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?