Growing up, finance and credit were not popular conversations in my household. It wasn’t until I became an adult and bumped my head a few times that I learned the importance of the two. I’ve learned no matter how much money you have, money still needs a manager. I’m glad I took an interest in my finances and credit because this is especially important as it relates to buying and renting. Having your credit up to par helps with buying a home, renting an apartment, buying or leasing a car, credit card rates, getting small business loans, and getting certain jobs. Lenders use your credit history to determine how well you manage financial responsibility. Another reason I wanted to grab my credit by the horn is, I plan to be a wife some day and finances are a major part of a relationship/marriage. As women, we often fantasize about the type of man we want to marry and raise a family with. We dream about how we want him to look, how much money we want him to make, and how we want him to just roll out the red carpet and treat us like queens. We want the luxury of a man who has the financial muscle to put us in a fabulous home, buy us a nice car, and take us on extravagant trips, etc. There is nothing wrong with dreams, as they can come true. However, in reality, we can’t expect the man of our dreams to have it all together in the financial department, yet all we know how to do is spend money frivolously and our credit is shot to the hills. No ma’am. It doesn’t work like that. You have to have your ish together too sweetie! With statistics showing finance as one of the top reasons for divorce, you have to come to the table with more than good looks and good sex. If you have reached the age of 30 and your credit is not poppin, you have things you need to work on boo. This goes for you “bad b!tches” too; looks will only carry you so far. Don’t depend on your looks to get you through life. A bad b!tch with bad credit and poor money managing skills can be a headache to a man. Keep in mind in a relationship/marriage; you want to be an asset and not a liability.
Here are five tips that will help get you there. Thank me later.
- First Thing’s First. Find out where you stand. Pull your credit report and get your FICO score. You can request a free copy of your credit report from the three national credit bureaus: Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. You can also obtain a free copy of your report by going to www.annualcreditreport.com. You must know, 35% of your FICO score comes from your credit history. 90% of lenders use your FICO score to determine credit risk and whether to extend credit. FICO Scores are generally between 300 and 850; the higher the number the better.
- Don’t Run. Don’t Hide. Call Em Up. Contact any creditors that you may owe and offer to pay off any balances or set up payment arrangements. It is also okay to settle on account, but keep in mind, if the amount is over $600.00, you will get taxed on the amount you saved.
- Before You Consolidate. Be aware, consolidating your debt will save you money but it drops your credit score.
- About That Plastic. Credit cards are actually good to have because they help you to establish credit; however, you have to be careful not to become a credit card freak. Have some discipline and self-control about how often you whip it out. If you use your credit card, keep the balance below 30% of the limit. Going over this percentage can hurt your FICO score. Also, always pay your bill on time.
- Paid In Full. Once you have paid off your credit card balance, DO NOT close the account. Leave it open because the available credit helps your debt ratio.