Some analysts and economists are worried there might be an economic contraction or recession in the very near future.
Stock markets are falling, oil prices are falling and other (slightly more advanced) indicators are making Americans worried about just how healthy the economy is. Some Americans may need to look for another job or open up their coffers (and potentially lines of credit or credit cards) as they pinch pennies. That’s when a good credit scoremay come in handy.
During times of economic difficulty, employers can become more sensitive to the credit of their potential employees and have been known to use a credit report as one factor to help them decide who to hire or not. Healthy credit also ensures that you can get credit, since banks tend to tighten up their lending policies during times of economic uncertainty are are less inclined to lend to people with bad or even average credit scores.
Ultimately, what makes people face difficult times in a recession is not always a lack of money but often a lack of options (job options, housing options, credit options, etc.) so a healthy credit score BEFORE a recession helps to ensure you have options IN a recession.
Here are some simple tips for getting your credit on track now, setting yourself up with one more tool that can help you navigate the rocky waters of a recession.
- Pull your credit reports, roll up your sleeves and review your credit with a fine-toothed comb to see exactly what opportunities you have to fix your credit.
- Consider using extra money that might be sitting in a bank account to pay off any outstanding debt.
- Review your budget and think carefully about the extraneous purchases, since getting rid of them can provide extra cash to keep up with your debt payments.
- Get back into the habit of budgeting to ensure that you have money each month to pay off your debts in full and on time (or, at the very least, to cover your minimum payments so you don’t fall behind).
Remember, you should review your free annual credit reports for accuracy and dispute any errors you find. You can also get your credit scores for free every 30 days on Credit.com to keep an eye on any fluctuations.
No one wants a recession, and there’s also the possibility that we won’t even see one this year or next. But recessions are part of the regular economic cycle – they happen from time to time – so it’s best to be prepared for one. And the best time to prepare your credit for a recession is well before the recession occurs.
This article originally appeared on Credit.com and was written by Jeanne Kelly.