He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has.” – Henry Ward Beecher

The Consumer Reports Index measure the financial health of American households and it reported that middle-income Americans are still struggling in 2013. The biggest culprits are missed bill payments (other than mortgage) and not being able to afford health related expenses.

There are many legitimate reasons for these difficulties, but not getting your finances under control could result in serious consequences. To name a few, you could default on loans, see your credit score plummet and not be able to secure financing in the future.

One of the easiest ways to get back on track is to stop trying to keep up with the Joneses and start living within your means. How do you know if you’re trying to keep up with Mr. and Mrs. Jones – in other words, spending more than you bring in? Here are a few signs…

  1. You couldn’t survive financially without income for at least six months.
  2. You save less than 10% of your pay.
  3. Your mortgage payment is more than 35% of your monthly income.
  4. Your credit card balance hasn’t changed in 12 months.
  5. You buy big-ticket items through interest-free, deferred-payment offers.
  6.  You use one credit card to pay another’s balance.
  7. Overdraft fees have become an ongoing expense.
  8. Before buying something, you often think, “I know I shouldn’t, but…” 

If any of these statements resonates with you personally, you may be in over your head and will need to start making some serious changes to your financial lifestyle. If you feel like you are in too deep a hole, you may want to consider filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. If you’d like to discuss your current financial situation and options available, feel free to give us a call.

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