I know the subject of money is a touchy one for some. Many folks are uncomfortable talking about money, and that’s understandable. Sometimes how we handle our finances as adults is tied to the behaviors — whether good or bad — we observed as children growing up. I learned that from teaching financial literacy education workshops about 11 years ago.
Since this blog is about sharing knowledge and encouragement, today I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned about credit card debt. And let me tell you, there’s nothing cute about credit card debt. I’m not joking when I say it’s from the devil. It’s true. In case you need proof, here’s something to meditate on:
“Owe no man anything, but to love one another, for he that love another hath fulfilled the law.” – Romans 13:8
Spiritual matters aside, untamed credit card debt will surely rob you of your beauty sleep. I’ve witnessed it from every angle. I’ve been in credit card debt only to pay off my creditors and repeat the cycle again. I’ve even taught financial literacy classes and spear-headed financial literacy education seminars designed specifically for women. Here’s what I know:
- Your credit report and credit score are NOT the same.
- Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you’re entitled to a FREE copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting companies – Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. So, that means when you hear all those radio commercials promising you a free copy of your credit report, don’t be impressed with that “offer”. This is something that you should be doing on your own anyway.
- AnnualCreditReport.com is the only source for a free copy of your credit report. Again, don’t be impressed with those “offers” to give you a free copy of your report, and whatever you do, don’t pay for a copy of your credit report.
- Working your way out of credit card debt takes time. I wish I could tell you otherwise, but there’s no quick fix. It takes time, a strategy, and discipline.
- The Federal Trade Commission is a good resource for credit-related questions and information.
- Credit scores based on the FICO scoring model are calculated using Experian data and range from 300 to 850.
- Most lenders use the FICO scoring model, which is considered a good barometer of your credit-worthiness.
I’ll talk more about credit cards and FICO scores in future posts. For now, logon to www.AnnualCreditReport.com and download a FREE copy of your credit report. That’s the first step to getting a handle on debt of any kind.
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