- You’re not alone if you are experiencing mental or physical stress as a result of your credit health.
- The good news is that there are many resources out there that can help you deal with financial stress. Our guide on The Do’s and Don’ts of Budgeting During a Crisis can be a good place to start.
- There are also powerful tools available to help you get on a better footing with your credit. Sixty-one percent of Credit Sesame members see improvements in their credit score within six months of starting to use our platform.
It’s just a number.
It can be easy to tell yourself that, but a lot of times it may not feel that way at all. That simple three-digit number, a value designed by the credit bureaus to rate your creditworthiness, can have very real effects on your life.
Similar to other numbers you might live with, like your GPA or your paycheck, your credit score can be the fast lane to achieving things you want in your life—or it can be a roadblock. Your credit score can help you secure a student loan, buy a new car, get hired for a new job, be approved for the mortgage on your home, and much more. That number carries a lot more weight than you may want to give it credit (excuse the pun!) for, and sometimes it can feel like it’s crushing you.
You’re not alone if you feel this way. The truth is that many Americans experience some kind of mental or even physical stress related to having poor credit health. A survey we conducted found that a majority of people experience some kind of stress associated with their credit score. Many would even put their own physical health at risk for the sake of their credit health, with 58% admitting that they’d use a rideshare service to get to the hospital in an emergency instead of risking an ambulance fee.
But how exactly is credit score stress affecting people, and more importantly, what can you do about it?
Credit scores and your well-being
Household debt in the United States in the first quarter of 2020 was at $14.3 trillion according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and that was before the real onset of the COVID-19 crisis and the economic uncertainty it’s caused. A 2020 survey from Capital One found that 73% of Americans rank finances as their number one stress in life.
One thing we discovered in our survey is that 55% of people would give up sex for three months if it meant it would give them an 800 credit score. It’s clear that people feel like credit and money are a very real force in how they live their lives.
With findings like these, it isn’t surprising that stress over credit and debt is a daily reality for a lot of people. Here’s a look at some of the mental health consequences people said they were suffering over their credit debt:
|Percent of People Affected|
Along with stress, there are other very real consequences to debt. Here’s a breakdown of consequences people in our survey reported suffering:
|Percentage of People Affected|
|Lost their home because of credit card debt||9%|
|Broken up or gotten a divorce because of credit card debt||8%|
|Couldn’t get a job because of credit card debt||7%|
|Lost friends because of credit card debt||5%|
What you can do about it
The good news is that there are many resources out there that can help you deal with financial worries. Our guide on The Do’s and Don’ts of Budgeting During a Crisis can be a good place to start. There are also many video guides specifically about dealing with finance-related stress, like this one from Yahoo Finance:
As we mentioned before, you’re not alone in this, and that is important to keep in mind. Reaching out for help in a time of uncertainty can make a big difference. As some resources have noted, seeking out professional help for your mental well-being can be powerful and should be your first priority if you need assistance, but it’s also important to reach out to your community and the friends and family around you. There are free offline and online forums, including our Sesame Thrive Community, where you can share your experiences and also get feedback and tips from other people who are going through similar challenges.
There are also powerful tools available to help you get on a better footing with your credit. Sixty-one percent of Credit Sesame members see improvements in their credit score within six months of starting to use our platform. 50 percent see their credit score improve by more than ten points in their first six months, and 20 percent see their credit score improve more than 50 points in their first six months.
A credit score increase can be a life-changing event that impacts consumers’ overall financial standing and quality of life.
Signing up to become a Credit Sesame member is 100% free and only takes a few minutes.