Basic Financial Planning for Newlyweds




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Understanding Your Credit Report


Your Initial Financial Plan:


Looking For a CPA, Lawyer or Financial Advisor who has worked with lots of other newlyweds and is familiar with the issues that affect you?  

Looking to buy a car, move into a new apartment, start a new job, or obtain a loan?  If so, chances are good that someone will be looking at your credit report.  To help ensure that your request won't be denied, maintaining a clean credit report needs to be a top priority. 

What's Included On Your Credit Report?

Currently, three companies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, track everyone's credit histories.  Banks, lenders, retailers, and other "credit grantors" use credit reports generated by these companies to determine your creditworthiness.

Your credit report reflects quite a bit of information about you and your financial affairs.  The bulk of your credit report focuses on your various loans and credit card accounts. Included is the name of each of your creditors, as well as the type of account, the minimum monthly payment, and the account's limit or high balance.  Your report also includes the most recent twenty-four month payment history for each creditor, showing whether each month's payments were current, delinquent, or in default.

Another section on your credit report details inquiries that were made by potential creditors.  In this section, the name of the creditor and the date of inquiry are listed for each request that has been made.

Your credit report also reflects "public records" such as tax liens, bankruptcies, and judgements made against you.  Most public records remain part of your credit history for seven to ten years.  If you have any tax liens, they won't be removed from your credit report until they're paid off.

Improving Your Credit Score

Using the information from your credit report, your credit score is calculated.  By planning ahead, you can take certain steps to improve your score.   First, pay your bills on time.  Potential creditors frown upon people who are continually late with their payments.

Next, keep an eye on the total amount of available credit you have and how much of your available credit is outstanding.  If you have access to lots of credit, or if your outstanding debt exceeds 75% of your available credit, your credit score will probably be affected.

You should also try to minimize the number of inquiries that show up on your credit report.  Having lots of inquiries could be interpreted that you are having financial difficulties.

Finally, review your credit report periodically and immediately dispute any inaccuracies that you find.  The current system is far from perfect, and mistakes, unfortunately, are not uncommon.  Your best bet is to fix any problems soon after they arise and well before anyone will be looking at your credit report.

Obtain Your Credit Report

The best way to find out how your credit report looks is to order one.  See your Personal Credit Report and Credit Score Online - Free.  After reviewing your report, make it a priority to take the steps necessary to improve your credit score.




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This article was written by Andrew D. Schwartz, CPA for and had previously been posted on