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Credit tips for retirees and empty nesters

Recognize that time is on your side
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Recognize that time is on your side

Credit scores reward longevity. The longer you've held an account with a good record, the better it is for your score.

Because many empty nesters and retirees have credit accounts they've maintained for 20 or 30 years, that gives them the edge when it comes to getting good scores, says Barry Paperno, consumer affairs manager at FICO, the company that created the FICO score. Even some small mistakes will hurt less with decades of good behavior to dilute their effect on the score, he says.

This benefit is also a good reason not to close long-held accounts just to simplify finances as you approach or enter retirement. Eventually closed accounts will come off your credit report, which could shorten the length of your credit history and negatively affect your credit score.

Closing accounts can also lower your score for another reason: Your available credit decreases. Because a large part of your score looks at how much credit you use versus how much credit you actually have, decreasing your available credit affects that ratio and can lower your score.




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