Wednesday, March 11, 2020

My Credit Journey: How I Established and Maintain Good Credit

Thank you Lexington Law Firm for sponsoring this post. A high service partner and consumer advocate that will help you fight for the credit you deserve!

I share a lot of the things I most appreciate from my everyday life here - like my home, my family, and even my vehicle - some of which you can see in these photos. And while it's easy on blogs and social media to share these shiny pieces of life, the truth is that it often takes a lot of work to get there. When we were planning/hoping to have children, looking for a home mortgage, and purchasing our minivan (complete with suburban soccer and dance mom stickers; no shame here!), I relied on my good credit to help. And during these times, I realized more than ever the importance of having good credit.

Thankfully, I started building my credit a long time ago. But I also learned many lessons - some the hard way - over the years of getting it to where it is now. Today, I want to share some of my personal experiences with you guys from my own credit journey. I also want to share some ways that, if your credit needs help, you can work to repair it with guidance from the professionals at Lexington Law Firm. While I haven't used Lexington Law Firm myself, I have heard great things about them, and would absolutely consider them if I were in a situation where I needed to repair my credit. I really appreciate the fact that they were leaders in creating a solution for the credit repair industry that is legal-based and trustworthy. Their team of lawyers take their knowledge of credit repair and use it to help the everyday consumer, which I think is pretty fantastic.

Now on to my credit-building journey!

A Rough Start
Way, way, way back when I was in college, there used to be tables set up on every corner on campus with all sorts of incentives to get students to open credit cards. I had seen enough of my friends rack up debt they couldn't pay back to be terrified, so I always ignored them. Once I was out of college however, I wished I'd accepted the offers, as I found it nearly impossible to establish credit. It was actually extremely difficult to get a credit card, and thus start to build credit, when I didn't have a credit history at all.

Establishing Credit
After several declined credit card applications over a couple of years, I reached out to someone with an established credit history (thanks mom!) to open a credit card with me. With a co-signer on my application, I was able to get approval, and I started using the card for small purchases I knew I could pay back in order to establish credit and gain a credit score, or a FICO® Score. This score, which is calculated by a 50-year old company called Fair Isaac Corporation, calculates a person's credit via their credit files across three main credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). It is considered the benchmark when financial institutions assess a person's lending risk. It's important! I did my best to be patient, because I knew I had to have the credit card account open for six months to give the credit reporting agencies time to monitor and report my activity.

Monitoring My Score
After it had been enough time and I finally had a credit score, I made sure to routinely monitor my credit report for errors. According to Lexington Law Firm, millions of Americans are declined when applying for home and vehicle loans because of inaccuracies on their credit reports. And these errors can take months to correct. It is important to correct any errors quickly, since the consequences can be long term.

Diversifying My Debt
Opening a credit card or two and getting that revolving credit on my file was important to establishing my credit, but I knew that in order to really get my credit score up, I needed to add a different type of loan as well. I needed a vehicle, so I applied for an auto loan on a very affordable used car and was approved. Over the years I have been able to continue to diversify my debt and prove I could pay it off with more vehicle loans and eventually a mortgage.

Mistakes and Making Them Right
Despite my best efforts to keep my credit healthy and my debt down, there was a point where I made some bad choices that became important life lessons. Long story short, I had a (very successful) eco-friendly clothing business for which I sometimes used my personal credit cards to fund. (Eventually I did it the right way and received business loans, but I was still learning!) When the economy crashed in 2008, many of the stores that carried my line closed and left me with excess merchandise and a hefty amount of debt. It all felt very overwhelming, but I stopped using my credit cards completely at that point and just worked hard on paying them down. It took years, but I was able to get out of debt.

Many people end up in similar situations and aren't able to get out of it. This combined with credit report errors can lead to a tarnished score. During times like these, Lexington Law Firm can help navigate the credit repair process, using their skills and knowledge of consumer protection laws to fight for their clients, who they believe have a right to a credit report that is accurate and fair.

The Present and An Excellent Score!
Over the years, I have worked to maintain a good credit score, and in the present, I'm happy to say that my score is excellent. I am grateful for this, as it has enabled me to do some of the things for which I'm most grateful in life, like start a family, buy the proper vehicles to make our lives more convenient, and get a mortgage for our house. But I still work it! I do things like make sure our cars and home loan payments (and other household payments too!) are made on time every single month. I also keep my paid off credit cards open, as to not shorten the length of my credit history or lower my available total credit. If I do use credit cards (which is very rare these days!), I pay them off promptly and always have less than 30% of my available credit used. And I check my FICO® Score at least every other month.

A bumpy beginning to establishing credit for myself and a few mistakes learned along the way have taught me a lot about working toward my ultimate goal of excellent credit. And being able to get a mortgage and vehicle loans at great rates has proved to me how important it is to maintain this score. But it's also reassuring to know that if anything ever goes wrong, credit repair is attainable, and that Lexington Law Firm can help. Lexington Law Firm's trusted professionals know consumer protection laws and how to utilize them to help fight for their clients' rights.

Just click here to learn more about Lexington Law Firm's service and how they can help you or your loved ones repair credit.

Thank you for letting me share my credit journey with you. If you have stories about your own journey to building or repairing your credit, I'd love to hear them! Feel free to comment or email me any time.


1 comment:

  1. So cool to read about your history with this, I am working hard to get mine higher.


Thank you for commenting! We love reading your thoughts and we're grateful for your input. (All spam will be deleted.)