As a college student or young professional you are in the beginning stages of creating your financial independence. College loans, car payments and other expenses could be trapping you at the bottom of the financial totem pole. The debt an average college student or young professional acquires can sometimes be unbearable, especially with the majority of students having at least one credit card not to mention all the extra expenses on clothes, food and entertainment from the past four years.
Before a wave of debt wipes you out, you should read "CreditBooster: Ultimate Guide to a Better Credit Score " by the editors of InCharge Education Foundation, a nonprofit personal finance education organization. This book will help you determine your financial situation and address the steps to take if your wallet is ruling your life.
Each chapter in the book is set up into two sections: "What You Need to Know!" and "What You Can Do!" The first section will teach you material such as the basics of credit including the good ways to establish credit that will improve your score, how to deal with credit card companies and how to correct mistakes on your credit report that are usually overlooked. "What You Can Do!" puts into action the information gained in "What You Need to Know!" This part includes free worksheets that can be found at creditbooster.com/downloads. Worksheets range from taking an inventory of your debt, sample letters to send credit card companies if corrections are needed, or charts to set financial goals.
All chapters have a specific goal from "Basics of Improving Your Credit" to "Understanding Your Credit Score." Each chapter runs about 10 to 15 pages that are broken up with credit facts and corresponding tables that the reader can use. A bulleted list summary is provided at the end of every chapter highlighting what the reader should have gained from that section.
"CreditBooster" is easy to read and it provides resources and tools to help verify your credit status. The book also gives advice on how to overcome the tendency to charge your expenses. Common fiscal myths about a low credit score or filing for bankruptcy are finally put to rest as well.
In Chapter 7, "Setting Your Financial Goals," the authors explain how to set realistic goals and how to achieve those goals by putting those dreams into action. I found the advice to be very insightful because as a college student on the verge of financial independence I realized that there are a lot of things I "want to do," but those are just dreams until the proper financial plan is set and the "I will" mindset is formed. This chapter allows the reader to spell out specific goals, the costs, the monthly payments and the way to reach those goals, while CreditBooster also provides a website that helps figure out your monthly payments.
Although credit card debt can be daunting, the authors seem optimistic that the book will get readers motivated to take charge of their financial situations. Some of the chapters offer relatable examples pertaining to the situation at hand, but it would have been useful to have more of them. With more personal examples the reader can make more sense out of all the different processes such as calculating complicated financial ratios in Chapter 4, "Making Sense of Your Financial Situation." It’s imperative for the readers that the previous chapter worksheets are accurately completed; otherwise their financial status calculations will be incorrect.
As graduation approaches and you put the finishing touches on your résumés, your potential employer will also be checking out your "financial résumé." According to InCharge Education Foundation, your financial résumé is a credit report that tells potential employers details about your personality based on how financially responsible you are. Not only will employers look at your credit report, but so will insurance companies and potential landlords.
This book is not meant for a person that already has an expert understanding of the credit system. However, it does offer advice on what to do if you’re going through a divorce or bankruptcy that could be useful later in life. CreditBooster is a great resource to have even if you are in good credit standing because you should always be prepared for unexpected situations.
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