Fuck You FICO Score!
The other day my sweet, beautiful friend was mourning the death of her perfect FICO score.
She had been like a lot of us. She had done everything right. She watched her debt, bought her own house, payed her bills on time, even paying most of the balances in full every month – then disaster struck.
No, not the Great Recession, although I read an article in 2010 that said something like 80% of our FICO scores took a hit. (Gasp)
She decided she’d had enough of her soul sucking job. She pried the fingers of the corporate world from around her neck and made a break for it. It was never her intention for her finances to be less than stellar, but sometimes shit gets real, and now, several years later, after the dust has settled, her FICO score sucks.
I have another friend whose ex-husband drove their relationship and her pristine FICO score off a cliff and into bankruptcy. She’s worked really hard to build it back up and overcome the shame of it.
There is a lot of shame attached, like a scarlet number is etched on your forehead.
This pissed me off! These are both incredible women. These are not bad check writing, run-up-the-credit-cards-on-late-night-internet-binge-shopping, kind of girls. And I know about twenty more.
Guess what ladies. YOU ARE NOT YOUR FICO SCORE.
Sometimes when you embark on a new life things get trashed, thrown into the chipper. Divorce, layoffs, mortgage under water, illness.
One of the things that can get caught in the collateral damage besides your pride, may be your FICO score.
People, it’s okay. Your score may have taken a beating, but hey, you’re still a good person.
I remember being so proud after I met my husband and we transferred my house into both of our names. The banker came out flushed and grinning ear to ear, looking like he’d just had illicit sex, (because to those banker types, FICO scores are a BIG turn on) anyway…he announced that our scores were in the high 700’s – one number apart. He refused to tell us which person had the higher score, which was smart and proved that the blood was returning to his brain.
I’m sure he could sense that we were competitive.
Listen, I just assumed it was my husband since he is methodical, thrifty, and exhibits self control – and he assumed it was me – for no good reason other than he loves me.
That’s why this marriage works.
So…you can imagine my colossal dismay when after doing everything right, for so many years, after my store closed – my FICO score plummeted.
Debt ratio, plain and simple.
Some poor slob at Chase, mentioned the number once when I was feeling particularly vulnerable (otherwise known as 2010-11), and I screamed and went into the ugly cry. My response was so over the top they checked to see if it was a mistake. Then, after they could see that it was not, they stood far away from me, nervously twisting the piece of paper. Where minutes before their eyes were filled with judgement, now they were looking at me with eyes full of pity.
“So my life took a U-Turn! Don’t look at me like that – bitch!”
I AM NOT MY FICO SCORE!
And neither are you.
These fucking numbers keep us enslaved in a world of potential disapproval, like a judgmental parent.
“Oh, don’t leave that job it might lower your FICO score.”
“Geez, your funding that business on your credit cards? Isn’t that going to ruin your FICO score?”
“Shit, your house Is upside down, what did that do to your FICO score?”
Hey, I’m not advocating ruining your credit with nasty, irresponsible deeds. I’m just sayin’ to those of us that were uber-responsible:
Investing your definition of yourself in something so unforgiving is emotional suicide,
I think it’s a racket.
I for one was a slave to mine. I stayed too long in a job I should have left, I hesitated accruing debt in my business when the recession hit, (the people I know that did are still standing) and then, in the end, after being such a good girl, the very thing I feared the most – happened.
I got slammed, owing everyone in the world money.
I went to the bank. I pled my case. I pay all the minimums.
Too bad – tough luck – bye, bye…
FICO is like a toxic relationship. We give it our money, our attention, our loyalty and it doesn’t return the favor.
It issues us a number that defines us, like a teacher on report card day.
It’s been almost seven years, which is when you are issued your Get Out Of Jail Free card.
But I’m already free and so are many others like me.
Truth be told, I don’t look at it anymore, I haven’t for years.
I decided that with the limited amount of fucks to give that I still have left, (thank you Mark Manson, you can check out his essay on The Observer’s Voice Facebook page) I shouldn’t waste giving a fuck about this kind of stuff anymore.
Nope, we are not our FICO scores.
What a relief.