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The race for the presidency has done it’s usual job of highlighting the opinions of candidates on almost every topic imaginable. With a difference.

In recent weeks, we have come to learn of Donald Trump’s financial skills as he became the self-declared “King of Debt”. Though self-praise is usually considered to be no praise at all, in Trump’s case it might well be true. Very few of us have had as much experience with borrowed money as he has, including bankruptcy.

Obviously, much of his experience relates to corporate loans – which, it ought to be pointed out, is different to a national debt – rather than personal debt. Still experience is experience!

The reality for most Americans is that personal debt levels are high, wages have been stuck for what seems like forever, and bills still need to be paid. While boasting about being a billionaire is great, it does not make it obvious that you understand the realities of life faced by the rest of society.

With times and money tight, keeping on top of the monthly finances is a struggle for many families, especially when the impact of not making loan payments is so far reaching. It is well known that a bad credit score can cause problems for years to come.

The risks we each understand about our own ability to borrow could also be equated to Mr Trump’s ideas about restructuring debt or using inflation. Needless to say, this works a little differently when applied to the largest economy in the world than when thinking about the finances of a family.

It is important for individuals and families to keep a close eye on their credit score because should something go wrong, perhaps identity fraud, unpaid payments or a mix up between different people with the same name, the costs to borrow in the future can increase dramatically. In some circumstances it is possible that borrowing becomes almost impossible in the future.

There are a number of services that can be used by families check their credit score for free, such as CafeCredit.com, where the main services are compared. Maintaining a close watch on consumer financial services has proven to be important enough for President Obama to be interested in, so it ought to be important enough for each of us as well.

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