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How can people tell they are heading toward massive debt?

Debt has the potential to overwhelm a person's life. In a report published by USA Today, the average American consumer has about $5,550 worth of credit card debt. That is not even including all the other types of debt one may accumulate.

The best way to handle debt is to avoid it in the first place. However, if a person has already missed a few credit card payments, it is important to be aware of the warning signs of taking on too much debt.

Being denied credit

Amassing an excessive amount of debt can damage a credit score. A consumer may go apply for housing or try to find a car only to discover he or she has been denied a loan. People need to be mindful of their credit ratings, and if it goes down, then they need to take action.

Requiring cash advances

When a person does not have any money left at the end of the month, a cash advance may be necessary. While it can be useful under certain circumstances, people need to be wary of using them all the time. They are not a permanent solution to an overarching financial problem.

Having trouble making minimum payments

Credit cards have minimum payments people can make. While a person would generally want to pay more than the minimum if he or she wants to get out of debt, at least the bare minimum should be met. When a person cannot even do that, other measures are necessary.

Taking money out of retirement

The money in a retirement fund or savings account should not be touched. Unfortunately, many people use these funds to pay off credit card bills. It may seem like a lifesaver, but the person doing so is only doing a disservice for the future.

People should never let their debts pile up. However, even if someone is only mildly concerned about his or her finances, then a meeting should still be set up with a bankruptcy attorney to review options.  

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