Debt and Stress: 5 Signs That You Need to Seek Credit Counseling

The Great Recession is officially well behind us. But, millions remain paralyzed by the debt that followed. CBS News reported, “The mounting pressure to pay bills is leading to an increase in debt-prompted, stress-related illness, experts and surveys say.”

Debt is producing PTSD-like effects. It raises the heart rate and blood pressure. It increases risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. And, creates muscle tension, headaches, back pain, and continuing anxiety. Debt stress can build up without notice, so you need to seek help before you suffer.

5 signs that need to seek credit counseling:

  • Spending Values: Kiplinger warns couples, “Just like religion and politics, it’s important for couples to have similar values when it comes to money.” Many couples leave money control to one partner or the other.

Despite the best intents, communication over spending and goals suffer. Couples must discuss and share their spending and saving habits and goals. And, they need regular audits of their progress in managing debt.

  • Credit Card Debt:  If you find yourself pressed to pay only the minimum monthly payment on your credit cards, you probably have a problem. And, if you are keeping that debt secret from your partner, you are in real trouble.

If spending to reduce and eliminate credit card debt, that is money you can not put into necessary savings, emergency funds, or retirement savings.

  • Maxed Cards: Credit cards tempt you with their maximum credit and available cash data. But, you must pay attention to the APR interest rate and the rate charged on cash.

Trying to keep the lid on your spending is difficult when you have no spending cushion available. If maxed the cards on holiday spending and are focused on you next season’s spending, you’re barely under control. You are stressing yourself and those around you, and you are hurting your credit score.

  • Desperation Moves: When you use one credit card to make another credit card payment, when you borrow from relatives to make payments, and when you lie o your spouse about the situation, you are in deep trouble.

Cash advances at work and quick payday loans only increase your problems. And, the worst possible scenario sees you opening additional credit cards to “solve” your problem debt.

  • Future Debt: If you find yourself borrowing from your savings or retirement funds, you only create future debt. If you have been disciplined in saving for retirement, you may have to draw on those funds for serious and unexpected emergencies. But, if you take from one account to cover debt in another, you are shorting your future.

Moreover, it’s not easy to barter your future without keeping it secret from your partner, so that complicates your problem, stress, and indebtedness. The Credit Counseling Society warns, “The longer you wait, the less options you’ll have.”

What’s the cost of bad credit?

Bad credit can be debilitating and often seem like an inescapable hole.

Often, you’ll find that you can repay your debts a lot more easily once they’re reduced to one affordable monthly payment. Timely payments will save thousands in interest. From there, you can manage your money and spending better to re-affirm your financial stability and rebuild your credit score.