Hurricane Matthew is steaming it’s way along the east coast of Florida, tearing up the shoreline and coastal developments as it goes. Because of the unique track of the storm, those of us in central Florida were anticipating one of the worst hurricanes to hit the are in more than a hundred years. We were told to brace ourselves for the possibility of winds in excess of 100 miles per hour, heavy rains, flooding, extensive power outages and everything else that comes with such a storm. People were urged to evacuate low lying areas, especially those near rivers, and moble homes, as the storm approached.
Floridians have seen their share of tropical storms and hurricanes. The majority of those who live in central Florida have seen these storms come and go never experienced the major impact that was forecast. As a result, there were many here in central Florida that once again did not really worry about the warnings and preparing too much and instead held hurricane parties.
Matthew was expected to make landfall near West Palm Beach and scrape the coast as it moved north, allowing the storm to continue to build from a category 4 hurricane to possibly a category 5, instead of losing energy as it hit land. I watched the progress outside periodically through the night, waiting for the winds to start howling. They never did. It turned out the storm track had moved east, about 20-30 miles further off the coast than initially thought, and we were spared the fury of the storm.
This had me thinking about credit. Credit is always jumping into my mind. I already have some people telling me "I told you nothing would happen". They were right. But this storm was different than any they had experienced before, due to the strength and track it was following. Had it not moved east and instead either stayed on the projected track, or worse, moved inland 10-15 miles further than planned, they could have been facing catastrophic loss instead of saying "I told you so". A mere matter of miles could have made a huge difference.
Our credit life is very similar. Every decision and choice we make can have a significant affect on our credit, depending upon how the circumstances play out.
Many clients, that I have worked with, never had an emergency fund. They didn’t see the need to prepare in that way, since nothing had ever really happened to them and they thought the odds were it never would. I especially see this in young clients. Young people think they are bullet proof and nothing will happen to them. Then there is a portion of those unprepared clients that strangely had the idea that it was not their responsibility to prepare, the government was responsible to take care of them if something big happened.
Then there were clients that were constantly leveraging their buying decisions, buying things on credit when they didn’t have the money to pay it off, with the constant thought that they would be able to pay for it later. They never seriously considered that something as simple as a car breaking down, or being sick for a few days to a week , or going to the doctor would create a huge swing in their income and cause major credit problems. I have also often been amazed at how easy is seems to be for people to to make a purchase, thinking they can repay it, and then make more purchases the same way, without considering all of them together, and so way out spend their ability to pay it off.
One of the most common items to appear on credit reports are medical collections. Some people don’t get medical insurance because they don’t think they will need it or that someone else will pay for it. Others think that because they have insurance, that they don’t have to pay any attention to if the insurance actually gets billed properly, as if it is the medical facility’s problem to deal with, when in reality it is the patient’s responsibility to make sure the bill is paid one way or another.
The thing I want to get across is that, much like when a hurricane is approaching, preparation, planning, and paying attention to how things are actually progressing can go a long way to preventing or limiting how circumstances will affect your life and your credit. You may get the feeling that you prepared for nothing at times, but the reality is that a little effort on a regular basis can save you from a significant amount of distress and cost later.
I welcome your comments and and questions and ask that you share this information with your contacts on social media.
If you are finding you have some problems with your credit scores, a reputable credit restoration company like Heartland Credit Restoration is a great place to turn for help. We at Heartland Credit Restoration are all about helping people get positive control over their credit, and the more people that know this kind of information, the better.
If you are facing credit challenges, or you have a client that you are going to have to turn away due to credit challenges, then I encourage you to give me a call. We can look at how Heartland Credit Restoration might be able to help you turn things around and get that credit loan ready. There isn’t a better company you can go to for help.
I will look forward to talking to you and I hope you have a wonderfully blessed day!
I get asked this question a lot.
On one hand, it seems obvious to nearly everyone that knowing what is reporting on your credit report is important.
But, on the other hand, that is kind of like saying it is important to eat healthy. We all know it. But that is not necessarily enough to get us to do it.
So lets give checking our credit report a little meaning and value.
I’ll give you five reasons it is important to check your credit report:
1. Identity Theft – You would be amazed (or maybe not) by how many people have their identity stolen on a daily basis. According to an article published by the
Insurance Information Institute, it is estimated that 12.7 million people got their identity stolen in 2014 totaling $16 billion, slightly down from 13.1 million cases in 2013. You don’t want to be one of those. Keeping a close eye on your credit can help catch a thief quickly, and save you a lot of work trying to repair the damage.
2. Wrong Information – This is a little like identity theft, in that you have things reporting on your credit that have nothing to do with you. Those things can be very damaging to your credit. It is very easy for things to get onto your report that are not yours. Think about it. All it takes is a simple typing error at any point of a customer’s journey making a purchase, and you could have that info reporting on your credit. This is especially true when you have a common name, are a junior or 1st 2nd or 3rd. I see this most significantly with Hispanic names, as it is not uncommon for them to have multiple name elements that match for a father and all the sons. This gets compounded when the entire family gets their social security numbers at nearly the same time, because the numbers also end up being very similar. When you think about it, it is easy to see why it can be very important to know what is reporting on your credit.
3. Inaccurate Information – This information is yours, but not reporting correctly. This may not seem like a big deal in many cases. But you would be surprised how big an affect wrong balances on credit cards or wrong dates for late history can have on your scores. You might even have late history showing that was never actually 30 days or more late. This is all very important to keep an eye on. I often see errors like this that, when repaired, cause a significant change in a person’s credit scores.
4. Planning for Financing – Your credit report, and the score that is generated from the information reporting on it, have a direct affect on your ability to qualify for lending and the interest rate you will pay. You will want to be aware of how things are reporting, so you can act to maximize your opportunity and benefit when getting lending of any kind. A 1% difference in the interest rate for a $150,000 home on a 30 year mortgage will result in more than a $30,000 difference in the amount of money you will pay over the life of the loan. On a $250,000 loan it can mean a difference of more than $50,000 over the life of the loan. A little investment in improving your credit can pay huge dividends.
5. Credit Affects Everything – Your credit score can affect your ability to get a mortgage or auto loan and the interest rate you pay. This can be huge. I have seen a person’s monthly auto payment double from what someone else was paying for the same loan value, simply because of the difference in their credit score. Your credit score can affect your ability to open a credit card and the interest rates they charge. Does your credit card charge 0%-5% interest or do you get changed 29%? Your score (and your history on that card) will be the difference. Your credit score can affect your ability to rent an apartment, to open a checking account, or to get a personal loan. Potential employers will often check your credit when making a hiring decision, or when considering you for a security clearance. Your credit score can even affect the rates you pay on health, life and auto insurance. I have a friend who sells insurance that said more companies are using credit in setting the premiums customers pay. In fact, he mentioned he got several new customers that came to him because the particular company they were with was almost doubling their premiums at renewal, all because they were using credit scores in determining premiums now.
I hope is is not only obvious to you that your credit is important to watch, but that it is important enough to act upon. Sadly, most people don’t worry about their credit until they need to use it.
Checking your report is free – You are allowed to get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus one time every twelve months from
If you check your credit and discover that there are some problems, a reputable credit restoration company like Heartland Credit Restoration can make the process radically easier and timely, and they will make sure your credit is loan ready as well as life ready. The investment in your credit will pay fantastic dividends in all areas of your financial life over the years to come.
I welcome your comments and ask that you share this information with all your contacts on social media. We at Heartland Credit Restoration are all about helping people get positive control over their credit, and the more people that know this kind of information, the better.
If you are facing credit challenges, or you have a client that you are going to have to turn away due to credit challenges, then I encourage you to give me a call. We can look at how Heartland Credit Restoration might be able to help you turn things around and get that credit loan ready. There isn’t a better company you can go to for help. I will look forward to talking to you and I hope you have a wonderfully blessed day!
I have worked with thousands of clients who have come to me with all kinds of credit issues. In every case we have been able to help them get those issues corrected and help those clients get their credit loan ready.
There are some things that people do that can have epic impact on their credit. Bankruptcy and divorce are two of the biggies. It should come as no surprise to you there. We all have heard the horror stories about one spouse holding the credit of another hostage, or creditors failing to properly report the accounts that were included in a bankruptcy, and as a result trashing a person’s credit.
One very big action, that does not immediately come to mind for people, is co-signing on a loan.
I understand why people do it. But, from a credit perspective, I have to strongly advise you never do it. When you co-sign a loan, you are opening yourself up to a pandora’s box of potential problems and credit pain.
Most of the clients I have dealt with, that have co-signed a loan, are parents that signed with one of their children. Usually they have signed on a note to purchase an automobile. Now, I’m a parent, and I get it. You want to help your child out. You want them to have the best opportunities. You want them to have it better than you did.
But the bottom line is that they are never really going to have it good until they can be responsible for themselves. That would mean that if a car is important, they make a plan and work that plan and buy the car themselves. It will take a lot longer, but it will empower them and save you from disaster.
If you want to help them, teach them to follow a budget, how to save money and how to develop their own credit profile. Give them the tools and teach them how to use them. Don’t just give them the result. They will never appreciate it and you will be creating an entitlement monster.
But more importantly, you will avoid the epic disaster should they start missing payments or default on the loan. Now, you would be amazed by how many clients that have told me that they didn’t think they should be affected by the actions of their children, in these cases. It is almost shocking at times.
If you co-sign a loan, you have to remember that you are really getting your own loan, in your name, that you are responsible for. Only you are having the bills for the loan sent to someone else and you will never know it is not getting paid on time or at all. Also, the collateral that is securing the loan, the car, someone else has total control over.
If they start making late payments, your credit is damaged as if you were the one missing the payments. If the car gets repossessed, it is physically taken away from the child, but financially taken away from you. Now, because of someone else, you don’t have the car, and you are now on the hook for the remaining amount owed on the car, minus the money the bank gets for selling it at auction after subtracting the cost of selling it, which is next to nothing. (I have seen a forty-five thousand dollar truck sell for a few thousand dollars at auction, and after selling fees, the original owner still owed thirty three thousand dollars on a vehicle they will never see again.)
That’s not all. All late payments are going to directly reflect in your credit. A single 30 day late on a loan can cost you 50-100 points or more, depending upon how good your score is to begin with. It will take you 6-8 months to recover most of the damage caused by that single 30 day late pay.
If the loan defaulted and there was a repossession, voluntary or otherwise, there will be multiple late pays and even more damage. Plus a repossession of a vehicle is just as damaging to your credit as a foreclosure on a house. It will not only cost you even more points on your credit, but it will, in many cases, prevent you from getting a mortgage for 2-3 years.
The same things will happen to your child’s credit, but if they were having you co-sign, they were not likely to be thinking about a mortgage for a while. It is far more significant for you.
What’s more, the bank is not going to go after your child alone. They are going to come after you. If you give them trouble about paying, they can take you to court and get a judgment against you, which opens the door to aggressive collection actions and another big negative on your credit.
Now, I know not all kids are going to put you in that position, and that not every person you might co-sign with is one of your kids. I also know that many people co-sign on a loan and never have a problem. But let’s face it. Kids are generally not very responsible. They are kids, not adults. That is why they need you to co-sign in the first place. The same generally goes for anyone else that would want you to co-sign for them.
So do yourself a favor. Stand strong and don’t co-sign. You will avoid the possibility of great pain later.
But if you have been bitten by co-signing a loan with someone, a reputable credit restoration company like Heartland Credit Restoration can really be a big help in getting things back on track and your credit loan ready. Give me a call for a free consultation.
“I Always Pay My Bills!”
I could almost feel her finger poking me in the chest through the phone.
This happened as I was talking on the phone with a potential client that was referred to me.
I was asking her questions about what she thought her credit was like and what might be there to cause her scores to be low.
The irony here was that I was looking at a copy of her credit report. She knew this. I was going through the report line by line with her to get her side of the story for anything that was potentially negative.
I had just started to ask her about collections and if she had any accounts that were behind right now. It is important that I know the financial position, if they are keeping current and so on, of a client when considering taking them on as a client. Our job and desire is to help, not make things worse.
So I was just starting to ask about this and she shouted through the phone that she ALWAYS pays her bills.
I told that was good to hear, and I began asking if she was familiar with each account, as she then might be a victim of identity theft.
She then proceeded to tell me she was aware of each account, as I read them. Most of them were medical collections and for co-pays, not large bills. Somehow, she thought that she should not have to pay them.
The credit card collections were for charges that she didn’t feel she should have to pay. The same was true for the repossession of an automobile. ( That in itself is sufficient for a future story).
23 collections and charge-offs,
that is the number of of accounts reporting with balances on her credit. She could give me a background on each and every one.
She still insisted she always pays her bills. No matter, she needed credit help and I was willing to help her, provided she was willing to commit to working with me and making some changes.
She got qualified for a mortgage and is thrilled to have her new home.
Think you pay your bills?
This is a somewhat fantastic story. I get asked all the time how someone can think they “always” pay their bills, when they can list in detail 23 accounts that are not paid and have gone to collection. The answer is that I don’t know. What I do know here is that people have a unique way of seeing things. I also know that if we had not taken the time to help her see what needed to change and guide her in a plan to accomplish that goal, she would not now be a happy home owner. Just some food for thought.
Feel free to share this on your social networks and to let me know if you have questions or comments and I hope you have a wonderfully blessed day!