Just like bad credit can’t be fixed overnight, good credit takes time to establish. You can’t achieve or maintain good credit with unhealthy financial habits, so build a sound financial plan and follow it.
A strong credit history and financial health are a long-term investment. To develop a good credit score, you will need to follow a few basic rules:
- Understand what payments you can afford
- Follow a budget
- Educate yourself about your financial options
- Be vigilant against fraud
By following these rules, you can set yourself up for a lifetime of success.
Understand what you can afford
Even people who never miss a payment can see their score dip over time if they’re spending more than they should.
Carrying high loan balances or high credit card balances not only pings your credit score but makes it hard to save or invest. If you’re in debt, focus on paying it down, and if you’re not, think twice before taking out a big loan or putting more on a credit card than you can pay off in a month. Living within your limits is the best investment you can make.
Follow a budget
There are plenty of budgeting tools available to you, but the most important elements of budgeting is knowing and controlling where your money goes.
It’s easy to let morning coffee and Uber rides eat away at your paycheck when you’re not paying attention, but if you commit to taking the train and brewing a pot at home, you can channel that money into paying down debt, saving for the future, or making major purchases.
Educate yourself on your options
Whether you’re choosing a credit card or buying a home, make these decisions carefully because they can impact your credit score.
A lower interest rate will save you enormous amounts in the long run, and you can find a credit card with benefits that align with your lifestyle. There are so many options available to you, so explore them all instead of rushing to the fastest or most convenient one—you’ll be happy you did.
You can do everything right but still see your credit score plummet if you’re a victim of fraud. The best protection is simply keeping your eyes open.
Check your credit reports at least once a year and immediately dispute any incorrect information. Check all of your accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions and keep your personal information safe.
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH AN EXCELLENT CREDIT SCORE?
So you’re a member of the top tier credit club—congratulations!
You’re already doing everything right. At this point, you should make sure you understand how to maintain your excellent score.
Knowing all of the ways you can ping your credit score will help you avoid them, so remember to keep your credit utilization low, don’t close or open accounts unnecessarily, and don’t forget a payment.
But since you have an excellent score, you should make sure you’re getting the benefits of it.
When you borrow, make sure you’re getting the best interest rates and finance charges—you’ve earned them!
Negotiate interest rates
You’re a very low-risk borrower, so you have room to negotiate if an interest rate seems too high. Just do your research ahead of time to save a lot of money in the long run.
Lower insurance fees
You can also save on car insurance. Most insurance companies will charge people with top tier scores less than those with bad credit.
You can also avoid paying deposits on cell phones or utility accounts most of the time—you’ve proven you’re someone who can handle responsibility.
With an excellent credit score, you won’t have to worry about getting approved for loans, rental houses, or higher limits on credit lines.
Perhaps one of the best parts of having a top tier score is that you never have to worry about rejection from lenders, landlords, or service providers—everyone is happy to do business with someone with such a good record.
If you’re a member of this exclusive club, there are only two things to keep in mind: maintain your score by keeping up your good habits, and be sure to cash in the benefits of being a credit-worthy borrower. After all, you’re one of a small percentage of people who have excellent credit. Enjoy it!
Credit and your mortgage
For most people, buying a home is the biggest purchase you’ll make in your life. And while many factors go into the process of buying a home, your credit score is typically the most important when it comes to determining your interest rate. A few points can mean hundreds of dollars of difference on your monthly payments.
With such a major milestone, it makes sense to take the time to understand what rates your credit score qualifies you for.
In some situations, you can save thousands of dollars on your mortgage if you work with an expert to rehabilitate your credit score before rate shopping.
Since hard inquiries and opening new lines of credit can ding your score, don’t undertake this on your own. You can set yourself up for success by working with a broker who is also an experienced credit analyst and mortgage consultant.
Need help with utilizing your credit for property in the Miami area? Contact me here.