What to do if you lose your job tomorrow
Life can be a rollercoaster of ups and downs, leaving you clinging to the safety bar of financial stability. Job loss, medical emergencies, or other (un)fortunate twists of fate can lead to bill delinquencies, your debt snowballing, and ultimately, your credit score hitting rock bottom. But don’t throw in the towel just yet!
There are several ways to mend your credit and catapult your financial standing back to its former glory. We’ve outlined five fool-proof maneuvers to charm your creditors, set up payment plans, and give your credit score a much-needed facelift after a life-shaking event.
1. Inspect and dissect your credit report
Your first order of business in fixing your credit is to assess the damage and pinpoint the culprits at the scene. Request a complimentary copy of your credit report from the credit bureau trifecta: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
Get a copy of your credit score, free, at the CFPB approved site: Annual Credit Report
Channel your inner Sherlock Holmes as you comb through your credit report, examining your account balances, credit limits, and payment histories with a fine-tooth comb. Be on the lookout for any fishy discrepancies like incorrect data or cunning fraudulent activity. If something smells fishy, dispute it with the appropriate credit bureau – chop-chop!
2. Sweet-talk your creditors
Channel your gift of gab to improve your credit score by negotiating with your creditors. Initiate contact and lay out your financial woes, attributing them to the job loss, alien abduction, or whatever event landed you in this pickle. Empathy goes a long way, and most creditors are willing to collaborate on an alternative payment plan, slash your interest rate, or even make those pesky late fees vanish into thin air.
Honesty, respect, and persistence are the golden trio when communicating with your creditors. Keep records of your interactions and take note of any concessions or arrangements that you’ve wrangled.
3. Craft a debt management masterpiece
A debt management plan (DMP) is a refined arrangement between you and your creditors to help you knock out debt with style. Credit counseling agencies act as your trusty sidekicks by negotiating lower interest rates, manageable monthly payments, or late fee eliminations with your creditors.
These agencies juggle your monthly payments, dishing them out among your creditors according to the blueprint you’ve collectively designed. It’s worth noting that enrolling in a DMP might freeze your credit accounts temporarily, putting a damper on your hunt for new credit during the repayment period.
4. Zero in on overdue payments
Tackling overdue accounts head-on is crucial in breathing new life into your credit score. Prioritize your delinquent debt by the amount owed or their weight on your credit score. For instance, missing a mortgage or car loan installment could have more dire consequences than being tardy on a credit card payment.
Once you’ve settled your overdue debts, lock your sights on maintaining a sterling payment history by paying all your bills on time. Use automatic payments, calendar reminders, or budgeting tools to keep your finances in check and dodge future bill mishaps.
5. Flex your credit muscle with secured credit cards
If your credit faces the “Abandon all hope ye who enter here” sign, getting approved for new credit can be a Herculean task. Thankfully, a secured credit card is your secret weapon for rebuilding your credit. Secured cards demand an upfront deposit that moonlights as your credit limit and serves as collateral if you default on your payments.
Flex your new secured card for modest, manageable monthly purchases, and always pay the balance in full and on time. Responsible usage will make waves on your credit report, gradually propelling your credit score upward.
Emerging from the rubble of job loss or any other curveball life hurls your way can be an arduous journey. However, with unwavering determination, patience, and finely honed tactics in your arsenal, you can triumph over your financial situation and resuscitate your credit. Remember, improving your credit score is a marathon, not a sprint. Stay vigilant, and keep forging ahead toward a brighter financial future.