Debt is one of the scariest things lurking around this Halloween. It leaves you scrambling, running from bills with no place to hide. It comes in many forms and disguises. Student loans, mortgages, credit cards, car payments, and personal loans are just a few. It’s not just the type of debt that’s frightening, because the effects it can have on your life are really spooky too. Here are five things I find the scariest about debt and why.
Living Paycheck to Paycheck
According to a survey of 4,400 workers, 61% of workers live paycheck to paycheck. This number includes workers making more than $100,000 a year. This means people do not have any money left over to build an emergency savings fund, and this causes the need for credit cards and even things like payday loans (worst-case scenario) if there is a slight change in your income or something unexpected happens. Living paycheck to paycheck can leave you dangerously close to becoming homeless if you have no support. How scary is that?
As someone living in debt, losing your job could be detrimental to your bank account. If you are one that has not put away an emergency savings account, it can be even scarier. In the U.S. right now, the average length of unemployment if you lose your job is 31.5 weeks (more than six months). That’s frightening.
My grandparents lived paycheck to paycheck all of their lives and now are forced into retirement due to the deterioration of their health as they have gotten older. With no savings to fall back on they rely solely on Social Security Benefits. It is a sad state for them. They have been used to having little, but now as they have no other income they face debts rising as they can’t keep up with their utility bills or put food in their kitchen. If you have not planned for retirement you could go into debt too. Debt can leave you in the dark just by not having enough money to keep the electricity on in your house. Are you afraid of the dark?
If you get behind on any of your utility bills, credit card payments or medical bills, the companies will begin to call you to collect the money you owe. There are more than 4,500 debt collection agencies in the U.S! Luckily, there are laws created to protect you from being harassed, but some do not always follow the rules. Some companies have been reprimanded for calling 1,000 consumers as often as 20 times in 2 days. If this harassment isn’t bad enough, remember that collections accounts can really ding your credit. Now that’s a double whammy.
This is the scariest of all! Some debts can remain even if you die, leaving a burden on your family. Or, you might be on the other side (pun intended) and left to foot the bill of a loved one for whom you cosigned. There are some laws about death and debt, and you’ll want to review them carefully if you ever find yourself in this situation. Immortal debts are scary.
How We Can Help
Ok, we are having a little fun here by really emphasizing how scary these situations are (it’s Halloween after all)! But these actually are very frightening situations, and consumer face these every day. The good news is that you’re never alone to face your fears. If you are experiencing any of these scary situations today please call us, the “Debt Busters,” at Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions. We are here to help you overcome these debt monsters. You can reach us at 800-750-2227 or can get started online.