Finances in Retirement - Investments

Does Your Credit Score Matter When You’re Retired?

by Alli Thomas

Sep 15, 2022

Out of the many concerns that may cross your mind as you are approaching retirement, and one that you may not be considering, is your credit score. After all, retirees aren’t exactly known for taking out new loans or credit cards.

However, there are good reasons to maintain a solid credit score (or even to try to improve it) as you grow older. Here are a few things to consider:

Why You Should Leave Credit Lines Open

While many people aim to pay off as much debt as possible before or shortly after they retire, having zero debt — or at least no active credit lines — can significantly affect your credit score and ability to borrow in the future.

Should you need to borrow money but your mortgage and other loans have long been paid off, you may have trouble qualifying due to how credit scores are calculated. This is one of the reasons why deciding whether to pay off your mortgage before you retire can be challenging

FICO, the data analytics company behind the famous score, provides consumer credit scores to lenders to help them determine how much credit they should extend to an applicant. FICO requires that your credit report shows activity at least once every six months to assign you a credit score. Additionally, the credit line must be at least six months old to qualify for scoring. If you haven’t had any activity on your credit report for years, establishing new credit may be difficult – in some cases, almost like starting from scratch.

Protecting Your Credit Score Should Be Part of Your Financial Plan

If you’re approaching retirement and are trying to decide on the best approach to dealing with any debt you have while maintaining a good credit score, you’ll want those to be made as part of a comprehensive financial plan that takes your entire financial situation into account.

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Alli Thomas

Alli Thomas has worked in the financial services industry for nearly 20 years, with a focus on retirement-related investing. She began her career as a FINRA-licensed participant-services call-center associate at Vanguard, and then moved to Principal Financial Group, where she worked closely with employers, assisting with retirement plan set-up and design, selecting appropriate plan investment offerings, and maximizing employee participation through targeted education campaigns and enrollment meetings. Alli has also worked as a qualified 401(k) administrator and registered investment advisor for several small investment firms. She now writes about all things investment- and finance-related, leveraging her extensive experience and passion for retirement planning to help investors make well-informed financial decisions.

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