As you’re working to move forward and rebuild parts of your life, we cant’ overlook something we all need and use – money! This is a touchy subject for a lot of reasons. For one, history and emotions are tied to our money. It’s likely that your relationship with money was influenced by your parents or some other authority figure. Mine was.
As an adult, my money management (or mismanagement) skills have included a mixed bag of smart moves coupled with mistakes so embarrassing I could only tell God about it. And in spite of all this, I ended up teaching financial literacy workshops for a couple years. Here’s what I learned….
There is nothing cute about credit card debt. I’m not joking when I say it’s from the Devil. It’s true. In case you need proof, here’s something to meditate on:
“Owe no man anything, but to love one another, for he that love another hath fulfilled the law.” – Romans 13:8
Spiritual matters aside, untamed credit card debt will surely rob you of your beauty sleep. I’ve witnessed it from every angle. I’ve been in credit card debt only to pay off my creditors and repeat the cycle again. I’ve even taught financial literacy classes and spear-headed financial literacy education seminars designed specifically for women. Here’s what I know:
- Your credit report and credit score are NOT the same.
- Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you’re entitled to a FREE copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting companies – Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. So, that means when you hear all those radio commercials promising you a free copy of your credit report, don’t be impressed with that “offer”. This is something that you should be doing on your own anyway.
- AnnualCreditReport.com is the only source for a free copy of your credit report. Again, don’t be impressed with those “offers” to give you a free copy of your report, and whatever you do, don’t pay for a copy of your credit report.
- Working your way out of credit card debt takes time. I wish I could tell you otherwise, but there’s no quick fix. It takes time, a strategy, and discipline.
- The Federal Trade Commission is a good resource for credit-related questions and information.
- Credit scores based on the FICO scoring model are calculated using Experian data and range from 300 to 850.
- Most lenders use the FICO scoring model, which is considered a good barometer of your credit-worthiness.
Next week, I’ll talk more about credit cards and FICO scores in Part II.
For now, logon to www.AnnualCreditReport.comand download a FREE copy of your credit report. That’s the first step to getting a handle on debt of any kind.