Paying late fees and juggling bills
Frank Boucher, principal of Boucher Financial Planning Services in Reston, Va., says habitually running up late fees typically has one of two causes.
"If you're paying late because you can't pay on time, that's a clear indicator (of future financial trouble)," Boucher says. "If you're paying late fees because you're just lazy about it, you're throwing money away."
A more serious symptom of financial distress is juggling monthly bills by making payments big enough and frequently enough to keep services flowing, but never paying balances on time and in full, Cecere says. Your debt worsens every month as balances grow.
"You're thinking ahead of time, 'I don't really have enough money to pay my bills,' and you're sort of living paycheck to paycheck," she says.