The essential component to most financial goals – unless, of course, you’re a trust fund baby – which I am not. And if you’re like me, then you need this simple guide to understanding your credit.

Whether you’re preparing to buy your first home, self-fund a business idea, or need to upgrade your ride, your credit will likely be front and center for the process.

Your credit score is the key indicator that lenders use to predict creditworthiness. If you have a history of paying your debts in a timely manner each month, creditors see that as the model for how you will handle future credit obligations – and they will see you as less of a risk for extending additional credit.

I’ve compiled a short list of the top tips to help you better understand how your credit score works and how you can improve it!

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