Most families have some kind of debt at one point throughout their lives. It might be a mortgage loan, a car loan, student loans, or plain old credit card debt. Having debt isn’t always a bad thing as long as you are taking steps to pay it off in a timely manner. It’s having TOO much debt that can cause an unhealthy financial situation and create real problems for you.

Credit cards and personal loans can seem like lifesavers when you want to make a big purchase and don’t have the cash on hand. That is until you’ve exceeded your credit limit and realize that what you will ultimately pay back goes way beyond the initial cost of the item. You’ll then find yourself wondering if you have accumulated TOO much debt.

Use this free online calculator to see if you currently have too much debt: Another way to figure out your debt load is to find out what your debt-to-income ratio is. Here’s a wonderful blog post to explain what a debt-to-income ratio is and how you can figure out what your ratio is:

Here are a few telltale signs that you’re in over your head:

  • You don’t have a clue to how much you truly owe.
  • You’re in denial or you don’t think it’s that big of a problem just yet.
  • You are receiving numerous calls from creditors and/or collection agencies trying to collect on the debt.
  • You are losing sleep and your healthy is deteriorating because of your financial situation.
  • You are only able to pay the minimum on your credit card bills each month.
  • Your finances affect your overall work performance.
  • Your credit cards are maxed out.
  • You’ve been turned down for a new credit card or a new line of credit. Being denied a credit limit increase is also in this category.
  • Your bank account balance is regularly at or even below $0.
  • You have no emergency fund or savings of any kind.
  • You have no money to spend on “extras” like a movie or going to a restaurant once all of the bills have been paid that month.
  • You hide your spending habits from your significant other and loved ones.
  • You have taken or have tried to take advances on your paychecks from work.
  • You use a loan or credit card to pay off another loan or credit card bill. You are shifting money that’s not yours from one place to another and not solving anything.
  • You pay most of your bills late because you don’t have enough money in your bank account to cover them when they’re due.
  • You rely heavily on overtime pay or income from moonlighting, just to pay the mortgage and buy food.
  • You just can’t seem to stop using your credit card all the time.

These are just a few examples of how you might be feeling or what’s happening in your financial life right now. It’s a good idea to update and refresh your budget to see if you have any wiggle room or where you can possibly make some cutbacks to free up some money. You need to get that debt paid down as quickly as possible.

It is rather easy to find yourself struggling with debt and wondering how on Earth this happened to you. Between student loans, mortgage loans, auto loans, and unsecured credit card debt, many Americans are currently carrying too much debt.

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Some options for debt relief:

In general, debt payments of more than 40% of your gross income are an indicator of financial distress. If you believe that you have a debt overload and need some assistance, reach out to a non-profit credit counseling agency for help. They can help you set up a budget, create a debt repayment game plan, and give you some much-needed relief and reassurance.

If you are faced with too much debt, one of your only options may be to file for bankruptcy. The credit counseling agency would suggest that you speak with a reputable bankruptcy attorney to see if they can help you. If you do decide to file, you can mostly likely use that same credit counseling agency to go through bankruptcy counseling and receive your certification that is a federal law requirement.

A Debt Management Program might be just the thing you need to reign in your debt and get it under control. It will lower your interest rates and give you one affordable monthly payment to make to the credit counseling agency. It’s a great way to get out of debt and fix your financial troubles.

Consequences of too much debt:

Getting calls from creditors, collection agencies, lawyers, and dealing with overdue bills might cause anyone to lose sleep and develop unhealthy stress—not to mention what it does to your credit score. Too much debt can:

  • Lower your credit score. Credit reporting agencies keep track of late and missed payments and how much money you owe. These will all be derogatory marks on your credit report and in time they will negatively affect your credit score.
  • Limit your capability to get new credit in the future. A low credit score can make it much more difficult to borrow money in the future. You might find yourself getting denied.
  • Cause major undue stress. Worrying about how you’re going to pay your bills can cause you to feel stressed out. This will have a negative impact on your health.
  • Limit your “wants” and “needs”. You may no longer be able to afford the things you like to have. You might have to adopt a more frugal lifestyle from here on out.
  • Create a vicious never-ending cycle of debt. When you’re in over your head and paying only the minimum or even missing payments, you are adding additional interest and penalty fees to your balance.

Many people face financial stress at some point in their lives. Whether it’s caused by sickness, job loss, gambling, addiction, or overspending, too much debt can feel overwhelming. No matter how terrible your financial situation is there are things you can do to keep it from getting worse. Contact a reputable Non-Profit credit counseling agency and find out what your options are. The call is always free and completely confidential.

If you’re working or on a fixed income and struggle to make ends meet, Advantage Credit Counseling Service will help you resolve your debt problems and get you back on track. Unlike high-pressure debt relief companies, we will help educate you to make good financial decisions or recommend a custom debt solution. Headquartered in Pittsburgh since 1968, ACCS today is a nationwide, nonprofit credit counseling agency that has paved the road to financial freedom for nearly one million customers. Visit us online at or call us toll-free at 1-866-699-2227. We’re always here to help. We Get Debt!

Author: Lauralynn Mangis
Lauralynn is the Online Marketing Specialist for Advantage CCS. She is married and has two young daughters. She enjoys writing, reading, hiking, cooking, video games, sewing, and gardening. Lauralynn has a degree in Multimedia Technologies from Pittsburgh Technical College.

Becoming Debt Free Starts Here

If you're struggling to make ends meet, our team of certified counselors are waiting to help you find a solution that's right for you. No matter what your financial situation may be, remember you're not alone