Will retirement affect my FICO® score?
Keep track of your credit score in retirement.
If you worked hard to build a strong credit score, don't let it unravel once you retire. Though you may not be in the market for an auto loan or a mortgage (and it's probably not wise to take on new debt when you are no longer drawing a salary), a good credit score will continue to serve you well no matter your age.
First, you never know when you might need to borrow, so a good credit score can help you keep your options open. And existing lines of credit, such as credit cards, can readjust your interest rate based on deteriorating credit. It's important not to close long time accounts or credit cards.
But you may need to adopt a different strategy for maintaining your credit score in retirement than you did while you were working. Use these ideas to keep your credit on track.
Whip out the plastic
At 35%, payment history is the biggest component that goes into making up your credit score. Continuing to demonstrate good payment habits can keep this part of your credit score up. Make sure to use your credit cards on a regular basis — and pay the bills off promptly.
Don't use all of your available credit
Your credit score is also affected by your credit utilization rate, which is how much of your available credit you are currently using. The lower the rate, the better it is for your score. If you're using more than 30% of your available credit, consider paying down some debt and don't pile on more.
Watch for identity theft
There's no surer way to suffer a poor credit score than to fall victim to identity theft. Sign up for a credit monitoring service — often available through a credit card company at no charge — to alert you to suspicious activity. You can monitor your credit report without leaving the couch.
Maintain a credit history
While it may be tempting to no longer use credit it could have an impact in the future. If you want to start working again, employers many times look at credit reports when hiring. Also, if you find yourself wanting to move to a retirement community, they could rely on credit score in your evaluation.