In an economy riddled with increased expenses and stringent credit standards, the businesses and households that will successfully navigate through the period of economic recovery will do so because their credit scores will get them access to credit and cash, empowering them to forge ahead and capture opportunity while those around them fold.
Great fortunes are made in times of great peril. Like no other time in the last 80 years, those with great credit will have the opportunity to capitalize on opportunity for long-term success.
How Can You Be One of the Winners? By making sure that you are Credit Ready at all times.
A 10-Step Credit Improvement Take Action Plan (TAP)
The information provided in this Ten-Part Series contains a 10-Step Action Plan that you can start putting into action right now. Here are the steps, plain and simple:
- Set Your Score Goal
- Get Your Credit Reports
- Read Your Credit Reports
- Make Your TAP Checklist
- Decide & Act: Dispute, Negotiate or Wait
- Get Your Mix In Check
- Manage Your Debt Strategically
- Don’t Fall Through The Cracks
- What If You Don’t Have Credit
- Commit to a Maintenance Plan
This plan will help you or your business strengthen your credit reports and scores — regardless of where you are right now.
- If you have excellent credit, this series will help you ensure that it stays that way.
- If you have good credit, this series will help you improve it.
- If you have fair to poor credit, this series will help you improve your credit scores and ensure that you avoid the extremely painful adjustments that await those who take no action.
Step 1: Set Your Score Goal
The first step toward the success of any plan is to define your goals. Goals can be both short-term and long-term. Here are some examples of why consumers may want to start taking action on improving their credit scores NOW:
- To make the most of your current credit rating;
- To purchase a new home, auto, or send your kids to college;
- To refinance your existing home or auto loan;
- To lower interest rates on all of your accounts so that you can save more money for retirement; and
- To be in a position of financial freedom at all times—being able to walk into a mortgage lender, auto lender, or bank and not ever having to worry about being denied credit. I call this Credit Ability.
These are great reasons, but they all have one thing in common; they all require strong credit scores. So although these reasons create a good start, setting the ultimate score goal is the best way to succeed.I make sure that my clients have all of the information they need to be realistic in setting their goal score, and once they plant thatnumber in their minds, there is little that can stand in the way of their success. For the purpose of this series, your ultimate score goal should be nothing less than a 750.
Once you know your score goal, write it down and put it in a place where you will see it every day—the bathroom mirror, the refrigerator, or your computer monitor. This positive reinforcement will keep you motivated.
Be realistic about the amount of time it will take to reach your goals. If you have credit challenges such as collections, charge-offs and public records, then allow at least 6-12 months to start seeing substantial improvement in your credit scores. However, if your credit challenges are basic, which includes general clean-up, credit card balance issues, or not enough credit, then you need at least 3-6 months.
Either way, remember that every feat, small or large, deserves appreciation. One point can save you thousands of dollars; and one point can make the difference of whether or not you have access to funds to send your kids to college. Set your goal score TODAY!
In Part Two, I will be talking about your options of getting access to your credit reports and scores. Be sure to keep an eye out for this important information.