My 24-year-old son now gets at least one invitation a week from a credit card company. The letters all start the same way: “Because of your excellent credit history…” When he started college, we started working slowly on his credit and intentionally building his score. As a result, and now with his on-going maintenance of his credit, he can go buy a car or anything else by himself, as long as his income can support the payment. We are following the same process with my 19-year-old son.
We all know that a high credit score is a walk of balance—using credit, but doing it wisely. Being responsible. Having a standard and maintaining it. But, someone with a high score can, over time, lose it and someone with bad credit can, over time, build up. But a high credit score gets there, one transaction at a time and one month at a time.
But what are these scores really for? So lenders can decide to extend you credit or not, and if so, how much.
Applying this analogy, what if we were all assigned an “integrity score?”
“Sure, man, I’ll sign that deal with you. Your score is in the 90% range!”
“Oh, sorry, not going to be able to make that happen. You’re way down in the 400s. Half the time you don’t do what you say you’re going to do.”
“You don’t want to get involved with him. His score is in the crapper.”
“Tell you what. I’m going to run a check on your integrity score and if you turn out as high as you say, I’ll call you back.”
Well, we all know there is no numerical data assigned to any of us on this quality. But—there might as well be. Because we make decisions every day based on how we “score” people on their integrity. If you “score” people low, you bow out, say no, don’t call back, and distance yourself. If you “score” someone high, you say yes, sign, act, connect.
Integrity “scores” are built just like credit scores. One transaction at a time. One month at a time.
High credit scores aren’t built overnight. Neither is integrity.
The integrity of good people creates a safe place for living. —Proverbs 14:32b MSG
Side story: Once in a furniture store, they were offering a 0% deal, so I applied for their card prior to the purchase. The salesman came back and said, “Well, congratulations, Mr. Noland, you are approved for a credit limit of $5000 on this purchase!” To which I replied, “Thanks so much for your generosity, but I think I’ll set my own credit limit today.” Translated: “I ain’t spending that much, dude.” Everyone in the sales area started laughing, because they knew exactly what I meant.