the time. 

And, they are even more so if you’re using cash advancesto pay bills.

A credit counselor can help you organize your debts and come up with a plan. If you’re starting to miss minimum payments, rack up high interest or need advances to stay afloat, you might need to go a step farther and get in touch with a debt settlement firm like Freedom Debt Relief

Your Phone Scares You
Clusters of calls from unknown numbers, along with worrisome emails and text messages have become an integral aspect of your day-to-day existence. You’re avoiding looking at your phone and checking your voicemail because debt collectors are blowing your number up. 

The good news is there are things you can do to make them stop. 

However, resolving the situation once and for all is a far more permanent solution. The first step is recognizing a problem exists. Experiencing any one of these six signs you may need credit counseling should motivate you to seek help.

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