Do You Define Yourself By Your Credit Score?
Do you define yourself by your credit score?
The other day I was conducting a telephone seminar on how to take back the power in your career for a group of employees in a non-profit organization that was undergoing rapid change. We had just walked through an exercise about creating a vision of your ideal work, without the constraints of silly things like reality. I asked if there were any questions and got one from a very bright employee named Patrick.
"This is a great exercise for some people, but I can't even begin to define a vision of my perfect work."
I asked Patrick why it was so hard.
"I have lots of student loan debt and some credit card debt. Who could I possibly get interested to fund my dreams? I don't want to ask my parents to lend me money since they have done enough already."
What was NOT said on the phone was more powerful than what was said. Patrick is a smart, capable, caring and perceptive young man who is already doing great things with his life. But he had convinced himself that since he was in a tough financial situation, he didn't have permission to even imagine what a perfect life would look like.
Since when did your credit score become the required pass to a better life?
The financial part of your life is one area where there is a public, accessible record of all your past behaviours and decisions, good and bad. Every move you make financially is carefully tracked and recorded. And as a society, we place a huge weight on this score, since to us it suggests a level of maturity, responsibility and, I would argue, moral superiority.
Let me tell you straight: your credit score is not a reflection of your worth as a human being.
So stop placing the emotional weight on what you did wrong, which often leads to more destructive behaviour, and start loving yourself!
How do you build a positive relationship with money?
* Recognize that money is a powerful energy that has to be respected. If you feel like money is scarce, it will become that way. When you receive it, be grateful and do not close your eyes and spend it on things that are not healthy for you. Keep your wallet clean and your bills neatly ordered.
* Look straight in the eye of your financial situation. Add up all of your credit card, home, auto or personal loan debt. Write the number down and look at it intently. Figure out your current monthly or annual salary and make a plan to slowly but steadily pay down your debt. Get copies of your credit report and note the specific things that contributed to a negative score. Track your expenses on a monthly basis and become familiar with your spending patterns.
* When your bills come, immediately open the envelope and look at the amount and date due. Throw away any filler paper that is included and keep your current bills in a basket right by the place where you pay bills. You will add to fear and denial if you let your bills sit unopened in a big pile of messy papers.
* Automate your banking. I found that many people with money problems have a hard time balancing their checkbooks. If you have online banking, you can see transactions on a daily basis, and can better manage your cash flow.
* Focus on prosperity and abundance, not dollars. What you want is abundance in your life in all areas; love, compassion, fun, energy, relationships and health. Money is just the means to an end; it is not the end itself.
* Pay attention to the words that you say about money. Prosperity is attracted to a spirit of humility and gratitude. Look at the difference in these words:
I don't know how I am ever going to pay my bills versus How could I make money to pay my bills?
I am so sick of paying out so much money every month versus I am thankful that I have the money to pay bills that put a roof over my head, keep me warm, fed and clothed
I will never have enough money versus I am thankful for my health, my family, my home (or insert any other thing in your life you are grateful for)
* Give some money away. Now this probably seems like a crazy suggestion. If you are short on money, why in the world would you want to give any away? It doesn't matter if you give $1 or $100. The important thing is to give it away and expect nothing in return. Relish in the feeling of giving and how good it feels to let money go to a good cause.
Being financially responsible is not about living up to anyone's standard of perfection. It is about respecting and valuing yourself, protecting your interests and leaving many doors open for you to do whatever it is you want to do: travel, buy a home, provide for your children, or start a business. A good credit score is a great thing when you approach it from the right perspective.
© 2005 Pamela Stewart. All rights reserved.
About the Author: Pamela Stewart is a seasoned corporate consultant with a new mission in life: help corporate warriors to become thriving entrepreneurs! To receive a free workbook ?Shortcuts to Rekindle the Fire in Your Career? and get other valuable tools, go to http://www.ganas.com/freestuff. Read Pam?s blog at http://www.escapefromcubliclenation.com