If you are struggling with debt, the situation may seem helpless. You may have resigned yourself to living with calls from creditors and stacks of bills piling up each month. It might seem as though there is nothing else you can do. Fortunately, this isn’t the case. You can get control of your financial situation.
Debt management is possible.
Here is some advice for how to recognize that you have too much debt and some strategies for handling it.
How Do You know if you Have Too Much Debt?
Are you in trouble with debt or do you have a manageable amount? Most people have some debt, usually in the form of a mortgage or a car loan or a line of credit. But how do you know when it’s too much?
There is no easy answer that works for everyone. However, here are a few ways to tell if you have too much debt.
- You are unable to pay your monthly expenses without using a credit card or line of credit
- You’re only making the minimum payments on your debt
- You’re receiving calls from creditors
- You’ve missed payments
- You’re not sure how much debt you have
- You regularly use overdraft protection on your bank account
- You’re feeling stressed or worried about your debt
- You hide your debt or your spending from friends and family
These are just some of the warning signs. Each person is different and every situation is unique. However, if you are struggling with debt, you need to seriously consider debt management and other ways to relieve yourself of this financial trouble.
Other Debt Management Advice
If you have debt and you’re finding it tough to pay it down, you might want to take a few steps on your own to help you relieve your debt issues. Here are a few ways to make it easier to afford your expenses:
- Make a budget. Everyone needs to have a budget, no matter how much money you make or spend. Without a budget, it’s too easy to spend more than you have. This can lead to you looking to credit cards or lines of credit to pay regular expenses. Keeping track of how much you spend is the key to a healthy financial life.
- Use cash more often. If you already have high amounts of credit card debt, you’re not doing yourself any favours by increasing this amount. After you’ve created your budget, try to use cash for most payments, even if just for a while. This will ensure that you don’t spend more than you have.
- Pay more than the minimum. If you only pay the minimum balance on your credit card, it will take you years and years to pay off your debt and you’ll end up spending a lot of money on interest. Even if you can only afford a little bit more than the minimum, do it. Every little bit helps.
- Avoid payday loans. Payday loans carry very high amounts of interest and these can be even more difficult to pay down than credit cards. Stay away from these loans and look for other ways to afford your expenses.
- Know when to get help. It’s important to know when your debt levels are too high to manage on your own. In these situations, professional debt management may be needed. If you feel as though there’s no way to manage your debt, consider speaking to a licensed insolvency trustee for assistance.
Help with Debt Management from a Licensed Insolvency Trustee
Despite the name, a licensed trustee in bankruptcy isn’t only for people who want to file for bankruptcy. A licensed insolvency trustee (previously called bankruptcy trustee) is a person who has been trained and registered by the federal government to assist those who have financial troubles. A trustee can review your financial situation and help you understand the options available to you. In addition to debt management, other options for reducing or eliminating your debts include a consumer proposal and, in some cases, filing for bankruptcy.
These two options are legal processes that are designed to help people who have high levels of debt get their financial lives back in control. When you speak with a licensed insolvency trustee, he or she will sit with you and work to understand your financial situation. The trustee will then present you with the options that are available to you. Knowing when to get help with debt is an important part of debt management.