March 12, 2015
US News & World Report quoted me in 5 Signs You’re Financially Overextended. It reads in part,
Are you managing your debt? Or is it managing you? If you’re stuck in a money quicksand trap, you may not even realize at first that you’re in a financial predicament, especially if you’re sinking slowly and have been poorly managing your cash for a long time.
But if you suspect your debt is a disaster in the making, there’s no need to wait and see if your financial life will someday implode. If you’re pushing your finances to the limit, the signs are already there that you’re overextended. Just look for them. And if you spot one, don’t ignore it. Here are five of the biggest clues that trouble is coming.
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5. You’ve created opportunities that could make you overextended. If you have a lot credit cards or lines of credit you rarely use, you could, in theory, end up spending a lot of money and getting yourself into trouble that way, but having those lines open isn’t itself a bad sign. It’s a sign that you have good credit, and your creditors trust you. Still, it’s good to remember that if you aren’t monitoring yourself, you could ultimately max out and find yourself buried in credit card debt.
At least in that scenario, you have control over what may or may not happen. Some homeowners, however, put themselves at risk for becoming overextended when they get an adjustable rate mortgage or a home equity line of credit in which the interest rate “may float with some kind of index like the prime rate or [London Interbank Offered Rate],” says David Reiss, professor of law and research director at the Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship at Brooklyn Law School in Brooklyn, New York.
“So if interest rates rise dramatically, the home equity line of credit can become unaffordable,” he says. “Interest rates have been very low for some time, so homeowners are not focusing on this risk, but if they were to rise – and they can rise suddenly – homeowners may face a rude awakening.”
In which case, you may want to refinance and position yourself to avoid becoming financially overextended if the interest rates someday jump. Because what happens to anything when it’s stretched beyond its limits? It – or you – will snap.| Permalink