I get asked all the time “Do I need a credit score?”
Do you need a credit score to live? No. But is a good credit score beneficial – absolutely. Your credit score and credit report reflect how you handle your money. They are your financial reputation. And just like in life, we all should strive to have a stellar reputation. So what can you do to make sure that your financial reputation is stellar.
Here are a few tips:
- Make all your monthly payments on time – Being prompt on your payments shows that you take your committments seriously. You made a promise to pay a certain amount by a certain day and you followed through on that promise.
- Keep your credit utilization low – This shows that you can handle whatever is given to you and that you don’t need to spend everything you have access to. Just because you have a total credit limit of $10,000 doesn’t mean you need to spend $10k. 10% or less is considered excellent in the credit world and is just the smart thing to do. Don’t overextend yourself – it won’t end well.
- Keep your accounts low – You don’t need 10 credit cards to make your point. All it takes is one card paid every month on time to build your credit – as long as you keep your usage below 10%. Don’t have so many accounts that you need a “beautiful mind” to keep up with it all.
- Be patient – Building credit takes time and repairing credit takes even more time. Just keep doing the right thing and your reputation will speak for itself.
- It is not about debt – You can build credit without ever going into debt. Debt is owing more than you have. Credit is a source of payment. Using credit is not a bad thing – as long as you have the funds to back it up.
These tips work whether you are building credit or trying to rebuild your credit. I went from a 585 at the beginning of my journey to over an 800 now. It takes time and commitment but it is worth it for a stellar financial reputation. Remember the tortoise wins every time you read the story!