Though it may seem like your credit rating is out of your control, your actions do have a direct effect on how you’re rated, and the time you put into maintaining good credit or changing less-than-ideal financial habits is time well spent.
Here are three points to keep in mind as you create your credit recovery plan:
1.Take a deep breath, and tap into your patience.
Your credit rating wasn’t built overnight, and similarly, recovery can’t be done in a jiffy. “It takes at least six months, usually more, when you’re doing any kind of cleanup on your credit,” says Julie Bruning, Vice President of Consumer Lending at SAC Federal Credit Union. “That’s why it’s good to establish good habits that lead to healthy credit.”
Look at credit recovery as a long-term goal that you reach with gradual steps. Every time you pay off a credit card or a loan, you move closer to your credit recovery goal. And whenever you pay your credit accounts on time, that’s one more win in your column.
2. Establish a credit to-do list for your whole year.
There are many tasks involved with credit repair, but they don’t happen all at once. Some, such as credit card due dates, occur on a monthly basis. Others, like setting up an appointment with a financial advisor, can be done just a few times per year. Creating a to-do list is a great way to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
To help get you started, check out the My Credit Repair Action Plan worksheet on page 15 of our Building Blocks of Credit e-book, which you can download free.
3. Look at your credit history with an objective view.
Part of creating a stronger financial future is understanding how your past spending habits affected your credit rating. Without judgment, try to look through old credit card and bank statements and think like an advisor:
- What actions did you take that negatively affected your credit?
- Are there more splurge moments than saving moments?
- And most importantly, how can you do things differently from now on?
Looking at your whole credit picture can be daunting, but it’s a great starting point for your personal credit repair plan. With knowledge of the past and resolve for the future, you’ll be on your way to recovery in no time.
What’s worked for you for rebuilding your credit? Share tips in the comments!
Make your to-do list work for you.
Once you have a handle on what’s due and when, you can adjust your schedule in the way that makes the most sense for you. For example:
- Compare your payday(s) to when your bills are due
- Ask credit card companies or utilities providers to move your due dates to a week after your payday
- Pay the bill immediately when you get your paycheck – that way, your payment arrives on time and you don’t have to worry about remembering a later date
With steps like that, you get in the habit of taking control of your credit, rather than feeling like you’re trying to play catch up.
To track your credit building efforts, download our free Credit Repair Action Plan Worksheet today.