Area of Law: Credit, Debt and Bankruptcy
Answer # 250
Warning signs of financial difficultyRegion: Ontario Answer # 250
Recognizing the warning signs of financial difficulty at an early stage is an important step toward preventing unmanageable debt.
First, look at how you use your credit cards. Although responsible use of credit cards is acceptable, bad spending patterns can gradually result in a growing debt. Credit card warning signs include things such as only making the minimum monthly payments, sometimes missing payments, using your credit cards for necessity rather than for convenience, and borrowing from one credit card to make a payment on another credit card.
Second, look at how you manage your money generally. You may be heading for financial difficulty if you are spending more than you are earning each month, or if you can’t keep track of what money you are spending, what money you owe, and when your bills are due.
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Further signs that you may be in financial difficulty may include that you:
- regularly bounce cheques;
- are always borrowing money to make it from one payday to the next;
- pay only interest or service charges monthly and do not reduce your total debt over many months;
- receive calls from a collection agency;
- regularly ask friends or family members for loans;
- have your utilities cut off (telephone, hydro, water);
- have cut back on regular budget expenses such as clothing and recreation, or necessities such as food; and
- are considering taking a second job in order to help pay your bills.
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