When Is It Time to Get Help for Financial Trouble?

  • By Jillian Taylor-Mancusi

 

Most people experience some sort of financial trouble at one point or another. Things like accidentally bouncing a check or making a payment a few days late can usually be corrected quickly without much damage to your credit or finances.   However, knowing when is it time to get help for financial trouble is key to gaining the help you need.

Sometimes, though, recurring financial trouble is the sign of a more serious problem that needs to be dealt with. Luckily, there are options that can help you take control of your finances regardless of how serious your problems seem.

Signs of Financial Trouble 

How can you tell if your finances are in peril? Here are a few warning signs:

  • You don’t have enough money to pay all your bills on time every month. In addition to letting bills go unpaid, not enough money can leave you juggling payments or charging bills on credit cards.
  • Your checking account is often in the negative. When you’re in financial trouble, your checking account may fall in the red often. This can lead to overdraft fees, bounced checks, and other fees that push you further behind.
  • You’ve maxed out all of your credit cards. When your credit cards are maxed out, your credit score drops considerably. It also keeps you in debt longer.
  • You can only afford to pay minimum payments. Minimum payments will keep you in debt for as long as possible. By paying just the minimum payment, most of your money goes towards interest, making it seem like your balance never budges.
  • Creditors frequently call your home or work. When creditors contact you, it’s because your bills have gotten seriously behind. These calls can be stressful, especially when you don’t have the money to pay them.
  • Your money problems are affecting your relationships, work, or home life. It’s not uncommon for financial problems to cause so much stress, they spill into your personal or work life. Money problems are one of the leading causes of divorce.

These are some of the most serious indicators you’re headed for serious financial trouble. The important thing to remember is the sooner you get help, the less of an impact it will have on your credit and finances in general.

Help for Finances

So where can you go if you need financial help? When your problems are serious and you’ve already done the basics, like cutting expenses and redoing your budget, you may benefit from the help of a professional.

A licensed insolvency trustee is a licensed financial professional who can provide financial counseling as well as help with more serious financial problems. Depending on your situation, a trustee may recommend a consumer proposal, which is a legal agreement that settles your debts for less than you owe. Or, the trustee may recommend bankruptcy, which eliminates your debts completely in exchange for surrendering some of your assets. Whatever option your trustee recommends, you can be sure it’s the best option for your situation.

When it comes to financial trouble, getting help sooner rather than later can help minimize the impact and get you back in control of your money.

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