Friday, January 22, 2010

Financial organization: credit reports

I’m a fan of Suze Orman. I think she gives smart financial advice that sticks to the basics and to common sense. She’s always insisting that you know your credit score and you check your credit reports. Being organized financially means you are aware of your financial situation. Even if you feel you have a clear picture of your finances, keeping tabs on your credit report is a simple and smart thing to do.

A credit report isn’t a credit score. A credit score costs money to obtain and gives you a number that credit agencies use when determining your borrowing rate. You can get a credit report once a year for free from each of the three credit agencies. It basically shows you what lines of credit you have open and in what standing they are. To obtain the report nearly instantaneously online, you provide your social security number, address and must answer a few multiple choice questions about your financial history. Once you have it, it is short work to make sure that all of the items reported were in fact opened by you and you know what they all are. Sometime there are errors, and that is where it really pays to do this. You can fix the errors, but it takes time. If you are trying to get a credit card or a loan, those errors my harm the rate you will be able to get, so don’t wait until the last minute.

Here's more information on credit reports from Suze Orman.

Reminder, I am not in any way a professional financial planner or advice-giver!

Lelah Baker-Rabe is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. To discuss your organizing needs, call her at 818.269.6671 or email

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