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Baby boomer consumers — those between the ages of 54 to 73 — have an average credit score of 716, and according to an Experian expert, that number probably won't fluctuate a whole lot.
The latest Experian State of Credit report found that baby boomers' average score is just 13 points behind the cohort of consumers older than them (the silent generation, at 729) and 40 points above the cohort of consumers younger than them (Gen X, at 676).
Thanks to responsible debt management over the years, the average baby boomer's good credit score marks a notable improvement compared to those still navigating the responsibilities (and debt) of mid-life. But with their mid-life years behind them, boomers shouldn't expect to see huge credit score gains in the future — more like gradual, incremental upward ticks and fewer fluctuations overall.
That's due, in part, to having already well-established routines: "One of the reasons we tend to see less dramatic changes or swings in the credit behaviors of baby boomers is that, as consumers age, they tend to have a better understanding of their credit histories and the factors that influence it," says Rod Griffin, senior director of public education and advocacy for Experian.
The general idea is that, once you are older, you have found your pathway to establishing good credit, such as making on-time bill payments and reducing your credit card balances. Such additional habits as you continue to grow older aren't going to make that big of a difference once you have already reached a healthy credit score.
For younger consumers, on the other hand, they are more likely to see bigger leaps in their scores because they are just starting to build their credit history.
To get a better idea of how the average baby boomer consumer manages their credit, below is a snapshot of Experian's most recent data highlighting this generation.
Though baby boomer consumers are lowering their debt year over year, including both credit card and mortgage debt, the decreases in things like their credit utilization rate aren't as big as they are for younger borrowers.
"This may be because they have more established careers and incomes than younger consumers," Griffin says. Baby boomers are, therefore, more consistent in how much credit they use and pay off whereas younger consumers are going through financial milestones like getting their first credit card, buying a home and building a family that often come with drastic changes to how one uses credit.
Though baby boomers' shifts may be less significant than the changes we see in younger generations' credit behavior, there's always room for improvement. Remember that time is on your side when it comes to having healthy credit. A long history of credit can only help you, so focus on maintaining that. A key factor is not closing your oldest credit card account.
If baby boomers want to continue to maintain their high credit scores, Griffin encourages them to still be proactive about keeping an eye on their credit histories. This way, they can rest assured that credit will be available to them if and when they need it in retirement.
While it's easy to get more relaxed over the years and stop tracking your credit score so closely, signing up for a credit monitoring service is a hands-off way to get real-time credit score alerts and monitor any changes to your credit report — something that consumers of any age can benefit from.
CreditWise® from Capital One is a free service open to anyone and stands out by offering dark web scanning and Social Security number tracking. It also ranked on CNBC Select's list of the best credit monitoring services.
Credit bureaus monitored
TransUnion and Experian
Credit scoring model used
Dark web scan
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