There are so many numbers, codes and passwords that we all need to remember every day. It’s amazing the knowledge that we can store in our brains with all of the times we have to login to various systems on a regular basis. But while we all know and remember how to sign in to Facebook or our work emails, there is another important bit of information we should be more concerned about: our credit scores.

A person’s credit report has a significant effect on his life options. Part of life for many people is securing a loan for a car, a home mortgage or trying to rent an apartment. A bad credit report can also affect a person’s career options, depending on their field. With the consequences and opportunities tied to credit scores, it’s somewhat surprising that so few American consumers actually know what their scores are.

A recent study reveals that the majority of consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 do not know their scores, with 60 percent in the dark. Among older consumers, there is somewhat more knowledge, with 42 percent in the dark. That number is still unsettling, especially because older consumers should be wiser about their financial standing and about finances in general.

Experience shows, however, that it is consumers of all ages who are struggling with financial hardships, hardships that can lead to lower credit scores. But it isn’t necessarily always missed or late payments that result in lowered scores. Sometimes, mistakes happen that can take a toll on the numbers.

A hit to one’s credit report is never ideal but sometimes a consequence of a necessary, positive step toward financial recovery such as bankruptcy. But when a credit report is inaccurately low, that is something consumers should fight. A credit report will indicate the reason behind a lowered score. If those reasons seem wrong or don’t make sense, a consumer should respond by investigating the issue and reporting it to the credit bureau. But a person can’t fix something if they don’t know it’s broken. Knowledge is power and an important aspect of financial stability.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Nearly Half Of Americans Don’t Know Their Credit Score: Report,” Alicia Ciccone, June 27, 2012