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At ages 74 and above, the silent generation is the oldest cohort of consumers out there.
However, it's thanks to their age — and long history of credit — that these consumers have the highest average credit score of all generations at 729.
In addition to having a lengthy credit history to show for, the silent generation also continues to decrease both the number of credit cards they carry and their revolving balances, according to Experian's latest State of Credit report.
Because the silent generation has made a habit over the years of paying off their credit card debt, the report shows that it certainly has helped them.
The silent generation also stands out for having the lowest credit utilization rate (or debt-to-credit ratio) of any generation at 13%, says Experian. This is significantly lower than the U.S. average of 25%, and with experts suggesting that a credit utilization rate below 10% gives consumers the best possible credit score, it's safe to say the older generation is doing something right.
To get a better idea of how the average 70-something consumer manages their credit, below is a snapshot of Experian's most recent data highlighting their generation.
Although the silent generation may be seeing the benefits that come with shrinking credit card balances over time, now's not the time to slack off.
As consumers age, it's still important to show that they are using credit no matter how good their score may already be.
"It's important for older consumers to continue to maintain an active credit history so that it can be there for them when they need it," Griffin says. "As consumers age, they tend to use less of the credit that is available to them."
To maintain an active credit history, Griffin encourages older adults to use a credit card even if it means just paying a reoccurring bill every month. This way, you have an open credit account that shows lenders and issuers how you manage your debt and payments on that account(s). "To help credit scores, accounts need not just to be open, but also to show regular activity," Griffin says.
Tools like *Experian Boost® can help consumers of all ages get credit for their activity when they pay their monthly phone, internet, cable, utility (gas, electricity, water) and streaming payments like Netflix®, HBO™, Hulu™ and Disney+™ on time. This free feature can help older consumers maintain an active credit history as they age as well.
In addition to regularly using a credit card, even if just for a small charge, silent generation consumers should also keep an eye on their credit in general.
"While I encourage all consumers to check their credit reports regularly, this is especially important for older Americans who may go longer periods without using credit or checking their reports," Griffin says.
Pulling your credit report often is a helpful way to spot any potentially fraudulent activity on your credit accounts, and you can do it for free at AnnualCreditReport.com. Consider also signing up for a free credit monitoring service, like CreditWise® from Capital One, that helps track and alerts you of changes to your credit score.
Credit bureaus monitored
TransUnion and Experian
Credit scoring model used
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*Results may vary. Some may not see improved scores or approval odds. Not all lenders use Experian credit files, and not all lenders use scores impacted by Experian Boost.