With the billions of dollars that the diet industry spends advertising to people of all ages, you may have thought that the answer to that questions was easily weight. Well, you’d be wrong. A recent poll shows that people are more embarrassed about their credit score than either their age or weight (granted, age and weight come in a close second and third).
What is it about credit scores that people find embarrassing? It all has to do with shame, and that exact feeling is precisely what many creditors use to get consumers to pay debts quickly – sometimes even illegally.
The Student Loan Scenario
Because it’s something that nearly thirty-seven million people in the US struggle with daily, student loans are the perfect example of loans that people are ashamed about. In fact, student loan debt is one of the main reasons why many people feel shame related to a credit score in the first place. Student loans can really ruin a credit score even if all of your other debts are paid. But it’s the shame that goes along with student loans that creditors use to their advantage.
Some of the common tactics that a student loan company or collection agency will use to make sure that debts are paid including the following:
- Threatening to call people you know about your loan (illegal unless you have a legal co-signer)
- Telling you to cash in bonds and retirement savings to pay loans
- Calling you past certain hours of the evening when you’re likely to be with friends or family (illegal in some states)
- Calling you numerous times at work (illegal in some states if you have asked the caller to stop)
Why do many people buckle and pay for student loans due to these pressure tactics? Mostly because they feel ashamed. Shame is an emotion that collection agencies know very well, which is why these tactics work so well. So, it’s no wonder that most people are more embarrassed by their credit score than anything else – even weight or age.
Credit Card Balances Take the Cake
In a recent poll, the one thing that most people found incredibly shameful about a credit score was the amount of debt carried via credit cards. Credit card debt is a huge problem in the U.S., and many people often spend more than they can actually afford simply because credit cards allow them to do so. Carrying around the burden of credit card debt is a presence that never goes away, and unlike weight or age it cannot be discarded without paying off that debt.
How can you break away from these shameful feelings? The first thing that you can do is talk to your creditors to try and make some kind of arrangement. After that, make sure that you know what your rights are, and try to think of some ways to pay down debt. If you cannot pay down debt on your own, you may want to consider bankruptcy. Often, declaring bankruptcy will help you discharge your debts (though not student loans!), so that you can get a fresh start and feel better about the debt that you do carry around with you.