It’s the New Year and many of us have many goals and lists we want to achieve, both big and small. One of the most common goals is improving our credit and making better financial decisions so that we can attain larger goals like a new home, a new car, or to gain more business credit.
Below are five steps to help you get your credit in check this year.
Financial awareness and education starts with a basic commitment to do better in our financial lives. It sounds so simple, but once we make that commitment, the other steps on our journey to financial health become easier to take part in and complete.
2. Check Your Credit Report
Checking your credit report is extremely important. Find out where you stand with all three bureaus – Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. From there, make a list of charges and cases in your history. Then identify those to dispute for errors and/or negotiate settlement terms. It’s important to make a plan to pay off the valid debts.
Pro tip: If something is wrong, dispute it and always ask for charges to be removed from your credit report – both bogus charges and charges that are paid off, once you pay them.
3. Hire a Financial Coach
If you are a person that needs help with forming a budget and sticking with a financial plan, there is no shame in hiring a professional to help you prosper financially. A financial coach is not free (usually), but as the saying goes—anything worth having or doing is worthy of the investment that it takes to get there. If your goal is to save more and stick to a budget, a financial coach or planner can help you in a very personalized way and will charge according to what you can afford.
4. Create a Budget and Plan for your Money and Stick to it
If you know your trouble areas and can trust yourself to get yourself in tip-top shape without the help of a financial coach, then create a budget and a plan and stick to it. Cold turkey commitment is the only way financial goal setting is affective. Remember what we said about step 1? Commitment and focus is how you excel here.
5. Tell a friend and share your WINS!
What good is improving your financial shape if you don’t tell anyone about it and help the next person? Tell your friends and family about your rising credit score and what you did to get there. Share that information because it’s useful to everyone and it can be utilized immediately! Stand proud of yourself and tell the world!
Financial health is so important, especially for the black community. We are known as the trendsetters and biggest spenders. We have got to work on being known as the group with the greatest financial wealth as well. And that financial wealth starts with our personal finances.