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The Resource Center Credit Fraud & Credit Monitoring | article

Summer Financial Tip: Re-Assess Your Credit Situation

The summer can be a good time for consumers to take another look at their personal finances. With roughly half the year passed, some consumers may have seen their good credit score dip significantly, and the summer offers a prime opportunity to establish and launch a financial plan for the second half of the year. Below are a few considerations consumers should keep in mind when reevaluating their financial situation.

Did anything go wrong?
Consumers’ financial situations may have gotten out of hand during the first part of the year due to an unforeseen incident. Perhaps they fell behind on existing debt obligations, overspent on credit cards or added more new debt than they could reasonably handle. Or maybe they did nothing wrong at all and instead had their personal information compromised, resulting in identity theft. Whatever the case, consumers need to identify problem areas in their financial portfolio so that they can set a course for correction. That starts by obtaining a copy of their credit reports and scores, which could reveal missed payments, a glut of accounts or even evidence of identity theft.

Taking the next step
Once they’ve been able to target certain problem areas, consumers can start on developing a plan to get their personal finances back in order. That takes a few steps.

Check credit reports and scores for errors — Though their credit may have been dinged by a missed payment, consumers should still check to see if there’s an erroneous mark on their credit report. That could reveal simple creditor errors or signs of identity theft, and correcting these inadequacies may put them on better financial footing for the second half of the year.

  1. Develop a debt plan — Even if debt repayment isn’t a major issue, consumers should still outline a focused plan that will keep them on target to eliminate their debt in a timely manner. Consumers in the best shape credit-wise can still use an organized debt plan to keep their good credit score healthy.
  2. Consider freezing your credit file — This may be necessary for victims of identity theft, and must be done with each credit bureau. It can help prevent a new credit account from being opened in a person’s name.
  3. Focus on saving and money management — Establishing a new savings strategy at the year’s mid-point may help put consumers in a better position to help understand how they may begin to recover from difficult economic times. The middle of the year is also a good time to get back to the basics in terms of disciplined spending and prudent money management.