Taking Care of Your Credit

By Laura Roler, Military Saves Associate, AFC® Candidate, FINRA Military Spouse Fellow

Good or bad credit isn't something that just happens to you - your actions have a direct effect on the status of your credit. Your credit score is a reflection of how you treat your finances - when you neglect or mistreat them, your score will suffer and those mistakes will show in your credit report. Nurture and build your finances and you will find your credit getting better and better. It is recommended to check your credit score and credit report at least once a year to monitor the status of your credit. Find out how Military Saves can help!

Set up an annual plan to take care of your credit:

To improve your credit score:

    • Pay your bills on time. Payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score.
    • Lower your balances to 30% or less of your credit limit. Credit utilization accounts for 30% of your credit score.
    • Wait it out. A longer credit history is more beneficial, and accounts for 15% of your credit score.
    • Don't apply for more! The more credit you try to acquire at once, the more of a risk you will seem to lenders. New credit accounts for 10% of your credit score.
    • Keep your credit accounts diversified. A mix of revolving credit and installment loans is best, and accounts for 10% of your credit score. However, if you are looking to boost your score, remember the point above.

To improve your credit report:

    • Correct any errors in your report by disputing them or providing missing or correct information.
    • Address any unexpected debts or collections on your credit report. Contact each creditor, verify that the debt is yours, and attempt to resolve it as soon as possible.
    • Wait it out. Even the most negative credit information has a statue of limitations on how long it can stay on your report, though generally you can expect it to stay there for at least seven years.

  • Recheck your credit score in four months. One of several benefits of taking the Military Saves Pledge is the opportunity to get your free myFICO score - but did you know that by taking the Pledge, you will have the opportunity to check it TWICE for free? After working toward your savings goal, make sure to recheck your score in four months, courtesy of FINRA Investor Education Foundation, to see how your efforts have paid off!
  • Set a new savings goal, or recommit to your old one. That's right, you can take the Military Saves Pledge again, and continue to use its benefits, including the free myFICO score, every year. By incorporating the Pledge into an annual credit care plan, you can keep your finances current, your goals in sight, and your credit in check!

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Guest Blogger | March 21, 2014

    Having emergency #savings may be the most important way to stay afloat financially. 5 Tips on how to start one: http://ow.ly/rswS2

Saver Stories View all »

Savers Pledge Leads to Savings Success

Written by Super User | October 13, 2011

My name is Rob and I am a Staff Sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserve. My financial success is a huge result of the Military Saves Campaign.

My journey began five years ago after marrying my wife, Lisa. We entered our marriage with no savings plan in sight, carrying debt and living in a tiny apartment. After seeing an advertisement for Military Saves, we decided to grab the reigns of our finances and implement a positive financial plan.

Read more...

Regular Savings is the Key to Success

Written by Super User | November 26, 2010

My name is Chris Strong. I joined the Air Force on 25 March, 1985. On that day, my financial life changed forever. I was introduced to saving bonds in Basic Training. Savings bonds were the big thing back then just like the Thrift Savings Plan is today. A Colonel gave us a briefing. I cannot remember his name but I can remember the 100 savings bonds he had posted to a piece of card board. He gave us a speech on the importance of saving money and how it can change your life. He inspired me to save.

Read more...

Naval Battalion's Effort Yields Team Success

Written by Super User | November 26, 2010

Construction Battalion Five, DETAIL CHINHAE would like to share our campaign success story with you!

Currently we have 23 members on our Det, (all of whom have registered with militarysaves) and out of them 16 are planning for retirement by saving and investing money in the Federal Thrift Savings Plan.

Read more...