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Learning from Credit Mistakes

Credit Wise (featured column)
by Jennifer Wallis

For us spontaneous, live-in-the-moment types, “plan” is definitely a four-letter word. If you’re like me, you may not have any idea what you’ll be cooking for dinner tonight much less what you’ll be doing 7-10 years down the road.

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However, when it comes to your credit, everything that you do now can affect you for years to come. It’s important to manage your credit wisely and to plan ahead so that you don’t end up paying later for mistakes that you make now. Thinking long-term can definitely help you avoid the bumps in the road to your bright financial future.

When I was a young, frivolous college student, I excessively used credit cards and wound up in financial trouble. The fact that I was talking to my credit card company more often than I talked to my own mother should have been my first clue that there was a serious problem. I learned the hard way that dodging collection calls and being afraid to open my mail is no way to live.

Thankfully, those late payments on my credit record are long gone but for a while they did affect my ability to buy a house or car, and to get good rates on credit cards. I can tell you that it’s never too late to start turning things around. I learned from my mistakes and now, as a professional financial counselor, I try to help others avoid making the same ones.

In this column, I will provide advice and inside information regarding whipping your credit into shape and keeping it fit. A few late payments can mean the difference between buying a car at 4% interest and 20.99% interest. Credit mistakes can haunt you for years to come so making wise credit choices now will really pay off in the future.

When it comes to managing credit, knowledge really is power. I will teach you how to correct past blunders, avoid future ones, plan ahead and use the credit system to your advantage. “Plan” may be a four-letter word but so are “cash”, “loot” and my personal favorite combo, “debt-free.” So they can’t be all bad, right?

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Copyright © 2003 by Jennifer Delcamp. All rights reserved.

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