personal debt out of controlRising personal debt in America is becoming a national crisis because the cost of living in many cities is increasing quickly while the wages being offered by employers is either remaining steady or dropping. As such, a growing number of Americans have to turn to credit cards, loans, and lines of credit just to make ends meet.

It’s no wonder that more and more people are finding themselves swamped with debt and unable to get out. There are ways you can manage your finances and pay off your debts, but that does require being acutely aware of your financial situation and being able to recognize when your personal debt is out of control.

If you’ve been accumulating bills and overdue notices for a while and are starting to worry that your personal debt is getting out of control, there are warning signs you can look for that indicate that it’s time to take action.

No Savings, Maxed Credit Cards, and Missed Payments

One major indicator that your personal debt is out of control is the inability to pay your bills. When you’re in debt, you don’t have the luxury of putting money away into a savings account every month, so when it comes time to pay your bills, it’s possible you don’t have the money to cover your monthly expenses.

Because there’s no money, you might be putting everything on credit, and this means all your cards are going to be at their maximum balances. And when your cards are maxed and you have no savings, this leads to missed payments, rising interest, late fees, and an increasing debt load.

Even if you’re making the minimum payment every month, you’re still accumulating more debt because of interest, and you likely aren’t paying much toward the principal. Here’s a rule of thumb: if you’re using 70-plus percent of your available credit and don’t have the funds to pay it off, it’s a warning sign that your finances might be in trouble.

Balance Transfers, New Cards, and Growing Balances

When your credit cards are maxed, getting a new card to pay off the original one may seem like a viable option when you don’t have the money to pay it off. But if you continue transferring the balance to a different card every month instead of paying down the debt, you will be forever burdened with that debt (not to mention the growing interest and possible balance transfer fees).

Moreover, if you’re using cash advances, loans, or otherwise creating more debt to deal with your existing debt, this is a major sign that your personal debt is out of control.

Money Stresses, Denial, and Hopelessness When Personal Debt is Out of Control

Finances are stressful, and that’s unfortunately just a fact of life. But if you’re always on the verge of a panic attack because of your debt ratio and aren’t sure how to fix the problem, it’s an indication that something isn’t right with your bank account.

Worse yet, if you’re in denial about what you owe—dodging calls from creditors, tearing up bills, and neglecting your financial responsibilities—are lying about your debt, or are intentionally keeping your financial situation hidden from family or friends, these are also signs that your personal debt is out of control.

There are many warning signs and red flags that point to spiraling personal debt, and the main things to look for are a lack of savings, maxed credit cards, the inability to pay off more than the minimum balance, borrowing more to pay off debt, and anxiety or denial.

If any of these scenarios sound familiar, it’s possible that your personal debt is getting out of control, and that it’s time for debt relief before your ratio grows even more. If this sounds like you then visit this page to start down the road of eliminating your debt for good.