36 Symptoms Of Money And Financial Problems

Updated: September 10, 2023

Are you headed towards a financial disaster? You may not know it yet, but your current lifestyle could be leading you into a pit of debt.

Financial problems usually creep in and go unnoticed until it’s already too late and out of control.

That’s why we need to be aware of the early stages of these money problems so that we can immediately begin rehabilitating our finances and save ourselves from financial stress.

Moreover, while some people are oblivious to their state, a good number also try to live in denial of their bad financial situation.

They go on with their lives without doing anything to solve their money problems. If you’re one of these people, then I say it’s time for you to wake up and do something.

To help you evaluate your current situation, I’ve compiled a list of 36 tell-tale signs that you’re probably headed toward money and financial problems.

If a good number of these symptoms apply to you, then it may be time for you to be more proactive with your finances.

    1. You don’t have a monthly budget for your expenses.
    2. You have a budget, but you don’t stick to it often.
    3. You don’t have an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses.
    4. You don’t have adequate medical or health insurance.
    5. You don’t have an idea how much you owe on your credit card, and you’re not really interested in finding out.
    6. You only pay the minimum amount due on your credit card each month because that’s all you can afford.
    7. You always pay late payment penalty fees on your credit card bills.
    8. Your credit card outstanding balance keeps on increasing each month and is already going near your credit limit.
    9. You used a credit card to make a purchase, and it got declined because you’re maxed out.
    10. You are using your credit card not for leverage and the sake of convenience but because you don’t have money to spend on your necessities.
    11. You’re taking out a cash advance from your credit card.
    12. You take out new loans or get a cash advance to pay off old debts.
    13. You get denied or turned down for a loan or credit card application.
    14. You invest your money in financial instruments you don’t fully understand.
    15. You issue check payments that you hope you can cover by the time it clears in the bank.
    16. You have issued a check that bounced.
    17. You frequently receive phone calls and letters that remind you to pay your delinquent bills.
    18. You usually wait for the service suspension or disconnection notice to arrive before you pay your utility bills.


  1. If you lose your job, you don’t know where to get the money to pay your next month’s bills.
  2. You deliberately work overtime because you desperately need the extra cash.
  3. You spend a lot after payday, then you try to stretch what’s left until the next salary period.
  4. You always tell other people that you need to start saving money, but you don’t.
  5. You believe that money is the root of all evil.
  6. You don’t have any concrete long-term financial goals.
  7. You gamble or bet on the lottery not for entertainment but because of financial desperation.
  8. You buy impulsively and often purchase the things you don’t really need.
  9. You shop when you’re depressed.
  10. You lose sleep worrying about money.
  11. You sleep too much so you can avoid thinking about your finances.
  12. You’re a guarantor to too many of your friends’ loans.
  13. You always say yes when a friend borrows money from you.
  14. You are hiding the true cost of your expensive purchases from friends and loved ones.
  15. You’re thinking of doing something illegal just to earn money.
  16. You often depend on your parents or relatives to pay for your bills and expenses.
  17. You’ve been contemplating borrowing money from a friend.
  18. You’re starting to have arguments about money with your spouse or loved ones.


Remember that financial problems don’t get solved by itself. It needs an active solution. You need to accept your situation and commit to change.

What more can you add to the list? Please share them below as a comment.

What to do next: Click here to start your financial journey with IMG Wealth Academy
Photos credits: danmoyle and captivated


  1. i agree fitz ,i am suffering some of the above symptoms, i am now trying to be relieved and it is difficult. i have already subscribed to your post and have learned much but my problem is motivation, till now i am not consistent in my expense tracking and setting of budget. do i need a financial adviser?

  2. @Dyimz
    Well, today is always a good time to start for that. :D

    @ms hopeful
    Personal discipline and motivation can only come from oneself. So in my opinion, you don’t really need a financial adviser. What I do suggest is that you ask family and friends for emotional support on what you are currently going through.

  3. parang lahat ng items na yan applicable sa akin dati. ngayon ito ang number one problem ko “#26 # You buy impulsively and often purchase the things you don’t really need.” sana malampasan ko ito.

  4. When you start becoming comfortable about have a certain balance on your credit card and that balance increases every couple of months or so then you know you are heading for trouble. Say you are okay with having $100 not paid on your credit card and then in a few months you are okay with $200, very soon that is going to spiral out of your control and you will regret it.

  5. @Janette
    Hi! Yes, I shall do a follow up post on this one regarding how they can turn their situation around. Thanks for the suggestion.

    @Paulo B
    It’s not something we can achieve overnight. It takes patience and a conscious effort to change. It has been this way for me. I believe you can do it too.

    I really agree. These things, specially credit card debt, creep slowly and it’s often too late before we realize that we’re in deep financial trouble. That’s why it’s important that we become aware of these signs as early as possible. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :D

  6. I think people should be taught to save money at young age.

    As for myself I usually invested my money in long term deposits such as yearly Fixed Deposit.

    Obviously spending money is much easier than saving money, that’s for sure.

  7. i think awareness is the first step. if you are now aware of the above signs then you’ll make a conscious effort to avoid them. i was also an impulsive buyer, but when i realized this i began to understand the reason behind and made a conscious effort not to buy stuffs that i don’t really need.

  8. Hi sir fitz! I want to add the following:

    A) starts selling their personal items to pay off their debt/s
    B) relies on luck e.g. winning the lottery
    C) believes that the government will take care of their needs
    D) intrigues on joining quick rich schemes or program
    E) relies on a single source of income.

  9. all true, except #18 in our case where we needed to delay paying bills and rent just before we were starting our business to use the money as capital! i think this was what r. kiyosaki meant by paying your bills last which we only experienced by accident :)

  10. I don’t (and won’t) use credit cards, so that eliminates some of the things in the list in my case… but i do need to: continue building my emergency fund, set more concrete financial goals, minimize impulsive buying, and spending “more” after payday… Thanks for this list, sir!

  11. GUILTY of #3, we keep on finding great short term investments and not working the money really is troubling to us. If a truly bad situation arose, I could withdraw from my retirement account but that is something we avoid like the plague. That is my only excuse for not building a larger emergency fund at a local bank or even “under the mattress.” Also, I must agree with the comment Mar wrote, I have seen these behaviours way too often with one of my Brother In Laws.

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