According to a new poll, the specter of Great Recession hardship still looms large for many Americans nearly a decade after the downturn ended, even though most negative records from that era have already fallen off people’s credit reports. Lots of people are simply too scared to see what’s on there, even if their inaction will lead to bad outcomes.
“We saw this with mortgage foreclosures, where people would not answer the phone or open their mail because they were afraid of bad news. It’s like a student not picking up an exam they know they did poorly on,” said Michael J. Collins, faculty director of the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin. “The problem is credit reports are dynamic, and may contain errors, so you need to stay on top of it.”
This credit report phobia does not seem to afflict everyone equally, either. It is especially pronounced among millennials, women and people with low income.
- Millennials are 5.5X more likely than baby boomers to not check their credit reports because they’re afraid to see what’s on them.
- People with low income are 6X more likely than those with high income to not check their credit reports because they’re afraid to see what’s on them.
- Women are 2X more likely than men to not check their credit reports because they’re afraid to see what’s on them.