Credit scores are an important part of life for many people in Massachusetts. Good credit scores allow you to obtain loans for a house or a car, and some employers are even starting to take credit scores into account when making hiring decisions. However, certain things can rattle a credit score. The obvious is not making payments on time, but what about getting a divorce?
As some Massachusetts residents may know firsthand, divorce can seriously hurt your credit score. If your ex-spouse managed the money but never paid on time, it likely damaged your credit as well. On the other hand, if all of the accounts were in your spouse's name, you may have a very thin credit history, which can be equally as difficult to work with. Fortunately, there are a few ways that you can start digging yourself out from a bad credit score.
First, is to know and understand your credit score. Order copies of all of your credit scores and look over them carefully. Knowing where you stand and what caused your poor credit score can make you more aware of the way you handle finances in the future. It also provides a good opportunity to check for any mistakes in your credit report.
If you have a short credit history and a fairly low income, opening a secured credit card is a good way to start building some credit. You do have to put down some money upfront, but even making regular and on-time payments on a low balance can help improve your credit score. And you should not only be keeping up with credit card payments, but with all payments. About 35 percent of your FICO credit score is directly related to how often you make payments on time.
Finally, sever all credit-related ties with your ex. Mortgages and car loans should be under one name, not both. If the deal was that your spouse will take over mortgage payments, you don't want to be liable by keeping your name on the loan.
These are just a few tips to get your started on your way to financial freedom. If you are going through a divorce and would like more information, speaking to an experienced professional may be helpful.
Source: Fox News, "Square One: How to Build Credit After Divorce," Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, Jan. 25, 2012