The number of people that has debt nowadays has increased substantially. If you’re just can’t seem to keep your head above water, here’s what you need to know.
- Get the big picture You need to get a clear picture of your debt first. Figure out how much money you have coming in as opposed to how much is going out. That’s your debt-to-income ratio. To calculate, add up your monthly debt, like your mortgage or student loans. Then, add up your monthly income. Finally divide your debt by income.
- Know the signs (Here are some warning signs that you’re piling on too much debt:)
- You can’t pay the bills in full each month
- You’re at or near your credit card limit
- You’re living paycheck to paycheck
- You’re using future money to pay for current bills
- You’re denied credit
- Make the changes First, prioritize your bills—Pay for your basic needs—your mortgage, your utility bill, groceries and car payments. Then attack your credit cards. Focus on paying cards down that have the highest interest rates. Pay as much as you can above the minimum. Stop using your credit cards if you can use cash.
Experts generally say you should keep this ratio to under 36 percent. Why is this number important? First, it gives you a sense of your financial picture. Second, lenders look at this ratio when they are trying to decide whether to lend you money or extend credit. The lower the score, the better.
Ideally you should have a balance on your cards that is less than 20 percent of your credit limit. If you are in danger of missing a payment, contact your creditor and tell them you have an issue. They may lower your monthly payment or help you work out a payment plan.