We’re all professionals and adults. We’re aware of our credit scores and understand how they are key to our financial plight or success. We realize that our credit score, if low, can preclude us from getting a mortgage or can cost us dearly over the life our monthly mortgage payments.

Imagine, if you are able (and some of us are very able), that you have a bad credit score of about 550, a number that smells like a brown egg that has been buried under a chicken coop for two weeks. Such a score is more likely to get you a spirited bout of laughter than a loan with a decent interest rate. The lower your score, the higher the interest rate with which you will be penalized and the more money you will fork over monthly for the life of your mortgage.

So we’re here now, we of paltry credit scores. Our heads are hung in sorrow and we bid those around us to not look us in the eye lest they sense our shame. We know how we got our bad scores: We spent more than we made, lived beyond our means, paid our bills late, and kicked a dog once. Now we are paying for it—literally!

A mortgage is simply a home loan (courtesy of Withaya Prasongsin, Getty Images)

What I have learned on my journey to repair my credit

Credit goes south by years of wrong living. We can fix our credit gradually by years of living right. But that takes too long because we need things right now that require a decent score—say, in the realm of 650. Or hey, why stop there? Why not 750 or higher?

Well, I’ve discovered a few little jewels that can help fix a low sucking-ass credit wound. The cheapest way I have found is to piggyback on a person with a good credit score for a time to improve your credit score. By piggybacking I mean your trusting friend or family member can make you an official joint-holder of their credit card. It is a simple process that can happen very quickly. The step they should probably leave out is actually issuing you a copy of their credit card—but that’s none of my business.

This technique is legal, free, and low risk, but it is not fast, and fast is good in the case of credit building. A faster technique is to hire a service that actively repairs credit. I’m not read-in well on how they do that, and frankly I don’t really care how they do it. I just care that they can do it, are effective, and the turnaround is quick. For me, the turnaround was about 45 days. That’s all great, though it did cost me about $450. My score, on the flip side, increased upward of 100 points. That’s a great return on investment (ROI)!

Many credit repair services are available on the market today. (Image courtesy Ildo Frazao, Getty Images).

Here is yet another way, one that I couldn’t have imagined on my own. It’s a legal maneuver, yes, but one that, IDK, just maybe nips at the heels of morality. It’s called buying a trade line, and it was suggested to me by the woman I hired to repair my credit. She disclosed it in a way that made me think she was at the point of a Hail Mary pass in order to raise my score any higher—a last resort to kindly get this unkind man off her back.

Buying a trade line means you are literally buying credit from a person who has very good credit and is putting their credit up for sale. How very 2019 America of us. I should pause now to allow readers to engage in a back-and-forth on morality and ethics. I’m personally caught up just buying something that perhaps I should have earned. I don’t know, maybe just cue the John C. Mellencamp music because ain’t that ‘Murica?