Beverly Anderson, Wells Fargo EVP – Head of Cards and Retail Services

As a kid growing up in Paducah, Ky., my siblings and I would sometimes make the three-block walk down the street to the neighborhood store.

Once there, we’d fan out to get the eggs, milk, cheese, bologna and whatever else my dad wanted us to pick up. Once we checked everything off the list, we’d take our groceries to the front counter, where the owner would tally everything up and write the total down in his ledger on the page reserved for our family.

On payday, mom and dad would settle up.

It was an early lesson about credit that taught me credit basics that are still true today.

First off, it taught me about the importance of credit. Credit, when used responsibly, can help you reach your life goals, whether it’s the short-term goal of paying for groceries or the long-term need to finance a college education. Watching my mom and dad and the way they were able to provide for our family through responsible use of credit made a huge impact on me.

Second, it taught me about the importance of building good credit. My mom and dad were always careful to make payments on time and that allowed them to use credit for bigger and bigger purchases as I grew older. Their diligence in managing their money and paying their bills on time paved the way for achieving other financial dreams and goals.

Finally, it taught me the importance of setting limits in using credit. Early on, my family needed credit from time to time to make it to payday, but mom and dad always settled up when payday came. They did not overextend themselves or use credit to pay for things our family didn’t need. It’s important for credit to be part of an overall financial plan, not a tool that permits you to make impulse buys or unnecessary purchases.

I believe credit can be a hugely valuable tool for many of us. Across America, we rely on credit to help us achieve financial dreams. Who could pay for a college education or buy that first house without access to credit?

If you are thinking about using credit, I encourage you to learn more about using it responsibly. Visit our Smarter Credit Center to get some good tips about establishing credit, discover how to improve or rebuild your credit and ways to put your credit to work for you.

Our family started with groceries, but we built from there. The family car. Our home. My college education.

Our family’s responsible use of credit helped me get where I am today, and it made me passionate about the role I can help play in providing others with access to credit. It made me passionate about helping create a path that allows others to achieve their financial dreams.

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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