No matter how edgy your approach with your wardrobe, your finances should dress for success. The same principles that help you put your best foot forward in your career can help you earn the credit you deserve. The smart money is on classic financial moves that protect your hard-earned cash and give you the kind of stability and reliability that make you look like a good investment for lenders.
Dress to impress
Make a good first impression by showing up with a respectable credit score. A score of 700 or above tends to move your application forward like a firm, confident handshake with potential lenders. According to a consumer credit expert, the average American credit score peaked at 695 in 2015. You’ll likely start qualifying for the best available interest rates on credit cards and loans, somewhere around 720. If you’re in the market for a home purchase it generally takes 760 or more to access the best deals on mortgage rates.
Open doors with a strong credit history
Your credit history is the foundation of your financial wardrobe. If you’ve ever checked out someone’s shoes for clues as to just how deep their investment in style and quality goes, you’ll relate to the strategy of peeking into your credit history to find out if your personal finances have staying power. A prospective landlord or employer may not be very interested in your credit score. They may be more interested in seeing your credit history, which lays bare bad habits like biting off more financially than your budget can chew.
Resist the urge to splurge
Don’t get played by big sales or cash in your pocket. If seasonal or freelance work leaves your average bank balance a little on the ragged side, smooth things out by following a long-range, averaged budget. Budget for the lean months instead of spending everything when you’re flush with cash. It’s a little like resisting that additional pair of shoes at the buy-one-get-one-at-half-price sale; if you only need one pair to begin with, getting talked into another takes money away from something else you really want or need. “Buy what you need not what you want”
Build on the classics
Carrying a great, classic messenger bag is like being backed up by solid savings — you’ll have the flexibility and confidence to go anywhere. You’ll be so proud when you can bail yourself out of a tight spot thanks to smart savings and a healthy nest egg. Many people today rely on credit cards to get them out of a tight financial spot, but if you’re already carrying credit card balances from month to month, you could find yourself sinking under larger payments than you can comfortably polish off.