The start of a new year is a great time to consider your financial health...

How is your credit score? Could it use some improvement?

Here are a few actions you can take now to take control of your credit in 2019.


Check your credit report

A Federal Trade Commission study revealed that 26% of people have an error on their credit

report that could impact their credit score. You can log on to to request a free credit report from one or all three of the credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. If you find an error, you can dispute it immediately on the website.


Automate bill paying

Paying bills on time is the single most important you can do to improve your credit score. Set up automated payments or create calendar reminders to be sure you are never late paying your bills.


Keep credit balances to 30% or less of your available credit

The next most important element of your credit score is your credit utilization rate, or more simply, the available balance you have on your credit card(s). This accounts for 30% of you’re your credit score.


Create a plan to pay down your debt

One of best things you can do for your credit score is to pay down debt, this is especially important if you plan on making a large purchase, like a home or car in the near future. One of the most effective ways to pay down debt quickly is to decide how much you can afford to pay above the minimum balances and then pay off one debt at a time. To see how quickly you can pay down your debt check out


Susan Kelley-Outten,

Personal Financial Counselor

802-318-2507 or email her at

This is a free and confidential service for service members and veterans.



Vermont Veterans Outreach Personal Financial Counselor provides financial services to Vermont’s Veterans, Service Members and their families. These services include budgeting, debt reduction, retirement planning, and much more. Our Family Program Personal Financial Counselor can assist you in your efforts to become financially stable and independent. The Personal Financial Services integrates within the military life-cycle; from pre-deployment financial preparation activities through transitioning from the military to civilian life. These services are free, confidential and available to Veterans and families residing in Vermont.

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