Recession has been good for Kristy Welsh's career. With a Bachelors Degree in Aeronautical Engineering, the former rocket scientist and satellite designer found herself without a government contract in the early '90s. Taking advantage of her downtime, Welsh went to refinance the loan on her house, and came away with more than a lower interest rate; she was persuaded to try her hand as a loan officer. Welsh quickly became top producer in her office, and during day-to-day operations she received a crash course on credit and loans. Specializing in working with people who were mostly B, C, and D credit (less-than-perfect to perfectly-awful credit), she learned to fix people's credit not only because, I'm a nice person and I hate to see nice people get screwed, but for financial motivations as well. If credit problems stopped a loan from closing, I didn't get paid.
Since you can't totally take the geek out of the girl, Ms. Welsh kept her rocket-scientist mind entertained with the latest trends in computer technology and became fascinated with the Internet. She formed Web Nation, Inc., her own web design company, in 1996. As a marketing test in cyberspace, Welsh started a free credit information site to see how much traffic a site could attract due to quality content. At the time she started Creditinfocenter.com, very little credit information was available to the general public and, given Welsh's background, it seemed an ideal subject. (She also doubted rocket science would be a very big draw.) Creditinfocenter.com was an immediate hit, paying for itself with advertising revenue after the first month. Welsh was, and still is, amazed by how little the public knows about credit and its profound effect on their lives. As the site grew to over 200 pages, Welsh decided to publish a book based on the website content, the product of 5 years of research.
Good credit is sexy.
"That's a bold statement," you may be thinking.
Perhaps the better statement would be, "Bad credit is a major turnoff." Don't believe it? Try these scenarios on for size:
You have just finished a romantic dinner at home with that special lady you're desperately trying to impress. Everything is going great. You're just settling in to a comfortable cuddle on the couch when the phone rings.
You ignore it, but the answering machine doesn't and the volume is blasting: "Hello, Mr. X, this is Bob calling on behalf of Huge Risk Credit Services. Your account is seriously past due. The last time we spoke, you said I could expect payment two weeks ago
You lunge for the machine, but it's too late. Your date suddenly has a stomachache and is heading toward the door as Bob's voice fades.
You're on a different romantic date (your last date still has her stomachache) at the latest chi-chi restaurant. This date is so impressed by you and your good taste that she practically coos. The bill arrives. You pull your triple platinum credit card smoothly from your wallet when the waiter arrives with the tab. The waiter bows tersely and retreats.
He returns momentarily with a snide smile. "Excuse me, Monsieur," he purrs a bit too politely, "but I have been told to confiscate your credit card. Do you have another form of payment?"
Your face turns purple as you sputter something about the profusion of computer errors these days and pull out another, less impressive, card. To your horror, it also is turned down. Avoiding further embarrassment, your date pulls her credit card from her purse and pays, then excuses herself to the ladies room. You watch the bathroom door, but she has slipped out the back window.
You and the man of your dreams are engaged and have decided to purchase your dream home together. You gaze into each other's eyes so intently that the loan officer filling out your mortgage application feels like an intruder. "I'll be back," he says, "I'm going to go pull your credit files."
Returning ten minutes later, the loan officer seems confused. "Are you sure you've given me the right information, Ms. X? Your credit file seems to have a lot of problems."
Your fiancé is stunned. The interview is called to an abrupt end. The ride home is long and silent. Mr. Perfect is rethinking the situation.
You've just spent a fabulous Saturday afternoon roller-blading with your new man. Your hormones are raging. Your mind is tallying his many qualities-he's gorgeous, he's smart, he's a definite catch. Maybe you can convince him to stay for dinner
As you head up the walk to your apartment, a beefy, clipboard-carrying man in a greasy T-shirt approaches. "Ms. X?" he asks. Reluctantly, you acknowledge him with a nod. "I'm here to REPOSSESS your car," he says.
By the time you are able to sputter, "There must be some kind of mistake," your perfect man is already leaving in a car on which he has never missed a payment. That glow he had been admiring about you is now just sweat.
Good credit is decidedly sexy. Scientific studies may prove it, but who needs proof? Good credit allows you to purchase that fabulous home, car, clothing, vacation, sporting event tickets-all the things that shout, "Sex appeal!"
Feeling good about your financial situation helps you feel good about yourself. Healthy finances ward off stress about paying the bills or being able to buy that new house. Stress not only kills; it can negatively impact your eating habits. If you start binging on junk food or drinking too much, your sexiness takes a serious dive. Financial worries also can hamper your ability to shine at work, costing you raises which could go a long way toward pampering your sexy self or your alluring loved one.
But I have great news. Good credit, a healthy financial situation, and sexiness are in your future.