Training in credit repair can help a person through their personal debt, as well as aid in working as a financial consultant or counselor. Many debt consolidation/elimination companies will train employees in the basics of repairing clients’ credit scores. As personal debt becomes larger, consumers are in need of repairing their credit score and standing.
The Credit Score
One of the first skills a person in credit repair must have is the ability to understand the FICO score. To see your own score, call or email Equifax, Experian and Transunion. You will get a report of any companies that reported loan delinquency or nonpayment. The reports of all three companies will give you a rating of creditworthiness by what is called a “FICO,” or Fair Isaac Corporation score.
The FICO score is a number between 350 and 850 based on a person’s reported default, current amount of debt and the length of time the person has made purchases on credit. A score of 650 is considered fair, while 750 or higher is considered excellent. Lenders use the number from one or all of these companies to offer terms on home loans, credit cards, car loans and mortgages.
Dave Ramsey states that helping a person in debt means attacking the root of the problem, which is over-spending and under-saving. One of the first steps in credit repair is to pay off credit cards. Ramsey advises the “Debt Snowball Plan” where a person should first save to have at least $1,000 in cash on hand (as of 2010.) This emergency fund should only be used for necessities such as a plumbing or car emergency, not entertainment or anything that could be put off and paid for later, when you actually have the money.
Pay Off Debts
After building a savings account, a person should list debts in order with the smallest balance first. Paying off the smaller amounts reduces the amount owed each month and gives a person a sense of accomplishment. This, in turn, motivates the person further to continue paying off his debts one by one. Once the first debt is gone, increase payments to the next debt targeted for elimination. This will lower your debt, improve your credit and eventually get you out of debt, as long as you continue with the program.
Budgeting and Saving
While there is no “fast track” to credit repair, the faster you pay off your loans, the quicker your FICO score will go up. Part of credit repair is looking at your expenses and budgeting your lifestyle to free up more money. This money should be placed into a savings account or put to pay off loans. You may have to forfeit a vacation, new clothing or large purchases until you can really afford it. Many times, things don’t have to be eliminated, but rather, replaced with less expensive versions. As movie ticket prices climb higher, try renting or watching movies online. Spend social time with friends rather than spending money for cable. If there are expenses you feel you cannot live without, try increasing your income by finding part time work, working extra hours or looking for a higher paying job.