Outside the walls of Equifax, I do a lot of volunteer work on financial literacy and teach workshops on how to understand credit, how to be a smarter consumer, and generally how credit works. I believe that knowledge is power. The more knowledge people have about their credit report—how the information is collected and how the credit score is derived—the more empowered they will be to take control of their financial lives. When I hold these workshops in underserved communities, I love to see when the light comes on, when it finally clicks.
Often, the people in my workshops don’t even know what their credit report is. I try to explain it’s just a history of how you pay your bills, all recorded in one place. Once people understand that, they can start to understand how their credit history reflects upon them and how they can control that.
My big passion, no matter where the people come from, what kind of house they live in, or what kind of job they have, is getting them to understand how their spending habits, budgeting skills, and credit behavior will affect them for the rest of their lives.
I try to tell people that it’s never too early to start educating your children about how to use credit. Some people say high school kids should have to take a personal finance class. I say elementary school! I think we’ve all seen, especially in this economy, that if you don’t manage credit wisely you can get into trouble.
Financial literacy is a key problem today, and that’s why I’m so thankful I’m in the position to educate and help people. One of the best ways to educate the public is with a balance of information from credit reporting agencies, information from the credit issuers, and financial literacy education.
That’s what I hope to do with this blog. I want to clear up some misconceptions about what credit reporting agencies do, and I want to provide some information to help you understand where your credit score comes from and help you take control of your credit and finances.
I’d love to hear from you about your credit questions and help you connect all the pieces of your financial life. What questions do you have?
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