Think Your Credit Score Doesn’t Matter in Retirement? Think Again.

credit score

You have battled with your credit score your whole life. You wanted a good score so that you can could get the best loans, especially for your home mortgage. Finally, you’ve reached retirement, and you have it in mind that you can rest easy. You have your mortgage, you are done taking out loans for education, so you don’t have to think about your credit score any more right? Wrong. Your credit score still maters in retirement.

You Need to Watch Your Money Carefully in Retirement

Unless you happen to retire with extreme wealth at your disposal, you need to be frugal after retirement. You need to budget. After all, you don’t have the kind of income coming in that you once did. You aren’t going to get raises and other windfalls. You have to make do with what you have.

Therefore, it’s really important that you watch your money carefully. If you have bad credit, then you put yourself at risk. What if something happens and you need to refinance your home? Or what if you need to take out an emergency loan? So many things can go awry in life. Medical expenses, natural disasters, the needs of adult children … you just might need to get credit or a loan again even after you’ve retired.

If you don’t have good credit, then you’re going to end up with a loan that has terrible terms (if you can get a loan at all). A bad credit score means you’ll have a higher interest rate, which in turns means that you’ll have higher monthly repayment bills. If you’re trying to budget in retirement then you can’t afford to waste money on those exorbitant fees. If you maintain a good credit score in retirement then you don’t have to worry about that so much.

You Probably Have More Bills in Retirement Than You Anticipated

People like to paint a rosy picture of retirement. You’ve worked hard your entire life, so now you can rest. You can take the money that you set aside and enjoy your sunset years. However, this financially lovely picture simply isn’t the reality for many Americans reaching retirement age today.

Baby boomers who have retired or about to retire have much higher bills than they might have expected. In fact, many still owe on their homes, either due to an original mortgage or to refinancing over the years. Additionally, older people increasingly have high levels of credit card debt to their names. Some people even still have student loan debt when they retire!

If you have these types of outstanding debt, then you really need to make sure that you have a good credit score in retirement. You should work to improve the score as much as possible. You can do that through debt repayment, increased credit lines, disputing incorrect credit report information, etc. Once you have boosted your score as much as possible, you can then use that good credit score to get a great rate on a consolidation loan. This will allow you to repay that debt as quickly as possible so that it doesn’t hang over you throughout your entire retirement.

Plus more and more Americans retire but then start a post-retirement business of their own. If you’d like to start a new business, then you might need a business loan. If you have a good credit score in retirement, it’ll be significantly easier to get that loan.

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How to Fix Your Credit: A Key to Financial Freedom

fix your credit

When you fix your credit, you are one step closer to financial freedom. But, how do you do this?

Credit comes with its many benefits and of course its negatives. It takes careful, responsible spending and timely repayments in order to really see its positives and not experience its dark side.

Those in need of repairing their credit know how difficult it is to be approved for loans, receiving lower rates and getting ahead. But, there is good news. You still have hope and can fix your credit.

Fixing your credit can help you get closer to financial freedom. Here are some great tips to help you get started:

Don’t stop believing

Continuing with credit seems counter-intuitive, but using credit is a great way to achieve a good score. As long as you pay them back immediately, do use your credit cards. You also want to mix up the type of credit you use (i.e. installment accounts such as mortgages and revolving accounts such as lines of credit). Don’t wait to repay; not only does this harm your finances due to interest rates, but it hurts your score as well. Your payment history is one of the key factors of determining your credit score. You want to make sure you can prove to credit card companies you’re capable of timely repayment in order to improve your rating.

Open a savings account

Opening a savings accounts helps to reach a favorable credit rating. As simple as it may sound, this does show companies that you are financially responsible and have the resources to pay for debts.

Spread out your disputes

You can dispute items from your credit reports. If you do, however, just be sure to spread them out and do one item at a time, starting with the most damaging or largest items first. Disputing too many things at once signals a red flag to the credit bureau, and they could consider them to be insignificant. Make sure to really take time to examine your report.

Keep balances low

This one is pretty simple. Just because you have a $5,000 limit each month does not mean you should reach or max it. Keep your balances low so that they are easier to handle.

Get your monthly report

Tracking your monthly activity with your credit is just as important as tracking your other expenses each month. If something seems off, you will be able to dispute it right away. This is a good habit to develop. It will be a cost to get them monthly, but it will be worth it to keep you on a favorable path. To ensure your report and activities are current across the three major credit bureaus, retrieve reports from Equifax, TransUnion and Experian yearly. Not to mention, you’re able to get one free report from each bureau each year under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, making the cost of credit maintenance low.

Don’t create more debt

If you’ve put yourself in a bad situation with your existing debt, you generally should avoid opening more credit cards or loans to pay off what you have. This can really cause the problem to continue to spiral out of control. Instead, you need to start focusing on ways to reduce this debt in order to fix your credit. On the contrary, there may be times where it is OK to open another credit card in order to generate some positive credit history. A secured credit card, which requires a deposit that serves as your limit, could be the answer for you in those sticky situations. Just don’t sign up for unnecessary credit cards.

Know that this process will take time and dedication before you start to see improvement. There will be a many ups and downs on the road to credit repair, but try not to get discouraged. Make it a priority so that you can work toward that financial freedom you’ve been dreaming about for a while now. If you feel overwhelmed by the process, just take things one step at a time. Create better spending habits in order to ensure you are not in a situation like this in the future.

What steps are you taking to fix your credit? What route has worked best for you?