We have recently decided that our eldest child Tyne, can start having pocket money.
Last year he was given a 'reward box'. This is essentially a box with a slot in the top into which he can deposit small silver stars. He receives these stars every evening at bedtime if he has been polite and kind to his brothers and us that day.
Chores such as picking up his toys and putting them away, or requests such as trying to finish all of his vegetables earn him extra stars. When the box is full he gets to pick a small toy or reward for himself. The box is emptied and the process starts again.
This system has been very rewarding in many ways, however the most impact it has had upon him is the value of saving, and of saving towards a goal. He loves counting his reward stars and asking how many he has left to go before the box is full.
As he has been earning stars he has started to ask about why we have money and how do we get it.
I think it's great that he's become interested in this, and as he gets older we want to teach him about saving, finance, how money works and how important it is to have a good credit score.
Nowadays credit scores are essential. The value of having a good credit score is brought to our attention everyday. Be it in the form of TV adverts, magazines or online advertising. Yet the notion of improving a credit score is lost to many people and to a few, the concept remains a total mystery.
Be it to secure a mortgage, buy a car on finance or take out a whole world of other loans and purchases including store cards, the ability to carry out such investments will often depend upon your credit score. If your credit score is too low you won't get that loan/car/mortgage even if you don't have any "bad credit" to your name...you need to have a track record with credit to build your credit score. Working to improve it further should you ever need to put it to work for you need not be difficult, or time consuming. You'll be glad you did should the need for it to be checked arise.
Here are some simple steps you can take to improve your credit score;
1) Pay your bills on time. It seems so obvious and simple but it's very easy to miss a bill or accidentally forget to send that payment to company x, y or z. Missed payments to companies will always reflect badly upon your score and have a negative impact so its worth setting reminders on your phone for when they're due to ensure that nothing is missed.
2) Ensure you are on the Electoral Register. By doing so, credit companies can confirm your status as a permanent resident at your address and you are therefore less likely to skip bills or finance payments.
3) Get a credit card. This may seem counter intuitive but having a credit card and using it whilst clearing your balance each month shows you are a responsible individual.
A responsible payer is far more likely to have further or future credit and finance agreed than someone who has never had credit or who has it and doesn't pay their credit card bills in a timely manner.
4) Take out and repay quick loans in a timely manner. I'd advise doing this when you don't actually need the loan, as the fast repayment will work in your favour. Again this will show you are reliable and responsible. Try to avoid having to split repayments or waiting until the very last minute to pay them. Doing so will reflect poorly and show future creditors that you may be a liability which again will impact negatively upon your credit score.
5) Minimise the number of credit cards you own. It's far better to have one or two credit cards that you use and repay in full regularly then half a dozen you use occasionally. You're also less likely to miss repayments with only one or two cards than half a dozen on the go.
I hope this tips prove useful to you. A healthy credit score can make a real difference to your quality of life, your lifestyle and even where you live. With austerity being on everyone's lips now and for the foreseeable future it's something none of us should take lightly.
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