A good credit score is the key to buying a house, taking out a loan, applying for a credit card as well as many other important economic transactions. It is also, oddly enough, becoming a measure of one's dating and marriage potential.
Potential partners are becoming savvy to the importance of credit in a relationship. Men and women often ask each other for their credit scores on first dates, says Adam Levin of Credit.com. It’s important to know if something is wrong from the get go rather than waiting until after the honeymoon to learn of poor financial decisions, Levin notes.
But a low credit score does not necessarily mean an individual has been reckless with money. Anyone can lose their job and fall upon tough times, forcing them to put off credit card bills or default on a loan.
"Your credit score could be negatively impacted by situations beyond your control, you could have been been impacted by the economic downturn and laid off or there could have been an illness or death in the family," Levin says in an interview with The Daily Ticker.
If you’re looking to start a relationship in 2013 and fear your credit score might have fallen to the wayside, Levin has seven tips on how to improve your FICO report:
1. Make sure to stay on top of your credit reports by checking them for free at annualcreditreport.com.
2. Watch your credit multiple times a year with a free service like the Credit Report Card at Credit.com.
3. Join a program provided by credit reporting agencies that alerts you to the first signs of identity theft. These programs can be pricey, up to $50 a month, but worth it if you think you're at a high risk for stolen identity-- LifeLock and TrustedID come highly recommended.
4. Make a habit of checking your bank and credit card statements daily in order to catch any odd spending.
5. Sign up for emails or text messages from your banks and credit cards that let you know when you cross a certain spending threshold.
6. If you find negative information on your credit report that’s inaccurate, notify the appropriate institutions immediately. Credit report companies are required to launch an investigation on anything you report as false, Levin says.
7. Make a plan to rectify poor spending decisions and become more diligent about paying bills on time.
FICO scores are an important factor in both professional settings and also in our social lives and it’s best not to limit either because of a bad report.
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