Channing Sargent
November 02, 2016 2:15 pm
CBS

Among the things many 20-somethings don’t think about, including mortgage interest rates, life insurance, divorce law, what it costs to raise a child, is a frighteningly abstract concept: their credit score. The Financial Diet recently looked into everything credit score related, into the jaws of the mystical beast, and found that its inner workings are actually more easily digestible (we’re really going with this metaphor here), than most of us think. And, the best findings are that you can actually improve your credit score without too much struggle (but a whole lot of discipline, planning, and, gulp, financial responsibility).

Broken down into steps, the process isn’t that intimidating.

1. Know your score.

2. Compare your score to consumer score ranges.

The Financial Diet

3. Compare your score to the average score for your age range.

The Financial Diet

“Once you know what you’re looking at, you can then compare your own score to the score of your peers to see if you’re on track, behind, or ahead of the curve.” According to The Simple Dollar “a combined 24% of Americans had poor FICO scores below 600, while 22.9% were holding the middle ground between 600 and 699. Happily, more than 53% of Americans had good or excellent scores of 700 or above.” So, if you’re landing in the middle, you’re one of the 22.9%. But you ought to aim for the 53%, and chances are good that you might be there already.

4. Keep under 30% credit utilization.

(Also, consult our guide for how to save money if you love spending money.)

5. Keep hard inquires to a minimum.

6. Inventory the number of accounts you have open.

Now that you understand your credit score and how it works, it might be time to make some changes to your habits. Get to know the status of your financial health, and, like going to the gym or stepping outside, get moving!

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