As many new college graduates don their cap and gown, a symbol of your official entrance into the "real world," there may be a few things you still need to learn that weren't taught in any Psychology 101 class.
Young graduates are often faced with making their own money decisions for the first time. This can be a scary experience if you don't quite yet understand the impact your financial choices can have.
So, as you begin this new phase of your life, here are 5 key things you should know about your credit standing:
1. Good Credit Is Key-- Having a good credit score with a solid credit history is one of the most important things anyone, and especially a young graduate, can realize. A strong credit score can open up opportunities for lower insurance rates, help you avoid paying security deposits, and assist you in securing a new job.
2. Being In Debt Doesn't Equal Having Good Credit-- A common myth is that you have to be in debt to build credit. However, this isn't necessarily the case. What is true is that you have to use credit to build a credit profile. One way to do this is by securing a credit card that you pay off each month. Another is by securing a car loan with monthly payments.
3. On-Time Payment Is the Most Important Thing You Can Do-- When it comes to establishing a solid credit history, the best thing you can do is to make your payments on time. This is one of the biggest factors influencing your credit report, which means a missed payment can hurt you. To make sure you're always on time with credit card and other payments, consider sending payments two weeks to 10 days in advance of their due date.
4. Credit Cards Are Loans-- While you may think of your credit card as a fountain of endless money, it's not. Even though credit cards seem a fast and relatively easy way to build credit when used properly, you need to remember that the credit you’re utilizing is actually a loan from the credit card issuer that must be repaid.
5. Identity Theft Is Real-- While you may feel like you are invincible, your finances and your identity definitely are not. And, with personal information used frequently during this time period for any number of things, (registering for classes, applying for jobs, etc.) accessing your information can be easier.
For more advice on credit score -related matters, be sure to check out the PrivacyGuard blog.