In high school and college, a grade-point average (GPA) is one of the most important numbers that will help determine your future. There is another number, however, that is even more important as an adult: your credit score.
High School students work hard to maintain a high GPA, as it will help determine scholarships they can receive and what schools they can attend. College students who maintain high GPAs enhance their resumes, making them look more attractive to employers. The same attention needs to be paid to a credit score to ensure that you can afford to live the lifestyle you desire.
Your credit score is the single most important number that everyone should pay attention to, because it will follow you wherever you go. A high credit score shows that you pay your bills on time and therefore are a low-risk borrower. This can result in being approved for lower interest rates, which will save you lots of money long-term.
How to build and maintain a high credit score
Building and maintaining a high credit score is not as complex as it may sound. It simply requires responsible spending habits, which takes organization and willpower to live within your means. Following are steps you can add to your daily routine that will help you earn a high credit score.
Create a budget. The first step to financial responsibility is to create a budget and stick to it. A budget allows you to know how much you can afford to spend each month on everything from housing costs to entertainment. It also helps you keep your finances organized and provides a way to keep track of your spending.
Pay bills on time. The easiest way to harm your credit score is to pay bills late. If you are worried that you might forget one of your bills each month, set up automatic payments to ensure that nothing is forgotten.
Maintain low credit card balances. Credit cards are useful tools for enhancing your credit score, but only if used responsibly. Paying monthly balances in full each month should be your goal. There will be times when this is not possible, such as when you have unexpected car maintenance to pay for. If you cannot pay the full balance in any month, you should at the very least make the minimum payment, but to reduce interest charges, you should try to pay as much of that bill as you can each month.
Watch your credit report. While wise spending habits and responsible credit card use can keep you from getting into financial trouble, no one is immune to identity theft. That’s why it is important to review your credit report annually to make sure there are no fraudulent accounts in your name. Ordering free annual credit reports from www.annualcreditreport.com will help ensure that there are no mistakes in your credit history.