My Credit Score: Why I Don’t Care and You Shouldn’t Either

 

My Credit Score: Why I Don't Care and You Shouldn't EitherEditor’s Note: We have been talking a lot about credit card churning in recent weeks. While we wouldn’t recommend using credit card rewards or credit card churning for everybody, we feel that it is a great way to “make” extra money when it is done right. However, one of the questions that gets asked frequently is, “What about your credit score?” The following post is our answer to that question. It was originally published in July 2012, and has been slightly updated. Enjoy!  (Read this post to find out how we’re paying for our next vacation with credit card rewards)

 

Do you know what your credit score is? The last time I checked, mine was about 800.

 

That’s great, right? I should be absolutely, undeniably stoked.

 

Well…I’m not…really. In fact, I couldn’t care less.

 

The lending industry has bombarded us with propaganda about credit scores for years.  They would have us believe that everybody should be striving to increase their credit score. They make us believe that the only way to financial security is through a high credit score. If your credit score is low, you may be up s#it creek without a paddle.

 

Now, I don’t deny that a high credit score can help you to secure a loan. However, what I am here to tell you is that their line of thinking is hogwash.  Yep, I said it.  It is a big pile of crap.  In fact, I believe that the credit score is one of the most deceptive and meaningless marketing tools that the lending industry uses to control your financial behavior.  Don’t believe me? Here’s why.

 

What is a Credit Score

A credit score (a.k.a. a FICO score) is essentially a tool that lenders use to determine the level of risk that they are accepting by granting you a loan.  The type and age of the accounts you hold, your past history of late or delinquent payments, and the total amount of debt that you have accrued are just some of the many factors that determine your credit score.  According to Experian, while most credit scores fall between 600-750, a score above 700 is considered good credit management. Essentially,
the lower your score, the bigger risk you pose to a bank who is willing to lend money to you. Even car insurance companies include your credit score as one of the factors that affects your premiums. The higher your score, the less risk you pose.

 

Your Credit Score

Here is a chart depicting differing levels of credit scores. Here is me saying, “Who cares?” (Image courtesy of Calcmycreditscore.com)

For many years, people have been taught good credit equals good financial stability.  That is a flat-out deception.  In fact, financial stability should be measured by how little debt you owe rather than how much debt you are allowed to accumulate.  There are plenty of extremely wealthy people who have low scores because they don’t use credit. Instead of you being worrying about how your score affects your financial stability, you should be much more worried about the effect your debt is having.

 

But why? Why would the banks try to convince you of this mythical numbers importance? The answer is simple: to get you to purchase more credit so they can make more money.

 

The Credit Score Myth

To me, the lending industry perpetuates the myth of the credit score in a way that is similar to how your friendly local drug dealer peddles his products.  The lenders make it easy for you to get your first taste of credit.  From the time that you turn 18 years-old, they start bombarding you with direct mail, offering you the chance to get your first credit card.  Often times, they’ll partner with colleges and universities to “sell” those cards.  “Build your credit and help your school at the same time,” is a promise that offers – not only – the opportunity to buy things you can’t afford, but the illusion of freedom at the same time.  What 18 year-old doesn’t crave freedom?

 

Once the lenders worm you into their system, they really have you hooked.  The credit score simply is another way for them to keep you buying their product.  First, they tell you about all the wonders of what credit can do for you.  “Want a brand new car that you can’t afford?  Don’t worry, just use a little credit.  Want a new pair of Louis Vuittons but you’re a little strapped for cash? Go ahead! You can afford it!  Just charge it!  Come on, you can do it. It feels soooooo good!”

 

After they’ve spun all the fairy tales of a brilliant future that is paid for with “free money,” chances are that you are already addicted to their drug.  Still, occasionally, one of their clients has the bright idea that they will break free from their credit addiction.  In order to squash a mass exodus, the debt pushers use fear to whip their remaining clients back into line. By downgrading the scores of those who no longer use or require credit, the banks “punish” those who have slipped through their clutches by “taking away” the thing that their loyal customers crave most – more credit.  By convincing the masses of the value of their precious credit score, banks have conned most of us into staying perpetually in debt to them.  It truly is a brilliant marketing plan.

 

Credit Equals Debt

In truth, the term “credit score” shouldn’t be termed a credit score at all.  You see, credit is just a prettier way to say the word debt.  If this metric were named a “potential for debt score” instead of a “credit score,” I think that it would probably lose a lot of its appeal.

 

To be sure, we have used credit before and used it successfully to our advantage.  Without credit, we would have never been able to buy the house that we live in.  Although we couldn’t afford them at the time, we never would have been able to purchase our two rental houses – which now seem like one of the best financial decisions we ever made.  Luckily for us, everything has worked out as planned  – at least so far.  In other ways, easily accessible credit has changed the course of our lives.

 

The Allure of Credit

The attraction of credit is a very real and addictive thing.  Credit makes purchasing so easy, especially when it comes to purchasing “big-ticket” items.  For example, my wife and I recently paid one last giant payment toward a car that we originally purchased using credit.  What we thought was going to be a joyous and triumphant moment felt more like a funeral. We were sure that it would feel great to have that car payment behind us.  Now, after the fact, it does.  But, the actual moment where we had to write that huge check really hurt.  We had worked so hard to save that money, and it was gone in an instant.

 

You see, it felt like we were paying for something we had already purchased.  We had deluded ourselves into thinking that the money we had in our possession was actually ours.  Unfortunately, not only was the money not really ours, but the car wasn’t either. Using credit had masked the true cost and –  thus – the pain of the actual purchase.  For us, the moment became less of a triumph and more of a lesson about not repeating our past mistakes.

 

Really, it should hurt to make large purchases.  It is this “buy now, pay later” mentality that has gotten Americans into trouble over the last several years.  Americans have bought into a mentality that believes that “the bill will never come due.”  While carrying debt works fine during good times, major problems begin to surface when everything doesn’t go as planned.

 

Why I Don’t Care About My Credit Score

While my credit score is high, from this point forward, I truly couldn’t care less about it.  Why? Because I am determined to no longer use debt to fund my lifestyle. I refuse to use credit to buy things that I can’t afford.  A high credit score does nothing for somebody who always pays his debts.

 

The only real way to win this game is to not play.  To do that, make a zero-sum budget, become debt free, don’t buy things you can’t afford, and don’t go back into debt for any reason.  Then make sure that your assets are protected with the proper amount of income protection insurance.  Only then can you truly know the taste of financial security.

 

How do you feel about credit scores? Am I way off base? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

About Greg

Greg Johnson is a proud husband, father, and debt crusader who believes in living life now while saving for the future. He is the co-founder of the personal finance website Club Thrifty, where he brings the awesome sauce each and every day.

Comments

  1. We don’t even know ours! Funny! Our entire world seems to be bought on this idea of credit scores. Who needs a credit score when you can just pay everything in cash?

    • Hi Whitney,

      Thanks for the comment! That is exactly what I’m trying to get at. If you don’t use credit to pay for things – and why would you if you can afford them in the first place??? – then your credit score doesn’t matter at all. Unless you are buying a house, you really should be paying for things in cash only.

  2. I couldn’t agree more. The only time I have ever even thought about my credit score was when I was buying my house.
    (I just stumbled upon your blog recently and am enjoying poking around.)

    • Thanks for writing, Eileen!

      Indeed, I am very glad that I worried about my credit score up until we bought our home and rental properties. But now, it serves no purpose for me. I choose to worry about other things, like making and saving money. It sounds like you do too.

      Have a great night!

  3. I think it’s pretty funny that you need to have credit and use it to show lenders you don’t need it. It is nice to have a high credit score if you want lower interest rates for car, personal and home loans though. So I guess we have to jump through their hoops to avoid paying way more than we should.

    • I totally agree. It’s a silly game we all have to play.

      But, now that I should no longer have to use credit again…I don’t really give a &*#!!!!

      I am an enthusiastic credit card rewards user though, so that should be enough to keep my credit score up to date. I put almost everything on them and pay it off every month.

  4. I have to say I care dearly after my 100 day mortgage refi SAGA!

    $8 late payment by my tenants 2 years ago crushed my score by 100 points! I wrote a post entitled, “PG&E Killed My Friend’s Wife And My Credit Score”…. shocking.

  5. I have never checked my credit score, but I have never had any issues with getting finance from the banks so I haven’t needed to find out how I rate.

  6. Very interesting perspective, and it’s true that credit does equal debt. I didn’t know my credit score until I got a mortgage, and it was pretty much in line with what I thought it would be.

    • Ours was very high, now it is simply excellent due to our churning. Of course, we can still get the same rates as before…if we choose to.

  7. Great post Greg! I also struggle to see why obtaining a high credit score is seen as such an achievment… it is essentially gives young people justification and even a reward to spend money they don’t have!

  8. I am not too concerned with my credit score, because it’s only an indication of how well one manages debt. I do check my credit bureau, just to make sure there are no accuracies.

  9. Spot on here, Greg. I worked for years in personal and mortgage lending, and boy, did our eyes sparkle when we saw those over 750 numbers. It took me years to realize what you said about a good credit score meaning you can manage a lot of debt. While I agree that it can affect your mortgage approval/rate, if you’ve got a good chunk of money that you’re putting down, you’ll likely get the lower rate regardless of your credit score, unless of course your credit is totally trashed.

    • Yeah, I’m not saying go out and intentionally trash your credit score. I’m saying pay your bills, but don’t go out of your way to accrue debt in order to build a credit score. You can still get a loan (if needed) without one. A bank would be silly not to loan money to somebody with zero debt.

  10. I have a good credit score. I wouldn’t do anything to ruin my credit, but certainly don’t care whether it’s OK or really good. Frankly, I don’t plan on taking out credit within the next little while. Sure, it’s easy to get credit cards to build up rewards points with a good credit score but I don’t see any other huge benefit.

  11. I care what mine is, but I do agree that it is mostly propaganda, the fact that how long you’ve had a credit card open is a factor really pisses me off. What if it had a horrible APR?

  12. I’ve decided not to care about my credit score and pay off debt. I’m sure it did help me get a couple of my better rewards credit cards that I’m churning right now, so I’m grateful for that, but you’re right. Higher credit score usually = more debt.

  13. The only reason I care about my credit score is that it impossible to get awesome cash-back rewards cards without excellent credit. American Express Blue Cash, Chase Freedom, and Capital One Cash are all great cards to have for churning, but they all require awesome credit.

  14. Jamie Dickinson @ YourSavingAngels says:

    We try to be responsible with our money and as such I hope that is reflected in our credit scores. To me I don’t really want to borrow more money the only exception to that is a mortgage in the future, so in that sense it’s fairly important – however we’re not doing anything more than we would be normally.

    You are completely right about credit and young people and it seems fairly absurd.

    • Unfortunately, being responsible with your money (ie: less/no debt) often reflects poorly in your credit score. That is one of my major problems with the metric.

      Keep up the good work and thanks for stopping by!

  15. We keep an eye on our credit score just so we have good lending options if we want to borrow for investing. Fear is one of the best motivators around, great job deflating some of the fear credit score myths out there.

    • Thanks Mandy!

      I think one of the other myths about the score is that you need it to get a loan. Sure, they will look at it. However, a bank would be crazy not to give you a loan if you don’t have/use any debt. Usually, you can still get a loan if you talk to a local lender.

      • LeRainDrop says:

        But see JD Roth’s post on More Than Money yesterday — he ended up having to pay cash for a new condo because he couldn’t get approval for a mortgage.

        • That is a good point!

          But maybe it’s a good thing that we use credit cards. If we didn’t, we would just have our lone mortgage on our credit report since that is our only loan. I want to keep my credit score over 750 so that I can get the best rewards deals but that’s about it!!!

  16. I think one time, about five years ago, I paid to see what my score was. Ever since then, I just check our reports through the free credit tool. If we have our credit score checked by a lender (last time was for our mortgage re-fi), they will tell us our credit score, and I am certain that as long as we keep our credit report in good shape, we’ll also be in that same range (we’re always in the 790-820 range). You’re right, paying for your credit score is usually quite unnecessary.

  17. I personally care about my credit score. I don’t want to have to worry about not being able to get the best cash back credit card (I needs those rewards!) and being denied for a loan. You never really know when you might need to get a loan and if your score is low, then you are going to paying a lot more.

    Rich people might have low credit scores, but they also can pay in cash, which is out of reach for most people. Though I think the credit score is a marketing tactic, why not have people strive for something?

    Since you can’t “quickly” increase your credit score without doing some work, then why not strive for a high one and make sure you keep it there? If you needed a loan and haven’t checked your score in a long time, what happens if you find out that you can’t get a loan due to a bad score. You would be out of luck until you could get your score higher.

    • Actually, if you don’t have any debt, and pay your bills on time, you should be able to get a loan easy peesy. One of my major problems with the credit score is that it punishes you for pursuing financially sound options (ie: not accruing debt).

      Mind you, I’m not saying go out and blow your credit score to smitherines. Keep an eye on it. But, once you are debt free, who cares? Pay cash.

      Of course, we churn cards as well, so that is one of our main concerns with our credit score right now!

  18. I have an excellent credit score and do my best to maintain it. Fair or not, your credit score is used in many aspects of life (like car insurance). So might as well do my best to make sure mine is high and I get the best rates.

    That being said I don’t really monitor mine all that closely since it flucuates a few points up and down based on my churning…

    • True. Some insurance companies may use your score for insurance costs. There is nothing wrong with having a high score. I have one myself. But, I’m not going to go take out loans or keep balances on my credit cards to keep it high. That is playing with fire…and it is wrong. The credit score isn’t a measure of your financial health. It is a measure of your ability to pay back debt.

      • Brian makes a good point. Not only is it used in deciding how much to charge for insurance, employers also check it to decide if you are a good risk to hire! No, it isn’t fair, and yes I agree it is not a valid measure of a person’s financial smarts. However, report cards in school are not a good measure of our intelligence either. I’ve only checked my score once, this year and it was super high.

        • Are you suggesting that somebody go into debt in order to change jobs? I just don’t see that as a valid argument to play their game. That is another reason a bank will tell you to increase your credit.

          Sure, some employers will check your credit. However, they have to have a valid reason. Plus, you have to give them permission to do so since each inquiry affects your score (another stupid rule). If you have a low score due to not using credit, simply tell them that you don’t have debt and don’t use credit. That should be enough to satisfy them that you can handle money.

        • Employers honestly don’t really even bother to check credit scores anymore. It costs them a lot more money to pull these credit checks. Also, given the horrible economic conditions the past 6 years, they realize that almost everyone has a crap credit score due to getting rammed by the banksters and the economy. It doesn’t have the same bad stigma attached to it like it would pre-recession. Unless the job is specifically in finance, the chances of any employer checking your credit are EXTREMELY low. I was a recruiter for many years, so I know this first hand. I read a survey recently that out of 100 employers, maybe only 5 or 6 will check your credit.

  19. I have a great story surrounding my credit score. A benefit I did not see coming when we became debt-free and pledge never to borrow money again was… being able to not have a moment’s hesitation when a company tries to bully you using the “credit score” scare tactic. Twice in the last four years I have been hassled to pay a bill I did not owe, and both times I was able to genuinely get a good laugh over the threat of ruining my score. Thats a great feeling.

    Now I would NOT say, “go ahead and pay off all your debt and then you can not pay your bills and it won’t affect your credit score”… but when you legitimately don’t owe something, they cannot harm you by reporting it, because you don’t borrow!!

  20. Interesting and informative post! I keep up with my score since we’ll probably get a house loan once we figure out where we’ll settle, but I do agree with your thinking that credit = debt!

  21. Well said Greg. Credit scores are pretty much the leash that the industry uses to yank people along and buy more stuff. On top of that not only do they lower your credit score but if you don’t use your credit over time they will penalize you with fees as well. To me it’s kind of like crack for your finances, once they get you hooked on spending and using it all the time they hit you up with the fee and high interest charges.

  22. I agree, I don’t really care. The only thing I check is to ensure that all credit being reported is in fact mine since I have had fraudulent activities on it before. Ironically enough since we’ve entered a DMP we’ve received more credit card/loan offers than ever.

  23. You made some excellent points. It’s sad that they target us when we’re basically still vulnerable kids with the allure of credit cards. We do have that mindset of buy now and pay later. I absolutely agree that the best thing is to pay off debt then only buy things you can afford without incurring any debt going forward. I do still think people need to check their credit scores/history to make sure there are no mistakes.

    • You definitely want to check your credit reports to make sure that there are no errors. That is one good way to protect yourself from identity theft.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  24. Inever paid attention to my credit score until I was turned down for a line of credit 27 years ago. It turned out that a department store erroneously reported a charge off to my account. It took 6 months to correct my report. I handle my finances very responsibly and I never really think about my score. I only have a small amount of debt (small mortgage & car loan) which will be paid off in about 4 years. My good score helped me get the best rates, Although I agree no to worry about it, you still need to check it periodically.

    • I definitely would advise checking your credit report as that will tell you whether or not there are errors/somebody opening accounts in your name. The score itself is a bunch of hogwash though. That is only a metric used to determine how well you handle debt and if you are a good risk to lend money to.

  25. I hate the credit score and the whole system. My brother is going to buy a house and pay it off in less than 5 years. But he can’t get a small loan because he doesn’t have credit history. He was told he has to buy something on a credit card and LET THE BALANCE REVOLVE to get a score?!?! WTF? I mean seriously, you have to pay credit card interest to satisfy the credit gods to show you are responsible with your money? It’s just the opposite. Any numbskull who let’s a balanace on a credit card revolve to build credit should be DENIED a loan for not understanding second grade math.

    Obviously this subject gets me fired up. Ugh, it kills me!

    • Pretty much. That is trap that they want you to fall into. They want to have dependable, repeat customers – not people who are good with their money. They can’t harvest those last few dollars of profit otherwise!

  26. I love this post, Greg. I have a question, though. Would you use credit to buy another rental property if the deal were right, or are you really not buying anything at all with debt?

    • Maybe. And since our credit scores are in the mid 700’s, it wouldn’t be a problem to borrow money. Right now I don’t see us buying another rental in the next 4 or 5 years. We just don’t have the time to deal with it.

    • That is something that we have been talking about. For me, I would rather not. I would rather buy it with cash, at a good price, and then use the cash flow. Holly likes the concept of the tenants paying off the mortgage. I do too, and it is great…until something goes wrong.

      However, I look at business debt a little bit differently than I look at personal debt. Yet, I wouldn’t take out a $100,000 loan to invest it in the stock market. So, the answer is…I don’t know. We are going to have to make that decision over the next few years.

  27. While I’m not a fan of debt, in the industry that I’m headed into a good FICO score is important requirement of being considered for a job. The company wouldn’t want me to handle their money if I can’t handle my own and the only metric they have to gauge that would be my FICO score.

    • That is fair enough. I guess you better watch your score then, even though that is a terrible metric to use. Unfortunately, they can’t ask you how much debt you have personally, so you don’t have that to fall back on.

  28. We can get our free credit reports in Canada from all 4 bureaus but it won’t come with the score. I could care less about the score as I know we are in good standing. What I am more concerned about is checking my credit history. Has anyone stolen my identity and used credit in my name. Are all of the credit hits accurate? Is my info accurate? It’s worth it to me to check it for free once a year, we have nothing to lose but time filling out a simple form.

    • Bingo! Absolutely! We check our reports every year as well. When it comes to credit, that is the main thing everybody should be worried about, in my humble opinion.

  29. I don’t know my credit score. My bank told me it was “good” when I got my mortgage but I never got any details out of them. I would like to see my credit report though – it’s been on my list of things to do for a while.

  30. I also never really understood the big deal about credit scores. I’ve never paid any attention to mine, but instead just focused on paying bills on time and staying clear from debt.

    So, when it came time to take out a home loan, I was a little uneasy b/c I had no idea what my credit score would be. Even without ever trying, my score was over 760, which easily qualified me for having “good credit”. I was able to secure a low interest rate, just like that.

    Build up your investments, pay off your debts, and pay your bills on time. That’s it. The good credit score will take care of itself. And it’s unlikely you’ll even notice the difference between a 700 or 760 score… Definitely not worth the effort to try and improve…

  31. Excellent post. You are correct, we have been sold a line by the lenders. Credit=Debt, pure and simple.

  32. Certainly an interesting take on how one should view their credit score. My main issue with this post is that it’s not based within any degree of reality.

    I completely understand that people should not go into debt just because they have the ability to do so. However, I strongly disagree with the notion that people should not care about their credit scores. A growing number of potential employers will check your credit to assess their risk for various scenarios. It is virtually impossible to rent, let alone buy, a residence without having a good credit score. I feel confident in saying that nearly 100 percent of working Americans want to either buy or rent a residence during their lifetime. Trying to rent or buy without a credit rating is very difficult and could be downright impossible in some markets.

    Greg, your comment about the credit score being a “terrible metric” for hiring staff couldn’t be further from the truth. I consulted to a human resources firm for over 16 years and you would be surprised to learn the correlation between poor credit scores and poor staff. There isn’t enough space on this page for me to point out why credit scores are absolutely important to hiring new staff. It is an excellent metric to use particularly when you’re dealing with staff members that deal with finance, cash and security related jobs.

    If the purpose of this post was to observe a contrarian view of the credit scoring system; you’ve succeeded. However if the post was designed to help a normal person understand the reality of the credit scoring system; with respect, you’ve missed the mark. It’s easy to say that “I don’t care about my credit score” when you have a score of 800 or higher. It’s no different than the rich person we all know that says, “I don’t care about money.” If we take that person’s money away, do you think they make the same statement?

    • Ethel, thanks for stopping by to promote your credit score website! I’m sure that your feelings on the topic are in no way influenced by the site you are promoting. I especially love the scare tactics about job searches and insurance. That is good stuff! As a landlord, I rent almost exclusively to people with bad credit. Oh, and if you took my credit score away, I really wouldn’t care because I don’t need debt to buy things.

      Thanks for your comment and good luck with your site!

      • For the record, credit score resource.com is an advice website. I have no promotional links, I do not represent any credit reporting agency and I have no affiliate links on the website. My website is manned by volunteer credit counsellors.

        My main reason for commenting on your blog is to give real people a moment of pause. Your message is irresponsible particularly to younger people.

        This post is simplistic and quite frankly delusional in the real world. Not only is the post contrarian but you contradict yourself within the post itself. You can not attain a credit score of 800 without using some form of significant credit in the past. This is an interesting statement at the end of your post:

        “I am resolved not to no longer use debt”

        Aside from the poor grammar; this would imply that you have used credit in the past. That contradicts your post. So it’s easy to say that you’ll no longer use credit, because you’ve already use it to achieve whatever you have. (ie a car, a home, a great website, etc.)

        Your message does not resonate with most people in this country. It would be nice to live off of the land but that’s not reality.

        A website that has been featured on Dr. Phil and Oprah is not a website in need of promotion on your site Greg. Don’t flatter yourself.

        • Geez Ethel. There’s no reason to come to our blog and be nasty. Relax.

        • Good catch on the grammar.

          Oh, and nobody said go out and be irresponsible with money in order to blow up your credit. This is a website about being responsible and accountable with your money. I’m simply stating that the credit score is a scare tactic used by bankers to get you to purchase more of what they are selling – debt. I don’t mind the disagreement, but being rude and dropping links to your articles in my comments section isn’t very cool. That seems like self-promotion to me.

          • I don’t view the truth as being rude or nasty.

            This statement: “Oh, and nobody said go out and be irresponsible with money in order to blow up your credit.”

            I agree. How is this related to what I said? Did I insinuate this in some way?

            I feel that is irresponsible to broadcasts these kinds of beliefs when you wholeheartedly admit that you’ve used credit in the past. (Based upon your 800 credit score, you’ve used significant amounts)

            I think I addressed the promotion bit in my previous comment but if you’re so concerned about links pointing to other sites, perhaps you might consider removing the plugin from your site that creates them.

            If you can find me an average 21 year old that has graduated from school that needs a place to rent and ultimately a place to own that does not require some form of established credit, I’ll take my comments back.

            You’re obviously past this stage in your life but that doesn’t give you the right denigrate a system that is designed to protect consumers and creditors, especially when you’ve used this system for your own personal gain. With respect, this seems hypocritical to me and somewhat negligent.

            The issue is not the credit scoring system. The issue is good fiscal responsibility and restraint. These are two distinct issues.

            I think you and your wife are being defensive and not looking at the whole picture. If you had never borrowed a dime, I wouldn’t have said a word.

            Thanks for replying back.

          • This whole conversation is really weird…and I have to question why you care so much about what we write on our own blog. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. It’s that simple.

          • I care because what you’ve written is absolutely wrong. It’s that simple.

          • At Club Thrifty, we write about personal accountability. We write about living within our means and not using debt to fund a lifestyle we cannot afford. We write about other topics as well, and we always make sure to write 100% from our point of view. What you’re reading is 100% our opinion and the way we see things. For what it’s worth, your opinion has been noted as well.

            Other than that, I’m just honored that someone who has been mentioned by Dr. Phil and Oprah bothered to stop by and comment at all. =)

  33. Silent Cal says:

    I’d like to tell Ethel that we own our small home outright and if we decide to sell and buy another we can pay cash for it, and if we do any financing it will be through our bank or credit union. No, we aren’t rich, I’m 59 and haven’t worked in four years, but we do have over 6 figures in 3-4 institutions. We tend to drive cars on average 17-20 years after we purchase them new. Now, I keep getting these spam/scam e-mails saying my credit rating has dropped here in the last week. That is because I carry minimal or no balance on credit cards, am able to pay them off at first notice. So I am content, Ethel, telling you I DON’T CARE about my credit rating(look forward to drawing SS in three years and MAYBE supplement it with my ira). This is the most rational site dealing with this topic I have run across.

    • Yay! Finally a voice of reason on the subject. Thank you thank you thank you! Why should you care about your credit score? The answer: you shouldn’t!

      Great job!

    • Peter Crowtman says:

      @Silent Cal: Owning a house outright at age 59 is not a miraculous situation; accomplishing that by the age of 28 with no credit is amazing.

      You should have far less credit requirements than someone in their 30’s. Don’t take this the wrong way but someone telling me that I shouldn’t care about my credit or that I shouldn’t be using credit is a total joke to me. I don’t abuse credit but unfortunately, I need it.

      I like what they’re talking about on this site but I can also understand the commenter’s point of view. Why tell someone they don’t need credit when you’re blogging today about a mortgage payment?

      Honestly, I could care less about my credit score. It only matters when I go to buy a house :) I’m 28 years old and unless I win the lottery, I’m going to need credit to buy a house in the next 3 years so I’m not going to be obsessive about it but I am going to be diligent enough to maintain a decent credit score.

      • True, we’ve used credit as well. I’m actually not against using credit to buy a house, necessarily – although it is possible to buy a house without using credit. It is also possible to go to college without using loans. However, many people – including us – buy more than we really need or can afford because of the credit that is available to us. We also churn credit cards, which is also using credit. Still, the credit score system is a joke. It is a way for banks to keep you in debt. Honestly, as long as you pay your bills on time and don’t default, you are going to end up with a decent credit score anyway. There is no need to play the bank’s game or buy into their threats. There isn’t much that you can’t buy with a 720 score that you can with an 800.

        Thanks for stopping by! We appreciate the comment.

      • Interesting post. I’m going to have to agree with Ethel and Peter on this one as well.

        The post is quite “lofty” in my opinion and somewhat hypocritical. It’s kind of like saying that you shouldn’t drink or do drugs the day after you’ve had a major binge.

        There’s a myriad of reasons why it’s important to be aware of and maintain a high credit score. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet folks; I’ve been a financial advisor with Raymond James for over 21 years and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat across from people that weren’t more diligent about maintaining a high credit score. Whether you need money or if you simply have to qualify for a certain service, having a high credit score and strong credit history is more important now than it was when I first started advising clients.

        For the record, we actually direct many of our customers to Ethel’s website because she advocates financial responsibility. Based upon the post and some of the comments I’ve read, some of the beliefs listed are quite unrealistic and irresponsible.

        If I can emphasize one point; take the time to meet an actual certified financial planner/adviser that can help you make sound financial decisions. A certified financial planner will offer advice that would be in stark contrast to many of the points listed in this post.

        Maintaining a high credit score is important and (contrary to the beliefs listed in the post and comments) you don’t have to be in debt to do it.

  34. I have a VERY bad credit score, I am unemployed for 2 + years now, owe 80,000 in school debt, owe the IRS 15,000, no savings, no retirement, and still can’t find a job. If I get a job that pays minimum or slightly above, I’m basically still non-self- sufficient. I have family that I’m living with but a guy with a BS in business @ 38 and is seriously in debt, really sees no way to climb out. Am I at the END?

    • Hey Topher,

      I’m sorry about your circumstances. Have you sought out any help with your financial issues? Obviously, you’ve got an income crisis at the moment. I would suggest finding a job, any job, to start building that income back up. If you are in default, you may be able to negotiate with your creditors for pennies on the dollar. Unfortunately, that usually doesn’t work with the IRS or school loans. You may want to seek help from a financial professional or even a credit counselor who can really dig into your personal situation.

      I’m sorry for where you are at right now, but I wish you luck as you try to pull yourself out of this! We hope you will hang around here, and maybe we can help to encourage you as well!

  35. We are debt free but I was under the impression that a good credit score helped you to get better rates on auto insurance and even impact if you are able to get a cell phone contract or not. What do you know about this? Also, I would like to know the answer to this for my teenager – I am trying to advise him financially. Thank you.

    • Your credit score can definitely impact auto insurance rates. However, the point of this article is to point out that you shouldn’t stay in debt to boost your credit rating. Also, there is no prize for having a credit score of 850. Just paying your bills on time should keep you solidly in the 700’s and deemed as having “good credit.” Having good credit is important, but going to extreme measures to keep your score over 800 is pointless.

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  38. Note that credit can be used to your advantage. Example: rather than spending my paycheque paying everything as it comes due, I put it on my credit card. At the end of the month I pay off the entire balance. I have paid no interest, but I come out on top because my money has stayed in a high interest savings account for the month GAINING interest. Depending on your monthly expenses, this could add up. Not to mention there are cards that provide benefits (points, air miles, etc) for using them.

    Don’t tell people to not use credit, tell them to learn how to effectively manage credit and it can be a great tool.

  39. I am both suprised and happy to know there are others who feel this way. I don’t own a credit card and never will! And yet have horrible credit because of some outstanding medical bills that were sent to collections, medical bills that came from an unexpected diagnoses of stage 4 cancer when I was 19 and living on my own, treatment which I completed. Heh! It wasn’t like I splurged on shoes or clothing! And yet THIS affected my “credit score”. Amazing. Anyway, when I was younger the concept of credit, and credit cards never made sense to me. I would hear adults talk about it as if their lives depended on it. It was bizarre to me. Why would you buy things that you can’t even afford?! What is so unconventional about living within our means? I didn’t get it then; I don’t get it now. Live within your means. And be grateful for what you do have.

  40. Spot on right here, Greg. My spouse and i labored for a long time with private in addition to home loan credit, in addition to youngster, do our face twinkle if we noticed those above 750 quantities. The item needed everyone decades to understand what you mentioned in regards to a excellent credit rating that means you’ll be able to take care of a lot of personal debt. Even though My spouse and i recognize so it make a difference to your own home loan approval/rate, in the event you’ve obtained an excellent chunk of dollars which you’re getting lower, you’ll most likely obtain the reduce charge irrespective of your own credit rating, unless your own credit score is completely removed.

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    I make almost 300K salary and my score is now below 700.!!
    But now I could care less.

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Trackbacks

  1. [...] everyone knows from our story a few weeks ago, I don’t give a hoot about my FICO score anymore.  So, we decided that it was time to close some cards.  First, we canceled the Kroger [...]

  2. [...] Greg and I are both going to get one. Since it will be a long churn, it will also give our credit score a bit of a break, even though we aren’t that worried about it. I already applied for mine, [...]

  3. [...] after, each card gets kicked to the curb.  Furthermore, I don’t really care that much if my credit score takes a few dings because we no longer use debt to finance our lifestyle…and I still have [...]

  4. [...] of credit scores, I thought this article by Club Thrifty was an interesting read.  I still want to monitor my scores closely since we’ll probably get [...]

  5. [...] My Credit Score: Why I Don’t Care and You Shouldn’t Either – Club Thrifty [...]

  6. [...] My Credit Score: Why I Don’t Care and Why You Shouldn’t Either at Club Thrifty. When I’m out of debt, I will never care again. [...]

  7. [...] Club Thrifty – My Credit Score: Why I Don’t Care And You Shouldn’t Either [...]

  8. Weekly Cowgirl Rodeo Round-up - L Bee and the Moneytree says:

    [...] Greg at Club Thrifty doesn’t care about his credit score and he doesn’t think you should either. [...]

  9. [...] @ Club Thrifty writes My Credit Score: Why I Don’t Care and You Shouldn’t Either – Worried about your credit score? Don’t be. The credit score is one of the most [...]

  10. [...] @ Club Thrifty writes My Credit Score: Why I Don’t Care and You Shouldn’t Either – Worried about your credit score? Don’t be. The credit score is one of the most [...]

  11. [...] Editor’s note: Club Thrifty has a love hate relationship with building credit. As John pointed out, using credit means going into debt, which is not something that we would advise. However, we have used debt ourselves and use our credit to our advantage – particularly when it comes to churning credit cards for rewards. We simply don’t recommend taking out loans in order to build your credit score. For more on our credit score stance, check out Greg’s post here. [...]

  12. [...] @ Club Thrifty writes My Credit Score: Why I Don’t Care and You Shouldn’t Either – Worried about your credit score? Don’t be. The credit score is one of the most [...]

  13. [...] more to getting a home loan than having a decent credit score and enough money to repay the lender. You will also face numerous fees during the application and [...]

  14. […] feel exactly the same way as Holly at Club Thrifty!  In the past two years, I’ve refinanced twice and applied(and been accepted!) for over 12 […]

  15. […] our scores over 720 so that we can qualify for all of the best offers out there.  Other than that, I couldn’t care less about my credit score.  In fact, we closed on our new house Thursday and I went straight home and signed both Greg […]

  16. […] The payer’s current credit history […]

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