Jania's Credit Story—myFICO Credit Journeys
In our series myFICO Credit Journeys, we hear from regular people about how they build and maintain their credit. Today we're talking to a founder and executive director of a nonprofit with a FICO® Score of 727 whose next credit goal is the 800 club.
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Location: North Carolina
Profession: Founder/Executive Director (Nonprofit)
Starting FICO® Score: 600
Current FICO® Score: 727 (per Bank of America card)
Favorite TV show: Martin
Next credit goal: 800, baby!
When did you realize you needed to start managing your credit?
I realized I need to do better with my credit when I made the decision to leave my job in 2013. I wanted to make sure I had a good savings. I lowered my debt and increased my credit score before becoming a entrepreneur. So I devised a plan, starting with pulling my credit report and looking at my FICO® Score. I eventually parted ways with my job in 2016 and had paid off my car loan, saved up a year of expenses and consistently paid my student loans.
What did you do to start managing your credit?
I pulled my annual credit report to assess where I was in the credit world. Then I called to lower my bills or ask for discounts (saving money was the goal). Once I did that, I prioritized my debt from smallest to largest and started paying off one by one.
When did your hard work pay off?
I started seeing an increase in 14 months, my credit score started to go up.
What did you do once you reached your goal?
I love to dance, so I had a dance party by myself.
What is your next credit goal?
I would like to be in the 800 club.
How will you reach your next credit goal?
I will continue to keep my credit utilization rate low and not accumulate any new debt. I will also make sure I keep my living expenses low.
Any special tips for managing your credit during the coronavirus or uncertain economic times?
Give yourself grace and make an actionable plan that works for you. You have to gradually grow into habits and get an accountability partner or financial advisor to teach you.
Hear more about Jania's story and other real-life credit journeys through FICO's partnership with The Finance Bar on demystifying the FICO Score.
This interview was lightly edited for clarity.