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7 Indications Your Finances are as Messed Up as a Gaddafi Halloween Mask

Halloween is next week, and many people are trying to figure out what to be. Predictably, Muammar Gaddafi has surged into popularity as a costume choice. And it’s a fairly scary looking costume. While you could make your own, of course, some of the masks are a little off-putting.

Whether you are making your own Halloween costume, or buying one already-made, can say a lot about your finances. And, of course, there are plenty of other indications of financial health. If you are trying to figure out your finances, here are 7 signs that you might be in trouble:

1. No Plan for Your Money

Do you have a plan for your money? Any plan at all? If you have no idea where your money is going, that’s a bad sign. If you aren’t directing your financial resources, you might be in trouble. One of the most important financial principles is to know what you want to do with your money.

2. A Payday Loan is Your Only Option

Been turned down by lenders? Are you having trouble even qualifying for a credit card? Are you in a tight spot and your only option is a payday loan? If so, you are clearly in financial trouble. When you reach the point that your savior is a payday lender, you really do have scary finances. It might be time for a wake up call.

3. Financing a Purchase for as Long as Possible

Your perception of what you can “afford” is pretty messed up if you have to get a long loan term in order to make payments. Do you need more than five years to pay of that car? Are you pushing for a 40-year mortgage? Are you getting that big TV because you have two years to pay it off? When you have to stretch out a loan term for a longer period, it’s an indication that you actually can’t “afford” what you are buying. If you can’t afford payments on a 60-month car loan, 30-year mortgage or save up to buy a TV, you are in trouble.

4. Only Making Minimum Payments on Your Credit Cards

Can you only “afford” the minimum payment on your credit cards? If so, you might be in trouble. Very real trouble. When you are treading water, and only making the smallest possible payment on your credit card debt, that’s in indicator of scary finances. You need to turn things around as quickly as you can, looking for ways to improve the rate at which you pay down credit card debt.

5. You Have No Money to Spare for Saving

Are you certain that you have no money available for saving? Whether it’s money to invest in your retirement, or money to set aside for an emergency fund, it’s important to focus on the funds for the future. Your future is important enough that you don’t want to risk it. Your finances are in pretty scary shape if you don’t have any money at all to set aside. You can start small to build up your emergency fund; if you can’t start a fund using a few dollars a week, you need to check your finances, and consider what you might be able to do better.

6. You’re One Unexpected Setback from Total Catastrophe

Are you really worried about money? If you are on edge, scared that the next car repair or trip to the doctor will completely devastate your finances, you might be in financial trouble. This goes along with your savings problem. If you aren’t building up an emergency fund to help you handle these unexpected expenses, you could find yourself in even worse shape. When your stomach lurches at the thought of an unexpected $300 expense, you should realize you’re in trouble. It’s time to create a situation that allows you to be prepared for these unexpected expenses, so that you aren’t up at night worried about what will happen next.

7. You’re Sure You’re Doing Everything You Can, And It’s Not Your Fault

It’s true: Sometimes financial issues arise and it’s not your fault. Whether you are laid off, or whether someone without insurance hits your car, there are definitely circumstances beyond your control. However, if you sit back, sure that you are doing everything you can, that could be an indication that things are pretty bad. It’s important to realize that there are almost always options. Giving up will only result in even scarier finances. Instead, see if there is something you can do to save more money, or to earn more money.

You might be surprised, when you stop and think about it, at the options you have. If you are showing the above signs of trouble, it’s time to stop, and take action. Honestly evaluate your finances, and look for ways to make improvements. It might be uncomfortable, but it will be less scary, in the long run, than staying the course.

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