You are finally working, earning good money and your career is poised to take off. When everything is lining up in your professional life, it's natural and smart to think about financial planning and the future. While you're working toward building an emergency fund, saving for downpayment on a house or car and setting aside something for retirement, don't overlook another important aspect of financial planning......looking after your credit. Even those who have a grasp on other aspects of their finances may be unsure how credit fits into the mix.
If you are a credit novice, congratulations! Your clean slate means you have a great opportunity to start out on the right foot. Your initial steps toward credit management should include:
- Obtain your credit report and familiarize yourself with what's on it.
- Educate yourself on how a credit score is calculated and what factors influence you score. These include payment history for bills in your name, how much you owe, the length of your credit history and the variety of types of credit you use. Since you are a credit beginner, you will need to start building a credit history.
- Start making small, judicious uses of credit. For example, you may chose to obtain a credit card and use it to make a modest purchase of a piece of technology or an appliance. Pay off the balance immediately. Or if you need a new car, an auto loan can help build your credit history.
- Get in the habit of monitoring your credit regularly with a product like Equifax.ca which offers its members valuable tools to help manage their credit for a small monthly fee.