Cat’s out the bag, I have an 800+ credit score and I’m under 30. How did I get here? What did I do? How long did it take me? How can you join the 800 credit club? My answer might shock you.
You stop worrying about it. Seriously, it’s like trying to watch a pot boil.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you not to worry about credit, just not to worry about achieving the 800 credit score. What you should be focusing on are these 5 things.
Of course I should mention that these are very high level and basic tips that would include a strong discipline around not abusing credit and patience in waiting for the pay off of these consistent behaviors having been used, but that is the secret sauce. When I started my journey to credit awareness at 21 years old I was approved for a credit card with a $300 limit. I won’t tell you the limit on that same card today, but I will say that it’s been a slow build over close to 10 years that has landed me where I am today. The first step is often the hardest and that is simply getting educated. The next step is putting it all into practice. The high 700’s is considered excellent credit and can get you most everything an 800 credit score can. This is a long game, if you understand how credit works you’ll understand that fluctuations over time happen and you can weather the storms by implementing the above practices.
Here’s a reminder:
Sometimes, the old school idea of budgeting until you have enough to buy it (or buy it twice according to Jay-Z) is the best way to acquire a liability you may or may not NEED.
Here are a few free (because everyone loves free) resources to get you started on your education.
You might imagine that as someone who screams financial literacy from the mountain tops the look on people’s faces when they hear that I choose to live paycheck to paycheck. It’s irresponsible! It contradicts everything that I advocate for. It makes me a hypocrite! Well let me explain first my reasoning.
I was always taught as a child and young adult that I should be saving. Save SOMETHING! Save 1/3, save for retirement, save to avoid going into debt, save 6 months of living expenses, etc. It wasn’t until I learned about inflation that I realized that “saving is for suckers!”.
I’m sure someone somewhere reading this is livid right now. Saving is for suckers? Since when?! I must not know what I’m talking about. No, the discipline around saving is important to cultivate but the accumulation of cash for the sake of accumulating cash is where many people go wrong. Gone are the days of the double digit interest rates on savings accounts, money markets, and CD’s. When you hold cash in deposits or under a mattress (god forbid) you’re actually LOSING money due to inflation. That simply means that the value of your money is decreasing every day while you are steady holding on to it.
So what can be done about this? And what does this have to do with me choosing to live paycheck to paycheck?
Simple. After reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki I became sold on the idea of “paying myself first”. Then after reading George S Clason’s book, The Richest Man in Babylon I decided to make sure that my payment to myself was always 10 percent of what I made (or more). Applying these principals, I always take from my income and “pay myself” before I touch it for any bills, expenses, or debts. Of course coordinating that involves my knowing what’s coming in or going out and planning for it (budgeting). After I remove that money from my spending accounts, pay my bills, and account for the expenses from the time I get one check until the time I get the next, I’m literally in a check to check cycle. I sacrifice, I go without, I count down the days until my next check, however I’m CHOOSING to do so by choosing to pay myself first.
“But you said saving is for suckers!” And I stand by that. At present I have absolutely no liquid savings. So what do I do with all the money I pay myself? I immediately put it to work making me more money.
So yes, I choose to live paycheck to paycheck because I understand that money held will slowly lose value due to inflation. I have mastered the discipline of saving. I believe I should pay myself first and take 10% of the money I make for myself.
…sometimes however, I do give myself a bonus.