Credit scores. . . To many of us, they seem like arbitrary numbers that can be frustratingly impossible to manipulate. To others, credit scores are quite the opposite; understanding and improving them has become a challenge from which many financial benefits can flow. When I sit down with a client who has been dealing with less-than-wonderful credit, they usually know which financial mishaps and choices got them there. And although time and the responsible use of credit cards for bad credit should help them finally regain control, understanding what makes up a credit score could have kept them out of trouble in the first place.