Asking the Wrong Personal Finance Questions, Repeatedly
I scan the headlines of dozens of personal finance blogs each day. Occasionally, I actually read the article behind the headline. There is one headline that I see repeatedly across the personal finance blogosphere: “How to Improve Your Credit Score.” I never read those articles. The reason is that I don’t like the question presented by this “how to” teaser.
Think about that for a second. The credit industry and its allies compel us to turn over confidential financial information about ourselves. They then use that information to calculate a credit score that is designed to induce us to use more credit. Then they charge us to find out what the score output is from crunching the numbers – our numbers. In between, other businesses secretly use our credit scores to deny us employment or increase our insurance premiums.
I don’t like any of it. So you won’t read any posts from Mr. ToughMoneyLove about how to improve your credit score. In my opinion, that is the wrong question to present. What you should be asking instead is “How do I save more and borrow less?” If you correctly respond to that question, your credit score should improve. If it doesn’t, the score is a false idol and should be rejected as being a manipulative personal finance goal.
Yes, I am a contrarian. I think there is a right way and a FICO way. Rarely do those “ways” align. So I’ll go with what makes sense. What’s wrong with that?