How To Analyze Your Credit Score, and How Can You Improve It?
What Makes a Great Credit Score
A credit score is key when it comes to personal finances. It essentially governs your rates for loans and the ability to rent/buy home or car. Understand the credit scoring range is key to having a score that matters and ensuring personal financial success. Though a perfect credit score isn’t the only basis upon which loans are issued. However, this criterion is one that only a handful is able to achieve. Here are a few nuggets from two experts that answer the question “what is the best credit score?”
The thing is; a lot of people don’t believe that they can hit a perfect credit score. Due to this, very few people achieve this feat. Rare, but still existent, we know of some people that have hit the perfect credit score. A lot of credit-scoring models have 850 as their summit; the highest score attainable. Examples are Vantage Score 3.0 and FICO.
We reached out to two members of the elite FICO 850 club, who happen to be of American nationality – Brad Stevens from Austin, Texas, and John Ulzheimer from Atlanta. We saw proof of their achievements as both displayed screenshots of their scores. According to Ulzheimer – President of the Ulzheimer Group and renowned credit specialist, a lot of people didn’t think that it was possible to reach 850.
Tips on How to Improve Your Credit Scores
Having a credit score of 850 is as rare as hen’s teeth. And according to several reports, less than one percent of the whole American population achieves this.
Now, the big question is “How did Stevens and Ulzhemier pull this off?” According to both of them, it was a long journey where they learned to constantly handle debt responsibly.
Ulzhemier went on to say that while some aspects of your credit may not be in your control, you’re also responsible for some aspects too.
Credit-scoring models can be compared to a school grading system, where you’re assessed and graded based on your credit activity. And the same way you feel that you should’ve scored better in an exam, but saw a different outcome upon the release of results, is the same way credit-scoring models surprise you.
If you’ve ever asked the question “what is the best credit score,” then it is very likely that you’re looking for ways to improve your credit score or you’re ready to embark on the long term journey of attaining a perfect FICO credit score.
From fulfillment to being able to access higher interest rates, there is a variety of reasons why different people try to achieve this feat. However, the long and short of it is that getting a better credit score is not a short term goal – it will take some time.
Brad and Ulzhemier shared their experiences and gave out some useful tips to help you as you strive to better your credit score, and maybe try to land in the FICO 850 club. However, you need to remember that situations vary so these tips may not have as much effect in your case.
Personal Finance Tips for Great Credit
Save Money: The act of saving money is easier said than done. However, once you start exercising some of these habits you may question how you hadn’t done so before.
1. Keep Your Credit Debts as Low as Possible
- It is simple, all your credit card debts should be minimal at all times. Your credit card debt accounts for about 30% of your FICO credit score which overall will affect your fico scores. Your Debt to Income Ratios is important.
2. Keep Good Credit History
- Results from a 2011 survey by SubscriberWise, a credit reporting agency for the communications industry, showed that people with a credit score of 850 had a good track record for at least 30 years. Ulzhemier went on to say that a lot of people haven’t attained the 850 mark just yet. This was due to how long they had held these good records for. Regardless of how good their credit history is, it needs to reach a certain age before they can get an 850 FICO score. You must reach every single milestone to be able to attain the 850 score, so it’s quite difficult. Setting up automatic payments and using that with other techniques can help out greatly.
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Do I Need a Perfect Score?
A perfect credit score is not really necessary. And according to Ulzhemier, his FICO credit score hasn’t been steady for the last five years; it has fluctuated a bit. Furthermore, he admitted that it became a lot easier to reach the 850 scores as soon as his credit history went beyond 20 years. Ulzhemier reiterated that he wasn’t really focusing on reaching or staying in the 850 points club, but he had all the necessary behaviors in place to effectively manage his credit.
Brad Stevens, on the other hand, admitted that hitting a perfect FICO score of 850 has been a goal for him.
Stevens, who is a managing partner of a private car service in Austin, said that like almost every young adult in their 20s, he faced several financial challenges that reflected negatively on his credit score. He also said that credit put a ceiling on his financial flexibility,
As he grew older he became more conscious of his credit score because of the numerous opportunities that a good score would create for him. “After a while, it not only became a goal but a total obsession,” he said.
Ulzhemier, on the other hand, doesn’t think it’s necessary to get obsessed about how far or how near you are to the 850 point mark. He added that a credit score of 850 is not a criterion for getting the best interest rates or APRs. There’s no real difference between the benefits of those with a score of 800 and a score of 850.
According to Ulzhemier, the only gain in reaching a credit score of 850 is just maybe a sense of fulfillment and show. In as much as your score is somewhere above 760, you will probably cut good deals for yourself.
It doesn’t really matter if you have a perfect credit score or not. Regardless of whether it is good or bad, it is necessary to frequently check your credit report. Always be conscious of your credit score, so that you can know the direction your score is headed. The goal is to have a great credit score and avoid having a bad credit score. Bad credit can take years to rebuild.
Published May 15, 2019; UPDATED June 18, 2019.