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After graduating from college in 2001, Andrea Blackwell diligently paid off her credit cards in full every month . . . for a while.

Pretty soon, though, it became easier to pay just the minimum. Then it became easier not to even open her statements.

What if you ignore your credit score?

“I knew approximately what I had to pay (to cover the minimum payment), so I would send that in,” recalls Blackwell, who lives in Portland, Ore. “I just didn’t want to know how much I owed.”

Those unopened bills or bank statements are a powerful warning sign, a not-so-subtle hint that you’re headed for trouble, even if you’re not officially there yet. Here’s the thing, though: Financial problems almost never get better if you ignore them. They tend to fester and multiply in the dark, even if the news is bad when you turn on the lights.The cost of refusing to look Blackwell later began skipping payments, at one point leaving her account 90 days overdue.

Blackwell’s refusal to confront her debt cost her dearly. Her credit was trashed. Late payment fees, credit insurance and continuing purchases swelled her balance until it was over the limit and the credit card issuer shut down the account.

Source: MSN Money

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