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Stories of the Three-Digit Number

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I always considered “numbers don’t lie” to be a peculiar statement.  What do numbers say anyway?  Is it worth hearing?  After working in the financial services industry for a few years, I can honestly tell you that numbers have plenty to say.  And surprisingly enough, they hold a pretty good track record in truth telling, particularly when it comes to credit scores. 

My credit score has been telling stories about me for years.  Before my credit score and I even became well acquainted, it was already telling people that I may not be well trusted with credit because there was no proof that I had ever been trusted with credit before.  Well, I was determined to disprove that notion.  I applied for every credit card I could think of and maxed them all to the limit.  Ignorant of the fact that too many inquiries and over 50% of credit utilization can negatively affect your score, my credit score sounded the alarm saying, “I told you she couldn’t be trusted”.  By this time, I was mad because nobody attacks my character and gets away with it.  Who did this credit score think it was dealing with?

It took a little time, but I finally decided to take the time to learn more about my credit score and what it would take for it to tell more positive stories about me.  I paid off all of those credit cards, and closed many of the retail store cards.  I kept a few major cards open to show that I had some credit history, even though I was not using them.  Later, I was able to purchase a car, and I made the payments on time every single month.  I also made it a point to pay other bills on time, because I knew from other people’s experiences that not doing so could negatively affect your credit score.  I was always amazed at how not paying utility or phone bills would only show up on your credit report if you didn’t pay them.

I can now say that my credit score and I are doing just fine.  Anything can change for the better if we take the time to understand the part we play in making that change happen.   Our credit scores can clearly reflect our behaviors and the decisions that we make in life.  But all of our scores have the potential to tell happy ending stories. 

If your credit score is telling a good story right now, then keep it up.  If it is not, insert a place holder and take time to research how the story could get better.  Once you find the information that is applicable to making your story better, return to that placeholder and begin inserting what you learned.  Don’t ever close the book until it ends the way you want it to. 

What story is your credit score now telling about you?  If it is not so great, how can you go about changing that?

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