Debt is the amount of money borrowed by one party from another. Consumers typically borrow money from credit card companies or private loans for purchases that they may not be able to afford upfront. Debts are acquired from a car loan, credit card, personal loan or even student loans. In June 2017, U.S. consumer debt rose 3.9 percent to $3.856 trillion. That surpassed last month’s record of $3.843 trillion. The key to debt is being able to pay it off without damaging your credit score.
Top Ten Causes of Debt
- Reduced Income With The Current Amount of Expenses
- Poor Money Management Skills
- Medical Expenses
- Gambling and Addictions
- Underemployment/Not Earning Enough
- Spending before you get Paid
- Not Saving Enough
- Financial Literacy
Examples of the top 10 causes of debt
1. Reduced Income with the current amount of expenses: Earning a lesser amount per year could be due to a job change. Outstanding bills don’t just go away with a job change. Your current bills will likely stay the same and possibly could increase. You may feel like you are unable to keep up with your monthly bills and wind up deeper and deeper in debt.
2.Divorce: As divorce continues to become more common and couples are spending a significant amount of money beating each other up in the court rooms. One thing is valid divorce, and family lawyers are not cheap, and the more time you spend battling it out in courts, the more you will spend on legal fees.
3. Poor Money Management Skills: Many Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and one little mishap can cause you to snowball. Keeping a monthly budget is essential when you have a debt to pay off. If you are not keeping track of your monthly income and the amount you are putting out in bills, you will wind up in financial trouble.
4. Medical Expenses: Medical services are often necessary to remain healthy, and depending on your situation can be extremely harmful to your pocket book. Many doctors, dentists, and hospitals require the payments at the time of service. A significant portion of specialists and dentists accept credit cards and offer to finance. Essentially this means more debt for you, not them.
5. Gambling and Addictions: Gambling and any other addictions can be downright dangerous financially! Gambling may seem exciting at the time, but dealing with the financial strain after you have spent your house payment, car payment and possibly drained your savings you may feel devastated. If you have a gambling problem or any other addiction that is draining your pocket book, reach out to a professional for help.
6. Underemployment/Not Earning Enough: This is very similar to #1. If you are underemployed, you may feel it is a temporary situation, and in a matter of time, it will work it’s way out. This can lead to a false sense of financial relief especially when you are collecting unemployment. Taking a break is great, but you will want to make sure you are making more money than your monthly bills and ending up in a financial hole.
7. Spending before you get paid: Counting your chickens before they hatch is never a good thing. Buying something today depending on tomorrow is never a good thing. Life can change in a matter of minutes, buying something in hopes of an upcoming bonus could leave you in a financial bind, if something unexpected happens and you don’t receive that bonus. Don’t spend until the money is physically in your hand.
8. Not Saving Enough: Putting aside money every month can significantly impact your financial health. It doesn’t matter how much you make monthly you will want to save something every month. Building a nest egg for emergencies is crucial. Ideally, you will want to try and save up to six months of living expenses in case of something bad happens, such as a layoff, you become ill or a divorce. Remember to “Pay yourself first”
9. Inflation: is often overlooked when it comes to debt. You may not realize how much the cost of living goes up every year. In recent times companies and administrations have struggled to stay afloat and are unable to give annual raises. With the price of housing, food, gas and other expenses increasing annually, this leaves the employees finding ways to supplement the cost increase. Look at the type of savings account you have your nest egg in, find ways to cut back on food and other expenses.
10. Financial Literacy: Many consumers do not quite understand how many works, how money grows, how interest rates function or how to invest in your futures. I am sure there is someone in your immediate circle who doesn’t even know how to balance a checkbook. Think back to when you were in school, were you taught this information? You are responsible for your own life and future, therefore taking charge is your responsibility. If you feel you are inadequate in these areas, take charge and educate yourself. Financial mistakes can be very costly and take you years to recover from being uneducated.