While essential in our lives, money can quickly become a source of stress, especially if you're constantly walking a tightrope between saving and spending.
If the scales are tipped too far towards stress, it might be time for a money intervention.
Here are some telltale signs that you could benefit from a closer look at your financial health.
Eliminate your late tax debt
Each year, the IRS forgives millions in unpaid taxes. If you have more than $10,000 in tax debt, or have 3+ years of unfiled taxes, you could get forgiveness too. You might be eligible to lower the amount you owe, or eliminate your tax debt completely.
Easy Tax Relief could help you lower or get out of your tax debt for good. They’re well respected in the industry and have been recognized for their ethical standards when dealing with tax debt. While most tax companies just put you on a payment plan and file your taxes for you, Easy Tax Relief talks to the IRS directly. They can help you pay off your tax debt faster while potentially reducing what you owe.
Important: Not everyone will qualify. To take advantage of this special program you must owe more than $10,000 in past-due taxes.
You’re living paycheck to paycheck
If you’ve got nothing left after all your bills, you’re one misstep or extra expense away from financial disaster.
Your spending habits might need adjustments if you want to build up your savings, or you may need to work on increasing your income, or both.
Your credit card balances are rising
Being in credit card debt isn’t uncommon — 35% of Americans carry a balance from month to month. If you’re in the process of paying these off, that’s not a huge cause for worry.
But if the balances are climbing month after month, you’ve got a problem.
You have no idea what your credit score is
Your credit score is one key indicator of your financial health. Knowing your credit score (or at least a ballpark estimate) is important, especially if you’re taking big financial steps soon, such as buying a house or refinancing your car.
If you’re over 50, take advantage of massive discounts and financial resources
Over 50? Join AARP today — because if you’re not a member you could be missing out on huge perks. When you start your membership today, you can get discounts on things like travel, meal deliveries, eyeglasses, prescriptions that aren’t covered by insurance and more.
How to become a member today:
- Go here, select your free gift, and click “Join Today”
- Create your account (important!) by answering a few simple questions
- Start enjoying your discounts and perks!
Important: Start your membership by creating an account here and filling in all of the information (Do not skip this step!) Doing so will allow you to take up 25% off your AARP membership, making it just $12 per year with auto-renewal.
You often pay bills late
We’ve all missed a bill payment before, but a habit of paying your obligations late is an indicator of financial mismanagement.
Besides dealing with your utility company or landlord’s angry phone calls, you’ll also have to deal with unnecessary, expensive late fees that can add up quickly.
You don’t have an emergency fund
In recent years, high inflation and layoffs have posed a savings challenge for many Americans. However, these economic ups and downs have highlighted the importance of having a rainy day fund for emergencies.
If you’re part of the 22% of Americans with no emergency savings, here’s your sign to start regularly contributing to a savings account.
You aren’t getting your company’s 401(k) match
You’re leaving money on the table if your employer offers a 401(k) plan with a match and you’re not contributing enough to get it. This is basically free money to help fund your retirement.
Even if your plan has limited investment options, it’s usually worth it to at least contribute enough to get the employer match.
You’re not minimizing your taxes
Uncle Sam’s cut of our income is a hidden expense we often don’t realize we’re paying. However, there are several ways to reduce the amount you’re paying in taxes.
These strategies are worth looking into if you’re not doing this already. If you’re unsure where to start, hiring a tax professional can help.
You don’t know your net worth
This is another barometer of financial awareness. Your net worth is the total of everything you have of value (i.e., your home, cars, cash, savings, retirement accounts, etc.) minus your debts (mortgage balance, car note, student loans, credit cards, etc.).
Ideally, this number should increase over time as you save for retirement and pay down your debts.
Your credit score is decreasing
It’s normal for your credit to take a minor hit after you apply for a new credit card or close an account. However, if your credit score keeps decreasing over multiple weeks or months, it’s time to reassess your relationship with credit to determine if it’s becoming a problem.
Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account
Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!1
With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!
This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.
Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.
You avoid talking about money with your partner
We get it — money isn’t always a sexy topic, especially when you disagree on how to handle things. However, avoiding financial discussions often results in a deepening wedge between you and your partner.
Plus, it’s usually just kicking the can down the road, and the disagreement is likely to be more intense if you let the issues fester.
You’re allowing lifestyle creep
As your salary increases over time, it can be tempting to let the increased income be gobbled up by a nicer car, upgraded tech, more lavish vacations, and other non-essential spending.
Those who are financially savvy can increase their savings rather than spending when they get raises.
You use savings to pay regular bills
When you dip into your emergency savings to cover the basics like food and rent, that’s a signal of a problem.
It could be an income problem (you’re not making enough to cover your current expenses) or a spending problem (you’re spending too much in other areas, leaving little to nothing for the essentials.
In either case, it’s imperative to track down the core issue before your savings run out.
You’re not accounting for extra expenses
Accidents and emergencies happen, and your emergency fund is designed to cover those black swan events. But holiday spending occurs at the same time each year, the brakes on your car won’t last forever, and you’ll need a new water heater someday.
These one-off expenses are not regular, but they are predictable, and financially savvy folks build savings for these costs into their budgets.
You often spend based on your emotions
Call it retail therapy or reward spending — using our wallets to soothe or validate our feelings can cause money issues.
Shopping to escape reality or make yourself feel better is a temporary fix. Unfortunately, the credit card bill lasts longer than the dopamine rush.
You don’t have clear financial goals
If you don’t have a defined goal for your money, you’re not likely to end up in a satisfactory place. Cash tends to wander away if you’re not mindfully trying to send it in a particular direction.
Besides, having a goal makes it possible to attach positive feelings of accomplishment to money, which can help create a healthy relationship with money.
You don’t know how much debt you owe
Most of us (about 77%) owe debt in some form. However, it’s important to know exactly how much and where so you can track your progress and pay it down.
It’s hard to make sure the needle is moving in the right direction if you don’t know how much debt you’re in.
Each one of these signs might not be cause for alarm bells to go off. However, if a few apply to you, it may be time to reassess your spending, savings, and overall direction with money.
Don’t feel you need to become perfect or completely reverse course overnight. Instead, make some simple money moves to right your financial ship.