21 Warning Signs You’re Financially Unstable

When a distant relative called me for some help with his 401k I was happy to oblige.

Anytime I can help someone save for their financial future I get excited.

Unfortunately, after several minutes the excitement wore off.

The relative had just started his new job and hadn’t even put a single penny into the 401k yet.  He was reading about the benefits his 401k offered and the one that caught his attention was the borrowing provision.

He asked me, “How do I go about borrowing from the 401k?”

Say what? 

Ummm….the last time I checked you can’t borrow from a 401k that doesn’t have anything in it!

What I eventually learned was that relative had money struggles I wasn’t aware of.

It’s likely most people who are in financial trouble are aware of it, and usually long before landing in bankruptcy court or losing their home in foreclosure.

After all, a personal financial crash is almost always preceded by a long period of financial instability.

What are the warning signs you’re financially unstable?

financially unstable

Here are 21. If you’re affected by more than one or two of them, it’s time to step back, reassess your circumstances, and take action to reverse the trend and become financially stable.
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Dear Dad, Why Did You Let Debt Kill You?

According to his death certificate, my dad died of myocardial infarction, otherwise known as a heart attack.

His health had been deteriorating for some time, so it wasn’t a total surprise.

He gained weight and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. He had two bypass surgeries — one triple, one quadruple. It wasn’t hard to understand why he had heart problems.

His diet was unhealthy; he didn’t get enough exercise; and he was constantly under stress.

We thought there wasn’t much any of us could have done. In retrospect, there was one area where I might have been able to help, though at the time I didn’t think about it in those terms. His financial health deteriorated more than his physical health, and that was one of the primary sources of stress.

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A Behind the Scenes Look of Getting Out of Debt

This is a guest post from Dr. Jason Cabler from Celebrating Financial Freedom.  In this post he’ll tell you his personal get out of debt story, and let you in on a great new resource that can help you do it, too.

Early in our marriage, my wife Angie and I struggled with being on the same page about money.

We came from extremely different backgrounds.

She was from a poor family who didn’t stress higher education and always struggled with money. I was from an upper middle class family of educators with advanced degrees that was very sensible when it came to money.

Because of our different backgrounds, our views of how to handle money were totally opposite.

getting out of debt
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Decisions That Can Make You Bankrupt

Have you ever made a mistake with money?


Did you make multiple bad financial decisions?

I did.

In fact, I made so many bad money decisions in a row that it almost bankrupted me and almost cost me my marriage.

bad decisions

What I’ve learned since I woke up and stopped being so careless with my money is that there is power in me telling the stories of my poor financial decisions.

When I tell someone how I once leased a new car to avoid buying tires on my old one and that it ultimately cost me about $12,000, I can see them feel less stupid about their own money struggles.

I used to be the guy with a good six-figure income that was enough to pay the bills but had nothing except a bunch of ridiculous stuff to show for it.
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I’m Drowning in Medical Debt. Help! (Reader Q&A)

When I was younger I struggled with debt racking up credit cards and student loans like no one’s business.

I couldn’t ask for sympathy because I was the one to blame for my financial plight.

One debt that I’ve been fortunate to avoid is medical debt.

For those that have it realize how much of a financial drain medical debt is.

medical debt collection

As it stands now over medical debt accounts for over 50% of they type of debt that people have in collections.

Almost 1 in 6 credit reports contain a medical debt collection, according to the Federal Reserve. And about 40% reportedly received a lower credit rating because of their unpaid medical debt.

Medical debt is for real.

I recently had a reader contact me that was dealing with some serious medical debt issues. Since this isn’t my forte I reached out to the only person I know, Gerri Detweiler at Credit.com that is the expert in this stuff.
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My Biggest Regret in Life

Why didn’t I have the courage?

I saw how much he struggled and yet I could never muster enough strength to speak out.

Would it have helped?

Could my voice of reason really have changed a thing?

Unfortunately, I’ll never know.

I’ve shared before  about my father’s struggles with debt.  I vocally shared how it affected me, especially in my book. As a kid, when he was buying me every single G.I. Joe I could ever want, I didn’t think anything of it.
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Don’t Get Sucker Punched By Your Own Debt Denial

“Oh, we don’t have that much debt. Our house is paid off. We don’t have that many consumer loans.”

Debt sucker punchThese famous last words were uttered by a couple who had come to me for help with retirement planning.

They were about 10 years out from retirement, and although their savings weren’t as robust as they could have been, their mortgage was paid off and they claimed to have little debt.

They were in a good place for retirement.

Or were they?

What they really owed

I asked them to tell me exactly how much debt they had, and they told me about their two car loans totaling $15,000. I asked about credit card debt, and they shifted uncomfortably in their seats — they had some, but they didn’t know off the tops of their heads how much.
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Getting Out of Debt with the Highest CD Rates

This is a guest post from J.B. of ConsumerBoomer.com

Debt free zone.A new jobs report is set to be issued here in the United States and it will show whether or not we’ve added jobs. More importantly, it will show whether or not we’ve added enough jobs to make a difference within the current economic crisis.

Our celebration of America’s independence will give way to a work day for some and the June report on unemployment and where we stand now.

The last report that came out reaffirmed that our unemployment rate is still around 7.6%, which is lower than the 8.2% at the beginning of the year, however for many Americans the report may not offer as much hope as we or the government and financial experts are looking for.

While you may read reports on how this might affect Wall Street and the markets, the bigger affect will be on us, the consumers. When it comes to debt, we’re all still paying off what we bought way back in 2006 or earlier! We’re paying stuff off, but we might not be out of the woods by the end of the year.

Newly graduated college students will learn what it’s like to have crushing debt, as student loan debt has eclipsed credit card debt for the first time. Household debt did decline, but we still still owe well over one trillion dollars!
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19 Ways to Talk to Your Kids About Debt

I bet you could you qualify for a credit card with a 0% introductory rate.

At the time I was craving a flat screen TV.

I had just started my career as a financial advisor and even though I wasn’t making jack, I began giving myself the “entitlement pep talk”.

You know. The “I’ve worked hard so I deserve it” talk that many of us fall victim to.

It” usually being some big ticket item that we really can’t afford but somehow we’ve convinced ourselves that we can.

At this time in my life, my “It” was a 42″ flat screen TV that desperately needed to hung on my living room wall.

The reality is that I couldn’t afford it. Not even close.

But for about a month long process I was determined to figure out a way to get it.

The TV had consumed me so much that I remember even talking to my dad about how bad I wanted one.

In case you’re new to the blog, you should know that my dad struggled with debt most of his adult life so he was the last one that I should have been getting advice from.

After pleading with him about how I deserved the flat screen TV, he suggested that I apply for a credit card with a 0% intro rate.

“Genius!” I gleamed thinking that I had finally found the solution to my crisis.

I remember coming home and telling my girlfriend the good news.

talk to your kids about debt

Ummmm….No You Can’t

That girlfriend eventually became my wife and the look she had on her face when I shared the “good news” was interesting to say the least.

She patiently listened to my plot to make my life altering purchase and after I was done was quick to remind me of the reality of my financial situation.
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Avoid these 3 Pitfalls of Debt Consolidation

debt consolidationOne of the best things you can do for your finances is to pay down debt. There are a number of different strategies designed to help you get rid of your debt.

Among the more popular strategies is debt consolidation. With debt consolidation, you gather all your debts in one place.

You can get a debt consolidation loan that pays off all the smaller loans and leaves you with the larger loan, or you can manage your debt consolidation through a third party, which collects payment from you and then disburses it to your creditors.

Debt consolidation can be a great way for some consumers to put a solid dent in their debt. This is because it gets all of the debt in one place, where it can be easily managed. You only have one payment to worry about, and one interest rate. Being able to concentrate your efforts can go a long way toward getting rid of debt.

However, debt consolidation isn’t for everyone, and it’s no guarantee that you will be able to get rid of your debt effectively — especially if you fall prey to the following 3 pitfalls:
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4 Secrets to Paying Off Debt Faster

pay off debt fastJust over a year ago, I had $3,000 in credit card debt… and I was not happy about it.

At the time, I had just made a career switch and had landed my dream job as a writer and blogger for ReadyForZero.

But I had spent a few months between jobs while I worked to jump start my new career and during that time I dipped into my savings and then began putting some of my monthly expenses on the credit card.

At the beginning of last year, I made a commitment to pay off that credit card by December, and to my great satisfaction, I was able to do it successfully. When I had finally made the last payment, I felt a tremendous relief and a conviction to avoid any debt in the future.

That’s why I was so excited when Jeff started the Debt Movement to help people pay off debt in 2013.

I knew that getting people together and sharing tips and experiences would help motivate many of them to stick with their plans and get to debt free ASAP. And that’s exactly what’s happened. So with the end of April approaching, I thought I’d talk about 4 secrets that I’ve learned for paying off debt faster
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Mission Possible: Paying off $84,000 of Debt in 4 Years

Debt free zone.The next credit card statement arrives in your mailbox and you get sick knowing what’s inside. You begin to ask yourself when you let it all slip away.

You used to have control of your finances, but something bad happened.

Something terribly wrong.

All those innocent purchases and false reassurances that “you’ll eventually get ahead” were all just a lie.

You have over $100,000 of consumer debt and it’s only getting worse.

Travis Pizel found himself in this exact situation almost 5 years ago. Through reckless spending and always hoping that the next paycheck would allow him to get caught up, he found himself with $109,000 of consumer debt.

He could have waived the white flag and gave up. He didn’t

By working with CareOne Services, Inc, he has been able to payoff $84,000 of debt in just under 4 years.

Think it’s impossible? Think again. Here’s Travis’ story:

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