View all FICO Scores & Credit Reports articles

Here's The Surprising Reason You Should Work On Your Credit

, by Jeanne Kelly

I write a lot about credit. I've built my entire career around it, and I'm passionate about helping people create healthy credit.

Is it because I love great credit scores and low credit card balances? Not really. Those are important to have and they're the ideal goal when working on your credit, but they're not the REAL reason I do this.

Instead, I'm so focused on credit for one surprising reason...

I want you to be happy.

Years ago, when I was a single mom trying to figure out my credit for the very first time, I realized how little I knew about credit... or even what healthy or unhealthy credit choices were! There were more than a few tears and more than a few sleepless nights!

If you have a low credit score,  you can struggle financially and feel your life is more stressful than happy.

Keryl Pesce, author and happiness expert had this to share. "Virtually all stress and unhappiness comes from one or all of three places: regret over the past, dissatisfaction with the present and/or fear over the future. Continuing to beat yourself up for your past choices won't help. Nor will giving up or expecting the worst. What do you want things to look like in the future? Get that picture clear and figure out what you can do today, right now, to work toward that. Thinking and acting in these terms will have an immediate positive impact on your confidence and happiness."

Higher stress leads to poor health. Poor health adds to the stress and the unhappiness.

All this stress and unhappiness are not really the result of your low credit score but really they're the result of:

  • Limited options - since you know that a lot of your money is going each month to paying down debt or even just trying to cover your minimum payments

  • No margin - you know that an emergency can take its toll and you don't have the financial "margin" or "buffer zone" to help you navigate through an emergency

  • Threatened comfort - you may even find that unpaid credit could result in bankruptcy, foreclosure, or the repossession of the things you own

  • Threatened livelihood - in some situations, poor credit can even result in job loss (because some employers require or prefer employees to have good credit)

Do I want you to have a good credit score? Yes.

Do I want you to have low credit card balances? Yes.

But that's not really why I write these articles or write books or make television appearances. It's really because...

I want you to be healthy and happy and have an abundant and joyous life... and credit is the tool that can help.

If you're just starting out, a great resource for understanding credit is the "Understanding FICO Scores" guide. Although not a short read, it's a great resource and an in-depth look at credit scores.

Jeanne Kelly

Jeanne Kelly is a nationally recognized authority on credit, the founder of The Kelly Group and the author of The 90-Day Credit Challenge. She has appeared on The Today Show, and blogs for Huffington Post & Poughkeepsie Journal. Visit her online at