If you are just starting to build credit, you may find yourself at one of two extremes: struggling to get past an almost non-existent credit history or using your credit card excessively thinking you will worry about it later. While opposite ends of the spectrum both can hinder your credit score.
Building a solid credit history is essential to qualifying for a mortgage, auto loan and credit scores may be used by landlords and even potential employers. In addition, without credit it will be very hard to qualify for a decent credit card.
Here are 4 ways to build your credit:
1) Don’t spend too much
You landed your first job and might even have money deposited into your account twice a month…but go slow spending it. You want to start building up a cash reserve, so figure out how much you can live on and save the rest.
2) Pay your students loans but don’t worry about paying them off
Typically, student loans have low interest rates so paying them off quickly won’t save you a ton of money. Stay current on your payments but focus on putting money aside for an emergency fund or retirement.
3) Think about the future (yes, retirement is a long ways away)
Saving even a little in your 20’s can make a big difference later on in life. If your company has a 401k plan, make sure to participate. Try to place a minimum of 10% of your pre-tax salary into this account.
4) Create a healthy credit score
Do your homework and find a starter credit card account to start establishing a credit history. Spend a little each month and pay your balance in full. By making payments on-time you are proving yourself to lenders.
The decisions you make in your 20’s about money could pave the way to a lifetime of financial health.