By Toney Sebra
Lego has recently crafted many theme related sets that appeal to the masses. Most recently the Star Wars series editions have been piling into my household. The sets are pretty awesome I must admit, but Lego sure has figured out a way to capitalize and charge a premium on the cost per piece of plastic. Their prices are much in line with the cost per square foot in Manhattan or San Francisco Real Estate.
My son is six years old and a self-proclaimed Lego Master-Builder. He may be correct or just repeating words from the movie, but what I do know is he is obsessed with building, crafting and collecting the latest Lego sets and he is darn good at it too. I am totally convinced he will be an engineer or scientist and so I try to encourage his creativity in hopes he will put me up when he invents some gizmo that changes the world. If you have ever built a Lego set you'll know that some of the designs can be quite complex, and inside every box is a step-by-step guide of instructions so you can get each little piece to fit correctly into place.
As children we did not learn about Money in schools and they did not teach us about building credit. Lego has not found a market in packaging the "Master-Builder Credit Repair Set" and I do not think it would sell well at Target. Instead parents are supposed to teach kids about money and many parents are ill equipped. It’s not their fault there isn’t a manual or guidelines or a clearly written set of rules. Money, finance and building credit are incredibly complex topics and nobody has produced a schematic showing exactly what to do to build, maintain or improve their credit profile. Therefore building a good credit profile is more an art than a science.
It seems easy enough, pay your bills on time and all will be fine, which sounds obvious and that is true. One may also think that keeping low or no liabilities on your credit report would also be beneficial, however this does not always hold true as it depends on the type of credit; revolving or installment. The notion of paying cash and not using credit cards or paying cash for cars and not financing them would seem like a great practice, however it does not allow one to actually build a credit profile, and that can work against you.
If you have ever been puzzled by credit and wondered why your spouse has twenty more points on their score than you, let me tell you that you are not alone. Below are some suggestions for building a good credit profile. While this is not a step-by-step guide of instructions like Lego provides, these are guidelines to follow if you want to have the best possible credit profile around. Your credit score largely determines the way you appear from a credit-worthy perspective to lenders or anyone providing you with buying power.
Following these ideas and maintaining a good credit profile can save you lots of money and heartache in the long run. Keep in mind there is no quick fix when it comes to credit, your score can only be improved over time.
Pay your bills on time.
If you miss a payment get on track again and stay current.
Payoff debt rather than shifting it between accounts.
Establish new accounts only as needed and do not open accounts at every store that offers you a card.
Keep low balances on revolving credit cards in relation to their credit limits.
Installment loans like car payments are good accounts to build credit history.
Stay current on what is reporting and consider a credit monitoring service.
Close unused credit cards as a short-term solution to raising your score.
Open a number of new credit cards as a strategy build a credit profile quickly.
Co-sign on your nephew’s car loan because you have more to lose than he does.
If you need advice, have credit issues or are trying to maximize your score, please call me. Credit counseling or repair companies can help people rebuild and repair credit issues but not all operate with integrity and it takes time to improve your scores. Make sure you talk with a professional or get a referral before you decide to get help or go it alone. If you are seeking credit for purchasing a new home, lets chat about how to optimize your credit score so you receive most favorable interest rate pricing available.