Pursuit of the Dream: Building Credit for Life

Posted May 24, 2010
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog pursuitofthedream 2010

Experts esti­mate that a good cred­it rat­ing will save the aver­age bor­row­er $250,000 in inter­est over a life­time. But some 70 mil­lion Amer­i­cans either have poor cred­it scores or no cred­it his­to­ry at all. So they bor­row from friends and fam­i­ly. Or they turn to com­mon mon­ey traps” — pay­day lenders, rent to own” fur­ni­ture cen­ters, buy-here-pay-here” car lots — that exact high inter­est rates and don’t report suc­cess­ful repay­ment to the cred­it bureaus. 

This video intro­duces view­ers to every­day fam­i­lies work­ing to improve their cred­it score, and sheds light on the harm­ful effects of poor cred­it. It includes tips for build­ing a good score and for avoid­ing mon­ey traps that can drag down cred­it rat­ings. The doc­u­men­tary is designed to be a help­ful tool for a vari­ety of audi­ences — pol­i­cy­mak­ers, com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers, ser­vice providers and low-income fam­i­lies and indi­vid­u­als. The goal of this doc­u­men­tary is to increase aware­ness about cred­it reports and cred­it scores and begin a con­ver­sa­tion about how these affect people’s lives and how they can build or repair their creditworthiness.

A dis­cus­sion guide sug­gests ways to use it with dif­fer­ent audi­ences, pro­vides ques­tions to gen­er­ate group dis­cus­sion and includes resources for more information. 

The Casey Foun­da­tion believes that the kids who face the great­est trou­ble are those whose par­ents lack the earn­ings, assets, ser­vices, or social sup­port sys­tems required to con­sis­tent­ly meet their fam­i­lies’ needs. We invest in efforts to help iso­lat­ed fam­i­lies suc­ceed and their com­mu­ni­ties thrive through a com­bi­na­tion of strate­gies that build fam­i­ly eco­nom­ic suc­cess (FES). This doc­u­men­tary was pro­duced as an edu­ca­tion­al tool that fur­thers our FES approach by help­ing fam­i­lies con­nect with the main­stream economy.

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