Debt is the American Way, and you may need help to get out of it.

As Americans, we have essentially been trained to spend, and not to save. We are a consumer society: spending on things that we do not need, but are encouraged to buy. We think it is normal to carry a lot of debt. While our grandparents may have had only one debt; a 20 year mortgage; the average American today has a 30 year mortgage, and a second mortgage or home equity loan, leaving no equity in the home. We finance our cars, and we carry credit card debt, which was not the case two generations ago.

A high credit score, or the ability to get credit cards, does not necessarily indicate good credit. A better test is to go into a bank and try to borrow $1,000. The credit card industry is willing to loan money to people who are not credit worthy. Then, they can make your life miserable, with interest rate increases for no apparent reason, late fees, over limit fees, and harassing phone calls when you are late or in default. Many banks probably would not be profitable without overdraft charges.

We spend too much on our cars. High car payments make it difficult to pay your other living expenses. Unfortunately, many people have also locked themselves into mortgages that are now higher than they can afford. Combine those factors with the low incomes in lower Delaware, the escalating cost of living, and limited, or no, increase in income, and it is a recipe for disaster.

EVERYBODY DESERVES A SECOND CHANCE, A FRESH START. The key is to learn from your mistakes, or take into account the uncertainties of life that can change your financial circumstances. Once you have a fresh start, you can proceed with a new outlook on life and finances. For most people, I recommend having a mortgage payment, or rent, that is no more than 25% of your net income, and keeping car payments below 9.2% of income. Have goals for giving a certain amount to charity, spending a reasonable amount on vacations and recreation, and saving about 10% of your income. If you examine your finances periodically, and assess where you are, and have goals like saving, you should be able to manage your finances better and limit unnecessary spending. It is very easy to spend everything you make, and more. It shows responsibility and discipline when you take control of your finances, and budget your spending. Managing your finances, instead of having your situation control you, will make for a much happier future.

Don’t follow the crowd and be like everyone else. Take control of your financial future. Consider what you spend on finance charges and interest: add it up and think about what you could do if you had that money available for your current use. If you only have a 15-year mortgage and pay it off without future borrowing against your home, and pay cash for everything else, you can amass a fortune by saving what you would otherwise spend on finance charges and interest. You can use some of that to live better, and save some for retirement: Social Security is unlikely to be enough. Having a home that is paid for is a big help for a comfortable old age.

If you are in a financial bind, and almost everyone has been there, make a change, get a fresh start, and forgive yourself for any financial mistakes.

I enjoy helping people get relief from debts that are overwhelming them. No one benefits when people suffer in a hopeless financial situation. Let me show you what options are available for you, and we can discuss what you should do. It is very easy to get into financial trouble. You may need some help to determining how bad your situation is, and to get out of a situation where you are overburdened with debt.