July 28th, 2010
That’s right, Credit Karma is hiring! Rain or shine and foggy or clear, Credit Karma’s San Francisco-based office is constantly moving and shaking to keep up with bringing almost 2 million consumers their free credit scores, helpful credit resources, and personal savings offers. The question is… are you ready to be part of the action?
We are excited to find new team members for Credit Karma who are enthusiastic, dedicated individuals who believe in the power of pro-consumer financial services (and also love eating and will love our office beagle, Louie). And don’t worry, having an 800+ credit score isn’t an employment requirement. But being passionate about your work is.
Please spread the word! The job market is tough right now but there are talented people out there waiting for an awesome opportunity like this one. The following positions are now available and ripe for your picking.
July 22nd, 2010
It’s a pretty vicious cycle—without a steady paycheck, unemployed Americans’ shaky financial situations can often plummet credit scores. At the same time, employers are increasingly doing credit checks to screen job applicants.
So if unemployment is worsening your credit, it may very well be the things that costs you a job.
June 18th, 2010
Is it okay to lie about your salary when being interviewed for a job?
A Daily Worth post called “A Little White Lie in Salary Negotiation,” which argued yes, it is okay to lie, sparked a heated controversy across the blogosphere and media. There were people on both sides of the argument on whether salary inflation during an interview was acceptable, from the popular personal finance blog Bargaineering to the Bucks column at the New York Times to one angry commenter who wrote, “You’re playing with fire.” Ultimately, the Daily Worth post was retracted with a note stating, “After considerable soul-searching, we have decided to retract the post, rather than jeopardize anyone’s job.”
What does this have to do with your credit? In light of this blogodrama, its wise to address the issue of personal finance and protocol in an interview, and reiterate some simple but significant points concerning the role of your credit to your potential employer.
May 19th, 2010
The jumbo financial reform legislation sitting on the Senate floor has 200+ proposed amendments to overhaul Wall Street as well as Main Street. It’s aimed at regulating financial institutions and protecting consumer issues to avoid future financial meltdowns and better protect consumer interests. The legislation addresses everything from the creation of a consumer financial protection agency to safeguards against big bank bailouts. If it passes, how will this epic financial reform proposal affect the everyday consumer?
May 17th, 2010
Graduates will be walking off their college campuses this spring and right into the “real world,” where national unemployment has inched back up to nearly 10% again, the average college debt upon graduating is $20,000, and our economy’s recovery is still fragile and unstable. In fact, this situation of job uncertainty, heavy debt, and financial insecurity is pretty familiar to most Americans.
This is great financial advice from blogs and articles intended for “the college grad”, but also as relevant to the rest of us and our own financial life.
March 5th, 2010
With the national unemployment rate stagnant at 9.7%, lawmakers are hoping to spur more vigorous hiring among employers with a $15 billion bill that gives a temporary tax break to companies hiring new employees. This bill was just passed in the House and is awaiting approval in Senate.
The measure is designed to create jobs and boost employment by exempting businesses that hire unemployed workers (at least 60 days unemployed) from the 6.2% Social Security payroll tax now through December. Additionally, the bill will give employers an additional $1,000 credit if new workers stay on the job a full year.
February 9th, 2010
Dear Credit Karma,
Why is it hard to get a job if your credit report is bad?
In today’s economic climate, employers are being extremely selective in weeding through job candidates and are looking for candidates that demonstrate financial responsibility and financial stability. Once reserved for jobs dealing with significant money or government-related work, credit checks are becoming commonplace in the hiring process for every work sector. The rationale it is that an applicant’s financial history and the way they manage your money is a valuable tool in assessing their personal character and job performance. In addition, employers can compare the credit report to the resume to look for any discrepancies.
November 9th, 2009
When President Obama signed H.R.3548 – Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009, popularly known as the Home Buyer Tax Credit, he effectively extended the federal tax credit for first-time home buyers originally set to expire November 30, 2009 to April 30, 2009, and also extended unemployment benefits to bring relief to the current 10.2% of Americans looking for work. Here’s a closer look at the bill and how consumers will be benefitting from it:
HOME BUYER TAX CREDIT
- For whom?
First-time home buyers – You qualify if you have not owned a home in the last 3 years, and must purchase your new home as the principal residence.
Repeat home buyers – You have owned and lived in a home for the last 5 consecutive years at any time during the eight years before your new home purchase.
You must purchase the home or have it under contract by April 30, 2010, and close by June 30, 2010.
The first-time homebuyer tax credit applies to 10% of the purchase price up to a maximum of $8,000. The repeat homebuyer tax credit likewise applies to 10% of the purchase price up to $6,500.
- Qualifications for both tax credits
For homes purchased after Nov. 6, price of the house cannot exceed $800,000. Prior to purchasing a home before Nov. 6 under the First-Time Home Buyer tax credit, there was no price limit.
New, higher income limits for both the first-time and repeat homebuyer credit apply to homes purchased after Friday, Nov. 6, and are $125,000 to $145,000 for individuals and $225,000-$245,000 for joint filers. For homes purchased before Nov. 6, the original income limits for the first-time home buyer credit are between $75,000-$95,000 for individuals, and between $150,00-$170,000 combined income for couples or joint filers.
You must live in your newly-purchased home for at least 3 years, or 36 months, or you will have to repay the entire credit (certain exceptions for military personnel or people who pass away).
- Fraud protection
Due to the federal investigations of fraud under the first-time home buyer tax credit, taxpayers will now be required to provide documentation proving they purchased a home and taxpayers must be at least 18 years old to claim the credit.
EXTENSION ON EMERGENCY UNEMPLOYEMENT COMPENSATION
- For whom?
For workers unemployed for an extended period of time and have exhausted regular unemployment benefits that are set to expire before the end of this year.
Provides further temporary availability of certain additional emergency unemployment compensation to workers. Unemployed workers are guaranteed a maximum 14 more weeks of unemployment aid, while Congress is working to pass another law to grant an additional 6 weeks—for a totally of 20 weeks—to workers in high-unemployment states where jobless rate is above 8.5%.
Details of unemployment aid program differ state to state although there are federal guidelines; check the level of benefits and eligibility your state allows.
Instead of the usual 26 weeks of unemployment compensation, Congress has extended benefits four times due to the prolonged period of unemployment; with this most recent extension, the maximum length of time an unemployed worker can get benefits in some states to 99 weeks, or nearly 2 years.
In general to qualify, workers must meet minimum requirements for wages earned or time working during the “base period”, which is the first four out of the last five calendar quarters before your claim is filed.
You must be unemployed due to no fault of your own.
- Tax cuts for businesses
An additional provision allows businesses of all sizes, hit hard by the boom-and-bust economy of the past years, to get a reduced tax cut to prevent businesses from laying off workers or closing their doors. Businesses can extend the “net-operating-loss carryback” period from two to five years, which allows them to apply losses sustained in 2008 and 2009 against taxes on profits paid in earlier years. The homebuilding industry is expected to benefit generously from this provision by offsetting their recent losses against profits when they were benefiting from the housing boom.
- For more information on filing an unemployment claim, head to the Department of Labor.
September 28th, 2009
People with good and even great credit can, at times, find themselves in a bad financial situation. Whether it’s a home loan gone upside down, unemployment lasting longer than expected, or medical bills piling up from a recent accident, the unexpected can take control of your financial plan and often your credit score. While there is no simple cure, here are a couple tips to keep in mind when you face some of the more common financial emergencies.
- For many, purchasing a new house meant an opportunity to make money by watching their home value blossom. Due to risky loans and low or zero down payment requirements, many now find themselves upside down on their home loan, owing more on their mortgage loan than the home could sell for in the market. Walking out on the mortgage may seem like a simple solution, but the foreclosure on your credit report will have significant impact on your credit score for several years to come. If you can continue to make your monthly mortgage payments, try to stick with it. Now that many of the speculators and real estate investors have pulled out of the market, there is some stabilization in home prices and increases in home purchase volume.
- Divorce is never easy on the heart or pocketbook, but oftentimes it’s bad for your credit health as well. An important part of divorce proceedings is making sure your name is removed as an accountholder on any mortgage, credit card, loan, or even banking account that you will not be responsible for going forward with. While closing old credit cards will definitely affect your credit score, it’s better than leaving your name on the accounts and the risk that your ex-spouse will have late payments, default, or have balances charged off – all of which will affect your credit if your name is still on the account. Take the opportunity to open new credit cards and banking relationships so you are in control of your credit health and once again standing strong and independent.
- With unemployment lasting on average of over 25 weeks, many are finding their emergency funds running dry. Don’t give a credit card issuer any reason to cancel the card or reduce your limit; use your credit regularly and wisely if you find yourself unemployed. Credit cards can become the lifeline to covering daily expenses in periods of extended unemployment.
- It’s easy to become overwhelmed quickly when medical bills start stacking up in your mailbox. Unfortunately, they are not going to go away. The best thing you can do is get a sense of your total medical obligations and call the hospital or medical service accounts to see if you can work out a payment plan. Past due or unpaid medical bills can show up on your credit report and will negatively affect your credit score.
Financial emergencies are hard on the family, hard on your finances, but they don’t have to be hard on your credit health. Be proactive in determining the best way to protect your credit in any financial crisis; a good credit score helps you keep your credit costs to a minimum and provides you with better options and offers when you go in for a loan, a new mortgage, or new credit line when you’re ready to start rebuilding your financial life. These tips aren’t foolproof nor will they guarantee that life will be easier after a major life trauma like divorce or unemployment, but it can help you minimize the financial strain as much as possible and help your credit survive till the sun comes out tomorrow.
September 24th, 2009
The Class of 2010 is probably all too familiar with hearing doomsday-esque warnings about Graduation Day from everyone including the guy sitting beside them at Starbucks to close relatives and even their nosy neighbors, saying, “We’re in a recession”, “Unemployment is still on the rise”, “Your liberal arts degree isn’t very useful, is it?”, and, “What are you going to do after you graduate, in this economy?”
Getting ready to graduate and move on to the “real world” is not as promising as it seemed when this year’s soon-to-be college grads were eager freshmen back in the day. And in the face of fears like unemployment, large student loans, and nosy neighbors, there are lots of reasons to think this year may be the worst time to be a college senior.
Don’t let these reasons depress you–these are five reasons why you should see the college senior’s half-empty glass as, actually, half-full:
- Jobs– Yes, the unemployment rate will probably hit 10% by graduation next June and you will probably experience the average 6-8 months of unemployment that many young professionals are currently going through. No, you do not need to despair. First off, unemployment is a natural part of the cycle of a career; it is not a failure and it does not stall your life–looking for a job is still actively progressing towards your career. What is going to be important five years from now isn’t that you were unemployed at this time, but how you handled being unemployed. Remain persistent and ambitious about the job you want and keep sending out resumes daily because you will come across opportunities. For many it may be better to settle for a lower-paying job in the field you actually want, instead of getting stuck in a career path you have no interest or passion in. As a college graduate, you do have a job right after you graduate and that is to look for a job, so approach your job search with as much work ethic and dedication as you would your first job.
- Housing– You might be homeless post-graduation when your college apartment lease expires, but fear not! You could move back into your parent’s house and save yourself some money; its the life of “being taken care of” and blowing your money on things like shopping and entertainment, but just remember that Mom still makes the rules. Opting for rentals is expensive because no one is buying new homes, but you can cut costs by doing what you’ve been doing for the last four years—rent with roommates. Sharing appliances, furniture, utility bills, rent, and space will be beneficial to all of you and will help your household adopt a frugal and cost-conscious mindset.
- Student Loans– Student loans will begin repayment period within 6 to 9 months of graduating, so be prepared to pay by then. Regularly budgeting it into your monthly expenses will make it less of a stress and more of an accepted part of your finances and your life to be dealt with as efficiently as possible. As long as you pay at least the minimum payment (more if possible!) on-time, your credit report will stay healthy.
- Budgeting– It will no longer be as simple as budgeting for eating out, movies, clothes, and other fun stuff. Graduating takes away Dad and Mom’s monthly checks; you will soon be responsible for rent, utilities, car insurance, food, internet, transportation, and more. Since this will take some help and getting used to, check out personal finance management sites that can do all the work for you: they automatically pull your accounts together and calculate your spending so you can see how you’ve been spending your money and where to cut back. If you want to keep it simple, sit down with a pen and paper and write your monthly income, subtract all necessary expenses like bills (don’t fool yourself—eating out twice a week is not necessary), and whatever is left over after is what you can spend or save.
- Debt– The average college student graduates with just over a $3,000 balance on their credit card, and tack on student loans in a few months, and you can end up spending most of your 20s trying to dig yourself out of debt from college instead of saving up for your first house or investing in a 401(K) plan. The best way to start dealing with the burden of debt is to start paying it off NOW so you don’t have to fear dealing with it later when more interest will have accrued. Another plus side to paying off debts now is that your credit report will become healthier and healthier, which means a healthier credit score that will help you when it comes time for a home mortgage, auto loan, or new credit card.