Finding the typical credit counseling client may be as easy as looking in the mirror. Consumer debt continues to grow in the United States, with more than $800 billion owed in credit card debt alone.
Many American consumers with credit card debt are managing their debt loads easily. Unfortunately, for some, just one unexpected financial disruption, such as a job layoff, major medical expense, or divorce would cause serious financial problems.
To find out if you are among the more than 10 million Americans who could benefit from credit counseling, look at these 10 signs:
1. You can afford to make only the minimum payment due on credit card balances.
2. You have made late payments or missed payments to one or more of your creditors for more than a month.
3. Your debt-to-income ratio is more than 20 percent.
4. You do not know how much you owe.
5. Any interruption of income would immediately make it difficult to pay your bills.
6. You regularly use credit cards to purchase basics such as groceries because you are out of money before the end of the month.
7. You avoid answering the phone because of creditor collection calls.
8. Your credit cards are maxed out.
9. You have no emergency savings cushion.
10. You do not have adequate medical, life and disability insurance.
If more than two or three of these signs apply to you, credit counseling may help. Call the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies’ (AICCCA) referral line for help (1-800- 450-1794), or visit us online at www.aiccca.org. IBI