What if, as a society, we stripped away faces and names, experiences and choices, and only used a credit score to define and identify a person? One number to explain a lifetime… it’s a scary idea, yet it’s a reality we face. It can often feel as though our credit score decides our worth, but isn’t there so much more to the story of our lives?

In a recent study conducted by CreditRepair.com, a group of 1,611, people from a wide variety of ages and backgrounds, were asked to complete a survey addressing the correlation between the events we face in our lives, our credit score, and the feelings generated surrounding both of them. During the progression of this study, we found that a shocking 49% of people asked felt their credit did not reflect their “worthiness” to obtain credit. Credit has the unnerving capability of negatively affecting anyone, even when we’re trying to make all the right financial and personal decisions. The study group was asked about life events that had affected their credit ranging anywhere from:

– Past poor decision making
– Foreclosure
– Bankruptcy
– Job Loss and Unemployment
– Illness or Injury
– Divorce
– Death of a loved one
– Identity Theft or Fraud
– Military Deployment
– An option for the surveyors to add anything additional

From looking at this list, how many of these can be controlled? Are these not events that when faced, would make a person turn and run in the opposite direction. These life events can naturally bring deep financial repercussions to anyone; from the group, 81% of people had experienced one of these unavoidable situations.

– Nearly 35% of people had experienced job loss or unemployment. 18% of people had experienced an illness or injury that negatively affected their credit score. Roughly another 30% of people had experienced death, divorce, identity theft or military deployment that brought about negative effects to their credit score.

– When asked what had been included on their credit report in the past 7 years, 47% responded with “a late payment” and 37% responded with “collections.” When financial crisis strikes, it is typically our daily routines that are interrupted. Do we pay for a necessary medical expense, or do we pay our cell phone bill? What decision would you make? A person can have a perfect history of making payments on time and it just takes that first late payment to harm their credit score.

– Of those surveyed, 69% of people felt that the items listed on their credit report were in error, unfair, or didn’t belong to them. Only 31% of those asked felt that their credit report items were correct.

Life can throw curve balls that affect our credit, but there are ways to rebuild and improve. Of those surveyed, 80% of people were aware companies exist to work on repairing credit reports and improving their credit rating. With an overwhelming percentage of surveyors knowing credit help exists, a surprising 60% of people had never sought the help of any such company. 35% of people reported a credit score of 600 or lower. Does a credit score decide a person’s worth? Absolutely not. Credit ratings are going to maintain their role in our lives as a determinant of what lenders will provide, so take control of your credit today, and achieve the credit score you deserve.

This credit study was conducted online by Qualtrics, on behalf of CreditRepair.com, from September 4 – September 10, 2015. It included 1,611 adult respondents, between the ages of 18-65. Figures for age, U.S. region, and race/ethnicity were weighted where necessary to bring equal representation to the survey population. View the full study here.

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