Welcome to the 4th Smart Money Debate at ReadyForZero! To see the other side of this debate, read David’s post: Why Your Credit Score Matters (Even When You’re In Debt). And then let us know which argument was more convincing!
This post was written by Brad Chaffee, who in 2008 passionately launched the award-winning blog Enemy of Debt to inspire others to radically eliminate debt from their lives. Contrary to what some people may think, he says he lives in an actual home, drives two paid for cars, and his debit card works remarkably well. He started the blog Beyond Debt Freedom to help inspire himself and others to remain vigilant in forging the path to complete financial independence even after becoming debt free.
We’ve heard our entire life that we must “build our credit score” because if we don’t we would not be able to enjoy life’s many pleasures and conveniences.
Now look at us.
Most people have two car payments, bloated mortgages, insane amounts of student loans, several lines of credit and multiple maxed out credit cards. They’re mismanaging so much debt they can barely breathe, let alone live the life they’ve been promised by the very society that perpetuated this hoax.
Me? I don’t play that game.
You can say what you will but I haven’t played that game for almost 5 years. I’ve seen both sides of the debate and experienced life from both perspectives. I’m living the debt free life with no FICO score and, as a good friend of mine Steve Stewart once said, “The perfect FICO score is probably ZERO.”
Never again will I make a single financial decision based on what my FICO score will or will not do. Never again will I chase a score that rates my financial worthiness on how much debt I can or cannot manage. Never again will I fall for the lie that my credit score is who I am.
You are not your credit score!
No amount of fancy graphs and data points will convince me otherwise. I’ve lived on both sides of the fence and I like the greener, softer, debt free grass on this side. Yeah, I know what they say about having a low, or no, FICO score; I won’t be able to travel, get a good job, rent a car, an apartment, or even buy a house…blah, blah, blah.
The fact that people still push this nonsense drives me bananas.
I’ve done plenty of traveling, rented a car and even an apartment – all without the almighty credit score. And even IF we were going to get a mortgage when we buy our next home (which we’re not) we could do so without playing the credit score game – or as I like to call it – THE DEBT TRAP for those who haven’t been shown this simpler, more rewarding way to live.
We will pay cash because we are not giving another person a single penny for the privilege of getting something before we can afford it. We’re done with interest payments and paying more for our purchases simply because we do not have the patience or willpower to wait.
As Dave Ramsey says: The credit score is more accurately described as an “I love debt score” because everything you have to do to have one is linked to a debt product. Try having a credit score without debt. I know, I know, technically you can “build your credit score” by paying your credit cards off each month but I only have one thing to say about that:
How is that working for you America?
The fact is that a majority of Americans DO NOT pay their credit cards off each month, even if they fully intended to when they opened their accounts. Add to that the fact that most Americans don’t have any significant savings in place to cover emergencies and there begins the debt cycle.
Americans are trapped in this cycle and are struggling. Besides debt they all have something in common. They are more worried about their credit score than eliminating their debt because the experts tell them that paying off and closing credit accounts will damage their credit score.
Why do “financial experts” continue to push the idea that you must have a credit score to live a good quality life? Liz Weston – whom I respect dearly – said at the Financial Bloggers Conference “Credit scores are very important”. I’m not surprised she said that, she wrote an entire BOOK about credit scores.
Suze Orman has made a career around the promotion of building your FICO score, again, perpetuating this idea that having a good credit score is necessary to living a respectable and financially worthy life. But I’m just a blogger, what do I know?
What we hear:
- The only way to earn rewards is by using a credit card – NOT TRUE.
- A debit card is not as safe and secure as using a credit card – NOT TRUE.
- The only way to get a good mortgage is to have a good credit score – NOT TRUE.
- A good credit score is the only way to prove you are financially responsible – NOT TRUE.
- A good credit score is an essential part of your financial plan – ALSO NOT TRUE.
What is true:
You only “need” a credit score if you plan to go into debt for the things you want to consume, but it’s NOT necessary for your financial survival or to have the better things in life.
With products available like PerkStreet’s Debit Card that earns rewards or cash back, eCredable.com which helps you prove your financial worthiness with or without a FICO score, and good old-fashioned manual underwriting you can do, and have, a lot of the things that people say you need a credit score to enjoy.
I’m not judging anyone choosing to play the “build your credit score” game. According to the experts it’s what we are supposed to do.
I just wish these “financial experts” would stop spreading these myths. Stop saying you MUST have a good credit score – because it’s just not true. If you MUST have a good credit score then why is my life so much better without one?
According to them isn’t that supposed to be impossible?
A FICO score means nothing to me and I’m perfectly happy living without one. Pursue a credit score if you want to but I’m here to tell you that you DO NOT need one in today’s world.
I love my debt free life and I’m not willing to give that up because someone else says that I should.
So as for me and my credit score, I’m READY FOR ZERO!
To see the other side of this debate, read David’s post: Why Your Credit Score Matters (Even When You’re In Debt).