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How did you learn your credit habits? See the results of this poll.

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Re: How did you learn your credit habits?

My parents have always been good about teaching good money management habits.  I recently closed my first savings account and the original "signature" was that of a 4/5 year old who is just learning to write their name. 


I remember having to save up my allowance for what I wanted (usually candy) and when I borrowed money from them for larger items, we wrote down how much I owed, when I'd pay it back and we'd keep a running tally posted on the refrigerator.

Message 21 of 45
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Re: How did you learn your credit habits?

I'm just now learing good credit habits. If my parents couldn't aford it, they didn't buy it. I must have been a slow learner. The late 80's were good to my ex-wife and I, we were making six figures which, even in Los Angeles, went a long way then. If our TRW (that's how old I am) said we were 30 days late on something, so what? We were making enough money. Give us the new credit card/car/motorcycle or we'll get it somewhere else. We worked VERY hard for our money, and we treated ourselves to whatever we wanted. I should say, we treated ME. Everything caught up with us in the late 90's. My ex-wife, bless her heart, buster her butt trying to keep us afloat, but through mostly my sheer ignorance and business losses, we were about 250k in the hole. The walls came crashing down and we lost everything, including each other. Fast forward to 2008, what I have learned about responsible credit habits I've only really learned in the past 6 months. I have 5 TL's, Fico's all around 720-740, and I read Fico Forums every single day because even with everything I've gone through, I still don't know much. Except that I'll never take for granted how valuable my credit is. BTW, my 17 year old son knows more about good credit than I did at 35. I'm making sure of that.
Message 22 of 45
Not applicable

Re: How did you learn your credit habits?

My father is definitely responsible for my credit habits and understanding.  During my teenage years he instilled the idea that you always pay your monthly cc statement balance in full.  He also added me as an AU when I was still a teen, and I got my first credit card and took out several consumer loans in college with the sole intent of paying them faithfully and establishing credit.  I purchased several properties and took out more loans, and the net result was a credit score of 792 by the time I was 28. Smiley Happy  And both my father and myself have normal, middle class level incomes.  He taught me the value of delayed gratification and prioritizing the future ahead of today's wants.  We rarely went out to eat as a family, and I often heard that a particular store or restaurant or entertainment source was too expensive, and that we can do something just as good at home for a fraction of the $$$.  I definitely picked up my father's aversion to large dinner tabs, much to past girlfriend's chagrin! lol...


He also exemplified the priority of having no mortgage debt, paying off his home in under 10 years through sacrafice, which I have also sought to emulate thus far. 

Message 23 of 45
Not applicable

Re: How did you learn your credit habits?

The last thing my father told me - just before he shook my hand, wished me luck, and nudged me toward the Childrens Home where he surrendered me when I was ten years old was...


1) Never Eat at a Place Called "Moms".

2) Never Play Cards with a Man Named "Doc".

3) and Always Sit with your Back Against the Wall.


Everything else...Life, Women, Sailing, and about Credit, I learned by trial & error. What a long road it's been. 



Message 24 of 45
Not applicable

Re: How did you learn your credit habits?

As I got older I realized how important credit was but when I was younger I think I had maybe one credit card but usually paid with cash.  I have been working on my credit for the past 18 months and with all the help on this forum I have been able to move up in my credit score.  I really like this forum as most of the time you can get answers to any of the questions that you need and everyone is very willing to give you some ideas.  It has really helped me and I thank all of you. 
Message 25 of 45
Valued Member

Re: How did you learn your credit habits?

I learned by my father who would preach if you don't have the money to buy it then you can't have it.

Now the lessons I've learned were from lots of reading, taking classes and listening to Suze Orman really. I've followed everything to a T pretty much.


But life isn't so easy...things happen and you do make a few mistakes here and there and boy do you learn a harsh lesson from it all.


I've also learned not to become so darn obsessed with the fico scores too.  It became my a bad obsession where I was killing myself trying to reduce the revolving debt I had, only to end up being sick.  My scores were good and I guess I wanted to raise them up more.  Like getting an A on exam and keeping that 4.0 GPA in college.  Not anymore.   I'll do the best I can and not worry about the fico scores. In today's volatile market it doens't matter what you're scores are.


This whole mess has taught me even more, that what I once had to have "right away" can now wait or not even get it at all.


Live by your means and not by your greedy wants'll be far better off money wise.



Message 26 of 45
Not applicable

Re: How did you learn your credit habits?

Credit habits?  I learned my first year in college when I walked past a table and someone offered me a free rug and lamp if I just signed here.  They filled in the form and I signed for the rug & lamp.  Then this weird plastic card showed up in the mail saying I got $500.  I was only 17.


Im from the West Indies and growing up if you didn't have a few pence for something you could window shop and use your imagination.  You never ran in and try to get it on credit.  Credit is a different animal in my country.  Credit is a guy with a notebook with your name on a page and two columns for "owed" & "paid".  LOL 


They would come around with the merchandise cart and my gran would go look over and buy a trinket here or there on credit.  If you defaulted, you would see him every single day.  Every day you did not have it another figure would go into the "owe" column and eventually you may just find that he will no longer allow you to come within 30 feet of his cart.  Then you got Blacklisted.  That is credit where I come from.


I lived a really isolated life with my mother.  School, tutoring and home.  No TV, no phone, no computer.  So when I got this shiny new plastic card another dormer at university had to tell me what it was.  I thought it was free money, so I bought my books with it, the girl from the dorm came with me to show me how to use it.  I paid for one of her books because she was so nice. 


I didn't think anything about it until I got this bill in the mail saying I owed $500 but I could send in $20.  I sent the $20 and got another bill the next month saying the same thing.  So I sent in the next $20 thinking it would go away.  After the third bill I called the number on the paper wanting to know what was going on.  They said I had a credit card and I owed them money so I should send payment in full of $500.  I told them they could shove the plastic.   I didn't even own a bank account back then as everything was cash, cash, cash in our house.


Then I got a statement showing what my student loan was and how much I owed so far.  I calculated what 4 years would cost and decided working would be best.  I couldn't even afford my textbooks that weren't covered by the loan and grants.  So, I got my first job, first paycheck and first bank account at age 18.  They sent me a plastic card too and I called the bank to tell them I didn't want another credit card.  The bank said it was an ATM card so I could get my money out.  I wanted to know why I couldn't just go to the bank window like I'd seen my dad do when he wanted cash and she said the ATM was easier. it wasn't.  I almost freaked out when my card went in the slot and wondered how to get it back.  I got help from my cousin with that first transaction. 


So, that first credit card went to collections and then sent to a lawyer's office who called me every single month.  That's when I learned about credit reports, balancing a check book, and paying bills.  I actually had to call my cousin to get coaching on how to write my first check. 


I look back and laugh at the hilarity of it all now.  Me at 17.  I did tell my mom thanks alot after she scraped herself off of the floor from laughing at my first experiences on my own as a "grown-up".  I don't think I'll ever live it down though.  So naive I was.  Ah, well...that's life.  I didn't get another credit card until I was 24.  Smiley Happy  Who said getting old is something to be afraid of?  Im just glad I have the knowledge I have now and Im giving my kids better preparation for life than my mother did.


If you think that was funny you should have seen the look on this kid's face in high school when he knocked my bag off the cafeteria bench, said "My bad" and I said "Yes, that was my bag".  I lived an intersting life. 


Note to parents:  Don't be overprotective!  Kids don't break and we hate looking stupid when you forget to tell us stuff!

Message Edited by shawtycat on 10-12-2008 02:55 AM
Message 27 of 45
Regular Contributor

Re: How did you learn your credit habits?

My credit habits are a direct result of my parental(dad mostly) influence.


His simple ideology makes plenty of sense in that "You pay first, then you play with what's leftover". "If you cant afford to save for it, then you probably can't afford it, or you don't need it",  is another one of his favorite sayings that I tend to invoke when planning a purchase. I try to follow these guidelines and will only finance something if I know that I can safely save the same amount of money in the same timeframe as the financing term.


When I was growing up I remember how difficult it was for my dad to make the mortage payment when he was the sole bread winner making .86 cents an hour in the local textile mill. Once the house was paid off it has -stayed- that way and has never been used as collateral for anything since. I see too many people these days confusing what they "want" with what they actually "need". Such as a roof over your head, food and the basic necessities. These things seem to have taken a back seat to impulse spending and poor buying habits in this "instant gratification" society we now seem to live in.


IMHO todays credit scenario is a mess. I just dont see how so many magical dollars are created on paper to substantiate a supposed "investment" to certain bussinesses, and it looks to be coming back home to roost for many companies in light of these recent credit failures. The way I see it, if you cant afford to lose it, dont invest it or accept credit that you dont actually need or have an immediate use for.


I just recently began building a credit file as my parents have always taken care of my needs, but I realize the importance of a good credit score, and FICO seems to have the best approach to what constitutes good personal credit management practices. Combine what I have learned on this great site with what my parents have taught me, and I think that hopefully I'm on the right track! Smiley Happy

EQUIFAX - 640 1/05/12 - Goal of 720 by Mid May!
Transunion - 637 - 01/15/10
Message 28 of 45
Moderator Emerita

Re: Credit reports locked?

sally's post, asking a question of Barry about unlocking blocked credit reports, was moved to General Credit Issues to begin its own thread. As she changed the subject title on this thread to "Credit Reports Locked?", that will remain the new title.

Message 29 of 45
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Re: How did you learn your credit habits? See the results of this poll!

I learned my spending habits from my family. Unfortunately we did not have a lot of money and were often left with the threat of lights being cut off or eviction.(which happened a few times). There were misplaced attempts to satisfy the monetary lack with an expensive gift every now and then when possible. As opposed to understanding that we had one another and that inevitably the rough times should have served as a teaching moment. I.e.. How to prevent future occurrences of ill budgeting - but rather saving for the future and wealth building. Not 1% percentile wealth but living comfortably and not check to check. Somewhat off the subject, I would suggest that if possible forum members view the Bill Moyers PBS Expose titled The Business of Poverty. It will change how you view credit, your money, and your life. The show is also available on a free podcast. Best, RCR
Message 30 of 45
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