None of us like to admit that we’re struggling, whether that’s physically, emotionally, or financially. We all like to believe that we’re responsible adults, and as such, we can and will take care of our own problems. Couple that with the fact that as a society, we’re shy about discussing our finances openly, and it means that financial issues aren’t addressed properly. By the time we’re eventually forced into taking action, the situation is often much worse than it would have been if we’d taken appropriate action at an earlier stage.

How do we stop that from happening, though? What are the tell-tale signs that should nudge us toward speaking to a professional about our debts, and what to do with them? There are plenty of them, but some are more telling than others. We’ll outline five of the biggest ones here, and if any of them apply to you, you owe it to yourself to give serious consideration about whether asking for help might be the best move for you to make in the long term.

You’re Missing Payment Dates

When you take out a structured debt, you sign a contract that guarantees the lender that you’ll pay back a specific amount at regular intervals, and also the date by which those payments will be made. If you’re frequently late with those payments, you’re at risk of breaking that contract and seeing the lender ask you for the full amount immediately. You’re also doing damage to your credit record, which is weighed on not only your repayment record but also the timeliness of your repayments. Millions of people are late with payments on loans and credit cards each month, with freelancers being particularly likely to struggle. If this is happening to you every month, it’s a clear indication that you can’t put together the necessary money for your repayments on time, and so you might need to look at lightening the load.

Your Debts Keep You Awake At Night

Getting a good night’s sleep is vital to your well-being. Your body uses that time to carry out necessary repairs to your body, and re-balance your brain chemistry to ensure you have optimal functions for the next day. If you can’t sleep properly, you’ll soon start to feel sluggish, fatigued, and unproductive. That’s not great for any aspect of your life, but especially not great for your ability to make money and service your debts. If it’s your debts that are keeping you awake, that’s a cruel irony. Worrying about financial issues is normal, but worrying doesn’t achieve anything. Speaking to a debt professional might provide you with some light at the end of the tunnel, and allow you to get the sleep you both need and deserve.

You’re Hiding Debts From Your Partner

You should already know that something is badly wrong if you’re hiding your debt situation from your partner. Whether it’s through fear and shame, the fact that you feel the need to keep secrets is confirmation that something has gone disastrously wrong, and you don’t know how to cope with it. Despite that, as many as one in seven people do this regularly. Your partner ought to be the person who provides you with the most support, and yet you’re denying yourself that possibility and trying to struggle on with the problem alone. That will take a toll on your relationship and your stress levels, and it has to stop. Speaking to a professional can help you to come up with a plan, and going to your partner with a plan is better than having no plan and keeping it all to yourself.

You’re Being Turned Down For Further Credit

Banks and other lenders won’t keep providing you with money if they don’t believe you’re capable of repaying it. They rely on sophisticated computer systems to make such decisions for them. Think of them like Christmas themed slots, but in reverse. If you’ve ever played games at an online slots website, you’ll know that to get a win, you need the symbols on the screen to line up in the perfect order for you. If they don’t, then the house wins, and the online slots game keeps your money. Your credit history works like the symbols in online slots do. If they don’t look like a pleasing arrangement to your potential lender, the lender won’t ‘pay out.’ A rejection by a lender is a vote of ‘no confidence’ in your financial situation. Bearing in mind that banks and lenders make money through the interest payments on loans, their decision to turn you down is equivalent to saying that they don’t believe they can make money from you. That’s a good reason to look more closely at your credit situation.

You’re Using One Credit Account To Pay Another

For many people, debt problems start with a single loan or a single credit card. When they run up a bill they can’t pay on that card, or with that loan, they take a new line of credit out and use it to repay their other credit commitments. Then they’ll take another, and another, until they have multiple accounts all requiring repayment, and nowhere left to turn. If you can’t afford to repay your credit commitments using your income and you have to rely on further credit to do it for you, you’re on your way to serious financial issues. It’s time to get help for them.

Renegotiating your credit commitments comes with consequences. Agreeing to reduced repayments will break your current contracts with your creditors, and result in a default on your credit file. That will hamper your ability to get credit in the future – but if you’re struggling anyway, more credit should be the last thing you want. We don’t know your personal financial situation, so we can’t offer you financial advice – but we can say that if you’re worried about your debts and you can’t see a way out of the situation you’re currently in, speaking to someone about it is almost certainly the right thing to do. Don’t suffer in silence. Help is available. Use it!