YOU ARE NOT YOUR CREDIT
By Chad Murray
If you’ve never made mistakes with credit this is not for you. If you’ve never made a mistake in life, living isn’t for you. Your past tells you where you’ve been but it doesn’t tell you who you are. Many people attach their feeling of self worth to their credit score. Imagine if we did that with everything in life. “I forgot to take out the garbage, that means I’m a loser.” “I burnt the meatloaf, I’m the worst chef ever.” You wife might have something to say about the missing garbage day bit, but we’re all human. We’ll make mistakes from time to time but that doesn’t define us. What defines us is how we respond to our shortcomings.
For those who dig their heads in the sand like an ostrich and decline the opportunity to remedy an error, you are no better than your history. You and the trouble of your past is one in the same because the habits, traits, and actions that lead you to your mistake is still running your life. If nothing changes, then nothing changes. However, if you’ve experienced late payments, a foreclosure, or a bankruptcy, time will heal those wounds as long as you seek to learn from your past mistakes. Bad credit is the function of bad financial habits and the lack of financial literacy. Many of us can blame the fact that we were not taught basic financial literacy as youth. Those who choose this excuse are willing to give their power to the past rather than being empowered by the promise of the future. Much like a child who’s afraid of the dark, you’ll never conquer your financial fears until you face them. Like a child who’s afraid of the dark, most people find that when they do face their financial challenges, it is not nearly as scary as once thought.
How do you go about facing your financial challenges? One way to start is by getting a copy of your credit report. With your credit report, you can explore the issues of your past, plan for the present, and be prepared for the future. Committing to getting your report is an easy but major step towards building the credit that you believe represents you the way it should. Some of the top sites that you can use are:
ANNUAL CREDIT REPORT
Annual Credit Report is a service that is provided by the credit bureaus. They came together to give consumers the ability to get a free copy of your credit report. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report once a year. The report is detailed and accurate. You will be able to get up to date information about your payment history, balances, and other details on your credit. The shortcoming of this resource is that it does not provide the credit scores. You would have to pay an additional fee just for your credit scores. Unfortunately, that’s like getting directions to turn left or right but not being told when or where to turn. To build your credit, you need to measure where you are and determine where you want to go with your credit score.
This is a popular resource that has really cool and engaging commercials. They offer a free Transunion and Equifax credit report and score. However, they don’t give you your Experian credit report or score. While this will give you an idea as to where you are, it won’t tell you the whole story. Furthermore, the system used to generate your credit score isn’t the same as the one the FICO uses, so the score you get will usually be higher on the Credit Karma report than it would be if you were to get a report from a bank or any other lender. This is a decent place to start, but there are better options if you want to get it done right.
Score Sense is the only service on this list that has the use of 3 credit reports and scores. It is also free and gives you a ton of actionable credit advice throughout the website. You can use this easy to read report to start to take a look at the issues that you’ve had and take on the negative items while planning to build better credit. The credit report that you will get is great, but there is a $39.99 monthly service if you don’t cancel within 7 days. You can keep this service for that monthly charge, but you’d be better served to use the report to address the current issues on your report and cancel it. Most of the information and advice on this site can be found for free on the internet. Use this resource as much as you can but be sure to cancel. While the content of this site is great and informative, the monthly charge is high.
Use this link to get your Scoresense credit report.
If you are ready to move past your past and embrace the future that’s waiting for you, start here. Some people only learned about credit after they ruined it. Others had life events like an illness, divorce, or loss of a job hurt their credit. Whatever your story is, you can recover. We love the story of the comeback kid who makes it despite the odds. What do you want your story to be? One of failure, defeat, and foreclosure, or one of hope, redemption, and triumph? You get to choose. It start with making a decision. A decision to not be condemned to your failures. The choice to make your test in life be your testimony. You overcoming and achieving your goals is not just for you. It will empower you to greater things in your credit and life, but it will also serve as an example to others who are struggling with financial issues. When you choose to make this change, you’ll be able to say, “I did it, so I know you can do it too!”