In the past few days Suze Orman has seriously invaded my life. It started with a discussion Friday night, between an older female relative, my sister, her friend, and myself. Well maybe it was more of a lecture than a discussion. Of course all four of us are feeling the pinch of the economy right now, with one having the burdens of an older single woman, such as a mortgage, and two of us young gals being unemployed (one recently laid off from a great teaching job). Once we got to talking, financial guru Orman entered the equation several times. She has great advice, especially for women, and she seems to exude understanding and compassion, without catering to any wimpy tendencies.
I bought one of her books last year, “The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous and Broke” and unfortunately left it on my shelf.
About a month ago, after a soul crushing defeat in my life plans, I picked it up again, opting to empower myself rather than brine in self-pity. Admittedly, while busy with a job search, it’s barely been picked up. However this morning, as I was flipping through the channels, eating my cheerios, I encountered Suze herself on public television. Someone somewhere is trying to tell me something. Needless to say, I cracked open the book.
I didn’t get very far before turning to the internet (no, not due to A.D.D., but due to being directed to Suze’s website). The most important thing that Suze stresses from the get-go is understanding your FICO score.
As she explains in her amazing book, it stand for Fair Isaac Corporation. Anyways, the name is not what’s important. Your FICO score is calculated with your debts, your available credit and other financial burdens. You can get a free synopsis of your financial profile including your actual FICO score at www.myfico.com. JUST BE SURE TO CANCEL YOUR ACCOUNT WITHIN 30 DAYS!! or you will be charge $89.95. I made the mistake once of signing up at FreeCreditReport.com, which is a total SCAM, but with Suze Orman behind this MyFico.com, I am confident it is legit.
It might sound silly, but just finding out my FICO score and having a clearcut understanding of how I am viewed by lenders is actually empowering. And I’m not even through chapter one yet!
As tempting as it can be to cut myself off of “reality” and credit scores and go live in a cabin in the woods, that’s not happening any time soon and I need to face the facts. Educating yourself is the only way to get any kind of foothold in this society.
Anyways, back to my book here. It’s too exciting not to share, so I may be back with more rants later.
I failed to mention that just checking your FICO on myfico.com is not enough. Really you have 3 FICO scores, but as I’ve just learned, checking the other two, on Experian and TransUnion (through http://www.annualcreditreport.com) is a pain in the ass. For now, I think I can cope with the general idea of my financial status with my one FICO score, though it is ideal to make sure that all three have accurate information, as each of the three credit bureaus receives different information about you from different sources, i.e. your cell phone provider, or your student loan lender. Suze explains it way better than me, go to her site already!