Home > Credit Score > Listen to Your Father! Old-School Money Tips for Today

Comments 0 Comments

This month we’re celebrating dads and all they do for us. They taught us how to throw a ball, they fixed the chain on our bicycle, and they imparted their wisdom – often it was wisdom that they got from their dads.

However, times have changed and maybe the advice they once gave us about money and credit and debt is no longer 100% accurate. No disrespect intended (and we’ll ALWAYS assure dad that he was totally right) but in this article I want to update some classic money tips from Dad for the modern era.

Tip #1: Your reputation matters. Get to know the bank manager before you get a mortgage.

This might have worked 50 years ago, but it won’t now. Today, most financial institutions rely on credit scores to assess your creditworthiness. Dad would still be proud, though, if you kept a nice, respectable reputation anyway.

Tip #2: Don’t owe anyone anything.

There was a time when you could save up your money and pay cash for a house or car, but today it’s almost necessary for anyone living in America to get a loan of some kind at some point in their life. Besides, having a couple of credit accounts (on which you make your payments in full and on time) is a great way to help you achieve a healthier credit score. Sorry, Dad; owing someone can actually be a good thing.

Tip #3: Pay cash for everything.

Paying cash for everything was Dad’s advice to ensure that we didn’t get a credit card and then fund a wild, high-roller trip to Vegas with 10 of our closest friends. But the careful use of credit cards can help your credit score by demonstrating your responsible use of credit and building a good credit history.

Dad was partly right – you shouldn’t buy anything you can’t afford. But that is very different from paying cash for everything. Smart credit users make purchases on their credit knowing that they have the money available to pay it off. And even if you could afford that trip to Vegas, Dad would probably not approve.

Tip #4: Get a college education, then get a good job.

For the most part, this is pretty good advice. But it’s no longer complete. In Dad’s day, a college education pretty much guaranteed a “good job” upon graduation and you stuck at that job until you retired. Today, a college education is just the beginning. And with record-high unemployment, you need a lot more to get and keep that job.

A good credit history is one of the ways you can get an edge, since some employers are pulling credit reports to help them evaluate job candidates. Keeping an eye on your credit can help you keep on top of things. You can pull your credit report for free from each of the three major credit reporting agencies once a year, and you can monitor your credit score once a month for free using Credit.com’s Credit Report Card.

This month, we think of our dads and all that they’ve done for us. And dads do a lot, but we need to update their advice for the modern age.

Happy Fathers Day, Dad!

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team