Most people have had times in life when they’ve been in “financial trouble” to some degree. That term can mean many different things depending on who you’re talking to, but none of them are positive. Sometimes, you never really know how close you are to being in trouble, where one or two missteps could turn your financial world upside down.
Luckily, serious financial problems usually don’t show up without any warning at all. Here are 7 signs that might indicate future financial trouble.
1. Not Having a Monthly Budget
A monthly budget is one of those tools that has the ability to keep you organized and under control with your spending. You aren’t guaranteed to find trouble without one, but always knowing what’s coming in and what’s going out will help. Write it down or type it out each month so you can get all those numbers out of your head.
2. Using Credit for Basic Expenses
General expenses like groceries or monthly bills should not be paid for with credit, and if you find yourself doing it on a regular basis, financial trouble could be on the way. Once in awhile may not cause too many problems, but making it a habit will increase interest charges and eventually max out your avenues of credit so they won’t be available when you really need them.
3. Regularly Making Minimum Payments
Making minimum payments every month won’t result in any collections departments chasing after you, but it may cause you problems over time. Try to ignore the minimum amount you see on the statement and pay as much as you can.
4. Missing Scheduled Bill Payments
Even worse than making minimum payments is making no payment. Missing payments is bad for your credit rating, it adds a ton of interest to your overall totals and it tells potential creditors to stay away from you.
5. Unpaid Government Taxes
Letting government back taxes slide is very easy to do, especially when it doesn’t seem like they’re interested in bothering you about them. However, they will add up quickly and one day, out of the blue they will expect you to pay it. Luckily, they will work out a payment plan with you if you do owe money, so address the situation before it gets complicated.
6. Utilizing Payday Loans
One of the surest signs that you’re headed for financial trouble, or already there, is using payday loans. Every city and town seems to have at least one place that offers these short term loans that use your next pay cheque as collateral. On the surface, they seem helpful, but they are well-known for charging huge interest rates that can create a negative financial cycle.
7. No Savings
Fewer and fewer people seem to have money socked away for emergerncies or future expenses days, but not having anything is just inviting trouble. Emergencies and unexpected occurrences are just a part of life, and if you don’t have anything to fall back on, it may be a financial disaster in the making.