March 26, 2016

Business, Education, Feature, Opinion, Trends

The Money Smarts segment provides the viewer / reader with insights and information that focus on finance and lifestyle options. These articles are provided courtesy of our many contributing sources. We ask that you enjoy them and continue your support of, our contributing sources and publishers.

SOURCE:  Jennifer Streaks

The Best Way to Improve Your Credit, Start Now

Credit has become such a big part of our lives, from buying a house or car to health insurance and employment background checks. Credit is important. Looking to improve yours this year? Follow these tips to get started!

  1. Pull a free copy of your credit report. Know where you stand with your credit now. Everyone is entitled to a free copy of their credit report every year. Pull yours so that you can see what is on
    Financial & Lifestyle Expert Jennifer Streaks, MBA. This image was photographed and provided courtesy: Amir West of Photo Fanatic Amir at

    Financial & Lifestyle Expert Jennifer Streaks, MBA. This image was photographed and provided courtesy: Amir West of Photo Fanatic Amir at

    it and if there are any corrections to be made, you can start that process now.

  1. Work with creditors to clear up any past due accounts. Past due (overdue) accounts really hurt your credit score. Clean these up now. Contact your creditors and set up payment plans if necessary and if you have the cash right now to work out a settlement agreement with that creditor, do it. Just be sure that you get the agreement in writing and that you have agreed on how the account will now be reporting on your credit report.
  1. Become an authorized user on an account in good standing. In this case, you are not the credit card holder, but by submitting your social security number, you will get the benefit of the payment history associated with the card. You can do this with a parent or spouse and if kept in good standing, this account will help boost your credit score.
  1. Start paying your bills on time. This might seem pretty self-explanatory, but it really is about committing to doing it. Do not think you can skip a month or play catch up with paying your bills. It doesn’t work like that. Late payments are reported every month, so even missing one payment can hurt you in improving your credit. If you need help with this, automate your payments. Next tip….
  1. Set it and forget it. If you need a little help with paying bills on time, automate your payments. With this option, you will never be late (unless something unforeseen happens), you will maintain an accurate record of payments through the bank, and the worry about meeting due dates is now gone.

Understand that your credit report and bill payment is a reflection on how you handle your financial obligations and really, your life.  If you have had a setback:  job loss, divorce, illness etc. you may have a few dings, but with a little work and dedication, you can come out of it and enjoy the benefits of having good credit again.

Jennifer Streaks is a financial and lifestyle writer and is a new writer for  Follow her on twitter @JStreaks and get a copy of her new book, Thrive!…Affordably at

Life is meant to be enjoyed, but let’s be honest: It’s almost impossible to live a life of abundance when you are drowning in a sea of debt and suffering under the strain of financial struggle. So many people are not free to enjoy life simply because they don’t have control over their finances. As a result, they go through life surviving and not truly living. Thrive!… Affordably, takes the headache and the guesswork out of financial management. It is a monthly “how-to” designed to help the reader meet financial goals one step at a time. The book offers tips, advice, and basic financial management lessons geared towards helping the reader highlight strengths, identify missteps, and take control over finances. If you are looking for a way to permanently free yourself from debt, this book is for you. Jennifer Streaks takes the mystery out of management, making financial freedom attainable for anyone willing to do the work. You deserve to live your best life. Don’t just survive… Thrive!


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