In my line of work, I talk to a lot of people -- on the phone or at my desk or over a cup of coffee. I see a lot of the same struggles and opportunities. And I also see a lot of the same fears.
What holds people back from working on improving their credit? Plain and simple, it's fear. Here are four of the most common fears that hold people back.
1. Fear of what you'll find. I think this one is probably the biggest and it's a problem found throughout the financial industry. As financial situations deteriorate, people avoid looking at their bank statements and credit card bills because the numbers are ugly. Conversely, I often find that the more someone reviews their financial statements, the better their finances get because that knowledge is the first stepping stone to correcting the problem. When you pull your credit, you may see a lot of things you don't like but don't let that hold you back. Get to know your credit and deal with the scary stuff and you'll overcome this fear!
2. Fear of the amount of work: I don't hide the fact that working on your credit takes work. It takes time and effort. I understand that lives are busy and an additional (possibly arduous!) task like reviewing and working on your credit is not something you want to add into the mix. But you know the importance of it. Fortunately, you can do a lot of good in as little as 90 days so keep the big picture in mind and set yourself a 90 day credit challenge!
3. Fear of conflict: Credit scores are built on information like outstanding debt, and sometimes that outstanding debt involves debt collectors or liens and judgments. It can be difficult to pull your credit and work on improving it if you know ahead of time that you may have to deal with these situations. You may fear the potential conflict (and the emotions that go with it). To overcome this fear, I suggest you set yourself a goal -- one month, for example -- and accept the challenge to deal with everything in that brief time. Find a friend who can sit with you while you work through these situations and keep the end goal in mind!
4. Fear of reliving the past: Some bad credit is, unfortunately, the result of a dissolved relationship and the challenging weeks and months afterward as you rebuild your life independently, acquiring new accounts and separating old accounts. Your credit is never more important than this point and yet reviewing it can be a painful reminder of how things have changed. I'm very sensitive to this issue but I would remind you that healthy credit is going to be the tool to help you move forward.
If you want to improve your credit (which you should!), then one of the first things you'll need to do is overcome your fears. Start with these fears and address any others that may come up. Boldly push forward in your effort to clean up your credit!