by Angela Ozar | Featured Contributor
A few weeks ago, I sent an email to a friend with the subject line: Coffee Date? Little did I know, the “coffee date” would turn into lunch! I had reached out to Britt Scearce of Emery Federal Credit Union, to get inspiration and his expertise for an article on credit. And no, it was not a date, but we did end up talking about relationships. I learned that while I may not have a Valentine, at least I have a good relationship with my credit card.
Relationships take time and work, the relationship you have with credit is no exception. Your credit history affects everything from auto insurance and mortgage rates, to employment. And if you are seeking funding for your business, you better bet an investor or Uncle Sam will be looking into your payment history. Apply these tips and you’ll be ready for “the one” with the cash when your paths cross.
Time Heals Hearts and Bad Credit History
We’ve all made a few mistakes in our past. Whether it’s dating the bad boy, or not paying your bills, there is no need to worry. Just as with love, time can work wonders with your credit. All you have to do is wait. You can’t sit at home on a Saturday night, hoping your credit score went up a few points. That’s not how it works- you have to do your part, too. So get out there and start paying things off on time! It’s easier said than done, but making a plan and starting to tackle small debts will boost your confidence. Before you know it, you’ll be so busy that you won’t even realize those secret admirers (aka creditors).
DTR or DTCS (Determine The Credit Score)?
Maybe it’s time we define the relationship (DTR) or better yet, let’s determine the credit score (DTCS). The credit score is what lenders use to determine credit risk and whether or not they are ready to make a commitment to you. A FICO® score is the most popular- it’s like the Zales of credit scores. 65% of the score is weighted on your payment history and the amounts owed on your accounts. Go to Myfico to access to your score along with additional benefits. For a small monthly subscription, you can monitor your credit report and get identity restoration. Luckily, there isn’t a site that pulls up your relationship history! Oh wait…
Keep the Communication Lines Open
Now that you’ve DTCS, make sure there is communication on your trade lines. Think of trade lines (credit card, mortgage, etc.) like your social media accounts. You could be on every social media platform, but then you wouldn’t have any real relationships. It’s better to stick to just a few and use them often, but it is also important to be mindful and not overspend. If you have a few trades lines open and use them on a regular basis, you’ll have lenders lining up at your door with money instead of flowers and chocolate.
So this Valentine’s Day, when love is in the air, remember to think of your relationship with credit. If you give it some attention and a little time, you might just get the fairytale ending you hope for. By fairytale ending, I mean someone who likes you for who you are, and likes your business just as much. Who knows, maybe they’ll want to make a commitment to you with cash instead of a carat.
Inspired by her career move from a corporate analyst to working for a startup accelerator, Angela Ozar writes about how paying off her student loan debt and saving early for retirement changed her life.
She provides a fresh, entertaining, and practical approach to personal finance for young professional women in her blog The Girl Millionaire. Her blog makes finance fun.
Angela is also helping to grow female startups in the Cincinnati/NKY area as Program Manager of Bad Girl Ventures, Inc., an accelerator that aids in scaling women owned businesses through education, mentoring, and financing in Cincinnati and Cleveland, Ohio.
She is a big fan of nature, an expert wreath maker, and would rather eat brussel sprouts than cake.