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Get Professional Help with Your Finances

If managed properly, credit is a valuable tool that can make life easier, allow consumers to purchase goods and services without check-writing or cash and enable good budgeting. At the same time, bad credit can be the source of stress, heartache and disappointment. Repairing your credit rating is a time-consuming, challenging undertaking that requires patience, discipline and follow-through. There is no quick fix for damaged credit. However, repairing your credit is a gratifying experience that will not only raise your FICO score but will expand your credit opportunities in the future.

Americans have learned a great deal about credit, how to manage it and how to use it. But, despite improvements in credit management by many Americans, the majority of the population struggles to maintain good credit and good credit scores. According to, who has amassed volumes of credit data from multiple sources, the total outstanding debt in the US as of October 2013 was an astonishing $3.076 trillion.


Credit and Debt Factors in Personal Finances

At the end of 2012, average debt among members of Generation X (born between 1966 and 1976) is $111,121.80. At the same time, average debt among members of Generation Y (born between 1998 and 2006) was already $34,765.80. Members of the Baby Boom generation averaged $101, 951.80 in debt at the end of 2012.

55.1 percent of middle and low-income Americans reported their credit rating was poor. 68 percent of American families with credit cards at the conclusion of 2010 had lowered their 2007 balances. 68 percent of American families have credit cards. 61 percent of these families carry balances forward and incur high interest rates.

Small business owners often use personal credit cards to support their family and business operations simultaneously. If balances are not paid in full by the due date, this is expensive credit. 26 percent of small business owners carry balances of less than $10,000.00 15 percent maintain balances of between $10,000 and $25,000. 9 percent of US small business owners have revolving credit card debt greater than $25,000.

American families in 2012 reported average medical credit card debt of $1,678.19. 60 percent of low and middle income American households reported that education and specifically college expenses contributed significantly to their credit card debt.

Non-business bankruptcy filings in 2012 totaled 1.18 million, reduced from 1.36 million in 2011. Business bankruptcy filings totaled 40,075 in 2012, down from the 47,806 filings in 2011.

Repairing Your Credit Rating

There are several misconceptions about credit that the individual needs to understand. First is to beware of the agency or individual who promises a quick fix to your credit rating. That is not going to happen and you are likely to throw good money after bad if you pursue quick repairs to damaged credit.

It is important to understand that delinquent payments have a major impact on your FICO score. If you are behind on payments, it is time to get caught up, even if you must sacrifice. Your score will not improve or begin to improve until you are current and stay current.

It is also important to realize that paying off a collection account does not remove it from your credit report. Collection activities remain on your report for up to seven years.

Many people believe that closing unused credit cards will raise their FICO score, but this is not the case. Another common mistake is to open new credit cards simply to increase your available credit. This strategy can actually cause your credit rating to sag.

Foremost Elements of Your Credit That Must be Managed

Regardless of your credit rating, if you want to begin the road back, the place to begin is by ordering a credit report. Every American is entitled to one free report from the three major providers every year. Every person should study this report carefully, identify any inaccuracies and address them immediately. Don’t be surprised if this is frustrating and time consuming, even if you have proof or payment. Persistence is the key. Take names, get contact information and keep records of everyone with whom you speak about an inaccuracy.

If your report has no inaccuracies, your credit report sets forth a path to correction. Identify those issues that need to be repaired and begin to address them. They will not magically disappear.

Payment History = 35 Percent – 35 percent of the individual’s credit rating is determined by his or her payment history. This class has the largest single impact on your credit score. Past payment inconsistencies are not easily repaired. This is where your discipline, commitment and persistence can be helpful.

Amount of Debt = 30 Percent – 30 percent of your FICO score is effected by the amount of debt you have. Special areas of concern are “revolving debt,” the balances on your credit cards and your installment loan balances. It is more productive to retire debt than shift it from one card to another. Every reduction to your revolving credit is a step in the right direction.

If you are new to the world of credit, be careful. You are likely to be flooded with opportunities. The best strategy is to only open one or two cards that you can manage efficiently. In many cases, cards are used to acquire goods that will be paid with disposable income but when your income level and budget have no room for disposable income, you cannot charge your pay to a new lifestyle.

Set a Budget

You can work your way back to a good credit score. Identify your challenges and address them. Set a meaningful, thoughtful budget. In your budget, allocate funds to retire debt and commit that you will begin to pay every obligation by the due date starting today. That is a major step forward.

If you do not know how to setup a budget, meet with someone who does. Lay all your cards on the table. Show your confidante your credit history, tax returns, projections and ask for assistance. This is important.

Repairing your credit means repairing errors in your history, implementing an on-time payment strategy now and working on reducing your debt. Chances good that you will find this a gratifying and rewarding experience.

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