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Category: Financial Fitness

How Important is Your Credit Score in Retirement?

How Important is Your Credit Score in Retirement?

This article is re-posted with permission from LifeStyleOver50.com

You may be years away from retirement but if you’re 50 or over, now is a good time to think about your credit score. In this article, we’ll talk about why you need a high credit score as you get older and in retirement. And, we’ll discuss ways you can improve that score now. How important is your credit score? At any age, it’s very important. In retirement, it’s even more so.

Why Is Credit Score Important When We Get Older?

As we get older, typically we finance less. And, we certainly finance less high ticket items. Therefore, we use our credit less which can affect our credit score negatively. As well, especially when we retire, our income isn’t typically as high as when we were working. Therefore, it becomes a bit harder to get credit and the lowest rates when we do finance items because our debt to income ratio isn’t as strong. So, as we age, we want to focus on getting our credit score as high as we can and keeping it there.

How Will a Change in the Economy Affect My Credit?

A lot of people are talking about a downturn in the economy after the 2020 election or even sooner. When we have a recession or even a slow down in our economy credit tightens. It’s harder to get credit because it requires a higher credit score to get decent interest rates. As well, if the value of goods such as real estate decreases, we want to be in a great position to take advantage of lower prices. But in order to do so, we need good credit.

LifeStyleOver50.com

What Should My Credit Score Be as I Get Closer to Retirement?

Before we get into specific numbers that constitute a good credit score, it’s important to understand a few basics about how credit scores are calculated. First, there is a good credit score (670-739), a very good credit score (740-799), and an exceptional credit score (800-850). People have very good and exceptional credit scores when they are very active with their credit and of course, pay everything on time. Very active means that they use credit regularly and have a good mix of credit account types such as a mortgage, credit cards, and a car loan.

As we age, we may pay off a mortgage, decide to rent, use credit cards less and not have a car payment. This will lower your credit score but it’s nothing to panic about as long as your credit score stays in at least the good range. DO NOT incur debt just to raise your credit score. However, do use your credit cards for purchases and pay them off every month. That shows credit activity.

If your credit score is in the good range now, try to get it as high as you can and keep it there. If your credit score is lower than good, below 670, you’ll want to focus on getting it at least above 700 as soon as possible.

How Can I Increase My Credit Score?

The calculation of your credit score is a very complex equation. But generally speaking, a credit score is based on how much good current and past credit you have versus negative or derogatory items you have showing on your credit report.

If you don’t have a good credit history and positive accounts now, your credit score will suffer.

If you have positive current accounts but older derogatory items, your credit score will be lower.

If you have a good past history but no current positive credit accounts, your score will be lower.

So, as much as possible, you want to eliminate negative, derogatory accounts and increase current positive accounts without going into debt to do so.

Eliminate Negative Accounts    

Did you know that the U.S. is the only country on the planet that provides you a way to potentially remove derogatory accounts from your credit profile? The common assumption is that you must live with negative accounts on your credit report for 7 years from the date of the last activity on the account. More accurately creditors can only list a negative item on your account for as long as 7 years. That means you can potentially get negative items removed from your credit reports. There’s no guarantee, but it’s generally worth trying because of the positive impact it can have on your score.

Since 2012 we have represented one of the leading credit restoration companies in the country. We’ve personally helped over 1,000 people increase their credit score by removing inaccurate, obsolete, erroneous and unverified items from their credit report. 

Call us from the East Coast at 727-222-0120
Call us from the West Coast at 619-492-3040

Increase Positive Accounts to Boost Your Credit Score in Retirement

If you don’t use credit cards start using them. If you don’t want to carry balances that’s good. Just pay them off each month. Use them just for gas and groceries. That’s the money you need to spend anyway. But don’t open more than 3 credit card accounts. Very few people need more than 3 credit cards. Having too much credit available can negatively impact your credit as well.

If you currently rent a home or apartment get your rental payments put on your Transunion credit report. We can help you with that for as little as $6.95 per month.

If you need more positive accounts, instead of buying items such as computers, flat screens, etc. on your credit card, open an account with an online retailer like Finger Hut. They have a wide selection of name brand items on their website and they report to all 3 credit reporting agencies monthly. If you don’t want to carry a balance, then just pay it off in 30 to 60 days. It still will report as a positive item.

Learn about other ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Good Credit Practices

Pay your bills on time. A late payment such as a car payment can cost you 60 points in your credit score overnight. If this happens know that your score will eventually climb back higher as you make future on-time payments.

Avoid high balances especially on your credit card accounts. Keep your debt utilization under 30%. That means if you have a credit limit of $5,000 on a credit card as an example, keep your balance under $1,500. If you go higher than 30% it will start to negatively impact your credit score.

DO NOT close old credit card accounts. There is a strong temptation to close old credit card accounts that we don’t use. But if you do that your credit score will suffer. It doesn’t seem logical but that’s the way credit scores are calculated. So, resist the temptation even if you need to pay an annual fee or if it is currently being reported negatively. Closing the account will not remove it from your report.

Have a good online credit monitoring service. To get a truly accurate credit monitoring service you’ll likely have to pay for it. Free services like Credit Kharma, are not necessarily reporting currently nor do they show all 3 of your credit reports. Similarly, if you use a service from one of the 3 credit reporting agencies like Experian, it may not show the other 2 agencies (Equifax and Transunion). Please note that not all creditors report to all 3 agencies. That’s why it’s important to be able to monitor all 3.

Have identity theft monitoring and protection. It’s very important to get notified if someone is trying to access your accounts to purchase something. That is the only way you’ll know if your credit information has been compromised or stolen before you get your statement online or in the mail.

How to Use Credit Cards
to Build Credit Score

People fall into 2 major categories. Those with credit cards and those without. Whether you’re in one or the other you need to know that credit cards are an essential element in improving your credit score. So, let’s talk about how to use credit cards to build a credit score for both groups.

People Without Credit Cards

I totally get it. Maybe you’ve had credit cards in the past and things got a little out of hand. You let the balances get a little too high and had a hard time paying them off. Now you just want to pay cash for everything and stay out of trouble. That would be a good plan if you didn’t need to finance anything, ever. You would never need a mortgage or a car loan. You’ll never try to rent an apartment. No need for car, renters or homeowners insurance. Or, you simply move to a country where credit scores aren’t checked like they are here in the States. But let’s assume you stay in the U.S. and eventually need to do some of these things. If you don’t have at least one credit card you are missing a very important tool for building a good credit score.

How a Credit Score is Calculated

Payment History- 35%
Amounts Owed or Debt Utilization- 30%
Length of Credit History- 15%
New Credit- 10%
Types of Credit- 10%

Getting or having a credit card can positively impact all 5 of these categories. That’s assuming two things.  Payments are made on time, and balances are kept under 30% of the limit of the credit card limit. Using revolving credit such as a credit card also shows future creditors responsible use of credit.

You may not think it’s fair to have your creditworthiness judged based on these or any other factors. Or judged at all. But those are the rules that all people living in the U.S. must play by if they want to be able to get credit. If you do not have at least one credit card you are going up to the plate without a bat in hand.

Want a Credit Card but Have a Credit Score Too Low to Get One?

Get a secured card.  Secured credit card issuers will give you a card because they ask you to put an amount of money on account with them to “secure” the card. They, in effect, are getting their money upfront in the event you don’t pay the balance. That amount is equal to the limit of the card. This is a great way for you to ensure you don’t get irresponsible with credit cards. If you get a secured card make sure it reports to all 3 credit bureaus to best help you build your credit score. Here’s one that we recommend.

The First Progress Platinum MasterCard® Secured Credit Card

People with Credit Cards

Good for you! You are utilizing a tool to help you have a positive credit score. But that tool can become a double-edged sword in a few ways. I already shared one way. If you let the balances go over 30% of the limit of the card and can’t pay it down quickly, you are then hurting your credit score. Pay very close attention to this. Know what your credit card limits are. If you go over that 30% threshold stop using the card and pay it down.

However, there’s more to pay attention to if you have credit cards

If you do not pay the balance down to zero every month this is important. What’s the interest rate or APR on that credit card? Even if you keep your balance below 30% you are still paying interest on that balance very month. The interest you pay can add up to more than half of the balance. In some cases, the interest paid can far exceed the balance.

Example
$1,000 balance
25% interest rate
$30 minimum payment (3% of the balance)
By making only minimum payments it will take over 11 years to pay that balance off and it will cost you $1,499 in interest. So that $1,000 balance turns into $2,500 paid to the credit card company. And, this assumes you don’t use the card at all during this time period.

How to Use Credit Cards to Build Credit Score

  • Get out a note pad. Write down all your credit cards (Note- if you have more than 3 credit cards you might be hurting your score by having too much credit available. However, DO NOT CLOSE AN ACCOUNT IN GOOD STANDING. It will negatively impact your credit score. Just don’t use the excess cards)
  • Look at your statement or call your credit card company and determine the limits on the cards
  • Note the balances
  • Write down the interest rates
  • List the minimum payment amounts for the current balance

Pay attention to the following:

  • Are your balances above or below 30% of the credit card limit? If so, by how much?
  • Is the interest rate on any of your cards above 17.67%? That is the current average APR (average percentage rate) on all credit cards as of the date of this post. To check the current average credit card APR just Google it.
  • Are you paying more than the minimum payment each month? If not, start doing that even if the balance is below 30% of the limit. The goal is to pay as little interest to the credit card company as possible. That’s money out of your pocket.
  • How long will it take you to pay that card off using your current average monthly payment? To determine this use this Credit Card Interest Calculator 

If your balances are 30% or more of the limit establish a plan to pay them down. Stop using the cards until you have accomplished that goal. Then once you start using them again keep the balances under 30%.

What If Your Balances Are So High You’re Getting Eaten Alive by Interest?

If the balances of your cards are out of hand and you can’t afford to make more than the minimum payment then you need to get out of that card. How do you do that? By looking for offers to transfer that balance to a new credit card that gives you a year or more interest-free!

This is a great strategy because it will give you a year to make payments that are applied completely to the principal balance. That means every dollar pays down the balance. This could give you the opportunity you need to pay down or pay off that card!

To find offers for transferring balances on existing cards visit No Interest Transfer Balance Credit Card Offers

Conclusion- Use these quick and simple steps on how to use credit cards to build your credit score.

If you have credit cards pay attention to how you’re using them and play the credit game as well as you can. If you use your credit cards correctly you can impact your credit score significantly.

If you have negative accounts on your credit report we can potentially get them removed for you. For more information visit Credit Repair.

I hope you got value from this post. That is my goal.
If you did, you can get notified of new blog posts as I publish them. Just enter your Name & Email Address.
“That is the only email you’ll get from me and I do not distribute my subscriber’s information”. – Dale Guiducci 

<img class="blog_post_image" src="https://secureservercdn.net/166.62.107.20/xnm.7ae.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-build-credit-score-625x415.jpg" alt="How to Use Credit Cards
to Build Credit Score" />
How is a Credit Score Calculated?

How is a Credit Score Calculated?

Over the years in my blog and in videos I’ve talked a lot about two topics. First, that credit repair, although it’s a great service only accounts for 35% of a credit score. We do a great job with credit repair but we also provide our clients with other services. These other services help a client with 100% of their credit score. The second topic is that we educate our clients on credit and how to have a great credit score. That way they can maintain that score on their own for the rest of their life. So, let’s get into discussing how is a credit score calculated.

Your credit score is the most important part of your financial life. In this economic climate your credit rating matters more than ever. Lenders look at it when you apply for a loan, credit card, mortgage or other type of credit. What they are doing is looking at how credit worthy you are.

How Is a Credit Score Calculated?

Payment History (35%) – The biggest factor in your credit score is your payment history. It composes 35% of your total score. The payment history factor is looking to see if you have paid your bills on time in the past. And, it indicates whether you are currently behind in any of your bills or not. Some late payments, such as mortgage lates, have more of an impact on your credit score. Your mortgage is a major rpriority to keep current. Payment history is the biggest factor for how a credit score is calculated. Therefore, it should be the biggest priority to not have late payments or past due accounts.

Outstanding Debt (30%) – Outstanding debt is what you still owe on accounts. It makes up 30% of your overall credit score. This is based on the amount of available credit you have versus how much you are using.

There are revolving credit accounts and installment and mortgage accounts. Installment and mortgage accounts are based on the original loan amount versus the amount still owed. Auto loans also fit into this category. These type loans have a set monthly payment over a specific period of time. Revolving credit is generally credit cards. This is looked at with regard to the credit limit versus the amount owed. The best practice is to keep the balance below 30% of the limit on the account. This will make the biggest positive impact on your credit score.

Length of Credit History (15%) – This category reflects how long your accounts have been open. Also it looks at the length of time since the last activity on the account. The longer an account is open and current the better impact to your credit score.

Type of Credit (10%) – It’s beneficial to have a mix of different types of accounts. For example, a mortgage, an auto loan, 2 major credit cards, and 2 store or gas cards. The caution here is not to take on more debt for the sake of your credit score.

Inquiries (10%) – There are two types of inquiries that appear on your credit report. Inquiries that you authorize to obtain credit, or hard inquiries. And, promotional, or soft inquiries. Too many hard inquiries in a short time can negatively impact your credit profile. However, inquiries that occur for mortgage and auto loans prior to 30 days from scoring do not affect your score. Also, if multiple auto loan inquiries occur within a 14 day period as treated as a single inquiry. Promotional inquires do not affect your credit score.

To build a good credit score or to more positively impact the score that you have, it’s important to understand how is a credit score calculated. For more details watch our brief video above.

If you feel you need professional help with your credit score visit our Credit Repair Page or Book a Phone Appointment to speak with us directly. We’ll assess your situation and explain how our professional credit restoration services work.

I hope you got value from this post. That is my goal.
If you did, you can get notified of new blog posts as I publish them. Just enter your Name & Email Address.
“That is the only email you’ll get from me and I do not distribute my subscriber’s information”. – Dale Guiducci 

Will and Living Trust Tampa Bay $499.00

If you are considering a will and living trust in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater area this is good news.

Will and Living Trust

There are typically two age groups that think about setting up a will and living trust along with a medical and financial power of attorney. Those that have children under the age of 18, and those people over 60. But the fact is that everyone should have a will and living trust if they care about their family.

The confusion caused by someone that passes not having their financial affairs in order can be devastating. Life insurance policies and funds from all sources can go unclaimed. Relationships between siblings can be ruined and more.

Typically the cost of a fairly simple will and living trust along with a medical and financial power of attorney is prohibitive for most people.

A living trust alone can range from $1,000 to $2,000 depending on the attorney. However, unless there are complications from business partnerships or assets in excess of $1 million, a will and living trust and POAs aren’t that expensive, can be done from the comfort of your home, and completed rather quickly.

We offer an opportunity for a individual to set up a will, living trust, and a medical and financial power of attorney from the comfort of their home. We provide assistance to walk someone through the process. If the individual is unable to do this themselves we can assist a family member in preparing the documents.

Taking care of setting up a will and living trust is vital for protecting children under the age of 18, and taking care of loved ones. Don’t delay. Having these documents in place brings peace of mind.

will and tust