Foreclosures, Credit Scores and Your Job Hunt

Posted: September 3, 2010 in Uncategorized

The ongoing economic recession is slowly limping its way towards a second dip in the murky waters of financial misery and uncertainty. Many economic advisers and pundits fear a stalling of the economy is in the offing if drastic action is not undertaken to correct the situation in some way. Is a second stimulus package something to consider and does the President still have the political clout to even suggest such a measure? The answers are still eluding the best and brightest number crunching minds at the Nation’s disposal. What is certain, however, is the painful fact that an ever-growing number of Americans are enduring serious, life-altering hardships. Far too many middle-class Americans are staring down the barrel of joblessness, faltering personal budgets and shaky career paths. Add to this the number of families struggling with personal property foreclosures and it’s not difficult to see the massive problem growing throughout the nation.

Home foreclosures have hit even the most rural and unassuming areas of America and this phenomenon has a profound, immediate impact on the very structure of life for those enduring it. Just the thought of losing one’s home or property is devastating enough for the short term. Walking away from a family homestead and all of the memories, love and experiences held therein is soul crushing, at best. Many Americans put much of their own personal identity and pride in these homes. Then the day arrives when your job cuts salaries, freezes anticipated regular salary raises or terminates your employment altogether. Without a safety net or significant personal savings, foreclosure is the only path to follow. As if this life-changing event isn’t gutting enough, there follows a spiral of madness that has no mercy.

The American Financial System, such as it is, attaches a premium to our very lives by issuing to each of us a number. Although, many numbers identify us throughout our lives, like our Social Security and Driver’s License numbers, none is more important to the relative comfort/misery of our lives than our Credit Score. Monitored by three credit-reporting agencies, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, our credit score follows us everywhere we go and determines our ‘station’ in society. Depending on how you’ve managed your personal debt and credit, purchasing and financial transactions are determined. Someone with a ‘lower’ credit score might not be able to secure higher credit limits, as someone with a ‘higher’ credit score might. This allows the financial institutions to calculate our particular and personal caste in society. With all of the information above, let’s begin the equation that demonstrates how this recession/depression can throw even the most careful middle-class American into what I call ‘The Poverty Spiral.’

A foreclosure event on your personal financial history is a red flag to financial lending institutions in addition to being a personal punch to the gut. Even if you’re fortunate enough to have a job, you must now attempt to find new housing with credit lenders examining your newly created ‘station’ in life. The result is higher interest rates and lower quality housing than what you could once afford…yet another body blow. But the most wicked consequences await those that have had the misfortune of losing their jobs compounded with a foreclosure.

Hardly spoken about outside of Internet job forums and company Human Resource meetings, is the ever growing propensity of hiring managers and job creators to require potential job applicants and candidates to submit to a credit check before any offer of employment takes place. There is a wave of anger and disbelief washing over the masses of people seeking gainful employment about this issue. That being said, there are career positions that have always required this information due to the nature of the job, such as accountants, bank employees and higher-strata financial careers. Yet, today, this information requirement is becoming the norm and standard for every position available. Having that foreclosure on your financial history could ultimately become the deciding factor in what type of employment you will eventually obtain…all of this through no fault of your own. You may have enjoyed a lovely, 4 bedroom split-ranch home and paid the bills with your mid to high five figure banking career, yet due to this recession and company down-sizing, you’ve lost your home and damaged your credit rating. Now you have to endure a jaw-dropping low five figure dead-end job as a Wal-Mart greeter (if you’re lucky enough to find work at all) and decorate your new one-bedroom apartment with the memories of a happy lifetime gone by. Is it any wonder the sales of anti-depressants are skyrocketing and the American suicide rate is pushing ever higher?

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