Financial problems tend to get worse if they are left unsolved. Pay attention to the warning signs, and if you spot trouble, seek out help right away. In particular, contact your loan servicer if you are having trouble making your loan payments.
Some warning signs of financial problems
- You have to wait for your paycheck or other income to pay bills.
- Your credit cards are charged up to their limit.
- The amount you owe gets bigger every month.
- You bounce checks.
- You've received letters or calls from creditors.
Take action early
See where your money goes. Keep a list of everything you buy for a week or even a few days. You may be surprised to find items you could do without (or could get more cheaply). Review your budget to see where you can cut back on expenses.
Ask for parental assistance. Asking parents or a mentor for help doesn't necessarily mean you're asking to be bailed out of a financial problem. Chances are, they’ve had some valuable experience in money management and can work with you to develop a budget and a strategy for reducing debt.
Look for alternative repayment options. Many lenders can offer advice and are very willing to discuss repayment strategies with customers. The lender wants to be repaid and so is often willing to work out new or temporarily reduced payment schedules. Contact your local Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS), a division of the nonprofit National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). These agencies are in towns and cities across the country and can help you develop a plan to help get your financial problems resolved. CCCS is a free service. To find one near you, go to NFCC.org or call 800-388-2227.