The average American household carries more than $15,000 in credit card debt. Additionally, many people have student loans, mortgages and other debts that cannot be easily paid off. While debt has become a normal part of life, racking up huge bills can lead to financial disaster. Here are six signs you may have too much debt.
A huge chunk of your check goes towards debt payments
Take a minute to calculate all of your bills then compare it to your monthly take home pay. If more than half of your income is going towards your debt payments, you’re carrying too much debt. While you won’t be debt free overnight, there are some changes you can make to give yourself some breathing room. For example, you can get a roommate and split the expenses, sell your belongings, or get a cheaper cable package.
You struggle to make minimum payments
The minimum payment due is the smallest amount you can pay by the due date and still meet the terms of your credit card agreement. This is only a percentage of what you actually owe and you will be charged interest on the unpaid balance. If you are struggling to make the minimum payment, you have too much debt. Call your credit card company and try to lower your interest rate. If they’re unwilling to work with you, transfer your balance to a card with a zero percent introductory rate. Your balance will remain the same but you’ll be able to pay off your debt quicker because you won’t have to worry about accumulating additional interest during the introductory period.
You don’t pay your bills on time
Having too much debt can make it hard to pay your bills on time. When you send late payments or skip payments completely, your credit score takes a hit. Additionally, since 30 percent of your FICO score is based on the amount you owe, carrying a high balance may have already caused your credit score to suffer.
You were rejected for new credit
One of the most common reasons people are rejected for new lines of credit is because their debt load is too high. When most of your available credit has been used, you’re showing lenders that you may be overextended and are more likely to pay late or not at all.
You don’t have an emergency fund
Everyone needs to have money saved for a rainy day. In an ideal world, your emergency fund needs to be able to cover at least 3 to 6 months’ worth of living expenses. If your struggling to save because all of your money is going towards bills, you have too much debt.
Your debt is affecting your well-being
Having bill collectors constantly calling can really take a toll on you. If the stress of not being able to pay your bills is affecting your sleep pattern, blood pressure, appetite or happiness, you have too much debt.