Good credit can get you far in life; just ask anyone who has bad credit. It’s not easy to maintain that good credit score, though, especially when you come across unfortunate circumstances. It can be hard enough to pay your bills on time when everything is going right. It’s near impossible to do it when you can’t work.
People involved in lawsuits for personal injury often find themselves having trouble making ends meet. Even if their injuries aren’t so bad that they can no longer work, the stress and time commitments of a lawsuit can be draining. Now imagine trying to do the same thing only you have no income coming in because you were too badly hurt. Here are some tips to keeping your credit score solid (and maybe even increasing it) all while dealing with a lawsuit:
1) Credit cards aren’t free money
Sure they’re convenient and some of them offer interest rates that aren’t insane. Mostly, though, credit card companies profit off their customers either because of overzealous spending or desperation. Even if you pay off your balance every month – something quite a few people can’t afford – it can still damage your credit if you spend near your limit each month.
Part of maintaining good credit card skills is knowing what should be put on a card and what shouldn’t. Can you pay a bill online or by check? That’s preferred. That monthly cigar club sounds good, but can it wait until you’re in a better financial position? Keep savvy with your cards and only use them sparingly and when you know you can pay them off.
Lastly, try using online resources to help you save money or earn points. NerdWallet does a great job of helping you choose cards that are right for you.
2) Watch where you use your cards
If a credit card company thinks you might have some financial problems looming, they might get uncomfortable and it could affect your rating. Using cards at certain places can give an indication to your credit card company that troubles are on the horizon. Avoid using your credit card for a divorce attorney, for example, as it is a sure tell. Using one at a pawn shop could be another. If you can pay for these from your checking account, do so.
3) Keep diligent track of your credit
There are sites out there that give you free credit reports, and the major three brands (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax) all offer one free report a year. Examine these reports closely. There could be errors on them. Maybe you moved and a big bill was sent to an old address and never got to you. You may not know you were delinquent for six months and your credit might have already tanked as a result. These problems can often be fixed and your credit returned to where it was after only a few calls. This is a good habit to get into.
4) Most importantly, PAY YOUR BILLS ON TIME.
This can’t be stressed enough. One easy way for your credit score to plummet is late payments. Even a one-time missed payment can be detrimental, and if you have several all at once, that is even more problematic. Some lenders may look at your history and say “well, she was doing great up until this past year, so we’ll give her a pass” but many won’t. They’ll see failure to pay on time as a problem.
What if you can’t afford all of your bills because of a lawsuit? Let’s say you were in a third party accident at your job and had to have surgery. This put you on the shelf for three months and you lost plenty of income at that time. You MAY see some of those lost wages come back when your case settles, but that could still be months or even years away.
Fortunately for those in that situation, companies like Uplift Legal Funding exist. Uplift considers your case and approves you for money now that you can use to pay off your bills. This way you keep your credit pristine even when you don’t have enough income to support you. You pay them back out of your lawsuit settlement. Better yet, you don’t have to stress about owing them if you lose your case. If you lose your case, you owe nothing.
Their rates are low so you aren’t paying your whole settlement back at the end. The less you have to worry about every bill, the better it will be on your overall health. What’s more, it can even help your credit score!