Ah, the New Year is up on us! 2016 here we come! Now that your gifts are unwrapped and the fruitcake from Aunt June is put away to age for the rest of eternity, you finally have a moment of clarity – you have credit card bills on the way. You have to pay for all of those merry festivities now!

Not to fret, we’re here to make some sense of it for you, and to look at some guidance so that you don’t go as crazy as Cousin Eddie.

First Things First

You should obtain your free copy of your credit report after the New Year. Since law allows you one free copy per year- what better time to get it than the start of a new year. Go to http://www.annualcreditreport.com/ to access your Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion credit reports. Review these reports very carefully; make note of any accounts or details that don’t seem accurate or are not your accounts at all.


Take note of credit card utilization on your revolving lines of credit. Anytime your credit cards exceed 30% utilization, your credit score will take a serious dive. According to the FICO credit scoring model, credit card utilization accounts for 30% of your entire credit score.


Set some financial goals. Now that you have your free credit reports in hand, added with the fact that you are entering a new year, what better time to set some goals? What do you want to accomplish in 2016? Do you need to refinance your home? Buy a new car? Prepare a son or daughter for college or an up-coming wedding? You are likely going to need to use credit to accomplish any of these goals.

With your credit reports spread in front of you now, you can now see the big picture. You can now see what cards need to get paid down to achieve that 30% or less utilization ratio to help grow that FICO score. You will be able to take note of any accounts that have erroneous information so that you can begin challenging these inaccurate items with the credit bureaus.


In order to have a successful, prosperous, and relatively stress-free 2016, you must start now to recognize areas of trouble and deal with these financial issues promptly.

Just think, you want to have your financial life in order so that when problems happen (or when Cousin Eddie comes to visit) you are prepared for the 2016 holiday season.

Posted in Finance