they say, "Knowledge is power." Many times people either
act on false information or fail to act because they didn't know
what could be done to their benefit. This is the case in many areas
of life, but on the top of that list is money. And in the money
category, you will find lots of misinformation about credit.
There is so much to talk about on the
topic of credit myths that an entire book could be dedicated to it.
Myth #1: I'm a complete
financial loser for getting myself into this mess.
Fact: It may be true that
you're responsible for getting into debt, but that doesn't make you a
loser. In fact, it may not be your fault at all. As long as you start working on becoming more knowledgeable when
it comes to finances, you will ultimately find success in
controlling your debt.
Myth #2: Credit is what got me
into this mess.
Fact: Spending is what got you
into this mess (debt). Credit was the means to spend. If your problem is
spending, then you very well may have spent all your cash. However,
credit cards may make it easier to spend.
Myth #3: There's nothing I can
do about it now. My credit is destroyed forever!
Fact: As long as you work,
starting today, to rebuild your credit, you'll
eventually get it under control. Rebuilding your credit means:
(1) Paying on time; (2) Looking for better credit options; and (3)
Learning more about money and credit.
Myth #4: If I cosign a loan
for my friend, it has no affect on my credit.
Fact: When you cosign a loan,
it's like you took the loan on your own! It may be true that your
friend is the first one responsible for the loan, however, if they
default, it's completely your problem.
Myth #5: It's fine to give out
my credit card number for identification as long as I don't
authorize a charge.
Fact: NEVER give out your
information as a form of identification. When it comes to giving out
any personal information, be sure you know exactly with whom you're
speaking. This is especially true with someone on the phone.
Myth #6: If I pay off an old
debt, it will be removed from my credit report.
Fact: Most likely, no. In
fact, when you pay past-due debts, it restarts the time period that
it can be reported in your credit history!
Myth #7: When I get divorced,
my "X" will owe half the debts.
Fact: If your name is on the
account, then you owe the money! If you have a joint account and your
ex-spouse refuses to pay, even if you've agreed they would, then
you're next on the collection list.
Myth #8: The government owns
the credit bureaus.
Credit reporting agencies are not owned by the government. Although,
there are many laws that dictate how they must operate.
Myth #9: I cannot change the
information on my credit report. It's set in stone.
Fact: You can change the
information! The Fair Credit Reporting Act outlines that information
that's not 100% accurate or cannot be verified with 30 days, must be
Myth #10: If I get in debt too
deep, I can just file for bankruptcy protection.
Fact: The bankruptcy laws are
changing to make it more difficult to eliminate all your debt in a
bankruptcy, so you may end up paying much of it back anyway. It will
also be on your credit report for 10 years! Hey, if you have
NO OTHER OPTIONS, then you should certainly investigate bankruptcy.
However, it's much better to settle the debts if you can.