Credit Tips for Your 50s & Beyond
Once you’ve reached 50, it’s time to start weaning yourself off credit cards.
“If you're 50 or 60 years old and you're still paying down debts, you probably don't have a lot of savings stored away for retirement," Lin points out.
To make sure that you’re not stuck in debt during your golden years, avoid taking out large new loans like a reverse mortgage, and instead focus on paying off your existing ones.
“At this point in your life, if you're not at or above FICO 780 then you've done or are doing something wrong,” Ulzheimer says. “Consumers with decades of credit experience not only have well-aged credit reports, a basis for excellent FICO scores, but should also be responsible enough to know how to manage all types of credit obligations.“
Keep in mind, however, that credit maintenance is not the same as credit abstinence. You should keep actively using your credit cards on small purchases since activity plays a large part in determining your current credit score.
“Pay the check out at a restaurant using your credit card, then pay the balance off in full” Quinn suggests. “That way, if you do need to apply for credit in the future, your account looks active.”
Similarly, close or consolidate open accounts wisely, since you don’t want to inadvertently affect the length of your credit history by closing down your oldest account on the books.
Finally, Ulzheimer suggests, make sure that you still check your credit score regularly.
“This age group is also using less credit so they could become less diligent with respect to checking their credit files annually,” Ulzheimer says, “which means they're more at risk for fraud and should be more aware of what's on their credit reports.”
For the latest advice on how to manage your credit score, check out MainStreet’s Credit Score section.
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