Signs of Compulsive Debting
- Being unclear about your financial situation. Not knowing account balances, monthly expenses, loan interest rates, fees, fines, or contractual obligations.
- Frequently “borrowing” items such as books, pens, or small amounts of money from friends and others, and failing to return them.
- Poor saving habits. Not planning for taxes, retirement or other not-recurring but predictable items, and then feeling surprised when they come due; a “live for today, don’t worry about tomorrow” attitude.”
- Compulsive shopping: Being unable to pass up a “good deal”; making impulsive purchases; leaving price tags on clothes so they can be returned; not using items you’ve purchased.
- Difficulty in meeting basic financial or personal obligations, and/or an inordinate sense of accomplishment when such obligations are met.
- A different feeling when buying things on credit than when paying cash, a feeling of being in the club, of being accepted, of being grown up.
- Living in chaos and drama around money: Using one credit card to pay another; bouncing checks; always having a financial crises to contend with.
- A tendency to live on the edge: Living paycheck to paycheck; taking risks with health and car insurance coverage; writing checks hoping money will appear to cover them.
- Unwarranted inhibition and embarrassment in what should be a normal discussion of money.
- Overworking or under earning: Working extra hours to earn money to pay creditors; using time inefficiently; taking jobs below your skill and education level.
- An unwillingness to care for and value yourself: Living in self-imposed deprivation; denying your basic needs in order to pay your creditors.
- A feeling or hope that someone will take care of you if necessary, so that you won’t really get into serious financial trouble, that there will always be someone you can turn to.
Most compulsive debtors will answer “yes” to at least eight of the following 15 questions.
- Are your debts making your home life unhappy?
- Does the pressure of your debts distract you from your daily work?
- Are your debts affecting your reputation?
- Do your debts cause you to think less of yourself?
- Have you ever given false information in order to obtain credit?
- Have you ever made unrealistic promises to your creditors?
- Does the pressure of your debts make you careless of the welfare of your family?
- Do you ever fear that your employer, family or friends will learn the extent of your total indebtedness?
- When faced with a difficult financial situation, does the prospect of borrowing give you an inordinate feeling of relief?
- Does the pressure of your debts cause you to have difficulty sleeping?
- Has the pressure of your debts ever caused you to consider getting drunk?
- Have you ever borrowed money without giving adequate consideration to the rate of interest you are required to pay?
- Do you usually expect a negative response when you are subject to a credit investigation?
- Have you ever developed a strict regimen for paying off your debts, only to break it under pressure?
- Do you justify your debts by telling yourself that you are superior to the “other” people, and when you get your “break” you’ll be out of debt overnight?
How did you score? If you answered yes to eight or more of these questions, the chances are that you have a problem with compulsive debt, or are well on your way to having one. If this is the case, today can be a turning point in your life.
We have all arrived at this crossroad. One road, a soft road, lures you on to further despair, illness, ruin, and in some cases, mental institutions, prison, or suicide. The other road, a more challenging road, leads to self-respect, solvency, healing, and personal fulfillment. We urge you to take the first difficult step onto the more solid road now.