NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Families and Financial Strains

Families and Financial Strains


            Many things can place a strain on the families.  Financial problems are frequently listed as one of the top obstacles that families face.  Financial problems can have many causes, and produce disastrous results when not handled promptly and properly.


            Many families experience financial problems because they haven’t had an opportunity to learn good money management skills and so make unwise decisions about how to use their income and credit.   Uncontrollable factors such as unemployment can add to families' financial problems.  Lack of communication can cause problems when shopping gets out of control.  Other causes of family financial problems include addiction, emotional problems and stress that lead to irrational spending patterns.

            Most family financial problems are not something that happens overnight. It is generally caused by something that is impacting the amount of money coming into the home. Credit cards allow many people to live above their means and when the high balances arrive in the mail at the end of the month, many people can only afford minimal payments. This causes a high debt load that can last for years. Having an adjustable rate mortgage can mean fluctuating mortgage payments and cause a homeowner to fall behind. Missing a payment or two on your automobile can also cause you to accrue late fees and face repossession.

            If you are experiencing sudden financial problems, don't hesitate to get help. When you experience financial problems, you want to make sure you can get your debt under control. Being able to pay your bills on time helps relieve stress and allows you to regain a sense of stability and security for your family.  Establishing a budget and sticking with it will allow yourself to pay down debt, save money and get caught up on your basic bills. If you are behind on revolving credit accounts including your auto and your home, contact your lender immediately and ask for a payment extension or payment plan, this may help avoid foreclosure, court action or repossession.

            As if on credit cards, auto loans and your house payment isn't bad enough, having financial difficulties can have a ripple effect that can last years. Carrying a high debt load and being late on a few payments can directly impact your credit report and FICO score which pulls information from all three credit bureaus ---Transunion, Equifax and Experian.

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