When did you get your first credit card?
For me I felt it was my first step into adult hood when I opened my first Old Navy Card my freshmen year of college.
My credit limit? $200.
Thankfully, I still have it, but not without a few mishaps and learning lessons along the way. Considering your credit is like your own pass to owning a house, a car or almost anything at all, I was excited to learn even more about my credit from this sponsorship with Credit Karma™.
Honestly looking back at high school (or even college), classes like Home Economics (which many schools don’t even offer anymore) should be a requirement for EVERYONE. Training on creating a budget, understanding your credit, and even buying your own home should be something we all learn. But we don’t and the irony is, no matter how good at sports, band or science we are, we all should know at least the basics to live.
But in speaking with almost everyone I know, the moment they were 18, they opened up a credit card. And then another. And maybe even another one before things all went downhill. Then they spent the next 7-10 years fixing their bad credit and building up their score so finally they might be able to buy a house, get a good job and plan for the future.
So honestly, these five facts aren’t just for teens, but for most of us. These are good reminders that a good credit score makes a huge difference in your lifestyle for decades to come so you should learn how to take care of it the right way.
1. Credit is not free money.
Credit is a good thing, if you treat it right. And it can be the end of you, if you don’t follow the rules. Credit is more like a loan with a really high repayment rate. And if you don’t repay it when you say you are going to, the companies that gave you that piece of plastic are going to make things difficult for you. They will hunt you down and tell everyone you know or that will make a difference in your life you don’t pay things as agreed and it will be much worse than being benched from a game.
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2. Get a copy of your credit report.
By law, everyone is entitled to one free report at least once a year. Thankfully Credit Karma™ gives you much more than that – for free. While it is your responsibility to manage your credit, that doesn’t mean you have to do it all by yourself. Credit Karma™ offers free credit monitoring and notifies you of any significant changes on your credit report around the clock.
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Credit monitoring is a service that tracks your credit report on a daily basis and notifies you of any significant changes on your report. Since the credit monitoring service will notify you any time a new account is opened in their name, many consumers use credit monitoring as a means of preventing identity theft. In addition, credit monitoring can help prevent errors from credit reports. Mostly notably, credit monitoring will notify you of derogatory reports such as a delinquencies from a creditor.
3. Learn to read your credit report.
I admit at first look a credit report looks like a lot like a lot of graphs, numbers and words that either you don’t understand or make it too hard to find the stuff you should be paying attention to. But it’s important to read it and understand what it says.
That big three digit number? That’s your credit score. You want your credit score to be at least 720, which is considered good by many creditors. Some aim higher than that.
4. Make a plan for change.
Sometimes you made the blunder and didn’t make a payment (or 10), but sometimes it’s just a matter of “cleaning house” with the credit agencies. Things happen. Unfortunately, if your credit has been compromised from a data breach or stolen card, you definitely need to stay on top of reporting what is yours and what isn’t yours. If you have something on your credit report you want to change, Credit Karma™ can help you find the right solution to fix your issue. Whether it’s a late bill from years ago, they will help you with a solution tailored to you.
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5. Make a plan for the future.
Are you planning to purchase a new home or get a loan to start your business? Then begin planning today with some of Credit Karma’s free tools like the Home Affordability Calculator and Simple Loan Calculator.
But there’s many more tools available from Credit Karma. All you have to do is sign up for free to begin taking charge of your credit future today.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Credit Karma™.