Living Without a Salary

How to reduce your expenses, so you can live without a salary!

Personal Credit Rating–Who Cares? December 22, 2008

So many people today are very concerned about a number–a number that will determine whether or not they can afford to go into debt. In fact, many businesses today profit from reporting on these numbers to consumers on a daily basis. This is the topic of many media sources, as well as forums and blogs all across the ‘net. And it has people worried and stressed when life and debts work to whittle away at this number. People are actually losing sleep over this number! Why?

For many generations before these modern times, people worked hard at creating shelter and food. Whether they had to use money, or they built it from scratch anywhere they could find to set up shelter. And no one really worried about whether they had good credit or not to be able to secure the most basic of necessities. They either afforded the best of the best, or they did without. It was never “Get it now, whether we can afford it or not, and then be in debt up to the eyeballs later” type of thing. It was more of, “Can we afford this? No? Then save until we can”….

Now, however, we have this instant gratification mentality where we see something we want, and have to have it right away. Credit card and loan companies are built upon this mentality. They say, “You can have that trip, or that new car right now. Why not? You deserve it!” What they don’t say in the ad is, “You also deserve the high debt you incur too…”

And in these difficult economical times, the people who incurred debt up to their eyeballs are not able to pay off their debts, which then in turn affects their credit rating. A rating that just basically tells future lenders that you messed up in the past, and then they judge your performance in the  future by the circumstances from your past. Regardless of whether or not you think this is fair, it is the game that they play. And by accepting loans, credit cards, etc, you are telling them that you are playing their game, and are going to play by their rules. 

When living the simple life–that of a conserver lifestyle–there is no need to worry about your personal credit score, because you won’t be incurring debt. If you cannot afford something, or find suitable substitutions, then you will do without. And your credit score has no bearing on your life. When I was a kid, I didn’t even know what credit scores were about. My parents were poor, and we lived in the country and rented from a very generous landlord. (Yes, they do exist!!) We got by sometimes on the generosity of the community, which is why I love small towns now, by the way. My parents were able to get their cars either by finding cheap used vehicles that were still in good working condition, or by people giving them vehicles. And we ate simply…nothing fancy for the every day living. For holidays, we were able to get a turkey and all the trimmings, which was a nice treat. But most of the time, we made do with little. So a credit score was an unfamiliar term in my world back then.

The first time I heard about a credit score was when my student loans came due, and we had no money to pay them. A not-so-friendly voice on the phone told me that if I don’t pay them back, that it would affect my credit rating negatively. I said, “So what?” That voice turned snooty and said, “Well it means that you won’t be able to get a loan for a house, or buy a new car.” Yeah whatever…later, I got caught up in the “credit score madness” with my ex-spouse. We weren’t able to qualify for loans to buy a house, but we still had shelter and transportation. But every time the bills weren’t being paid on time, he would say, “My credit is getting screwed.” And I was thinking, “So what?”

So what? Besides not being able to qualify for loans that you can’t afford, or being able to live in the more snooty area of town, what does a poor credit rating keep you from? It basically keeps you from being to have what you want–RIGHT NOW! So? Put away that “gotta have it now” mentality and think about things for a moment. If you save money for a decent used car, you will be able to get what you want eventually. As for housing, you can work around the poor credit rating. And with the real estate market the way it has been this year, it makes more sense to rent until it turns around anyway. Defenders of a “clean credit rating” would argue with me that one can’t get decent housing, even while renting, unless you have a great credit score. I would like them to come to my house for a moment. (Besides, what is defined as “decent” housing?) I was able to get into this nice 3 BR house on a few acres without an annoying credit check. And the landlord is as generous as the one who rented out the house I grew up in. 

A credit score is just a number. It means nothing but what people say it does. If you say it means nothing, and that you get around a credit score by finding alternate means of shelter, food, etc, without having to depend exclusivly on others, then you are further ahead in this economy than those who have spotless credit ratings, and are chained to their jobs. (Isn’t that a form of slavery?)

Either way…stop getting so caught up about your credit rating, and enjoy what you do have in this life.  Chances are, if you are reading this, you have access to a computer and internet connection. (Whether at home, on the job, or in the library…) Life isn’t so much about credit numbers as it is about family, love and freedom. Enjoy your holidays!


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