Effective marriages often require both sharing and splitting household responsibilities. If you elected to stay home to raise your children while your spouse went to work, though, your credit score may not be as high as you would like. Alternatively, you may have no creditworthiness at all.
Stay-at-home moms often have worse credit than their working spouses for a variety of reasons. Still, if you want to work toward a successful financial future, improving your credit score makes sense. Here are four ways stay-at-home mothers often rebuild credit following a divorce:
1. Establish a budget and stick to it
Building or rebuilding credit after a divorce is not necessarily glamorous. That is, you may have to live on a budget. Short-term sacrifices, though, often lead to long-term successes. Therefore, try to create a realistic budget and stick to it.
2. Deal with marital debt
You and your spouse may have outstanding debts. If so, address repayment as part of your divorce proceedings. Refinancing, consolidating or transferring balances may help.
3. Apply for a credit card
If you do not already have your own credit card, applying for one may be an effective way of building credit. You must be careful with carrying balances, though. Instead, try to pay off the amount you owe every month. If you cannot, keep the balance lower than 30% of your card’s credit limit.
4. Monitor your credit score
Finally, you want to know whether your credit score is increasing or decreasing. Therefore, occasionally request your credit report to see how you are doing. Your bank may provide free copies of your report as a perk of having a checking account. Alternatively, you can request a free copy of your report from major credit bureaus every year.
As a stay-at-home mom, you may have to face some challenges after your divorce that working spouses are often able to avoid. Nonetheless, with some planning and a bit of work, you can likely rebuild your credit and secure post-divorce financial freedom.