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Love and Debt: Why you need to talk about money

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Where to go for mortgage and debt help

What You Should Know About Debt Settlement

Create a plan to deal with medical debt

Options for Higher Education

Will Changes in Credit Reporting Affect You?

What to do if your medical bills are turned over to collections

What to do if your spouse can't pay his or her bills

What to do when a family member ruins your credit

Homeownership is possible

What you need to know about the IRS and collection agencies

Will being turned down for a store credit card hurt my credit?

Beware of credit repair

Debt Management versus Debt Settlement

How to get ahead of late fees

Is There a Service That Helps You Not Pay Bills

Is a Debt Owed

Patience is the key to furnishing a new home

How to split expenses with your partner

Will my boyfriend's bad credit affect me?

What to do if your account is turned over to collections

Personal Credit and Starting a Business

Finding Money to Reduce Your Debt and Improve Your Credit

Simple Keys to Personal Finance

Be vigilant to avoid telephone and internet scams

Debt Settlement

Understanding credit utilization

The pros and cons of skipping a payment

Keep an open line of communication with parents about their finances.

Make a Choice to Get Ahead Financially

What to do when a relative asks you for money

Should You Buy a Home Now or Wait?

The difference between debt settlement and debt management

The negative impact of paying a payment 30 days late

Stressed by Finances

How to navigate two significant financial decisions: starting a family and buying a home

How to advise someone close to you who is coming into a significant amount of money

Make a Conscious Decision on How to Spend Your Money

How do you know if you have a good credit score?

Americans spend more money eating out than on groceries

Having Good Credit Saves You Money

Developing good money habits with your first job

How to save for a home

How to Know if you are Ready for Home Ownership

When is the right time to buy a home?

You can improve your credit to buy a home

Plan a Memorable Vacation Without Incurring Debt

The Hidden Costs of Payday Loans

Be Wary of Credit Repair Services

Use Caution when playing the credit card game

What does it mean to say bankruptcy gives you a clean slate?

How your credit is affected by various debt options

Be wary of predatory small business loans

What to do if you fall behind on mortgage payments

Financing a College Education

Money, Credit and Relationships

Should you be concerned with your date's credit scores?

Best options for a small, short-term loan

How to help a relative who is always borrowing money from you

Skipping a Payment over the Holidays

What to do if you are overwhelmed by medical bills

Make your financial intention a financial goal you can achieve

What to do when a collector calls you

The difference between paying bills and managing your money

My wife and I have gone through some tough financial times, which eventually led us to file for bankruptcy.  Following this experience, I don’t ever want to use credit again, but my wife

What do I need to know to pay ahead on my mortgage?

What to do if you get an unsolicited credit card in the mail

What to do when moving in to share expenses doesn't work out

Having Good Credit Saves You Money

Q. My family has been harping on me for years to pay my bills on time, telling me that I need to work on having good credit. As far as I can tell, my imperfect credit hasn’t harmed me at all. I’ve been able to get the loans I need, when I need them. How important is “good credit” in your opinion?

A. I’m siding with your family on this one. You may have been able to get loans for what you wanted in the past, but you can’t always count on this in the future. What’s more, your credit record will have a significant influence on how much you pay for those loans and will trickle down to other aspects of your life as well.

You have to ask yourself if you are willing to pay more for the exact same thing someone else buys. How would you feel if you learned that a poor credit record can cost you thousands of dollars? Under current market interest rates, for example, a person with poor credit who takes out a $20,000 car loan for five years will pay $3,360 more for his or her car, compared to a person who has a solid credit record. 

Similarly, a person with poor credit will pay substantially more on other major purchases, including a house.  Let’s say you took out a $200,000, 30-year home mortgage. Based on current market rates, you could expect to pay $66,184 more in interest over the life of your loan, compared to someone with excellent credit.   

Let’s break down the numbers a little bit more to see how poor credit can cost you. In these two examples, a person with excellent credit would spend $2,878 less each year than you do. What could you do with an extra $2,878 every year?  If you have excellent credit, you get to decide where that $2,878 goes. If you have poor credit, you just willingly gave the money to someone else every single year. 

If you put just $2,000 in a savings account for the next 10 years, you would have accumulated $20,000, plus interest. If you spent the remaining $878 every year for the next ten years, you would have enjoyed $8,788 in purchases (without accumulating any debt). Most people purchase multiple cars, homes, campers, motorcycles, furniture and much more over their lifetime. Think of the cumulative effect of building good credit.

Your credit is tied to other aspects of your life, too. Having poor credit may mean you cannot get the insurance you need, or may result in you having to pay significantly higher rates than a person with good credit. You could also miss out on a job opportunity because your prospective employer requires you to have good credit. Some utility companies will even base the size of your deposit based on your credit record.

With all this said, however, you don’t have to continue living with poor credit if you don’t want to. You can turn your credit around faster than you may think by doing four simple things:  pay your bills on time, pay down your debt, avoid letting your debts go to collections and do not apply for any more credit. 

Whatever you decide about your financial future, I encourage you to consider the complete picture. It’s your money, so why not build a good credit record, so you can spend what you make in ways that bring you happiness and that improve your well-being?

Bonnie Spain is the executive director of the American Center for Credit Education and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Black Hills. For more information, email

The material in this transmission is provided for personal, non-commercial, educational, and informational purposes only. ACCE makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this transmission and assumes no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or any inconsistency herein. You should consult a professional where appropriate.