Willie Grace | 3/27/2015, 4:19 p.m.
(Family Features) On the path to credit damage are various fibs people tell themselves to avoid dealing with the hard truth: humans don't like change. There's no shame in the occasional flub, but continuing bad financial behavior only leads to bigger problems in the future.
Americans have become accustomed to living a lifestyle accompanied by debt. The negative side effects of debt have been minimized to a mere inconvenience, something to be dealt with at a later time. In fact, according to figures from the Federal Reserve, the total U.S. outstanding consumer debt was $3.33 trillion as of January 2015. This figure includes car loans, student loans and revolving debt, but not mortgages.
"Sound and responsible financial management starts with facing the realities of our individual financial circumstances," said Scott Smith, personal finance expert and president of CreditRepair.com. "Truthfully evaluating our income level, debt obligations, spending habits, savings habits and future financial goals will get you started on the right path to living a responsible financial life."
Smith recommends avoiding the following self-deceivers:
I don't know what my credit score is, but that's okay. I'll only need it when I decide to buy my next car or finally purchase a new home. It's very important to know your credit score and responsibly manage it in every situation in life. Credit scores are not only used for securing a loan, but also for insurance pricing, job applications and rental agreements.
I'll just take a little from my savings account, but I'll pay it back next month. Don't borrow against yourself. Having an established savings plan is very important in every stage of life. If a circumstance comes up that demands you pull funds from your savings plan, make sure to get back on the savings train as quickly as possible.
Investing is too complicated and besides, only the rich get richer. Most of the time the "rich get richer" because of their discipline. Investing and saving is important for everyone, regardless of their current financial situation.
Maybe if I turn my voicemail off the debt collectors will stop calling. Dealing with debt collectors can be very frustrating and sometimes even intimidating, but consumers do have rights protecting them and debt collectors have laws that govern their ability to pester you.
I deserve a break. I'll just charge my vacation and pay it back later. Although circumstances sometimes arise that require the use of credit to cover unexpected expenses, those situations should be minimized as much as possible. If credit card debt is incurred, pay it off as soon as possible. The interest charged is a serious penalty and is not worth the instant gratification that a vacation or expensive pair of shoes may bring.
The bottom line: self-improvement is a tall order, but making excuses for poor financial judgment will do nothing to improve your life. Focus on ways to enhance your financial situation now. Your future self will thank you.
For more tips on managing your money, or your credit, visit www.CreditRepair.com, a site that empowers every individual to achieve the credit scores they deserve and enjoy a lifestyle of greater opportunity.