Thursday, May 2, 2013

Why a Credit Score Still Means Something at 50+

Credit Scores
Credit Scores (Photo credit: i am real estate photographer)
There are many consumers of fifty years of age and over whose credit scores have been damaged in recent years by the fickle financial climate. On average however, those of us who are over 50 still have better credit scores on average than many. As we head into our retirement years though, it’s possible to become a little complacent about our credit ratings. We are debt free and not interested in borrowing any more, so what’s the big deal if our credit score “ ain't what it used to be?” Well, the truth is, it does matter, and for some very specific reasons you may not have thought of. 

We Should Still Be Diligent About Identity Theft

Though great measures have been incorporated into our society in order to prevent identity theft, it still occurs. The fact is, as vendors and lenders implement strategies to combat identity theft, thieves exert as much energy into figuring out how to get around them. Almost 10% of American households have at least one member who has fallen victim to this heinous crime, which continues to increase. (US Bureau of Justice)

Monitoring our credit reports and credit scores on a regular basis is an effective means of protecting ourselves against identity theft. If we check our credit report on a regular basis there is a greater chance of catching any irregular transactions before they can do much harm. Look for any new accounts that you did not open, credit card transactions, even loan applications that are not of your doing. Even an increase in the number of inquiries can expose fraudsters trying to open accounts in your name.

The Possibility of Medical Emergencies

As we get older there is a greater chance of us becoming ill. Maintaining a healthy credit score will ensure that we can get the loan we need if saddled with huge medical expenses. Many accounts that are in collection are there because of unpaid medical bills, in fact it is one of the most common reasons for debt. Our insurance may not cover everything, and it is comforting to know that the funds we may need for ourselves or our loved ones will be available if we need them.

Take Advantage of Better Insurance Rates

Many of us who are over 50 still need to pay auto and home insurance. There is a 2:1 chance that our insurer uses our credit score in determining how much they charge us and what discounts we qualify for. The higher our credit score is, the better our chance of receiving the best possible rates, savings we can put towards our retirement and the amenities we’d like to go with it! 

Better Employment Opportunities

Unfortunately many people over 50 have been forced to return to work in recent years. Anyone in that position needs every advantage they can get, and a good credit score is an ace to have up your sleeve. Many employers factor an applicants credit score into their decision making progress of who to hire. They feel a good credit score is an indication of responsibility and reliability. Though they need your permission to view it, refusing them access could lead them to believe you have something to hide, even if that’s not true. Consequently your chances of securing a senior position, or employment in general, could be jeopardized.

Though we may be over 50, it doesn’t pay to be complacent about something that affects so many different areas of our lives. Paying attention to our credit scores can save us embarrassment, hardship, and most of all, money!

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