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You hear so often consumers and customers alike squawking about their credit scores, bragging most of the time when they’re worth noting, or trying to hide them as if it was a donut and your personal trainer was bearing down on you.
Even credit card companies make it a point to tout that you can get a free credit score as part of their services, truly making that three digit number the epitome of how you revel or regret your financial standing.
But is your credit score really that important when it comes to money and how it matters?
Yes and no.
No one is going to argue that a good credit score is the gateway to getting loans and ultimately the things you want. A credit score that reeks of responsibilities puts you in the good graces of lenders and thus allows you to be viewed as less risk and more reward for them, meaning quite simply that you’ll pay back what you borrow.
The part of the credit score that isn’t quite as paramount is watching it slip points for all the right reasons. So yes, your credit score is really important but if it takes a bit of a dip, you shouldn’t immediately assume that you’ll never own a car, house or anything else that requires creditors to take a longer, harder look at that number.
Case in point: let’s say you’ve purchased a car and then six months later, you buy a house. And then within a few months of buying that home, you consolidate some credit cards by opening one with a low annual percentage rate (APR) and then transfer high interest balances from one card that isn’t quite enviable to your new one.
Do you think you credit score can survive that? Well, in some cases, it won’t and you’ll lose some serious points with each inquiry that you request, even if it is for something worthwhile like a home or car.
Conversely, if you are struggling with debt and need some outside help, you may inquire about a credit counseling or debt management service or program. These are a neutral move financially and as it relates to your money. They have fees associated with them, but they’ll get your rates and payment lowered, but it won’t do your credit score any favors. You have to remember, however, over time, your score will creep back up to respectability once you’ve either completed the debt program or have made consistent payments through their counseling and management services.
While you should always respect and pay close attention to your credit score, sometimes those numbers need a reality check. They’re not always perfect, nor should they be as long as the right situation ultimately arises.
Here’s a news flash you probably already heard: You’re broke.
OK, so maybe you have a few dollars to your name, but when you check your bank account, you have no savings account to speak of, you live paycheck to paycheck and at the end of the month, you have no leftover money.
Sure, your bills are paid, but as far as being able to spend above and beyond expenses, you just aren’t at that point.
And unless you make some serious changes, you’ll stay that way.
Being short on cash and not being able to save money isn’t anything new when it comes to the average consumer. More than 50% of the population has no savings accounts, nor do they have any additional money left over after the bills are paid.
But is there any way to avoid living this financial life for the rest of yours?
Well, most who struggle with debt find themselves relatively trapped in a vicious cycle of bad money management and poor decisions. Those less than admirable decisions include using credit cards to pay bills or refusing to take a look at your debt, from big and bad to small and not quite as important, and making changes that are going to lead the kind of lifestyle that means money in your pocket.
What ails most in this predicament is they decide to put saving money behind having fun or truly taking the time to put together a budget. For the first example, think about your finances. Are they prepared to handle an emergency money wise? If not, you should think twice about paying for a pricey vacation when you really don’t have the money. Yes, vacations are amazing but racking up more debt or spending money you don’t have just to hit the beach is just bad.
In the end, it boils down to your priorities from a money management standpoint. Do you have a budget? Do you follow it? Do you really, seriously pay close attention to what you’re buying or is it just buy first and ask questions one you check out your online banking statement?
You have to make getting out of that money pitfall a priority. Otherwise, you’ll be doomed to repeat the same mistakes as it relates to your finances, which simply means you’ll never get out from under that debt that continually plagues you one day, week, month and year at a time.