A good credit score is an achievement, but it’s important to remember that credit is a tool, not an evaluation of your personal worthiness. After all, the point of having a high score is so you can access credit if you need to. Using credit strategically may mean accepting a lower score temporarily in order to meet your overall financial needs. Running up a high balance on credit cards can drop your score in the short term, but the damage should fade once you pay it down. Missing a payment, on the other hand, can cause serious damage that lasts.