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How and why you should improve your credit score

Jeanne Kelly Credit Coach The Kelly Group Consulting, Inc.
How and why you should improve your credit score

Like most Americans when it comes to fixing your credit you most likely think, "But I don't know what to do," or even, "I tried, but I never finished last quarter.” Well you're not alone, which is a good thing but also a bad thing. Thousands of Americans are letting their credit stay in the tangled mess it’s been in for years and while this doesn't seem like its affecting you, believe me it is. It's also slowly ruining your chances for loans, getting that new car or even buying the dream house that you've had your eyes on for years.

Here is a small list that could help you continue the good habit (Great habit!) of checking and fixing your credit on a quarterly basis.


Do

Do set a goal

You need to set a goal for fixing your credit. Some of you are probably wondering "What does that mean? Set a goal?" Well that’s simple- the goal is what you want to accomplish when your credit is looking good again.

For example maybe you found a car you really want but you need a loan to afford it, well that’s a goal right there. Without good credit the interest rate for that car loan could be downright painful. However, if you write down your goal and repeat it to yourself regularly, "I want a low interest car loan," then you just became self-motivated.

Do start your quarterly credit review

Go to Annualcreditreport.com and access your credit report instantly and easily. Review your report for inconsistencies and make sure that everything that is on your report you actually remember doing. If you have anything that you are unsure of, you sure promptly dispute it as soon as possible. You are required by federal law to receive at least one free credit report a year, so don’t buy into any company that makes you pay for a credit report.

Do check for errors

Look for information on your credit report that just doesn't seem right or even information that doesn't belong to you. Sometimes other individuals’ information can get caught in your credit report. Check for missing information and dispute the errors and alert the credit report agencies of the mistake.

Do organize

Don't make the common mistake of just throwing your credit report in a drawer when you’re finished. If you are like my friend, and you've tossed your credit report in the drawer in the past, then you know that the drawer is going to eat it, and by next quarter you won't know what you did with it. So invest in a three dollar three ring binder to put your credit report in so that adding to it next quarter will be as easy as snap, slip, close.

Don't let your credit sneak around and block you from getting the lifestyle you want and deserve, take care of it now and it all begins at Annualcreditreport.com.


Don't

Do not stress the work

Remember you are doing this to ensure that your future is the one that you want, and not the future you had to settle for. Try to make it fun; don't be that person slumped over their desk with what looks like a permanent frown. Sit back for a minute, and toss a ball in the air a few times or maybe make a cup of coffee and take a minute to distress. Just as long as you remember to get back on the horse and finish the review of your report.

Do not pay late

Sometimes you might think it is not be a big deal to pay one credit card minimum payment over 30 days late, but you would be wrong! A recent 30 day late on your credit report could drop your score up to 50 points. Pay all of your payments on time every month. There is no sense in ruining your credit report because of one late payment.

Do not ignore a collection

If you get a new collection notice in the mail, call to find out exactly what it is for and if it is valid pay it before it goes on your credit report. Many times you may get a small medical co-pay collection notice and forget about it, but it does not matter if a new collection appears on your credit report for $25.00 or $25,000. It counts the same! Pay it so it does not report and drop your score!

Do not just give up because you think it takes too much time

When you try to achieve the things you want to in live you may find that something stops you - your credit. You may think, ‘But I don't have any time to put into fixing my credit right now, so can't I just do it later?’ Well of course you could, but that’s just burying the problem and letting it start to stink until you really have no choice but to try and fix it all in a few days’ time. That is going to be the hard part. I have good news though. You only have to review and repair your credit four times a year. The end of every quarter is when you should review and diagnose your credit problems. For example: You could have someone else's information in there stopping you from living the life you both want and deserve. It happens more often than people think, and this only take a few hours to resolve with the credit agency.

Now I know what you’re thinking and it's the same thing you thought when you were a kid and your mother told you to go clean your room, “But, it's going to take so long". Then after a few arguments I'm sure you buckled down and cleaned that room and found that it wasn't as time consuming as you thought. The very first time you look over your quarterly credit report you may take upwards of a few hours or even a day to get it completely fixed. Not only will you feel better for not having those errors hanging over your head, you'll also take about half the time next quarter when you're looking at it again. Perseverance is key when taking care of our credit report and fixing all of those annoying little problems.


Summary
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Getting your credit back to where it needs to be so that you can do the things you want to do isn't an impossible feat. It just takes a little patience, checking your credit report regularly, disputing and fixing errors, and getting your finances in check. Keep this advice in mind and you will have your credit back to normal in no time.


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Photo Credits: Nyul/bigstockphoto.com; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas - Fotolia.com

Jeanne KellyCredit Coach

Jeanne Kelly is an author, speaker, and coach who helps consumers achieve a higher credit score & understand credit reporting. As the founder of The Kelly Group in 2000 and the author of The 90-Day Credit Challenge, Jeanne Kelly is a nationa...

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