If you’re interested in improving your credit rating, your banking knowledge, or even your goal setting skills, Solid Ground’s Financial Fitness Boot Camp (FFBC) has you covered.
In the second workshop of this four-part series, participants learned all about credit: how to pull and understand credit reports, dispute and freeze their credit files, avoid predatory loans, and even improve existing credit scores.
In the first workshop of the series, Noel Lerner, FFBC/Tenant Counselor, walked attendees through the process of building a monthly budget, and participants shared their own tips for cutting costs.
Understanding your credit
We may know that credit is important, but how many people know how to pull a credit report, dispute it, or freeze their credit? Noel does, and she carefully teaches her audience about how much control they have over their credit – much more than you might think.
Noel passes around a form to request a credit report – all ready to mail and one step away from shedding such extra light on your credit. She also walks everyone through reading a credit report, line-by-line, helping people take charge of their own credit.
While the second workshop is packed with information, Noel still brings the same energy as she shared at the first session in the series, keeping everyone interested as she walks through understanding a credit report once you’ve received it. She keeps the session relatable with real-world examples and her own stories, which participants add to by sharing their own experiences and tips for managing their credit.
Like all Boot Camp sessions, the welcoming atmosphere that all of the participants help create is nearly as important as the knowledge that Noel shares. Attendees share their own experiences and realize that many other people have gone through similar challenges, sharing new advice that they’ve picked up along the way.
Keeping up with your credit
While understanding credit is important to keeping up with it, participants at the second Boot Camp session also learn other strategies for staying on top of their credit.
Noel emphasizes that the Boot Camp sessions all work together to help attendees improve their financial skills, or even just brush up on what they already know. While managing your credit is difficult on its own, it’s much easier if you have a monthly budget ready to go to track expenses and make sure bills are paid on time. Budgeting skills are a key part of keeping up on credit card payments – and staying under other important limits, which Noel walks through one by one.
The Boot Camp also gives participants other advice they can use at home, including specific details for Washington state loan borrowers – much of which can help attendees avoid “predatory loans” that prey on people’s short-term needs for money but can hurt credit ratings later due.
Fixing your credit
While understanding credit and staying on top of bills are important steps in maintaining good credit, many people are particularly interested in how to fix their existing credit – and the Boot Camp offers lots of tips to do this.
Along with the credit report request form, Noel also comes prepared with credit freeze and credit dispute forms ready to fill out and mail directly to where they need to go. These forms can help take control of your credit and avoid any issues outside of your control.
While some parts of building your credit history might be obvious – like making your credit card payments on time – others are less intuitive. Among the lesser known credit-building tips that participants learn at Boot Camp, paying your rent on time is available to many people and can be a practical way to build good credit – although it may require online registration.
Another important concept is that credit can be improved no matter where you are, how young or old you are, and how much income you have.
Together, all of these tips – and many more that participants find out about at the Financial Fitness Boot Camp – can help everyone better manage their credit, stay on top of their bills, and even repair their credit if it has suffered in the past.
This summer’s Financial Fitness Boot Camp is hosted on Wednesdays from 3-5pm throughout July. The third talk will focus on understanding banking.
(Note: While participants must attend all four sessions to receive a Certificate of Completion, the workshops are offered quarterly at Solid Ground, so makeup sessions may be available! Unfortunately, the current FFBC is full and we are unable to take any more participants. Registration for the October Boot Camp will start October 2.)
The four workshops:
PART 1: BUDGETING
PART 2: CREDIT & CREDIT REPAIR
PART 3: BANKING
PART 4: GOAL SETTING
Questions about FFBC? Contact Noel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206.694.6864.