Apr 17, 2016

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks To John Ulzheimer, Credit Reporting and Scoring Guru


Author, expert and educator are apt descriptions of John Ulzheimer, who is the most widely quoted credit expert in the universe. Having worked at both Equifax and Fair Isaac, John provides an insider’s perspective on the complicated world of credit reporting and scoring. His candor and humor bring to life what can often be considered a pretty dry topic. I mean, let’s face it, credit reports are never going to make a teen bestseller list. Listen to this podcast and I can almost guarantee you a boost in your credit score!

Listen to John answer such questions as:

  • What’s the best credit score hack?
  • What are the best ways for students to start building credit?
  • What is the best method to teach high school students about credit scores and credit reports?
  • Where is the best place to look for high-quality information?
  • What are common myths about credit scores?
  • 0:00~0:40 – Introduction
  • 0:40~4:10 – Background on how John became a credit expert
  • 4:10~7:28 – How your credit score is calculated
  • 7:28~9:17 – How does debt burden factor into your credit score?
  • 9:17~12:13 – How paying your monthly credit card balance ahead of time can help your credit score
  • 12:13~15:08 – Who looks at your credit report?
  • 15:08~21:34 – How can students begin establishing credit so they can get a credit score?
  • 21:34~24:10 – What are some credit score hacks?
  • 24:10~27:57 – How have credit scores changed?
  • 27:57~29:14 – Trends in people caring about their credit report
  • 29:14~31:08 – How would you teach students the importance of their credit report?
  • 31:08~35:16 – Myths about credit scores
  • 35:16~37:07 – What are trends with identity theft?
  • 37:07~39:15 – How has the availability of credit scores changed?
  • 39:15~43:03 – What is the outlook for alternative credit reporting systems?
  • 43:03~46:05 – Where to find high quality resources about credit scores and reporting
  • 46:05~46:58 – Conclusion
Notable quotes:
  • “There is a pretty common myth: your credit card utilization is worth 30% of the points in your score. That is incorrect, it is part of the category that is worth 30% of the points in your score but it is certainly not the entire 30%.”
  • “Credit scores are never given to employers and there is no verified example ever in the history of credit reporting where a score was actually delivered to an employer. Yet people want to be angry about that despite the fact it doesn’t happen. They would spend their time being angry at unicorns because they are as likely as a credit score being given to an employer.”
  • “This [credit score hacks] is like losing weight. There is one obvious answer and a thousand tips and tricks built around the obvious answer. Stop eating so much and exercise more. That’s how you lose weight.  How do you raise a credit score? You earn a good credit score by paying your bills on time, staying out of credit card debt and applying for credit sparingly. It’s that simple.”
  • “It’s like going to the doctor once a year. How many people actually go get their annual checkups like they are supposed to? Not many. But when they are hurting and blood is coming out of places where it shouldn’t be coming from, then boom, we make an immediate appointment with the doctor because now it’s the most important thing in our life. Credit reporting is not that different. It should be on our list of things to do every month to review our credit report information and see that everything is correct.”

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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