The debt load carried by Canadians has never been higher. More Canadians are overextended every year, and if your debt levels continue to increase, it can be hard to know when to ask for help. This threshold is different for every person, every couple and every household. Here are some warning signs to look out for that may signify that it’s time to see a credit counseling service.
1. Your Debt Is Out of Control
If you’re having trouble making payments—even the minimums—on your debt, you may want to think about using credit counseling services. A qualified counselor will help you to identify the sources of your debt, figure out which debts have the highest interest rates, and educate you on whether debt consolidation makes sense in your situation. A professional will also help you set up a payment plan that works with your budget to get your debt paid in the shortest amount of time.
2. The Collectors are Calling
Even if you don’t personally feel like your debt is a problem, if you’ve missed payments and some of your debts have gone to collections, this may be a sign that it’s time to seek the help of a credit counselor. Missing payments on your debt will undoubtedly affect your credit score. When your credit score starts to suffer, you will have problems down the road when applying for additional credit. Working with a credit counselor will ensure your credit score is protected while you work your way out from under your debt.
3. Your Budget Doesn’t Balance
If every cent you make is spoken for, and still doesn’t cover your costs of living, a professional credit counselor can help you balance your budget and move away from living paycheck to paycheck. If you’ve already sought help through cash advances and payday loans, you may actually be in deeper than you think. A balanced budget will help break the cycle of spending more than you make and will make room for the fun things that matter to you as well.
4. You Can’t Save
If your budget is so tight that you’re unable to save for retirement, or even for an emergency, you may find credit counseling services to be useful. A credit counselor will look at all of your sources of income and debt, and help you to create a spending plan that works for your situation. When you can spend smartly and save money at the same time, you can be financially secure for your present self, as well as future-you.
Do any of these warning signs personally speak to you? If so, you can get your finances back on track with the help of credit counseling services. A reputable firm will help you to negotiate your interest rates, consolidate your debt, make a personal budget, and if necessary, guide you through the bankruptcy process. Just know that you’re not alone. Many Canadians struggle with debt and seeking help is the first step to getting out of the red.