If you are thinking about credit in retirement, you are thinking smartly.  Although you may not be working anymore, your credit is still just as important as it has ever been.  You never know when you may have emergency expenses pop up, need to cosign a loan for a family member or decide you want to move and will need to get a new mortgage.

Below are five tips on how to manage credit in retirement

 

credit in retirement

Monitor your credit in retirement

In order to make sure your credit score remains in good standing during your retirement years, you need to both use it and monitor it.  Take out those credit cards and put some of your fixed expenses on them.  Just be sure to pay it in full by the end of the month.  Your payment history represents a big chunk of your credit score.  In addition, monitoring your credit in retirement is important.  We have all heard about how scammers prey heavily on retirees and can potentially destroy your credit history.

Go to annualcreditreport.com to access free credit reports from (EquifaxExperian, and TransUnion). Right now with the pandemic, you get free access every week to your report.

Be smart with your money

Hopefully you already have developed good financial habits over the years.  Always pay down your credit card balances every month to keep your debt-to-limit ratio low.  As always, make all payments on time.  If you find that you don’t have enough money each month, it is time to revisit your budget and make some adjustments.

Don’t close out your credit cards

In order to keep your credit in retirement in good standing, you should keep all old credit cards.  If you never really use them, charge something on them every now and then.  This will signal to the provider to not close your account for lack of use.  This will also help to maintain your available level of credit which will help keep your credit score in check.

Keep an eye on your credit card balances

Depending on your credit limit, you need to watch how much you are using at any given time.  If you have $10,000 in credit card limits and your credit card balances are around $3,500, that’s 35 percent utilization.  This is the max percentage you should be at.  Any more and your credit score will feel it. So keep things low.

Talk with your Credit Card Company

If you are carrying any debt, it is worth a call to the credit card company to see if you can get the interest rate lowered.  Just keep in mind, the customer care representative will probably not be the one to talk to.  Ask for the manager in charge of settlement arrangements.  If you are not getting anywhere with that, you can always contact a credit counselor.  They help people who are trying to get out of debt and looking to rebuild their credit.