• Lisa Allen

The end of credit scores as we knew them

Forever, you’ve heard that your credit score is all that matters. That is so 2019.

Hear that sound like rain? Those are millions of credit scores crashing to Earth.

If your income took a dive, so likely will your credit score. That’s OK. Banks will find another way to decide to whom to lend. Will you feel like you’re shirking your responsibilities as an adult if you don’t pay a bill? You’re not, you’re doing what’s best for you.

But choose wisely when picking which bills to pay and which to ignore.

Say, for example, on the screen before you are the bills for your credit card ($135 minimum payment), your cell phone ($75) and your rent ($1,100), but you have only $750 in the bank and nothing more coming in for the foreseeable future. You’ve always paid every bill, every month and you’re torn up that you can’t do that this month. What does that say about you as a responsible adult that you can’t? What will people think of you?

Again, don’t worry about what others would do in these circumstances. Doesn’t matter. This is all about you and your ability to sleep through the night. This is the new world. The previous metrics of success no longer apply.

Here’s what I would do. Pay the cell phone bill. Everyone needs a phone. Then call your landlord and ask if they’ll accept $500 in monthly rent until your income returns, either through a call back or finding a new job. Work with them. $500 is better than nothing. As for the credit card bill, don’t pay it. Yes, they’ll call you and call you and call you. Brace yourself for that, but in these times, unsecured debt should be the first to go. Keep the rest for food and gas.

Not paying the credit card bill will hurt your credit score, but join the club. There is no reason for you to punish yourself to help out a bank.

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