• Thu. May 23rd, 2024

3 Ways to Use a High Credit Score to Reach Your Financial Goals

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  • Right now I rent my home — whether I keep renting or decide to buy, my credit score will help.
  • Keeping my credit score high will also help if I take out a small business loan as an entrepreneur.
  • My credit score can also help me get the best rates on auto loans and insurance in the future.

One of my biggest year-end goals is to do an audit of my finances. I’m eager to spot mistakes that I’ve made throughout 2023, and I want to find opportunities that I can leverage at the start of the new year. When I was reviewing my bank statements and looking over my portfolio, I noticed that my credit score was the highest it’s ever been.

After years of being in what is considered the “good range” of 670-739, I’ve made it to the “very good” of 740-799. I attribute that to on-time credit card payments and making an effort to lower my credit utilization.

I decided to ask certified financial planner Patrick Marcinko for ideas for how I could leverage my high credit score to help with future financial goals. Here’s what he recommended I do.

1. Be a competitive buyer if I decide to purchase a home

Rent prices are skyrocketing in my area right now, and my partner and I have considered buying a home. Marcinko says that with my high credit score, I might be eligible for a lower mortgage rate.

“With a high credit score, lenders are more willing to give you a better deal on mortgage rates. Since interest rates have climbed to the highest levels in over a decade, getting any reduction in your rate can save you potentially thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage,” he says.

Not only that, but since properties I’ve been interested in have already received multiple offers, Marcinko says that having a high credit score could come in handy in the new year when I begin looking again.

“Lenders will be more likely to approve your application with a good credit score, which makes you a more competitive buyer,” he says.

And if I decide to continue renting, he says that landlords often review credit scores to qualify renters.

“A high credit score can help you get approved for an apartment quickly, which can be the difference maker for getting the place on the top of your list,” he said.

2. Get a small business loan for a new idea that I have

I’ve been an entrepreneur for the past nine years, and I have a new idea for my business that will require capital. Since I don’t want to go through the process of pitching investors and giving up equity, Marcinko recommends looking at a different route and getting a small business loan.

I can ask my bank for a line of credit or a term loan. However, as part of the application, not only do they want to see revenue and gross sales, but they will look at parts of my personal finances as well, including my credit score.

“When the bank is contemplating whether to approve your business loan, they are going to ask to review your personal credit history,” he says. “A good credit score will make it easier to secure money for your business.”

3. Buy a car for the first time

As a new parent living in a city, getting around with my baby hasn’t been easy. I decided to explore the option of buying a car for the first time. When I was looking, I was nervous about the price of the car and the insurance costs.

Marcinko says that auto insurance companies look at your driving record and accident history, but they also review your credit score when determining your monthly premiums.

“A high credit score can lead to potential discounts and reduced premiums for auto and homeowners insurance. All else equal, typically the person with a higher credit score will pay less,” he says.

Since I don’t have the capital to buy a car with cash, I’ll need to take out an auto loan. Marcinko says that just like with mortgage rates, having a good credit score can help you land a better interest rate.

“A high credit score can also help you get approved for an auto loan at the dealership, helping you purchase the car you’ve been searching for on the spot,” he says.

How I can keep my credit score high

Since it’s taken me quite some time to achieve this high credit score, I asked Marcinko for ways that I can maintain it in the new year.

He suggests I continue a lot of the actions I took this year, like not missing monthly payments, keeping my credit utilization low, and refraining from closing down old credit cards because that can reduce the average age of my credit history.

Additionally, Marcinko says that with a high credit score, I might have access to perks and benefits that credit card companies reserve for those with strong credit.

“Be sure to pull your credit report at least once a year,” he says. “When you pull the report, don’t just check the score, but ensure that all the information listed is accurate. Mistakes do happen, and you want to have the most accurate credit history as possible.”

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