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Back-to-School Strategies for Staying Out of Debt

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?

Tax filing options to consider

What to do if your account is turned over to collections

Celebrating Valentine's Day on a budget

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

Setting New Year's goals that you can keep

The pros and cons of skipping a payment

Strategies for Financially Surviving the Holidays

Creating a fun and memorable holiday on a budget

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

Tax Refund Delays for some in 2017

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

Tips for Back-to-School Shopping

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

Setting New Year's goals that you can keep

Making the holidays memorable for families on a tight budget.

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

Should Consumers Use the New EMV Cards?

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

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

A. . It may not seem so right now, but a healthy credit report will remain important for the rest of your life. In fact, I believe that adults of all ages should work to maintain—and even improve—their credit. Regardless of your age or your past experiences, your credit matters. One way or another, poor credit will end up costing you money. 

Life changes, sometimes suddenly and unpredictably. No matter how old you are, your life three or five years from now will be different than it is for you today. You may think you will never need to borrow money again, but end up finding out that it will cost more to fix your car than it would to replace it. As a result, you may find yourself in the market for a different car.

Perhaps you will find a slow water leak in your home that has made more damage than you thought. To fix it correctly, it will cost a significant amount of money, money that you do not have. In this case, you may need to seek a home improvement loan. Or perhaps your current home requires too much upkeep, or you wish to downsize and move into an apartment. Most management companies will check your credit.

Even though you’re feeling credit shy right now, you can’t possibly predict all of your future needs.  For instance, you may need to travel for medical treatment.  Or maybe you simply want to travel to visit friends or relatives. In either case, having access to credit can make traveling safer and more convenient. 

Regardless of the type of credit you’ll need in the months and years to come, you will pay a premium, known as interest, to borrow money. The interest rate you pay will significantly impact the cost of your purchase. 

Even if you don’t specifically wish to borrow money, there are still other compelling reasons to care about your credit. What if you or your wife want or need new job, and your prospective employer makes your credit a condition of employment?

Car Insurance companies also use credit scores to determine your insurance rates.  In fact, a recent study by Consumer Reports found that people with good credit scores paid $68 to $526 more per year, compared to those drivers with the best credit scores.  The same study found that a poor credit score could add a whopping $1,301 to a driver’s premium costs.

I wish it were possible, but none of us have a crystal ball.  Even if you don’t plan to borrow money or use credit cards, life may change for you, and you may find yourself in a different situation. It is better to work on improving your credit now so you can get the best rates later when—and if—you need them.

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 acce@acce-online.com.

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.