When was the last time you saw your credit score?
Things are easier said than done, or so the old adage goes, and we couldn't agree more. That's why we do The GOOD 30-Day Challenge (#30DaysofGOOD), a monthly attempt to live better. Our challenge for January? Financial Fitness.
Get a copy of your credit report.
In my interview with Suze Orman, one of the first things she told me was that the "credit score is an important thing that every single one of us needs to know about, we need to know how it affects our lives, and how we affect it." The credit score has grown into a metric that can have far-reaching impact on the lives we lead, from housing to employment to insurance.
It's our responsibility to see our credit reports and get a sense of how banks and other lenders view our creditworthiness. As part of the 2003 Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, consumers gained the right to view their credit report once a year, free of charge, from each of the three major credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. These won't tell you your credit score, but it will list all your debts, their current balances, a payment history and whether or not you've ever been late on a payment.
Knowing this information is good for two reasons: It can reinforce good behavior to see that you've never been reported 30 days late, and it can clue you in to some not-so-good things you've been doing. It may provide the kick in the butt needed for you to realize that paying, or not paying, on time can have real consequences. Either way, it's good practice to keep on an eye on your credit report.
Come back tomorrow for the next task in our financial fitness challenge.
Propose an idea here for a project or workshop that promotes financial fitness in your community. The top-voted idea will win $500 to implement the project.