There are several signs you're flirting with financial ruin and the sooner you recognize these signs, the sooner you can improve your financial state. Some people downplay the importance of good personal finances. Maybe you don't know much about money, or perhaps you feel that money topics are too difficult to grasp. Understandably, personal finance isn't the easiest topic to understand, but this doesn't mean you shouldn't try. Here are seven signs you're flirting with financial ruin.
1. You’re Charging Everything
Charging everything is one of several signs you're flirting with financial ruin. There's nothing wrong with using a credit card, and it's okay to use plastic for every purchase. But if you're going to use your credit card, you need to pay off balances in full each month. This way, you avoid credit card debt. If you constantly use your credit card and never pay off balances, you can accumulate a mountain of debt and lower your credit score.
2. You Don't Know How Much You Owe
With regard to debt, it's easy to stick your head in the sand. But living in denial isn't going to improve your personal finances. If you don't know how much you owe, pull all your statements and add up your balances. By coming face-to-face with your debt, you'll be in a better position to create a debt elimination plan. Eliminating debt can free up cash for other uses and improve your credit score.
3. You Have an Empty Savings Account
An empty savings account may seem like a minor issue, but if you run into hard times, how would you survive? People who don’t have a savings account are more likely to accumulate a lot of consumer debt. Going forward, deposit 10% of your pay into savings and aim for at least a 3 to 6-month cash reserve. Saving money can be the difference between losing your house and maintaining your lifestyle after an income shift.
4. You Can't Stop Spending
Spending addictions are real, and you'll need to get to the bottom of your problem or else ruin your finances. People who spend uncontrollably may spend bill money on clothes, vacations, jewelry and other non-essentials. Some people spend to avoid boredom or fill a void. But while spending may provide temporary happiness, it can cause long-term distress.
5. Your Spouse Can't Stop Spending
Maybe you have your spending under control and it's your spouse with the problem. Unfortunately, you can't control what others do. Even so, if your spouse has a spending problem, you'll need to protect your own finances. You might get your own bank account for bills, and you might keep your credit accounts separate. But don't give up on your spouse. Help your spouse get his spending under control. Create a spending plan or budget together.
6. You’re Thinking about Cosigning a Loan
Cosigning a loan can help a loved one or a friend get financing. However, you're flirting with financial ruin if you sign your name on the dotted line. This person could walk away from the loan or send late payments. The way this person manages the account affects your credit score because you're just as responsible for the debt.
7. You Cover Expenses with Your Retirement Money
Some people develop a habit of dipping into their retirement accounts for vacations, home improvements or debt consolidation. These funds can provide the cash you need, but there are costly consequences. Not only will you reduce your retirement funds, you'll pay a 10% penalty plus income taxes on any withdrawal.
If you don't get serious about your personal finances, who will? Many people make decisions that harm their personal finances. If you're aware of these dangers, you can protect your money. What are other signs that you're flirting with financial ruin?