August 18th, 2010
8 Reasons to Never Ignore Your Credit Scores
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We here at Credit Karma think credit scores are a pretty big deal. We know how important it is to give consumers free access to their credit score because its their potential financial powerhouse. So when MSN Money posted “8 Reasons To Ignore Your Credit Scores,” we wanted to take a stand for credit. Here’s our thoughts on why, no matter what, it’s crucial to keep an eye on your credit score.
Reason #1: They’re already awful. If your credit can’t get much worse, don’t worry about harming it further — just get back on track with your finances as a whole.
Our Thoughts: If you were trying to get in shape, you’d keep track of your weight. So why wouldn’t you keep track of your credit score if you’re trying to get financially fit? Your credit score is a consistent measurement of your financial progress; it’s like a thermometer of your overall financial health to determine whats working well and what’s not. You’ll see how positive actions, like paying down debt and lowering your credit utilization, helps your credit score. You can even see how certain actions, like a new credit card or new hard inquiries, could impact your score with our totally free Credit Simulator. Use these insights to improve your credit health.
Reason #2: They’re already great. You’ve done it — achieved perfect or near perfect credit! Now go have fun.
Our Thoughts: You don’t need to eat, sleep, and breathe credit scores, but you earned perfect credit by working hard at it, so you should maintain it. No one goes to the gym just to put the weight right back on! Check your credit score at least once a month (since creditors report every 30 days or so) to watch for score changes and as a personal reminder to yourself to be diligent about your credit.
Reason #3: When they become an obsession. Fixation can also result in splurging on extraneous services.
Our Thoughts: Good thing Credit Karma is totally free =).
Reason #4: You won’t need them. In short, good credit is inconsequential if you really won’t be using it in the foreseeable future.
Our Thoughts: You might not be buying a home, getting a car, or taking out a loan at this very moment, but be prepared for the unforeseeable future. Unemployment teeters at 9.5% nationwide, the economy is facing a double-dip recession, and the housing market remains crippled. Protect your credit score now and it will take care of you later on down the road when you need a mortgage, loan, or even an emergency line of credit.
Reason #5: You’re bankrupt. Bite your nails about the effect? Don’t bother.
Our Thoughts: Why deal with your credit score later when you can help it now? Begin rebuilding credit by getting a secured card and making on-time payments right after you’re discharged from bankruptcy. Plus, your credit score is a reminder to never, ever put yourself in the position to declare bankruptcy again.
Reason #6: You’ve got more pressing problems to deal with. What takes precedence over your credit reports? Your health and that of your family, putting food on the table and keeping the lights on in your home, to name a few.
Our Thoughts: We wholeheartedly agree. Ultimately, your credit score is the means to an end—the door to all the financial opportunities you and your family need. But money and finances remain a top source of stress for most Americans. Make friends with your credit score now so it can work to benefit you later.
Reason #7: You’re using them as status numbers. The only people your credit should matter to are you and your prospective lenders, employers and landlords. Forget trying to reach the scoring heights if it’s because you’re competing with someone else or you think it rates you as a human being.
Our Thoughts: Good point; we don’t recommend mentioning your credit score at a dinner party to boast to your neighbors either. Instead, think of your credit score as a personal goal to aim for and reach, not for the sake of competing with others, but for your own financial needs and personal gratification.
Reason #8: You’re skipping the country – for good. Relocating to Tahiti? Pack your sunscreen, but leave your credit behind.
Our Thoughts: Your American credit score and credit history won’t follow you to other countries, but your bad credit habits just might. Since many other countries have credit score models, it’s wise to start practicing good credit habits now to take with you anywhere in the world.
Of course, MSN Money’s article isn’t trying to sabotage consumers out there. It’s a good big-picture reminder that you shouldn’t be losing sleep over your credit score, and just enjoy your life too! But couldn’t life be a bowl of cherries with a great credit score too?
Bottomline: Don’t kill yourself worrying over your credit score, but also never underestimate the significance of monitoring your credit score.