Today we have a guest post from Certified Financial Planner Joel Ohman who runs the site Credit Card Chaser. Joel has been a frequent commenter on this site and I find that he always brings an interesting point of view to the discussion.
I know the material below is no exception as Joel, tongue firmly planted in check, shares how we can destroy our credit ratings. Hey, sometimes you learn what to do by learning what not to do!
Having a good credit score is boring. If you really want to have some fun then here are 7 steps that you can take to destroy your credit. After all, who ever really needs a mortgage, auto loan, credit card, business loan, or cheaper car insurance rates anyway?
#1 Ignore Your Bills
The faster you can start treating each and every bill you get like the 4 letter word that it is then the sooner you will be well on your way to absolutely demolishing your credit. Bonus style points if you can A) Start a gigantic bonfire in your backyard with all of your past due bills and get the fire marshal called out to your house or B) Smear your bills with bacon grease and feed them to your dog so that when the bill collectors come knocking then you can honestly say that your dog ate them. Ignoring bills is a great way to ruin your credit.
#2 Act Clueless
When all of your past due bills start piling up then you will begin to receive lots and lots of phone calls from credit card companies, banks, debt collection agencies, and other people very interested in getting the money from you that you owe them. If you want to ruin your credit even more then a really fun thing to do is to act clueless whenever someone mentions that you owe them money. Bonus style points if you can A) Talk in a totally different language (or in a made up language) while on the phone with the debt collectors or B) Put the debt collectors on hold for longer than 15 minutes at a time without having them hang up on you. Acting clueless about the money you owe is a great way to ruin your credit.
#3 Blame Others
Blaming others for your financial irresponsibility is a top notch way to ruin your credit. One big advantage to blaming others for your mistake is that you get to indulge in one big self delusional pity party any time of night or day! You can complain and whine about the unfair bankers and unfair credit card companies who would dare to ask you for their money back with interest when you take their money but refuse to give it back. It can be a lot of fun to blame others for your lack of financial acumen and discipline. Bonus style points if you can A) Blame your debt on an inanimate object or B) Actually convince someone else that your debt is their fault and get them to pay it for you. Blaming others for your financial mistakes and refusing to fix your mistakes yourself is a great way to ruin your credit.
#4 Carry Credit Card Balances
Buying everything on credit with a cash back rewards credit card and paying off the balance in full every month is for chumps. Buying everything on credit and then running up huge balances and just making the minimum payments every month is waaay more fun! You can tell just by a quick glance at the cost of credit cards tool that carrying a credit card balance is a great way to ruin your credit score and pay tons of extra money in interest charges for everything you buy. Bonus style points if you can A) Wrack up large credit card balances on your spouse’s credit cards without them knowing (what a fun surprise for them when they find out!) or B) Buy all of Dave Ramsey’s books and materials on credit and only make minimum payments hee hee hee ho ho ho. Carrying credit card balances is a great way to ruin your credit.
#5 Don’t Check Your Credit Report
Boring, boring, boring. Who wants to read a credit report when they could read the comics? (Although if you have followed steps 1-4 to the letter so far then your credit report may in fact be funnier than the comics but I digress). Only squares who want to improve their credit score ever bother to check their credit report for errors or subscribe to a credit monitoring service. Bonus style points if you can A) Subscribe to a credit reporting service and never actually even check your credit score even once or B) Ask your loan officer when apply for a mortgage, “What’s a credit score?” with a straight face. Ignoring your credit report is a great way to ruin your credit.
#6 Co-Sign for Anyone and Everyone
Close your eyes and think of the most financially irresponsible person you know. If that person is you then close your eyes and start over again and try to think of the second most financially irresponsible person you know. Now go offer to co-sign for a credit card or line of credit for that person. Bonus style points if you can A) Trick someone into co-signing for you so that you can repeat step #4 with even more credit cards or B) Post an advertisement on CraigsList offering to co-sign for the first 5 people that send you a message. Co-signing for a credit card or a line of credit is a great way to ruin your credit.
#7 Buy Everything Your Neighbors Buy
Look around your neighborhood and if you see anyone with a brand new car, new patio furniture, or anything that looks new and shiny then go out and buy that exact same item or something just like it but more expensive. The more stuff you buy then the cooler you look and the better you feel about yourself. Who cares that most of the stuff will be repossessed later on because after all trying to outwit repo men adds some spice to your life. Bonus style points if you can A) Root through your neighbor’s trash and find the actual prices they paid for things so that you can make sure that you spend even more than they did so that you can brag to them that you got the “premium version” or B) Pull the old license plate switcheroo game with your neighbor when they go to bed at night so that if the repo man comes snooping around during the night then your neighbor can add some spice to their life too. Buying everything your neighbors buy just because is a great way to ruin your credit.
Once you have completed all 7 of these steps then you have not just ruined your credit but you have officially destroyed your credit. There you have it! 7 steps to destroying your credit – with style!
Thanks for sharing Joel!
And thanks to everyone for reading along as well. Please take a moment to check out more of Joel’s work at his site – Credit Card Chaser.