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If you don’t have credit already, start now! Not having credit is almost the same as having bad credit. You don’t want either!

When we think of credit, our first thought is how many plastic cards are in our wallets — one from nearly every store in the mall. Too much credit or not enough can hurt your credit score and cost you thousands of dollars or even a job offer. And if you’re one of those women who lets your husband handle all the bills, investment ignorance will not lead to financial bliss.

Your credit report will affect almost every important financial move you’ll make, including buying a home or a car. It may even affect your chances of getting a job, as employers can check your credit report during the hiring process.The good news is you have a clean credit slate and the chance to start off on a positive note, establish good credit and keep it there.

Here are 3 tips to help you build credit from square one:

1. Open a credit card account.

If you’re able to qualify for a new credit card, make sure to keep your total balance low enough so you’re able to pay it off each month.

Your “payment history,” or how reliably you pay your bills on time every month, makes up about 35 percent of your credit score. Since you’re building credit from scratch, you have the opportunity to create a flawless payment history. That’s why it’s smart to keep balances low, at least at first. Starting slow and creating good credit habits early on will help you establish a solid credit score in the short-term and also maintain a good credit rating in the long-term.

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2. Get your own

Share and share alike doesn’t work for credit — get some bills and credit cards in your own name to establish a separate credit history from your husband.  Many married couples tend to share credit cards or loans in a joint account, often under the husband’s name. All women need to have their own credit in their own names to establish their own credit history in case of an unfortunate event such as divorce or death of a spouse.

2. Pay your bills on time every month.

It may seem simplistic and redundant, but paying at least the minimum payment (the minimum amount you’re required to pay) on time every month is the most important thing you can do to build and maintain a good credit score. Period.

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3. Be patient.

You may have to wait about six months after you’ve opened your first credit account before there’s enough credit information on you to tabulate a credit score.

Click here for more tips.

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