One of the many challenges that come with being unemployed is figuring out how to make ends meet. Another challenge is maintaining a good credit score. It may seem like unemployment would have no bearing on your credit score, but there are several ways that being unemployed can actually negatively impact your credit. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you find yourself unemployed and worried about your credit score.
Income and Debt
One of the biggest factors in your credit score is your debt-to-income ratio. This is the percentage of your monthly income that goes towards paying off debts. When you’re employed, your income is fairly consistent, which makes it easier to predict how much you can afford to pay towards debts each month. When you’re unemployed, however, your income is much less predictable. This can make it difficult to stay current on debt payments, which can lead to late payments and missed payments. Both of these can have a negative impact on your credit score.
Your credit utilization ratio is another important factor in your credit score. This is the percentage of your available credit that you’re using at any given time. For example, if you have a credit card with a $5,000 limit and you typically keep a balance of $2,500, then your credit utilization ratio would be 50%. Experts recommend keeping your credit utilization ratio below 30%, so if you’re unemployed and not using any of your available credit, this could actually be a good thing for your credit score. However, if you find yourself using more of your available credit because you don’t have enough money to cover expenses, this will have a negative effect on your score.
Length of Credit History
Another important factor in your credit score is the length of your credit history. This is the amount of time that you’ve been using credit. The longer you’ve been using credit responsibly, the better it is for your score. If you lose your job and can’t find another one right away, this could put a dent in the length of your credit history, which could negatively impact your score.
If you find yourself unemployed, don’t panic—there are still things you can do to maintain a good credit score. Keep an eye on your debt-to-income ratio and try to keep up with debt payments as best as you can. Additionally, try not to use too much of your available credit and consider opening new lines of credit only if absolutely necessary. Lastly, remember that the length of your credit history matters—so even if unemployment causes a temporary setback, as long as you continue using credit responsibly going forward, eventually it won’t have any impact on your score whatsoever.
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Note: The information on this website is for general purposes only and does not constitute financial or legal advice.