Nearly 50% of the population in the US is under debt. This can be attributed to lifestyle mistakes like not living on a budget, not creating any emergency and retirement funds, etc. To get out of debts, it is important to seek counseling and alter your lifestyle. Lawyers of Los Angeles based bankruptcy law firm Recovery Law Group confirm that this can be done by avoiding common mistakes usually made by people such as:
- Not changing spending habits
It is important to realize that your spending habits lead you to this condition. Unless you make changes, you will not be able to crawl out of the huge mountain of debt. To change your financial condition, you need to make some lifestyle changes such as reducing unnecessary expenditure, avoiding unnecessary use of credit card, etc.
- Trying to reduce debt on your own
Discussing finances is not always a comfortable subject. Hence, people often struggle with debts alone. If you are not comfortable discussing with friends or relatives, you can take help from professionals like credit counseling agency. You will get an idea regarding your options like debt management, debt restructuring, bankruptcy, etc. This professional advice is free so you should make use of it.
- Not completing or understanding the significance of the debt relief program
Debt relief programs typically last for 3 to 5 years. Any individual going through bad financial phase need to understand that it will take time for the situation to improve. You need to be sure of the debt relief company that you have chosen. Credit unions or local lawyers’ offices are reliable. In case you need to consult with a bankruptcy attorney you can call 888-297-6023.
- Not creating a budget
Curtailing unnecessary expenses is important if you want to get out of debt. You should create a budget which takes care of your necessary expenses like food, housing, education, medical attention, etc. while also catering to debt repayment and retirement funds. If this means staying away from shopping, entertainment and eating out, so be it. Avoid credit cards, and make all payments in cash.
- Reducing multiple debts simultaneously
People having a number of debts are often at their wit’s end. Taking care that they pay a student loan, credit card bills, mortgage, etc. takes a toll without any result. You can be efficient by reducing all unnecessary expenses and creating a surplus account which is used to pay the card with a maximum interest rate, after taking care of secured debts. Eliminating cards this way will reduce your load.
- Closing paid-off accounts
Closing an account on which debt has been paid off is not advised. Credit scoring systems do not rely on how much money you owe but also how much credit is available. Despite having credit and not using it can improve your credit rating.
- Not contributing to retirement funds
Though reducing debt is important, it should not come at the cost of your retirement funds. You should save at least 5-10% of your income in retirement funds like 401(k) etc. This will help you then you are no longer able to earn. Moreover, money saved in retirement funds is not available to creditors during bankruptcy. Look for other ways to pay your debts.
- Not keeping an emergency reserve
Living in the present is a common phenomenon. However, you can never be sure when emergency strikes. Sudden medical expenses, loss of a job, car accident, etc. can throw your budget haywire. It is important to keep at least 5% of your income as an emergency fund. On average, your emergency fund should cover 3 months of expenses.
- Not verifying credit report periodically
Any debt entered or paid off is mentioned on your credit report, which is available free of cost from major credit reporting bureaus. It is important to check them on a regular basis for discrepancies. Inaccurate entries could damage your credit rating resulting in your inability to get further loan or credit.
- Debts not prioritized
People become accustomed to living with debts. Getting rid of them is not a priority. This could snowball into bankruptcy. It is important to consolidate your debts and make regular payments every month. Avoiding credit cards should be important if you want to reduce your debt.
Living under constant fear of creditors is something which can easily be avoided by making a few changes in the way you think and live. Human beings are quite adaptable to circumstances if they so desire. Here are a few tips to help you stay out of debt:
- Live according to your budget.
- Avoid unnecessary and impulsive shopping.
- Pay cash and reduce credit card usage.
- Split cost when living with roomies.
- Reduce expenses and sell off anything you don’t need.
- Find alternative earning sources.
- Get professional help.