What is the one thing you have to do to reach your personal finance goals in 2019? Each year millions of people make improving their personal financial situation a New Year resolution. There are a lot of resources about personal finance out there and it’s hard to sort through it all. I am not a financial advisor nor is this financial advice. For me, I think the one thing you need to reach your personal finance goals in 2019 is to get your free credit report.
Your credit report is key to your financial wellbeing. It’s like an EKG of your finances. Banks, credit card companies, other lenders, and employers use your credit report to determine your credit worthiness. It’s important to check to make sure that your credit report is accurate. If it’s not, you need to move quickly to address the errors.
There are three main credit reporting agencies: Transunion, Equifax, and Experian. By law you’re allowed one free report from each of these companies once a year. In this age of identity theft and credit fraud, I try to use my reports as a fraud monitoring service. I order one of the reports in January. Then I order the Equifax one a little later in the year. Finally, I order the Experian one in the fall. That way I can monitor activity during the year. This isn’t the same as credit monitoring that is offered by some companies. In that case, my understanding is that they monitor all tree reports throughout the year. However, this is a FREE route to do about the same.
It’s is really important that you get your credit report cleaned up and accurate. Some companies use the credit report as a proxy for trustworthiness and certain jobs in certain fields (think finance, insurance, anything dealing with money) may be out of reach for folks with issues on their credit report.
Once you have your credit report in hand and you review it, then it’s time to think about what you need to do to improve it. There are a LOT of scam sites on the internet that are either trying to steal your personal information or steal your money to do something you can do for free: repair your credit.
This document [PDF] offered by the NC State Employees’ Credit Union is a great resource for learning about your credit report and how to step-by-step go about getting errors corrected and ways to improve your credit history.
If getting your finances in order is a resolution for you in 2019, your credit report is a great place to start – TODAY!