Credit problems create a vicious cycle. Credit card interest rates are increased, fees are onerous and even applying for jobs is negatively affected (many employers look at credit reports as one factor in the hiring process), insurance companies look at them too and can offer higher rates. Employers and insurers have the belief that bad credit is an indication of other risks they don’t want to take on. Once into the cycle there are challenges to deal with. I must admit I think it is silly to look at credit for most jobs. But a significant number of organizations do so that is an issue someone that gets themselves in this trouble has to deal with.
I think the best way to deal with this problem is to build a virtuous cycle of savings instead. We tend to focus on how to cope with a bad situation instead of how to take sensible actions to avoid getting in the bad situation. In general we spend far too much money and take on too much debt – we live beyond our means and fail to save. Then we have a perfectly predictable temporary hit to our financial situation and a vicious cycle begins.
If we just acted more responsibly when times were good we would have plenty of room to absorb a temporary financial hit without the negative cycle starting. The time to best manage this cycle is before you find yourself in it. Avoiding it is far better than trying to get out of it.
Build up an emergency fund. Don’t borrow using credit cards – or any form of consumer debt (borrowing for education, a car or a house, I think, are ok). Save up your money until you can afford what you want to purchase. Don’t buy stuff just to buy stuff.