Question: I have a car loan that I could afford to pay off. However, is the loan, which has been paid on time for about 2.5 years, helping my credit score? By paying it off, might I lower my credit score in the short term? The long term? Ardimus, Houston, TX

Answer: I don't see any reason to increase the profits of your lender by continuing to pay interest. Why drain your bank account of that money when you could put it elsewhere, say, into savings or entertainment? I'd get rid of the loan. It's a nice feeling to own your car free and clear. We shouldn't let the credit score tail wag the debt dog. It's always financially smart to pay off consumer debts as fast as possible. As for your credit score, it will reflect a history of paying bills on time. That's the key to a decent credit score short-term and long-term.

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