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Take a moment to consider how you would feel if your neighbors, friends and family knew all the details of your finances. Maybe you wouldn’t care — there are in fact people who go around bragging about their credit scores — but most people don’t talk about their money situation for at least a couple of reasons. First, it’s considered an improper topic of conversation, and second, it can be really embarrassing.

Through an informal poll on its website, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling found that 30% of respondents would be most embarrassed if others knew their credit scores. Of the more than 2,000 website visitors to the NFCC’s website who took the poll, respondents would much rather keep their credit score a secret, rather than their age (1%), weight (12%) and bank account balance (10%).

Credit scores weren’t the ultimate source of shame. When it came to the thing people most wanted to hide from others, credit card debt took the title, with 37% of respondents saying their debt would be the ultimate embarrassment. (Nine percent of respondents apparently had dirty little secrets not included in the poll options.)

Be Empowered, Not Embarrassed

It’s understandable you’d want to keep your credit score to yourself. Comparing your scores to others’ may not be much of a comparison at all, considering there are hundreds of scoring models out there. You also shouldn’t broadcast details of your financial situation online, because it could make you a target for identity theft.

At the same time, there’s no reason to feel ashamed of a less-than-perfect credit score. While credit problems can be burdensome and difficult to eliminate, they’re also something with which many people struggle.

If you’re embarrassed by your debt or credit score, the best thing you can do is make a realistic plan for financial improvement. Oftentimes, the first thing you need to do is get a clear understanding of your situation: Exactly how much debt do you have? What is your credit score?

You can see a breakdown of how your debt is impacting your credit, along with two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com. It gives you monthly snapshots of your debt and two of your credit scores (VantageScore 3.0 and an Experian score), and it also highlights areas you should focus on in order to boost your credit score. There’s an option for making a three-step plan for making progress toward your goals, too.

Focus on making strides toward better credit, and take pride in your small achievements, rather than dwell on disappointment over a poor financial situation. Slow, steady progress is crucial to credit success.

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