It's not news that there is a consumer debt crisis. But when the crisis comes down to the individual level, consumers must take action and do what they can to help themselves.
It's not news that there is a consumer debt crisis.
But when the crisis comes down to the individual level, consumers must take action and do what they can to help themselves. It's easy to say there is a debt problem without actually acknowledging that you have one yourself.
"If you are in debt, it is not something you can ignore or deny, and hope it goes away," said LowCards.com CEO Bill Hardekopf. It "is not something that time will take care of. You must make a plan to deal with it now. The longer you ignore your debt, the worse your problem will be."
LowCards.com is a free, independent Web site that helps consumers compare credit cards in a variety of categories and gives an unbiased ranking and review for each card.
Here are nine signs that you have a debt problem:
- You have to use credit cards in order to pay for necessities such as gas and groceries.
- Your credit card interest rates are over 20 percent.
- Your unpaid credit card balance is four or five figures.
- You have paid only the minimum balance on your credit card for the last six months.
- You are juggling debt payments on more than three credit cards.
- Your credit utilization ratio is over 50 percent (your debt is over 50 percent of your total credit limit) on any or all of your credit cards.
- You feel like you are living on the edge, struggling to make minimum payments for all of your debts.
- You have used your credit card for a cash advance to help you survive from one month to the next.
- You haven't put any cash into savings during the past 12 months.
Two nonprofit agencies that can help are Consumer Credit Counseling Service at (800) 355-2227, and National Foundation for Credit Counseling at (800) 388-2227.