Having the ideal credit score of about 740 to 850 is probably one of the driving factors that separates “the haves and the have nots” in the credit world. Basically, the higher your score, the greater buying power consumers have at their disposal, along with lower payment options. Sadly, the realization that I may be amongst “the have nots,” became apparent to me after applying for a car loan in my early twenties, and was denied.



“Sorry ma’am, you do not qualify to purchase a car. Your credit report states your score is in the low 500’s. This basically means you have bad credit.” “BAD CREDIT!” I quickly replied in disbelief, “What do you mean I have bad credit? I don’t owe anybody anything! This is my first time ever applying for a loan, how could this be?”

At that moment, it was apparent I was clueless, and my ignorance led to my unforeseen rejection. Determined not let the disappointment crush my goals of purchasing a more reliable vehicle, I considered what to do next.

There’s an old saying, “to beat them at their game, you have to know their game.” In other words, when you know the rules, you can strategize a winning plan.  From experience, I’d already learned, where there is a will there is always a way, I just had to figure out my way by asking the right questions, and willing to follow the rules or strategy tips.

So here are some of tips I learned over the years to improve my credit to become one of “the haves, to gain financial freedom.


TIP #1


“Wait…are you sure? I’m totally confused here– how does this credit system work?” I responded, still looking bewildered. The used car salesman began to explain, “whether or not you do not owe anyone money, or have acquired debt, your score is what it is.” I thought about it for a few seconds, then replied, “but, I thought if I did not owe anybody money, it automatically meant I have good credit…right?” “Nope, not at all,” gesturing a “no” motion with his head.

Well, “how do I raise my score?” I asked. He began to explain, “first you need to establish credit and maintain consistent payments for a period of time, which implies to the creditors you are financially responsible and creditworthy. By paying your bills on time, over time, it raises your score.”

Needless to say, that experience changed my life entirely! From that day moving forward, I committed myself to seek out ways to improve my score, build credit, and learn how to position myself to become one of “the haves” and never experience the embarrassment of being rejected again.


I have heard the saying practically all my life, “cash is king– if you have cash you can call the shots, make bargains, and purchase things when others cannot.” But, the real truth is, your king status is only as strong as the amount as cash you have.

Credit, on the other hand, provides the opportunity to use your cash, along with your creditworthiness to gain power. The power to leverage, the power to manage your business through the cash flow, the power to purchase more items than your money can buy, and the power to request more credit to maximize your financial wealth.

Building good credit also requires great discipline and responsibility to build wealth. Understanding how to capitalize on this knowledge gives us the power to live like kings and queens.


TIP # 2


If you find yourself in an unfavorable position like I was over twenty years ago, with little or no credit, the best thing to do is to acquire a line of credit with a bank. If you are currently banking with one, you may choose to start there. They are convenient with many benefits, including:

  • Recognized for having quality customer service.
  • Better rewards programs
  • Multiple loan products to choose from.
  • Convenient locations.

As for myself, the used car salesman recommended for me to start with a credit union. He explained, credit unions are not-for-profit institutions, and often accept individuals with credit discrepancies and can offer lower interest rates on car loans and credit cards. I later found out they also offered higher interest rates on CD’S and on savings accounts. Other factors include:

  • Lower fees compared to banks.
  • More flexibility for blemished credit history.
  • Customer focused banking services.
  • Membership perks.

Without hesitation, I dashed to the nearest credit union, only to be rejected once again. What a bummer! The clerk stated because of my limited credit history, I did not qualify to receive a credit card and needed a cosigner to qualify. Luckily for me, my mother was already a member. With much persuasion, pleading and begging to my mother for help, she finally agreed and cosigned my first credit card with a $500 limit.


TIP #3


Within a year, of charging a few items here and there, and paying off my debts on-time– I was able to release my mom as a guarantor on the loan and fulfilled my promise to have no late payments. My commitment not only built my mother’s trust but also built my credit union’s trust in me. As a result, they increased my limit to $1,000. From there I opened other credit lines and raised my credit limit to $40,000 within a few years, using a few more tips I learned along the way.



If you are looking to build your credit, there is no better time to start than now. Below are questions you may ask and additional information you should know.


Your credit utilization ratio is determined by the amount of debt you owe, compared to your available credit. This ratios accounts for 30 percent of your overall credit score. OUCH!

Ideally, it is recommended you use less than 35% of your available credit to limit for each account to achieve the best possible score.  For example, if you have a credit limit of $1,000, the maximum you should spend on this line of credit is $350. Yep, that’s all and no more!


TIP #4


Consider fully paying off your seasoned account and do not make any additional charges. This will indicate your capability of managing your finances. After 4-6 months, contact your financial institution and request a credit limit increase of at least $300-$500. Once granted, repeat this step at least twice a year until your desired credit limit is achieved. As a result, you will have more spending power and maintain an acceptable spending ratio.


TIP #5


If you are considering closing an account, think twice before making your final decision. Closing inactive accounts rather than leaving them open could cost you more in the long run. Closing your accounts can decrease the amount of credit available to you in the future and negatively impact your CUR. In contrast, maintaining your active accounts, and paying down debt, decreases your utilization percentage and increases your credit score.  In other words, the longer your credit history, the better you appear to creditors. Its good practice to keep your old account(s) and use them once in a while.


TIP #6


You may feel anxious to build your credit rapidly, but patience and timing are key. Having too many new credit line inquiries can flag you as a higher credit risk and will reduce your credit score. Generally, each query reduces your score by at least 5 points. However, according to, multiple inquiries within a short period for student loan lenders, mortgages, and auto loans do not have a negative impact on your score.  Those inquiries are treated as a single request.


Absolutely yes! You should always make sure you pay all of your bills on-time, no matter how big or small. Your payment history accounts for at least 35 percent of your overall credit score. Yes, another whopping 35%. According to Fico data, a 30-day delinquency can result in a 90-100 score drop. Late payments affect your score for up to 2 years, and delinquent accounts are also reported to all credit reporting agencies and can remain on our credit report for up to 7 years.

Late payments will also increase your interest rates and cost you more in the long run. As I mentioned prior, the higher your credit score, the lower the interest rates received. A hundred-point difference could equate $100 more per month for a car or mortgage payment. If you are having difficulty remembering when to pay your bill, consider enrolling into an auto payment program. They are available online through most financial institutions and can help to ovoid overnights and unnecessary late fees.


TIP #7


It is never too late to make things right or ask for forgiveness. This success principle for not only good for developing healthy relationships, but it can also be a valuable tool for conducting business. If you have acquired a few late fees by oversight, or just did not have funds at the time to pay your bill–don’t lose hope. You may have a chance to request forgiveness and receive a return of funds.

Here’s how you do it! After making consistent payments for at least 5-6 months, contact your account manager and kindly request the late fees be forgiven and removed. Depending on their policy, the representative may have the authority to reverse the charges or submit a request. The process usually occurs immediately or can take up to 30 days.


TIP #8


Let’s face it, things happen, and they are not always in our favor. Checking your credit report regularly can assist you with the following:

  • Identifying inconstancies and work to remove them.
  • Managing credit limits.
  • Identifying unauthorized inquiries and information to address in your dispute letters.
  • Providing score updates.

Please note, unauthorized inquiries are known as “hard inquiries”, and can hurt your score. These usually result from the following:

  • Apartment and rental applications.
  • Application for new loans and credits.
  • Credit limit request.
  • Collection agencies attempting to collect a debt.

So, there you have it! You now have the necessary tools needed to become one of the so called “haves’ in the credit world to begin building your wealth and optimum success.

Remember, the better your credit score, the lower interest rate you will be charged on borrowed money. This saves you tons of money over the life of a loan–which equates to more money in your pocket and power to live the life of a king or queen.

For more information visit and subscribe to our newsletter to receive more amazing tips on how to look and live your best life—mind, body, and spirt.

Be blessed always,

Semone Blair-Walker





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  1. Nikole Higgins - December 25, 2018 Reply

    I’m really trying to get my credit together. But how can I do this without going broke trying to do it. I’m a single mom with 4 kids. Where do I start?

  2. Semone - December 27, 2018 Reply

    Hello Nikole,
    I completely understand the struggles of trying to keep it all together, including your credit, raise a family on your own and maintain all the overhead and build wealth.

    First, I must say, without knowing specific details about your financial circumstance, makes it difficult to provide the best recommendation. However, my first suggestion for you is deciding to be 100% committed to achieving your financial goals, as well as establishing a deadline. For example, if your goal is to be debt free by the end of 2019 and have xxxxxx amount of money in the bank, state it!

    Words are extremely powerful, and can change your life by simply making a verbal or written declaration about your future. They say the best way to predict the future is to create it. And…I and many others are living proof it is possible. I went from poverty to a life of luxury by first believing it was possible, stated it and dedicated my efforts to make my goals a reality.

    Here are some suggestions:

    1. Start by stating, “I Nikole will be debt free by the end December 2019 or( whatever date you choose) and have $200,000 (or your desired cash) in the bank. I am stress-free and have mastered building and securing abundant wealth…” Now that you have that out the way, it is time to put your plan of action together and be willing to work towards it.

    To get ahead life, sacrifice is critical!

    Understanding what to let go of NOW, to gain the things you want in the future is a must.

    2. Create a budget. Grab a piece of paper and list all your bills, expenditures (all expenses) and income, or create an excel spreadsheet on your PC. Take a monthly inventory of all your costs and identify the expenses that are mandatory “needs” such as utility, home, transportation, food, etc. and place a negative mark beside them. The “wants” such as entertainments, hair salon, clothes, toys, hobbies, etc. (expenses you and the kids can do without) and places a positive mark beside them.

    3. Prioritize. By now, you should have a total amount of what you and your family requires each month to maintain your way of life, and the amount you may have in excess. Your plan should be to minimize your expense and save the rest. The items associated with the positive marks, indicate excess money you can use to pay down credit card debts and funds for your savings.

    4. Create a “do not touch” savings account. This account is the investment funds you will use to build your future financial wealth. Determine how much money you can put in this account per week/month and DO NOT TOUCH IT! It is for your future and will come in handy when the opportunity presents itself.

    5. Obtain a free copy of your credit report by just requesting a copy from the three agencies listed below:

    P.O. Box 6790
    Fullerton, CA 92834

    P.O. Box 9530
    Allen, TX 75013

    P.O. Box 740241
    Atlanta, GA 30374

    6. Identify there are any discrepancies and dispute them asap. You may be surprised to know how many people have eliminated debts by simply disputing them until they are gone. You may also, negotiate with creditors by requesting a lower interest rate or look for a 0 % balance transfer to decrease your monthly payment. As for collection accounts, they typically accept 60% of what is owed. However, start low and work your way up as needed. You never know what can happen just by asking.

    7. Determine your payoff strategy. Identify the bills you can eliminate or pay down and start there.

    8. If additional income is needed, consider alternative employment, overtime, acquiring new skills, education, etc. to increase your revenue. You can also sell unnecessary items around the house to reduce clutter and pay off unwanted overhead.

    9. Once you have stabilized your income and eliminated/reduced your debt, you have a great foundation to build wealth and invest in the opportunities to generate more money. Remember…it takes money to make money, and every bit counts and adds up.

    There are many investment avenues to choose from. As for myself, I started out struggling like yourself as a single mother. I concluded educated decrease the gaps between poverty and opportunity. Knowledge is powerful! Recognizing how and when to apply it is essential.

    While attending school, I purchased wholesale items and sold them at retail prices to anyone willing to buy them. I traveled door to door, sold them to students in school, or people casually walking by. I did what I had to, and was willing to make the uncomfortable sacrifices to get ahead.

    From my savings/profit (my do not tough) account, I invested in a small business and later real estate. The process did not occur overnight, but with persistence and dedication, it all came together one day, one week, one year at a time.

    Overall, these are a few steps you can take, but there are many other suggestions which differs depending on your personal situation.

    Remember, to get ahead you have to get started. Without a test there will be no testimony and I can’t wait ti hear your. I hope this helps!

    Be blessed always,


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