The New Job Market: Temporary Jobs and Freelancers

One of the challenges facing many job-seekers is the fact that the job market has changed quite a bit in recent years.

The recession that accompanied the recent financial crisis led to a rise in temporary jobs and freelancing jobs.

However, these are no longer jobs that people do to “get by” until they find something a little more permanent.  Indications are that these are becoming the permanent jobs.

Temporary Jobs and Freelancing are the New Job Market

Staffing Jobs on the Rise

The American Staffing Association releases data from a quarterly survey about trends in the workplace.  For the third quarter of 2012, there was a year over year increase of 4.3% in staffing jobs.  The latest data represent the 11th consecutive quarter that staffing jobs have grown since 2009 and the technical end of the recession.

Temporary positions are on the rise, in part, because freelancers, temps, and adjuncts cost a lot less than full-time regular workers.
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Citi ThankYou Preferred Card – $200 in Gift Cards | Review

How would you like a credit card that offers rewards as well as a nice 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers?  Add to that a $150 gift card bonus?

Sounds interesting, right?

This is what the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card is offering.  Join me as we walk through what the card offers…

The Citi ThankYou Preferred Card

Sign-Up Bonus

When you make $1,500 in purchases within 3 months of opening your account you will earn 20,000 bonus ThankYou Points.  That right there is good to redeem for $200 in gift cards or other rewards they offer.

ThankYou Point Rewards

The rewards program with the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card is the …wait for it… ThankYou Points program.

You earn 1 ThankYou Point for every $1 you spend on purchases.  No categories or signing up to get your points required.  Just a simple 1 for 1.  You can earn unlimited points and your ThankYou Points don’t expire.

You can earn 2x points when you use your card for entertainment and dining.

You can redeem your ThankYou Points for merchandise, travel, gift cards, statement credits/cash, event tickets, and more.  When redeeming your points pay attention to what the point redemption is.  You may find that you get better value with say gift cards than you do with merchandise.

If you shop through the ThankYou® Bonus Center you’ll have opportunities to earn bonus points.  There are over 600+ retailers represented there.

0% Intro APR

Stack of MoneyHere’s a sweet incentive for those with a balance to transfer from another card or if you’re planning on making a big purchase – you get a 0% Introductory APR for 12 months on both purchases and balance transfers.

If you have a balance elsewhere then transferring to a 0% intro APR can help you pay that balance down faster since you get to put more money towards the balance rather than towards interest.  I’ve done this in the past to help pay off credit card balances.

After the introductory APR expires your rate will be a variable APR from 12.99%-22.99% based on your creditworthiness.

Be aware there is a balance transfer fee of 3% for each transfer with a minimum of $5.  This is pretty much standard for most cards.

Foreign Travel

Your Citi ThankYou Preferred card will have Chip technology in it making foreign travel purchases easier and safer when you shop at merchants that accept payments with chip terminals.  Be aware there is a 3% foreign transaction fee when you use your card abroad.

Annual Fee

There is no annual fee for this card.

Finally

The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card is a nice all-around rewards card.  There’s no annual fee, you get a bonus point offer to start, and you have a 0% intro APR that applies to purchases and balance transfers.  The rewards are easy to understand as it’s one point for every one dollar spent.

There are cards out there that offer richer points programs or longer intro APR periods, as well as cards that offer no foreign transactions fees.  That said, the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card has a little bit of everything, touching base on a lot of credit card perks.

This card is similar in rewards to the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express or the Discover it® Card.  Both of the other cards offer up some higher rewards bonuses but you need to see which of the three cards has categories you will actually use more often.

*Always make sure you understand the terms of a credit card before you sign up. See the online credit card application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the “Apply Now” button, you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the issuer’s website. Citi is a paid advertiser of this site.

Bitcoin Bonanza and Links

The alternative, virtual, and unregulated currency Bitcoin experienced quite the bonanza over the last few weeks. 

The price skyrocketed to over $200 per coin, then plummeted 50%, then rebounded a bit.  The fledgling new online currency has made millionaires from early adopters but is still struggling to go mainstream.

I honestly don’t know what to think of Bitcoin.

There are only a certain number of coins that can ever exist, you have to run complex equations on a computer to “mine” a coin (or purchase them from an exchange), and the coins are stored on your computer.  However, real people are using them for real transactions instead of US dollars.

As great as it would be to buy a bunch of coins at $3 per coin in the early stages and watch it skyrocket to $200… I can’t imagine a sustainable currency fluctuating that much.  Merchants can accept Bitcoins for payment, but how can you calculate how many coins to charge if the price is constantly changing?  That $200 transaction for one coin just became a $120 transaction when the price plummets.

Instead of worrying about alternative currencies to get rich, here are some more traditional methods:

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When is Bankruptcy a Good Option?

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1,376,006.

That’s the number of bankruptcy filings in the United States (according to US Courts) for the 12 month period that ended March 31, 2012 – the most recent 12 month period for which statistics are available.

Obviously, if you are filing for bankruptcy you have plenty of company.

But when is bankruptcy a good option?

Bankruptcy has become so common, that is no longer carries the stigma it once did.  In there are folks out there that think ‘YOLO, I’ll just declare bankruptcy if it gets bad.’   That doesn’t mean you should file for bankruptcy or that it doesn’t come with risks.

The Cost of Bankruptcy

When I talk about the cost of bankruptcy, I’m not talking about attorney fees or court filing fees – what I’m referring to is the effect it will have upon your life.

That will be much more expensive than a couple thousand dollars you will pay for the bankruptcy procedure itself.

Before filing for bankruptcy, consider the impact it will have on your life… Continue Reading

Can We Break This Spending Cycle? Do We Want To?

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Amy Dacyczyn, author of the wildly popular 1990s The Tightwad Gazette, wrote a post one time about the television show Roseanne.

She noted that Dan and Roseanne are always struggling financially.

One time, they get an unexpected bonus of $50, and each Dan and Roseanne spend the money on things for themselves without discussing their purchases with one another.  Now, instead of having an extra $50, they are $50 in the hole.

Dacyczyn noted that every time Dan or Roseanne got extra money or worked overtime, they developed a “Yipee!-We-can-spend” attitude.  Yet, when money is tight, they scrimp and save and “feel poor” because they can’t spend.

Is America a Nation of Dan and Roseanne Connors?

The last several years have been rough ones financially for American citizens.

Many people lost their houses, and even if they were able to keep up with payments, they may have found themselves underwater.  People lost their jobs, and even if they were able to stay employed, they may not have seen a raise for years while health care and other costs escalated.

Yet, there are signs that the economy is improving.
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How to Use the Internet to Find Your Next Job

Whether you are unemployed, or whether you just want to take your career in a new direction, one of the best tools you have at your disposal is the Internet.

You no longer need to rely only on Classifieds in the newspaper and a trip to your state’s employment services office.  And your entire fate no longer rests on your resume (although a resume is still important).

Thanks to the magic of the Internet, you can find your next job online — even if you plan to work in the offline world.

Using the Internet to Find a Job

Update Your Online Persona

First of all, potential employers are probably going to Google you if they are even remotely interested.  Public items that you have shared on social media are going to be “out there.”  A glimpse of some of your images on Facebook or Flickr is possible.  Tweets are searchable (even the Library of Congress is cataloging tweets).  And if you have a blog, what you write is out there for all to see.
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What is the Earned Income Tax Credit?

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Filing taxes can either be very simple or overly complex.

There are so many exclusions, credits, loopholes, and deductions to know about that it can be easy to miss out on credits that you qualify for simply because the tax system is so complex.  One of those tax credits worth knowing about, especially if you are in a low income bracket, is the EITC or Earned Income Tax Credit.

What is the Earned Income Tax Credit?

Tax credits are great because they are a direct reduction in the amount of tax that you owe.  Tax deductions are good, too, but they simply reduce your income that will then be taxed.

A tax credit like the EITC is much more valuable.  It’s important to find out if you qualify for the EITC, especially if you know that you don’t have significant investment returns or income for the tax year.

The Earned Income Tax Credit is meant for people who are working and have low to moderate income.  The credit is designed to provide incentive to keep working rather than relying on government subsidies.  Part of the goal of the EITC is to offset social security taxes that you pay as you earn an income.  As with many government tax credits and deductions there is some controversy around the support the Earned Income Tax Credit provides for individuals or couples with children. Continue Reading

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