12. Keeping Your Score Healthy

Mark from Seattle sent me a furious email after reading one of my columns about how to beef up a credit score.

Didn’t I realize, he asked, that most of the strategies wouldn’t work for someone who was out of a job, facing huge medical bills, and otherwise up to his ears in debt? How was he supposed to save his credit when he couldn’t scrape together the cash to pay his rent?

Mark brings up a good point. All the score-enhancing strategies in the world won’t help if you can’t pay your bills.

For Mark and millions like him, bankruptcy might be the only real option—and a choice made by a huge number of people each year.

Even so, far fewer households opt for bankruptcy than could actually benefit from filing, according ...

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