GF¢ 040: Everything You Need to Know About Your Credit (that you probably don’t)


As a Certified Financial Planner, I know a lot about financial planning issues, but there’s one thing that I didn’t realize I didn’t know much about and that thing is credit.

Several years ago, I went on a bold quest to find what my true credit score was and in doing so, I quickly learned that there are many different types of credit scores.  You can see that quest here.

That’s when I realized that there were a lot of things about credit that I didn’t know.

I was determined to find out, so I did a lot of research so that I understood how credit works especially since I devoted several chapter on credit in my book, Soldier of Finance.

That experience has help me realize that I need to seek out credit experts to help me keep up with the always changing credit landscape.

One such expert is Gerri Detweiler, who is the Director of Consumer Education at Gerri has become my go-to person for anything that has to do with credit.

I was excited when Gerri agreed to come on the GFC podcast to share her expertise, and also answer questions from the GFC community.

improve credit score
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How to Raise Your Credit Score Over 110 Points in Less Than 5 Months

This story is featured in my new book, Soldier of Finance, now available at all major book retailers

IMG - How to raise your credit scoreA previous intern of mine, Kevin, was oblivious to what his credit score was. His parents had always told him to not open a credit card in fear that he would get in massive credit card debt and ruin his future.

Unfortunately, his parents were wrong.

I had him find out what his credit score was through and he was unpleasantly surprised. This is his story of finding out his credit score and what he did to improve it. Enter Kevin….


As a Junior and Senior in college I was always told that applying for a credit card could be my first step in the wrong direction.
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How to Rebuild Your Credit After a Divorce

rebuilding credit after divorceNo one ever plans on getting divorced (I hope!).

Unfortunately, it is the reality of the world we live in.

After a divorce you have to agree on the settling of assets, updating life insurance, resolving custody issues of children and a myriad of other things.

One of the things that you might not worry about (or even think you have to) is your credit. Or rebuilding your credit after a messy divorce.

Recently I got a question form a GFC reader (we’ll call her “Nancy”) that was in the middle of divorce and needed some help. I didn’t feel comfortable answering the question so I asked Nancy if she would mind me reaching out to my “peeps”. (Ahh…..yeah. I got peeps. :) )

In this case, my peep was Gerri Detweiler, credit expert and contributor to   When it comes to credit, Gerri knows her stuff!

First let’s take a look at Nancy’s questions:
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Understand Credit Myths to Manage your Credit

This is a guest from the

credit mythsCredit management is more important than ever.

The slowdown in the U.S. economy has caused banks to tighten their belts in the lending departments.

They have placed new restrictions and in many cases dusted off old restrictions when making loan decisions.

The IRS has even stepped in with new credit and debit reporting laws hoping to reduce the tax gap.

Understanding your credit report is vital to your business, particularly when you are just starting and need start-up capital.
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Looking to Buy a House? Better Have a Good Credit Score!

If you managed to survive the Great Recession of 2008-2012 relatively unscathed financially, then you might be holding on to a good credit score.

And that’s an important factor in the next few years as more Americans rebound from the crisis and look for lending opportunities for a new home, car or business.

Banks have tightened their lending requirements in recent years, and unless you have good credit, you may not be able to secure any kind of loan.

This goes for refinancing, too.

A few years ago we built our dream home and during the financing process, our bank request our credit score.

Since then we’ve refinanced twice and each time our banker had to request our credit score.

What’s good credit worth today?
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How You Can Avoid Falling for the Latest Identity Theft Scam

Identity Theft is increasingly becoming a common crime because of unassuming people who take little care of their personal information.

It is easier for Identity thieves to assume one’s life, especially now with all the new technologies readily available to them to commit the crime.

IMG - How to avoid identity theft

Once an ID thief possesses your personal and financial information, even from a simple source like a bill or a driver’s license, your identity can successfully be stolen.

For people victimized by the crime, it will be extremely difficult to recover because of the repercussions that it causes to other aspects of their lives. Stolen money can be earned back in time.

Reputation is harder to restore.

The ID thief can commit other criminal acts while pretending to be you; it can cause problems with your personal relationships, financial institutions, or worse, the government.
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Credit Score Scale: What is a Good Credit Score?

Credit Score Range You know that your credit score is one of the most important bits of financial information about you.

Where you fall on the credit score scale is often considered to be a way of determining what kind of person you are when it comes to managing your money.

Lenders — and plenty of others — use your position on the credit score scale to make decisions about how they will treat you in money matters.

The only problem is that many of us don’t know what our credit score is.

And when you head to one of those sites to get your “free credit score” it’s really not free AND it’s not your real credit score.

I found this out the hard way when I was trying to find my real FICO credit score.

If you’re just as confused as I, here’s a quick look at determining your credit score scale.

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Oh Crap! I Screwed Up….How to Fix an Error on Your Credit Report

How to Fix an Error on Your Credit Report

Check for errors!

One of the most important aspects of your finances is your credit history.

Your credit report is a record of your financial life as it relates to borrowing money.

It is, essentially, your financial reputation. When your credit report looks good, you look good — and like a good financial risk.

Lenders are more likely to approve your application, and give you competitive interest rates. On the flip side, negative information in your credit report can indicate that you might not be as solid as a lender would like.

In order to offset some of that risk, the lender can charge you higher interest rates, costing you hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars more over the life of a loan.

The information in your credit report is used to form your credit score. Not only is the information in your credit report used by lenders, but it might also be used by insurers, landlords, and potential employers. All of these people are making decisions about you based on what’s in your credit report.

If there are mistakes in your credit report, it could lead to negative consequences for you.

It’s important that you check your credit report, and when you find an error, you should fix it.
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How an Email From Credit Sesame Saved Me Over $70,000 and I Love Them For It

Each day my inbox gets flooded with hundreds of emails.

Offer this, buy this, accept my guest post this. Ugh!

I’ve been working more diligently to check my email only a few times per day, but there’s one email in particular that I’m glad that I noticed.

About a year or so ago, I signed up for a free service called Credit Sesame.  Credit Sesame is an online site that specializes in informing their customers of their credit score changes or any possibilities that they can maybe save money on refinancing a home or any of their debt.

Since it was free, I thought what the heck, I’ll try it out.  Once you sign up, they occasionally email you when they feel that there is an opportunity that you can benefit from.

Please note, their emails are very infrequent, so don’t worry about getting flooded with hundreds of offers.

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Credit Card and Credit Score Hacks with Philip Tirone

This is Jeff Rose, Good Financial Cents and with another awesome interview with another awesome guest. My guest today is Phil Tirone who is what I would call a credit score expert, credit score “ninja”. I’m a financial planner, and I help a lot of people with investing and financial planning, but when it comes to credit scores I am basically, for lack of a better term, ignorant.

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The Credit-Scoring Scam of the Century

Are you a victim of the credit scoring scam of the century? If you have a credit card, there’s a 50/50 chance that you are.

What Is the Credit Scoring Scam of the Century?

About half of credit card companies use a shameful tactic to keep their competitors away from you, and this tactic hurts your ability to build a good credit score.

It works like this:

When sending credit card solicitations, credit card companies target specific people to receive their offers. Imagine that all of your credit cards have low interest rates and credit limits of at least $10,000. A credit card company would not offer you a credit card with a high interest rate and a $500 limit. After all, you would never apply for that credit card.
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