Debt doesn’t only effect your credit, for many Americans, it effects their health and job opportunities. Recent studies show the worry and anguish people feel over debt causes sleep loss and depression. With debt pervading today’s society, it’s become such an issue that mental health professionals are starting to take notice. Additionally, having too much or having bad debt, can keep you from getting a job.

A survey of 1,000 adults showed that half say they worry frequently about debt issues, with a large percentage claiming to worry, “most of the time”. Bad debt can effect a wealth of things, from health, to your credit score and even sometimes, your ability to get a job. One study found that the higher the debt, the more ailments the person had. In contrast, those with lighter debt balances maintained better over-all health.

Having your credit scrutinized by a potential employer only adds to the stress and mental fatigue of debt. As reported by CareerBuilder.com, Thirty-five percent of employers now conduct credit checks as a part of the pre-employment procees. Norm Bouer, host of the nationally syndicated radio program, ‘The Real Estate and Finance Show,’ says, “The way people manage their money is a strong indication of their character” . Bouer goes on to say that this is especially true when applying for finance jobs.

Now, from a personal perspective, I agree that it only seems logical to check a bank manager’s credit or in any job in the financial realm. However, I ardently disagree with Bouer’s quote that how someone manages their money is a direct reflection of their character. Bouer leaves no room for why that debt was accrued or other circumstances surrounding it. I also dispute the legality of having to disclose my credit history to my employer. Except for certain jobs, it is, in my opinion, absoulutely not the business of my employer. How uncomfortable is it, in a smaller company, to know your boss has exact knowledge of what’s in your credit file? I do realize that you must sign a release, allowing a potential employer to check my credit, I do reserve the right to decline the check and in turn, lose the opportunity to even be considered for the job.

Feeling that a credit check is a violation of my personal privacy, I decided to research the matter. I discovered that an employer cannot turn you down for a job due to bad credit until the employer allows you to look over and view the credit report. As I alluded to earlier, Employment Screening Resources says, “Unless the information in a credit report is directly job related, its use can be considered discriminatory.” It is important to remember that the Fair Credit Reporting Act lists employment as a just reason for a credit check. So despite yours or my own disdain that a potential employer can demand this information and be well within his rights, until the legislation changes, we will be forced to fork the information over.

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