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Credit tips for retirees and empty nesters

Don't linger in the 'no-score' zone
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Don't linger in the 'no-score' zone

You apply for a loan and find out you don't have a score. Now what?

Not to worry, says Paperno. The answer could be as easy as buying a pair of socks.

First, get a copy of your credit report, he says. " If you have something like an old retail card or gas card, use it," he says. "That will generate a score."

All of your old accounts are still on the report; there just isn't any recent activity, so the scoring formula can't generate a score.

Years ago, he counseled a man in just that situation who was trying to get a mortgage. Paperno remembers the man saying, "I've bought and sold homes, put my kids through college and bought and sold cars -- and I have no credit score?"

Paperno's solution: Grab an old retail credit card that's still active and buy a pair of socks. That small credit purchase would allow the FICO formula to generate a score.

From a practical standpoint, the scoring system doesn't always make sense, Paperno says. Buying a pair of socks to get a house, he says, "is kind of goofy when you think about it."




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