Worshipping at the Altar of FICO

FICO stands for Fair Issac Corporation. Bill Fair and Earl Issac started a consulting company in the 1950’s and developed FICO scores, which measure credit risk.

I keep trying to think of alternate definitions for the FICO acronym:

* Floundering In Credit Oppression.

* Forgetting I’m Credit Oppressed.

* Forever Instant Credit Organization.

* Financially I’m Constantly Overwhelmed.

* Fighting Idiot Credit Oppressors.

Those aren’t very good (if you have a better FICO definition, post it in the comments) but they convey how I now feel about FICO scores.

I used to care a lot about my FICO score. That’s not surprising, consider how the FICO score is touted as being ever so important. The “protect your credit score” mantra ranks right up there with “you’re throwing away your money if you rent” mantra. If you don’t have a good score you can’t keep borrowing money. But wait a minute. Do I really want to be good at borrowing money?

I can’t begin to describe the stress I used to feel over the possibility of a late payment. My credit score would be dinged! Oh no! Ironically, part of the reason we are in debt is because I was trying to maintain a good score. I was worshipping at the altar of FICO (as Dave Ramsey puts it).

When I learned how to make a prioritized spending plan (food and shelter come first, credit card payments do not) the stress relief was enormous. My goal now is a credit score of zero. If I ever become a zero then I’ll know that I’m in the place I want to be, financially. A score of zero would mean that I hadn’t borrowed money in many years.

By the way, it is possible to get a mortgage with a score of zero. There are mortgage companies that do manual underwriting and look at the big picture of your finances, not just your credit score.

I’m not advocating that everyone have a goal of a credit score of zero; it’s just my own personal wish. For instance, single moms might have to worry more about maintaining a good score. But no one should have to worship at the altar of FICO. FICO isn’t worthy enough of that. If you get some dings in your score, you’ll live to fight another day.

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