Step 2: Raise Your FICO Score
In today's economy, your financial character is being determined by one thing—your FICO score. "You are your FICO score," Suze says.
"FICO happens to stand for Fair Isaac Corporation, the company that created the credit score years ago. FICO scores go from 300 to 850," Suze says. "The lower your FICO score, the higher your interest rate. The higher your FICO score, the lower your interest rate."
Download this chart to see how your FICO score is determined.
Suze says any score below 700 is considered low, so it's more important than ever to give your credit a boost. Landlords—and even employers—are starting to look at that number very closely. "[A low FICO score implies] you're not paying your bills on time, and if you're not paying your bills on time, why should a landlord think you're going to be able to pay his her rent?" Suze says. "Employers are starting to check FICO scores. Because if you're not good with your own money maybe you won't be good with the company's money either."