“Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.” Proverbs 22:1 (NLT)
Having a good name or good reputation should be something every one takes seriously – especially those who serve in ministry. As servant leaders we have a responsibility to ensure our personal affairs are in order. Over the past 12 – 18 months (or longer), we’ve seen countless reports of security breaches at various nationwide retailers. For some of us, our personal information or the information of someone we know may have been comprised. Even in the church there are many who have fallen victim to poor decision-making in the area of financial responsibility or have fallen victim to identity theft.
As we strive to lead others in the spirit of excellence in service to our GOD, let us be sure to do our due diligence in practicing financial responsibility.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
::Check your credit report. The top 3 credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, & TransUnion) track your financial activity. You should check often to ensure the information they have on file is accurate. These agencies keep a record of everything good, bad and ugly. Even the accounts that we think are inactive still appear on the report. Know what’s on your report. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com for more information on how you can secure a copy of your credit report.
Note: For residents of the State of Maryland, you are entitled to one free credit report annually. For those reading outside of the State of Maryland, be sure to find out what the laws are in your state regarding complimentary access to your credit report.
::Know your credit score. Equally as important as checking your credit report is knowing your credit score. Being armed with this very important information provides you leverage in negotiating a loan for a new home or new car. If your credit score is below average, take the necessary steps to correct it.
::Pay your bills on time. GOD requires us to be responsible in repaying the creditors. When signing the application for credit, your signature confirms your acceptance of the terms and conditions of the agreement; one of which is to pay back anything borrowed on time. Yes, there are times when it may become difficult to be timely with your payment and we’ve all been there. In these instances talk to the creditors. Do not avoid them. More often than not, most creditors are willing to work with you and make arrangements that fit your financial situation.
Encourage your family, friends and members of your local assembly to be vigilant when it comes to protecting their name. Let’s be responsible in how we handle our finances. Your reputation depends on it.
Disclaimer: This post is in no way intended to serve as credit advice but is intended for informational purposes only. For more information on ways to clean up your credit report, visit, http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0058-credit-repair-how-help-yourself