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We are so happy to welcome Emily McCluskey as a guest blogger. Here is some incredible insight on how credit can affect you…

As a mortgage loan originator, I see a LOT of credit scores. And, if you ask me, “Managing Your Credit” should be a required course for high school seniors getting ready to venture out into the real world.  It should be mandatory, with a required 100% score on a final exam to pass the course.  It should also be required that you pass the course in order to graduate.

Sounds a bit demanding, huh? Why?? Simply put, your credit score is linked to EVERYTHING you do in your adult life. It follows you around…always…it doesn’t go away.

I learned this the hard way, as many do. You could take myself as a prime example of how to seriously screw yourself over with credit.  Not knowing a single thing about credit, aside from the fact that credit cards existed, I absolutely trashed my credit right out of the gate when I left home at 18.  I didn’t pay off my debts, I had a slew of unpaid medical bills, I wrote bad checks, and my first credit card went unpaid…for years. No one had educated me about credit, no one expressed to me how important that score would be for my future.  I wasn’t informed that my debts would follow me around throughout my life until I ponied-up and faced them.  I (very quickly) ended up with a rotten credit history a mile long and a score that couldn’t even get me the most minor of $300 credit cards.  Not to mention the fact that my insurance rates were SKY HIGH, and I had no clue it was because of my credit score.

So, what’s in a SCORE?

A credit score holds the key to financing, financial security, lower rates…on everything

That’s right, EVERYTHING.  That’s what’s in a score. Your credit score affects your ability to obtain financing in any fashion, it affects the interest rates you’re offered on financing, and it has a huge impact on your insurance rates.  And what does all of that lead to?  Your average monthly payments. How much of your hard-earned money is flying out the window unnecessarily?! Your monthly payments could be lower. You could be saving every month!

In my line of work, we have to pull credit reports every single day.

What’s hiding in your report can make or break you when you’re looking to finance.

But, it’s not as difficult as you think to repair your derogatory credit history.  You shouldn’t allow what’s lurking in your report to prevent you from pursuing a home purchase or getting better rates on your insurance.
As consumers, we’re lead to believe that it requires filing for bankruptcy or that a high-priced credit repair company will be needed to fix our scores.  Although there are some extreme cases, often time credit is fairly simple to repair and build…and it may not take nearly as long as you believe! Above and beyond that, it shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg through a credit repair company.
As a mortgage loan originator, working with credit fascinates me.  Honestly, I’ve seen it all. Quite often, the reservation with pursuing financing lays solely upon the fear of the credit report.  At some point, you have to face the fear. What’s lurking in that credit report isn’t as daunting as you think!  I managed to increase my own credit score to over 740 within a year.  Do I need a 740 to obtain financing or better rates? Absolutely not.  But it’s a testament to what incredible improvement can be made to some seriously damaged credit with just a little bit of conscious effort.

The main point breaks in credit scoring are generally at 580, 620, 640 and 740.

At any of these scores, home financing is possible.  When you raise your score to a 620, things go a bit more smoothly with the financing process and your rates drop a bit.  At 640, you begin to see a significant difference in pricing for rates and insurance.  By the time you hit 740, you’re golden and can gain the best rates available.  If you think you need an 800 credit score, think again.  The best rates on financing and insurance are usually capped at 740!  Sure, scoring goes up over 800, but it isn’t any more than a feather in your hat.

With a decent credit score, you can see financial improvement in many of your endeavors.

Insurance rates are a fantastic example of how you can save money with an increase in your credit score.  My dear friends at SHINE would shout this from the rooftops, and I’ll back them up 100%.  As a mortgage advisor, I love working with the good folks at SHINE because they CARE.  I know that they’ve got the clients’ best interest in mind and a large part of what’s best for a client is a solid credit score.  Remember, it affects EVERYTHING.


—Like a compass on a sailboat, Emily McCluskey helps everyday people navigate one of the most important financial moments of their lives. Whether you’re buying your first home or your hundredth she’ll provide the information and options you need every step of the way.  Find her at Gallerygroup.org  (NMLS #1261652).

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