There are probably some people who don’t worry enough about their FICO credit score. They have debts that they have no plan to pay off, and they don’t recognize that missing a payment this month might make it harder to buy a house next year.

But, when I advise people on their finances, I often find that people worry too much about their credit score. People who have very high scores – over 740 – but are troubled that they haven’t reached the mathematically ideal score of 850.

I think it’s something about the word “score”. We humans generally like to be evaluated and judged highly. We cheer for teams that get high scores in a game. We want kids to get high scores on tests. We want to be tested and approved.

But your credit score is not the score you’re getting on life. It’s just a tool. When you are at the stage of your life where you are looking to buy a house or a car on credit, then a higher credit score will help you, and a lower credit score will limit you. But outside of that context, it doesn’t matter much. When times get tough, you should be more concerned about taking care of your family than about avoiding foreclosure or a short sale just to keep your credit score up. That’s using your credit score to prop up your sense of pride.

It’s natural to want to be approved or praised. It just seems to me that so many people waste their lives seeking approval and praise for the wrong things and in the wrong way. The approval we really want deep down is the approval that a work of creation should have from its creator.

If you’re looking for your creator, FICO isn’t it.

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