INDIANAPOLIS —It's way too easy to rack up credit card debt, and keeping a bank account open is a struggle for many Hoosiers.
Living paycheck to paycheck, experts say, can often run people's bank account down to zero. That's when you enter the danger zone of racking up late fees.
It's a daunting task to tackle paying off debt regularly. But folks who need help with their finances can go to the Community Alliance on the Far East side of Indianapolis.
Kyra Bowerman is a teacher who has a job and two degrees, but even so, she says her problems began with credit cards.
"Getting one was very easy. And that was a problem. At 18 who is going to give an 18-year-old with no income a credit card? And everybody does," Bowerman said.
Without a steady income at the time, she didn't realize she was only hurting her credit score, as she was unable to pay her credit card every month.
"I didn't feel the effects until it was time for me to go and try to get an apartment. Well now I have this debt, and I can't get a permit," Bowerman said. "Because of this credit that I have. Then what happens is you not only have one but then you have two, and then you get approved for a third one. Then that's where the money management comes into play."
Kim Taylor is a financial coach and helps clients like Bowerman budget, set goals, and build their credit.
"There are more fees that are put on to the consumer more so today than there have been in the past," Taylor said.
While there are more fees, which is the cycle some fall into, Taylor says there are also more resources to support the consumer — if you know how to navigate the system.
"I would say, not understanding the process. And also getting into financial services and products that they at first had great intentions and then they don't," Taylor said. "Talk to the banking institution and figure out how do I rectify this."
Taylor says repairing your finances often involves readjusting your lifestyle and working within the budget you have. But becoming debt-free is achievable.
"There's people out there to help," Taylor said. "You just have to reach out."
The financial coach recommends beginning with a low-limit credit card to start out building credit. If you have debt, try to identify areas in your life where you can cut expenses, or pick up another job.
Community Alliance creates specific plans for you and also offers rent assistance, utility assistance, senior services, employment, and income coaching.