19 Feb Take a “Credit Selfie”
Knowing the right thing to do is not always an easy decision. When it comes to caring for, managing, and improving your credit it may be difficult to determine whether on not you need help. If you’re not sure if you would benefit from professional credit counseling, take a “Credit Selfie”! This brief self-evaluation will show you just how close you are to having Good Credit!
Has it been more than three months since you’ve paid more than the minimum amount due on your credit card bills?
When you can avoid it, credit cards should not be used to “carry a balance”. However, paying the balance in full is not necessarily the best strategy either. We recommend paying down the majority of your balance leaving at least a $10 balance so as to continue to show activity. This allows the you to avoid the risk of having the account closed, which can ultimately have a negative impact on your credit score.
Are money issues causing stress and/or conflict at work or at home?
When you have more day than pay it can definitely cause a great deal of stress in every area of your life. Relationships, career, education, even your spirituality can all be distracted by insufficient funds. If this has been your experience it may be time to consider some professional help.
Have you recently taken cash advances or borrowed money to repay another debt?
Robbing Peter to pay Paul is how the “old folks” described it. Essentially, this is the principle of spending more than you earn and repeating the cycle of borrowing in an attempt to stay afloat. The problem with this strategy is that, without a plan, the cycle never ends and the debt is continually perpetuated.
Have you recently missed one or more required monthly payments?
With most creditors, finance charges and other fees can often be avoided by making your monthly payments before the due date. When you miss a required monthly payment, not only are you accruing monthly finance charges but, in most cases, you are also accruing late fees. If you cannot afford your monthly payments, how much less can you afford finance charges and late fees?
Have you found yourself applying for new lines of credit because your current credit cards are maxed out or near your credit limit?
Millions of people all over the world owe thousands of dollars to credit card companies, banks, and other lenders. Some of the items they genuinely needed, others, they simply “had to have”. Lenders and financing companies are in the business of making you feel good about poor financial decisions while they make enormous profits.
Have you considered taking money from your retirement account to satisfy your debt obligations?
Knowing the difference between what’s important and what’s urgent can be a slippery slope. Saving and investing in your future is critical to your comfort and ability to survive financially in the future. Borrowing from your retirement is simply not wise. Sure, there are always exceptions and your case may actually be a legitimate one. The important thing is to simply be honest with yourself about what you are spending and why.