A Love Hate Relationship How your credit score can open and slam doors for you

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A Love/Hate Relationship: How your credit score can open and slam doors for you

There are many ways to get ahead financially: attend seminars where you cut up your credit cards with hundreds of other people, participate in debt consolidation services that help you take out a home equity loan or refinance your home, or you can transfer debt on one credit card to another credit card with an introductory rate of 0% (which goes up to 12% six months down the road). The reason these methods don’t work is because we don’t concurrently cut our expenses while implementing these strategies. Even if we’re making more money, unless we cut expenses, we will continue to spend more money than we have and incur debt. Manage yourself and your money. Money is like food; we don’t eat only when we’re hungry, and we certainly don’t spend only when we need something.

Beware: Debt forgiveness can hurt you. The company that forgives your debt can issue a 1099C, which means the forgiven amount gets added to your taxed income.

When there’s a will, there’s another way:

Your credit score (also called your FICO or Beacon score) will affect the interest rate you’re able to secure. Credit scores range from 500 to 850. Where are you on the scale?

What’s in a number?

500 and below—your in serious trouble

650 to 680 you probably will have a difficult time getting credit, and if you do it will be at higher rates

700+--excellent score

How you got your credit score:

a) Payment history (35% of score). Make payments on time or early.

b) Amounts you owe (30% of score)

c) Credit history (15% of score). The longer you have credit, the higher your score can be.

d) New credit (10% of score). New credit cards.

e) Type of credit you have in use. Mortgages, Bloomingdale’s, etc.

There are three reporting services that can give you your score: Equifax.com, Experian.com and Transunion.com. At least once, do an experiment and order a report from all three. They probably will provide a complimentary report each year, per person. You will most likely find inconsistencies in the reports such as missing and incorrect information. Each time a credit report is run on you, your score is lowered by two or three points. You still want to shop around for a mortgage, but consider using a mortgage broker who runs one report to shop around the loan. If you go to five different banks, that can drop your score 15 points.