With the up and down state of the economy over the past several years, many of us have struggled when it comes to making ends meet. Whether you’ve been unexpectedly laid off, had your salary frozen, or faced an increase in costs, your credit has probably taken a hit.

If you’re looking to repair your credit, I’m sure you’ve come across plenty of bombastic claims that for a minimal fee, a company can provide a quick fix to your credit woes. If only credit repair were that easy!

The truth is that long term financial security takes time and effort, and the reality is any attempts at a quick fix will likely do more harm in the long run than good. But with a solid plan and by following a few simple rules, it is possible to right the ship and stop your credit score from sinking any further. Here are some useful tips.

Check your Credit Score

Step one to repairing your credit score is to check your latest information. There are plenty of options for checking your credit score online for free. Unfortunately, not every option will provide you with accurate information that matches what your financial institutions and lenders will be using or asking for. As MyFICO reports, “For example, it's typical for a mortgage lender to check all three FICO scores when evaluating you for a loan. However, some auto lenders may only use one FICO Score to qualify you for an auto loan. Make sure you're seeing the credit scores that your lender is using to evaluate you!”

Don’t be late with your payments

Missing a deadline can be one of the most detrimental things you can do to adversely affect your credit score. Most banks now allow you to set up online reminders for all your bills so you never miss a due date, even if you are just making the minimum payment.

Reduce Your Debt

Of course, the most important thing you can be doing to solidify your financial situation is to lower the amount of debt you have. Easier said than done, I know! But the reality is that many of the quick fix credit repair services neglect this very important aspect of your financial well-being.

Start off by listing out all the money you owe, whether it’s student loans, mortgages, credit card balances, or other obligations. Then calculate which of these accounts charges the highest interest rates. Come up with a monthly budget that prioritizes these balances first.

Clarify any mistakes on your credit report

The companies that report your credit aren’t exactly known for their accuracy. Mistakes happen more often than you’d think, and that’s one of the primary reasons you’ll want to check your report regularly. If you find they’ve gotten something wrong, deal with it immediately, by contacting the agency, in writing, with supporting documentation. Here’s more information on how to dispute an inaccurate report.

Stop applying for new credit cards


Every time you apply for a new card, your credit score takes a small hit. The same thing happens when you close a credit card. (And if that seems unfair, you’re probably right!) The longer your account has been open and in good standing, the more positive an impact it has on your score. So limit the number of new accounts you open and keep the accounts you do have in good standing. If you have cards that you never use, make the occasional purchase on them and pay off the balance immediately. Your credit score will love you for it.

Credit is good, if managed responsibly

Your credit score is a measure of how well you have handled your credit in the past. The solution to having a good report isn’t to avoid debt all together. It is to manage that debt responsibly and show that you always make your payments on time. If you avoid any and all lines of credit, when you do need to take out a loan, you won’t have a track record that proves you are responsible.

Maintaining your financial stability is much like staying healthy. The best approach is to avoid getting sick all together. If you find money matters difficult to wrap your brain around, why not go to an expert. Life coaches are professionally trained to help people organize their lives in a positive, productive manner. If you’d like to learn more about what a life coach can do for you, or to schedule a consultation, contact me today.

I'm surprised how often people say things to me along the lines of "I wish that I had majored in business but I wanted to do something creative," or "Being an entrepreneur won't satisfy my creative side." There seems to be this idea that business and creativity don't mix; that running a successful business requires a good head for numbers and logistics and nothing else.

The opposite is true of course, and you don't need to look much further than Steve Jobs or Elon Musk to prove it. To be a successful entrepreneur requires a variety of traits, including leadership, determination, knowledge, and, last but certainly not least, creativity.

Nicole Fallon, writing for Business News Daily, says,

"Creativity is a bigger predictor of success in life than intelligence. Most educational institutions and businesses still value intelligence over creativity. This may be because intelligence is easier to quantify, easier to manage, and easier to identify, whereas creativity can be difficult to spot because the most creative people often struggle in school. This makes it hard to discern the difference between a potential troublemaker and a truly creative person, who could bring great benefits to a company if their creativity were properly harnessed. A business should consider hiring for creativity in addition to intelligence."

Unfortunately, for many of us, creativity is something that we believe we don't have. We've been taught through years of schooling and social conditioning to conform, and when it becomes necessary to think outside the box, so to speak, we freeze up. It's a common problem, and one that we can overcome. Creativity, much like any skill, is something we can exercise and train. The more we expect our brains to be creative, the better we become at it.

Here are some tips for how to bring out your creative side.

Question your Assumptions

Once cause of routine thinking is allowing ruts to form in the way we operate, whether as an individual, a team, or a company as a whole. A common refrain, when someone asks why we are doing something a certain way, is "Because this is the way we've always done it."

The best way to break out of an organizational rut is to question everything that you're doing. You will probably find many examples of outmoded methods and plenty of opportunities for improvement. This kind of foundational realignment can lead to all sorts of new solutions, often to problems you weren't even aware of previously.

Block Out Distractions

Outside noise can be one of the greatest deterrents to creativity. If you want to unlock hidden reservoirs of creative energy, you need to turn off all the distractions that can stop you from being focused. Whether it's shutting the door to your office, turning off your stereo, or (most likely) disconnecting from the internet and putting away your smart phone, tuning out the noise can allow your brain to wander in innovative directions.

Get Moving

Sometimes, standing up from your desk and getting your blood moving will help stimulate new ideas. If you're anything like me, then your best ideas come at the least convenient times, while riding your bike, out for a jog, or, (this is my favorite) taking a shower. Not only are you less likely to be distracted by your devices (see above), you're also allowing your brain to roam free while your body does all the work. Regular exercise, whether it's a trip to the gym, or just a walk around the office, can often stimulate great thinking.

Keep a Dream Journal

Following the thread of the best ideas coming at the most inconvenient times, I can think of several occasion when I woke up from a dream thinking, "This is the greatest idea in the history of time. There's no way I will ever forget this." Then I immediately go back to sleep. The only thing I remember the next morning was that I had a great idea. I'd probably be a billionaire by now if I had all those ideas back. That's where a dream journal comes in. Keep a notebook next to your bed, and next time you wake up with an inspiration, write it down.

Hire a Life Coach

If you're looking for a creative jolt, sometimes what you need is an outside perspective to help inspire you. A life coach is someone who can help you generate new ideas and assist in training your mind to think differently. Contact me today to get started on a new way of thinking about creativity!