Your credit score impacts your ability to borrow money or get credit cards.
There are numbers that matter in your life – your telephone number, you ATM PIN, your age – but few can affect your life as much as your credit score.
According to a Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner study, 23 percent of investors do not know their credit score. Thirty-six percent of investors with a net worth under $100,000 not including primary residence do not know their credit score, and 34 percent of investors under the age of 40 do not know their credit score.
Not knowing your credit score is not a big deal if you don’t worry about the impact your credit score has on your borrowing ability, and 81 percent of investors do not have that concern. Again, it is investors with less than $100,000 net worth who are the most concerned, with 28 percent admitting they worry about the impact of their credit score. Likewise, 35 percent of investors under the age of 40 are concerned about the impact of their credit score on their borrowing ability.
There are three respected credit score firms: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. They use different computations to determine your credit score but use the same information to come up with their numbers. A credit score can range between 330 and 850, and the higher the number, the better your credit reputation is.
Money lenders like banks and mortgage companies look at your credit score to determine if they should loan you money. The credit score will tell whether you pay your bills on time, whether you max out your credit, and whether you apply for more credit frequently.
They look at balance and limit ratio, length of credit history, new accounts and the rates of previous loans.
There are ways to improve your credit score, and the No. 1 way is to pay off your credit cards. Paying those off, or reducing the balances on your credit cards, is of far greater importance than reducing your balance on installment loans, which simply expect you to pay the “payment due” as it comes due. Credit card balances are reported, and large balances are a signal that your credit maintenance needs repair.
It also helps to check to see if there are negative marks on your credit score that are either wrong or have been fully corrected. Financial advisors suggest a regular examination of your credit history, which the credit score companies will provide for free.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.