A short list of Amazon’s best books about debt relief, credit repair and increasing your credit score
I destroyed my credit in my early 20s and it was only by reading books about debt relief and credit repair that I was able to claw my way back to financial freedom. I ended up adding 140 points to my credit score in just four years, using many of the same strategies you’ll find in the books in this list.
Before you buy any of these books on getting out of debt looking for an easy solution, any legal strategy is going to take a little effort and at least a few months. Even the dispute letter system highlighted in a few of the books involves multiple letters sent to credit bureaus and creditors.
Don’t expect an instant solution from any of these books.
What you can expect is quality advice on how to pay off debt, how to improve your credit score with credit repair strategies, how to negotiate debt relief and how to manage your spending habits so you’ll never be a debt disaster again!
I’ve picked out my ten favorite credit repair books on Amazon but (honestly) you don’t need a book to fix your credit. Below the book reviews, I’ve shared some of the best credit repair videos on YouTube as well as critical information on building your credit score.
What Even is Credit?
You’ve probably heard people talk about “good credit,” “bad credit” and “credit scores,” but have you ever actually investigated what it means?
It’s simple. You can think of credit in general as being borrowed money that you can use to buy pretty much anything you want or relieve some of your debt, giving you extra time to pay it off. What’s the catch? You will eventually have to pay this money with interest on top of it.
So now you’re probably wondering, well why would you do that if you’re going to have to pay back more than you borrowed in the first place? Well – people will often take out a line of credit if they need to make a big purchase such as a house or a car that they don’t have the cash on hand for.
It’s important to note that it is very important to maintain a good credit score for several reasons, and although taking out a line of credit or personal loan will not drastically impact your credit score, it may have a negative impact jus for the short term until it is paid off.
Sometimes people will take out loans instead. This is a similar concept but can occasionally be more beneficial as peer-to-peer loans generally offer lower interest rates than banks. A great example of this is Personalloans.com. Personalloans.com allows you to borrow between $4,000 – $35,000 and give you between 3-5 years to pay it back. The interest rate you will have t pay back on this loan is generally between 1% and 5% and will be deducted before you even receive your funds.
Click to check your rate on a personal loan up to $35,000 – Won’t affect your credit score.
Best Books about Debt Relief
Jeff Rose, one of the most respected advisors in my financial bloggers’ circle, teams up with Ben Edwards in Get Out of Debt Like the Debt Heroes. The book explores 19 real stories and some amazing ideas that helped pay off a combined $1.7 million in debt. Each story includes how they got into debt, what they did to pay it off and the tools to destroy your own debt.
I love step-by-step books and Ashton Pereira lays it all out in Debt-Free and his 9-step system to get out of debt fast. It’s shorter than most of the other books on the list at 38 pages but cuts right to the process for paying off debt and reaching financial freedom. The book also includes a free link to Ashton’s guide to making money online.
Tiffany ‘The Budgetnista’ Aliche is speaking at an upcoming financial bloggers’ conference so I just had to read her Live Richer Challenge, a hugely popular book on Amazon with over 100 five-star ratings. The book isn’t just about debt but challenges you to turn your entire financial life around in five weeks. I love how the book is laid out by week, tackling everything from your money mindset to budgets, credit and investing.
Best Books for Getting Out of Debt
Just released this month is Lauren Greutman’s The Recovering Spender, a personal story on how she learned to curb her spending habits and get out of debt. Lauren has appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox & Friends and just about every other TV and internet site sharing her amazing story of going from debt disaster to financially flush.
I don’t agree with all of Dave Ramsey’s ideas on personal finance but The Total Money Makeover is one of the most inclusive and popular books about debt. Nearly 2,800 people have given the book a five-star rating, making it an Amazon best-seller in multiple categories. One of the biggest problems with books about personal finance is that they aren’t always the easiest reads. Dave does a great job of making personal finance entertaining which helps in trying to get all the way through the book and put your finances back in order.
Jerrold Mundis shows you How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously in a book The Wall Street Journal called a ‘must read’. The author is a recovered debtor and modeled the book on the Debtors Anonymous program. The book is great for readers looking for easy-to-follow lists within topics like recognizing warning signs of debt, negotiating with creditors, identifying spending blind spots and paying off debt.
Don’t ruin your credit with debt negotiation and hiring a debt settlement company that is only going to tell you to stop paying your bills. Mandy Akridge puts the process in your hands with Negotiate and Settle Your Debts. This debt settlement strategy includes actual data on what banks will accept as settlements and template letters to send to creditors.
Best Books about Credit Card Debt
In what is easily the best title I’ve seen in a book about credit card debt, Gerry Marrs shows you How to Legally Rob Credit Card Companies. The book promises guerrilla tactics that can literally cut your credit card balances in half and a strategy to pay your debt off fast. Not only does the book help with ways to pay off debt but it’s a credit repair book as well with chapters on understanding credit and credit score factors.
How to Remove ALL Negative Items on Your Credit Report is a short (64 pages) but powerful book on credit repair. The book gets right into the strategy to get everything from late payments, charge-offs and even bankruptcies wiped from your credit report. The #1 Amazon book in the Bankruptcy category with several reviewers reporting increases in their credit score of 70 points or more.
Debt-Proof Living is another of the most popular books about debt on Amazon with more than 170 five-star ratings. I’m not quite as debt agnostic as Mary but the book does a great job of breaking through the idea that you need debt for a consumption-driven lifestyle. A strong book for anyone that just wants the peace of mind from being debt-free.
Best Books about Credit Repair
Tamara Rasheed goes beyond the other books about credit repair with Better than Credit Repair: The Handbook of Credit Mastery. The book promises no more credit repair quick-fixes but an action-based handbook for personal credit. The credit repair book goes into all the common strategies but also shows you how to use credit cards to increase your credit score and a payment plan that can actually lower your interest rate.
Hidden Credit Repair Secrets offers another letter dispute plan to get negative items off your credit report and improve your credit score. Mark Clayborne outlines a six-step process for removing judgements, collections and charge-offs from your credit report. You get more than 15 sample letters ready to go and credit repair strategies that work.
Best Credit Repair Videos on YouTube
You don’t necessarily need a book on credit repair to boost your FICO and get better deals on loans. There are literally millions of credit repair videos on YouTube. You can pick up some great ideas in less than a few minutes and it’s completely free.
My first viral video on YouTube is one where I shared the five credit score hacks I used to increase my FICO score by 100 points.
I destroyed my credit score in 2008 and couldn’t get a loan to save my life, not at rates I could afford anyway. I learned everything I could about credit repair and built my score back above 700 within just a few years. You won’t hear these five credit repair hacks in most books because lenders don’t want you to know about a few of them.
My most popular video on YouTube isn’t directly about credit repair but about one of my favorite tools for increasing your score. In this video, I share how to find the best peer-to-peer lending sites for debt consolidation.
Consolidating your debt is one of the best steps you can take to rebuild your credit. It not only lowers your payments to make them more manageable, it also changes your debt from revolving credit card debt (which is the worst type according to FICO) to non-revolving debt.
How Long Will it Take to Repair My Credit History?
Before you rush to Amazon to buy a credit repair book or to YouTube videos, there are some truths you need to know about building your credit.
Your credit history and score are not going to change overnight. The largest part of your score depends on years of making payments on-time. That’s a problem if you have bad credit or even if you have no credit history at all.
Any book that promises to help repair your credit faster is just plain wrong.
It’s true you can increase your credit score within a few months but only by a few dozen points. For real credit repair, I’m talking about increasing your credit score a hundred points or more, it’s going to take longer.
If you have no credit history at all, good or bad, then it can take as little as 18 months to build a 700 FICO. Open a couple of credit accounts and use them regularly but make sure you pay the balance each month. All you need to do here is build a credit history.
If you’ve ruined your credit like I did then it might take a little longer, between 24- to 36-months to get your score above 700 FICO.
- Consolidate your debt to pay off high-rate credit cards
- Start building good credit history by making on-time payments on your personal loan
- Clean up your credit report by removing bad marks
- Improve your credit utilization ratio by increasing limits and paying down balances
How Much Does it Cost to Repair Your Credit?
There are plenty of credit repair services but it shouldn’t cost you more than the price of a book to repair your score. Yeah, it’s nice to have someone do everything for you but these steps don’t take more than a few minutes or a few hours at the most.
Click through to some of the posts on the blog or the videos on YouTube and you can repair your credit without costing a dime. Even if you spend a little to buy one of the books above, it shouldn’t cost more than $10 to fix your credit score.
Considering that every 1% in interest on a $10,000 loan will cost you $313 more on a five-year loan, increasing your score is worth a lot more than the cost you’ll pay. After increasing my credit score 100 points, the interest rate on loans I was offered dropped 8% on average.
Your turn. What are your favorite books on debt relief, credit repair or getting out of debt? The 12 books above are some of the most popular on Amazon and by some of the most respected names in personal finance. I’ll be updating the list regularly with new books but it will be tough finding personal finance books better than these.
Read the Entire Understanding Credit Score Series