Having married really early, my cousin is guilty of not learning the ropes around finances. She used to let her husband decide on financial matters, including scheduling of payments and which investments to make, among others. Now that they are freshly divorced, she knew that she will have to learn these things so she could start building good credit for herself. Now, she realizes that even if she was just a stay-at-home wife, she should have considered understanding how credit works. When she started reading about this a couple of weeks ago, she found out that she is not alone in the situation and that a lot of women suffer from the same dilemma. Along with this realization, she read about what experts say so women can build good credit.
Here are her notes about what she has just learned and shared with me:
• Must not rush things and try to work around minimal limit as a start. She said that creditors put it on bad light that clients seem desperate for money when they apply for new credit cards or just higher limits one after the other.
• Try to limit credit cards to only two for better management. Remember that even just one overlooked payment will already affect credit score. Also, avoid store cards as in the long run, the interest and penalties are usually higher than traditional bank cards.
• Never give-up personal accounts when you plan to marry so you can at least have a separate credit history that is already established. This will help you maintain good credit in the event of separation. Plus if there are joint accounts and upon divorce, never close such accounts at one go.
• Ask questions as if you are interested to know details – when you really should – like interest rates on loans, credit cards and mortgages so you will have an idea about the technicalities.
• Pay your bills on time and target to pay more than the minimum due if cannot pay the entire outstanding balance in each billing cycle. Your credit card company will surely cherish you when you practice this.
• Never swipe and spend up to the limits because it is better to keep at least 50% of your credit line open all the time.
• Request for and carefully review your free copy of credit report from one of the three recognized bureaus each year so you can know right away if there are discrepancies and if your identity was stolen. By doing so, you will know right away if you have good credit or not.