Uncontrollable Debt Leads to Poor Health
Various studies show that people who have higher debt have a higher level of stress. In other words, our level of stress can be traced right back to the level of debt one has. Marriage and relationships are also impacted due to financial matters. Couples argue more about money than any other topic. The effects of debt can also account for feelings of guilt, shame, and a sense of powerlessness. Debt stress can be linked as far back as the Great Depression where lives were changed when the crash of the stock market caused some Americans to substance abuse and even death.
In one 2004 survey, 63 percent of Americans said that debt was making their home lives unhappy. The online survey of 5,000 consumers by the Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, a nonprofit money management organization found that:
43% reported a debt-to-income ratio of 50 percent or more.
58% reported that their credit cards were at or near the maximum credit limit.
62% reported of not having a savings account.
92% reported of not having emergency funds for three months of living expenses.
37% reported having taken cash advances from one card to pay the other.
59% reported of paying only the minimum amount due on credit cards each month.
Stress can also be related to the financial decisions one makes, such as spending more than one has, ignoring bills, writing bad checks and going over credit limits, just to name a few. These behaviors often lead to repossessions, higher late fees, harassment from creditors, job loss or even bankruptcy. We all heard the medical connection stress has to illness. If you get stressed, often times sickness follows. Ask any doctor about their patients and you’ll find more times than not, stress is the key factor to the patients illness. Anyone who has gotten sick prior to or after a big test, deadline or interview knows how stress can wear us down.
Warning Signs of Debt Trouble
If you answer “YES” to any one of the following questions, you are probably in or headed for debt trouble.
As soon as it becomes clear to you that you’re going to have trouble paying your bills, write to your creditors or call them immediately. Explain the problem – accident, job layoff, emergency expenses for your child or other family member, etc. Don’t run away from your financial problems. You can settle accounts, negotiate payments and even limit collection activities if you make an honest effort to address these issues.
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