As an individual approaches retirement age it is likely they are more focused on preserving their wealth and less on managing their credit profiles and scores. Many retirees make this mistake after leaving the work force, this has the potential to destroy a strong credit score along with decades of credit history. It is important to maintain a healthy credit report at any age; this means you need to monitor credit profiles on a consistent basis.
- Identity theft – The fastest way to catch identity theft is through monitoring your credit profiles and scores. When a criminal steals your identity, opens fake accounts, and starts making fraudulent charges to your credit, your credit score will be dramatically affected. Retirees might feel since they are not using credit or borrowing like they did in the past, that they can stop monitoring scores – this is when identity theft is likely to go unnoticed. Statistically, the likelihood of identity theft decreases with age, but the number of victims age 65+ is steadily rising and should be a significant concern for those entering into retirement. If thieves open credit in your name and it hits the credit report, scores will fluctuate immediately since opening credit drops scores due to reducing average age of credit making the individual a greater risk. Once the thief starts to charge on the account and payments are not made the scores will plummet. Without being aware of these changes to credit the victim may not realize the problem until months or even years later. Having a monitoring product would alert the individual when credit is pulled for a credit review and when new accounts are opened. It is much easier to sort out issues early on in the process.
- Debt – There are a growing number of adults over 65 that are still faced with outstanding debt. Retirees tend to accumulate a lot of medical debt and carry various medical and personal expenses on their credit cards. With strong credit scores you will have access to better interest rates, which will save money and help break the cycle of only paying the minimum each month. Those with a set income may not be prepared if an emergency occurs. For example: An adult child is suddenly very ill and the retiree now has to help pay their mortgage and living expenses. With the right credit already existing they might be able to roll the expense into a zero percent interest rate card for 12-18 months laying out a minimal dollar amount. Without active good open credit this would not be possible.
- Golden years – It is rare that any retiree fully retires in this day and age, many take the time to open their own small business. Having a good personal credit standing will give you better access to a small-business loan.
- Lastly, many retirees use their free time to travel. There are many credit cards available that offer significant travel points and rewards if used properly. With a strong credit score you will have access to the best credit card reward offers and interest rates.
If you who want to enjoy the luxuries of retirement and secure your strong credit, take advantage of the technical conveniences currently available through the right credit monitoring products. We all have the ability to monitor our bank accounts, credit card accounts, and credit profiles on a daily basis – 24/7 – all the major financial institutions have created user friendly platforms that offer features such as, text message and email alerts, when there is a sudden change or transaction placed on your account. These platforms can do a lot of the monitoring for you – retirees can instantly and easily monitor their accounts and profiles at the push of a button but be careful to make sure you are monitoring all three credit reports and scores when you buy a credit monitoring product.
Most credit cards offer a free credit score but monitoring only one bureau credit score will not give a full picture of your credit profiles since there are 3 credit bureaus. Some creditors only use one bureau when viewing credit or update info on a limited amount of credit bureaus. To truly evaluate your credit, you must monitor all three credit bureaus and the scores that represent your risk for each.
Feel free to review our monitoring product or shop online to see what is available. If you notice suspicious accounts or a dramatic change in your scores, you may be dealing with identity theft. Contact one of our Credit Experts so we can review the reports with you and recommend the best course of action.