20 THE QUEENS COURIER • FEBRUARY 18, 2021 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
How to improve your fi nancial health in 2021
It’s always a good time to reassess fi nancial
goals and work toward improving
your overall fi nancial health. No matter
what your fi nancial goals may be, having
the right information and tools in place is
key to getting you on track to take control
of your credit.
Taking the fi rst step towards fi nancial
wellness can provide a sense of empowerment
as you get rid of everyday fi nancial
stressors, which is why many see a positive
connection between fi nancial control
and self-perception. Th ough increasing
your credit score might seem daunting,
following these healthy credit behaviors
can help you make positive changes
to your fi nancial health and even your
Understand your credit: When starting
on your journey to better fi nancial health,
begin by familiarizing yourself with your
current credit standing, as well as understanding
what factors may be negatively
impacting your credit score. A great
place to start is with your Annual Credit
Report, which provides one free credit
report each year from all three nationwide
credit reporting agencies. Th e information
in these reports directly impacts
credit scores, so it’s important to carefully
review for any factors that could cause
your score to be lower than it should be.
Th is TransUnion Credit Score Overview
is also a helpful educational resource and
provides tips towards building a healthier
Review your report and take action:
While assessing your credit report, carefully
review for any inaccuracies or problem
areas that may negatively aff ect your
credit score. For instance, high accumulations
of debt such as maxed out credit
cards and unpaid bills will likely be
refl ected in your credit report. Unpaid
collections are also commonly reported
delinquencies that can cause a big
hit, even when as low as $100 or less.
Prioritize addressing these smaller problem
areas fi rst before they get worse.
Inaccurate information caused by identity
theft can also lower your credit score and
should be disputed online.
Create a plan for better credit: Aft er
resolving any outstanding issues identifi
ed while reviewing your credit report,
create a plan towards improving your
fi nancial health, which should include:
1) On-time payments: Paying your bills
on time and in full each month is key as
it builds a positive history of on-time payments
and responsible credit use.
2) Credit utilization: It is recommended
to maintain a low credit utilization ratio,
that is, how much of your available credit
you’re using at any given time. It is recommended
that you use no more than 30
percent of the available credit, otherwise,
your score could be suff ering.
3) Evaluate your credit cards: Before
opening or closing any credit cards, do
your research on the diff erent types of
credit cards and the benefi ts they have. Do
one or more of your cards have an annual
fee that you could live without? Strategize
which cards you use regularly and keep
daily spending concentrated to one or
two cards total. However, don’t close an
old account just because you aren’t using
it. Longstanding credit accounts are vital
for building credit as this demonstrates a
responsible credit history.
Remain vigilant about credit monitoring
and protection: Once you’re in control
of your credit, the next step is to be
diligent about monitoring your credit and
cautious about your personal information,
which includes fraud protection.
Fraudsters may take out loans, lines of
credit, or rent apartments in your name,
which can negatively aff ect your credit if
it results in a non-payment. If you think
your information has been compromised,
you can protect your credit by freezing it
at all three credit reporting agencies. With
TransUnion, you can simply freeze and
unfreeze your credit with the touch of a
button through the myTransUnion app
at any time.
Understanding and managing personal
information is vital to achieving life goals
such as owning a home, fi nancing your education
or having the convenience of credit
cards for everyday purchases. With responsible
fi nancial behaviors, discipline and consistency,
you’ll be on your way to improving
your credit, and in turn, feeling more confi
dent about your overall fi nancial health.
For more information, visit TransUnion.
— Courtesy BPT
Louis Carino Year
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