score a better future | credit spotlight | karla

FICO has committed to educating consumers through their national Score A Better Future program. This program brings together consumer advocates, credit educators, and community leaders in a series of free educational events across the country. 

One of FICO’s key initiatives for Score A Better Future is to help communities of color, first time homebuyers, millennials, those with no scores and if you have less than strong credit to improve the understanding of their overall financial health.

Over the next few months, we’ll hear directly from attendees on some of the challenges they had before attending, what they learned, applied, and the amazing progress that they’ve been able to make along the way. We’ve heard from a virtual attendee (Britney).

Next up, let’s hear Karla’s story. Karla attended Score A Better Future (pre-pandemic) in Washington, DC.

Name: Karla 

Age: 32

Location: Maryland

Profession: Senior Analyst 

Starting FICO Score: 500

Current FICO Score: 620

Favorite TV show: Martin and Girlfriends

Next Credit Goal: To reach the 700 club!

When did you realize that you needed to start managing your credit? I realized several years ago (in 2017) that I needed to start working on my credit. My future aspirations started to feel attainable. 

What did you want to accomplish? There were a few major things that I wanted to accomplish pre-Score A Better Future. 1. Managing to pay ALL my bills on time, especially my car note. 2. Increase and build my credit score 3. Be in a stable financial space to purchase a home. Those things seemed so simple but when you have a negative mindset about money it doesn’t seem doable.

What did you do to start managing your credit? One of the first steps that I took was focusing on paying all of my bills on time every single month. This was a way to practice self and financial discipline. 

What tips did you take and apply from the Score A Better Future event?When I attended the Score A Better Future event and listened to the stories of others, it made me feel comfortable about my circumstances. Those stories also motivated me to take action with my goals. A few tips that really helped me with my finances was asking my parents to add me as an authorized user on one of their credit cards, adjusting the pay dates on my car payment and asking my leasing office to track my payments so it would increase my credit score by showing on time payments. That really helped. I honestly thought it would happen instantly, totally not the case. I began to see little increases over several months and I was relieved that the work was slowly paying off.

What have you been able to accomplish since attending Score A Better Future? Attending Score A Better Future really had an awesome impact because I felt like I was finally in a safe space to openly talk about my money challenges but also serve as a testimony, that once you do the work your money will work for you. I now have a greater understanding of my credit score and how my credit will be a great benefit if I consistently maintain good financial habits.

To learn more, visit

I am an official brand ambassador for FICO. While I receive compensation for my participation as a brand ambassador, opinions are mine. 

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The Finance Bar is a personal finance suite helping women and couples achieve financial wellness through financial therapy, education, and an innovative learning hub on wheels. Creator Marsha Barnes is Certified in Financial Therapy, Financial Social Work, and serves as an Official FICO Brand Ambassador, and was named GOBankingRates’ Best Money Expert in the Net-Worth Category.

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