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Today we're discussing how to build your credit (and raise your score), winning your spouse over with finances, and how to do a money date! 

Raise Your Credit Score, Money Dates, and More

Today’s episode is kind of brought by….. you.

Yep, it's the community mailbag show where I go into the questions that you send in.

And I appreciate you guys being a part of this by sending in your questions. I'm excited. I've brought some experts to tackle them with me.

We have Self Lender CEO and founder James Garvey along with personal finance authors (and married couple!) Cherie and Brian Lowe! 

In this episode we get into:

  • The biggest myths and bad advice about credit score and the right way to build your credit
  • How to work together on tackling money when you have two different approaches
  • How money dates work and help you reach your goals faster

If you’d like your question to be a part of the next mailbag, send it here!

Hope you enjoy!

Resources to Build Your Credit and More

Here are some resources we shared on today's show to build your credit, become a team with finances, going on a money date, plus more. 

We’re going to discuss the ins and outs building your credit in our private Facebook group over at Thriving Families. It’s free and fun – please join us!

Today on our marriage and money mailbag series we're discussing how to build your credit (and raise your score), winning your spouse over with finances, and how to do a money date!

How to Raise Your Credit Score 

This first question I got pinged on from several people and since they're overlapping  I'm combining it into one.

It's about how to build credit and how to increase your credit score when you have bad or no credit right now. 

There's a lot of misconceptions when it comes to raising your score and sadly a lot of scams claiming they can build your credit very quickly. 

The truth is building your credit is long game and a big reason is because of how credit scores are calculated. 

First off, your credit scores are calculated based on what is on your credit report.

Your credit report is a record of your history of payments on your debts and helps lenders determine your creditworthiness.

You have 3 credit reports, one with each credit bureau – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

According to FICO, credit scores are calculated by a few key factors, some more important than others. They are:

  • Your Payment History (35%)
  • How Much You Owe (30%)
  • Length of Credit History (15%)
  • Credit Mix (10%)
  • New Credit(10%)

As you can see the biggest factor is your payment history. James explains what that means for us: 

…what you have to do to have a good credit score is you have to pay your bills on time and you have to pay them consistently and you have to pay them on time.

And so even if you're making a minimum payments to your credit card that's still better than not paying it.

If it's a dollar or two dollars a month or whatever your minimum payment is because payment history is so important.

James Garvey, Self Lender [3:13]

Since your credit report is a 7-year snapshot, if you make a mistake today -say you don't pay that one bill and it goes delinquent for 30 days – they're going to the credit bureaus that missed payment data will be on your reports for the next seven years.


James had first hand knowledge about this when he went on a trip years ago. 

….when I got married… I was working for a while and I sold my company wanted to take some time off them.

And so my wife and I  went to Argentina and we were there for about six months taking some time off.

And I thought I had this credit card that was on autopay. I thought I set it up that way.

…it was a card that I never even use.

…I found out two months into my billing cycle that I didn't have it set up on autopay and it just really hurt my credit score.

… It's it's it's it's like trust. It's very it's hard to earn it and lose it right.

James Garvey, Self Lender [4:50]

While that experience financially stung him, James used his expertise as a software developer to come up with a solution to build credit through
Self Lender.

Working Together on Finances

Cherie and Brian Lowe know from personal experience how hard it can be to tackle a big goal together. They paid off their massive debt of $127,482.30!

They share some key pieces advice that help them work as a team even though they have different approaches when it comes to money. 

Money Dates for the Wins

Money dates can be a fun, stress-free way to connect. Think of it like enjoying a good meal. Make it special (not expensive).

For some dates, we like to go out to mix things up. Other nights we’ll stay in, open up a bottle of wine, and look over things.

The location isn’t important, but the tone is crucial. We want to be relaxed and in a good mood before we chat.

We like to start things off with wins we’ve had. It can be personal, financial, or professional. It’s an opportunity to cheer each other on.

We then go over the goals we picked out. We have some goals for the year (like a vacation) and some long-term plans (working to become financially independent).

Occasionally things come up and we adjust goals and deadlines. While it’s not a cure-all, things are less stressful because we’re talking about it with one another.

Once we’ve have an idea of where we’re going, we briefly go over the numbers.

Using a tool like Personal Capital, Tiller, and Mint makes things a breeze. (It’s also free – which makes it a double win in my book!)

Afterward, we plan for the next month. Do you have a trip coming up? Any irregular bills like life insurance premiums due? Talking ahead allows us to tweak things as needed.

As you can see it’s not complicated and the finances are just a part of the date.

The key for us is getting on the same page with our goals and making sure the budget is working.

Support the Podcast!

Thank you so much for listening to the podcast!

  • Spread the word! If you enjoyed this episode and think it can help a buddy get on the path to dumping debt and become financially free, please share.
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  • Grab a copy of Jumpstart Your Marriage and Your Money. My book is designed for a busy couple to set up their finances in 4 weeks. Get tips and tools that have worked for other couples on their journey of building their marriage and wealth together!

Music Credit

Like the music in this episode? Our theme song is by Gentle Regime. Additional music by Lee Rosevere.

This episode was originally released September 2018. Show notes have been updated November 2021.

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..