Do you ever feel like you're living the Lunchmoney Lewis song "Bills," that your whole life revolves around "bills I gotta pay"? (See full lyrics here: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/lunchmoneylewis/bills.html.) I heard this song recently and it made me think of all the people I speak to on a daily basis that have paid some bills late, think (or know) they have bad credit, and think that their bad credit score will haunt them forever. Well take heart! You can make different decisions starting today that can put you on the road to better credit.
Bad credit does not have to last forever! Bad decisions do not mean you'll never be able to buy a home. If you begin to take steps in the right direction, by following a plan I can provide for you, you can be on your way to having better credit by the end of the day today. Then, by simply following the plan, one day at a time, then one month at a time, your positive financial changes will take you further from your mistakes. And that's how your credit score will improve, as will your peace of mind. So where do you start? Here are your first three action steps:
1. Make a decision - The first step is to make up your mind and make a commitment to yourself and someone else - like a spouse, family member, or accountability partner - that you are ready to make positive changes and grow your credit score. Do you have a specific goal in mind? Like buying a home? Helping your kids pay for college? Getting married? Write it down so you can track your progress.
2. Know where you stand - Now that you know where you're going, you need to know your starting point. You need to know what your credit report says and what your credit score is. You can get a free copy of your credit report once per year at www.annualcreditreport.com. You can purchase your credit report with a FICO credit score at www.myfico.com. Examine your credit report and make sure it's accurate. If you see anything that doesn't look right, call the creditor and the credit bureau. Make sure to keep notes of your conversations, who you spoke to and when; keep all correspondence in a file or binder.
3. Create new habits - Now that you have your goal and your score you can begin to make positive changes to day-by-day increase your score. First, pay off or make arrangements on any old or bad debts. Then, start by paying down all revolving balances to 20 percent or less of the total credit line. Make sure to pay all of your bills on time. Follow these steps and as you put time to work for you your score will increase month-by-month. Check it again in six months and track your progress.
I speak to people all the time that feel if they have bad credit, it lasts forever which is not true. Today you can begin to change your credit future by paying attention now and creating new habits. Time heals all wounds, same with on your credit!