by. Amaia Kirtland
Take a look around. 1 in 5 can’t pay all their bills and make ends meet without access to a credit card, the National Foundation of Credit Counseling (NFCC) found in a recent online poll.
In order to live only on cash, 22% of respondents said they would have to make significant lifestyle changes.
Credit can be helpful when used responsibly. “Credit should be used as a convenience, not to supplement income,” said Gail Cunningham, NFCC spokesperson. “It is a warning sign if a person is not able to manage his or her daily lifestyle without the use of credit cards, as this is a dangerous habit that could lead to serious financial distress.”
Identify the signs. Are you on the tipping point? The NFCC offers the following red flags to help consumers identify when their debt has become unmanageable:
- Paying only the minimum on credit card bills each month;
- Increasing credit card balances;
- Skipping monthly payments, paying late, or making short payments;
- Accounts going into collection;
- Moving debt around through balance transfers;