Category Archives: jobs

Equifax a record of every pay check I’ve had for 10 years

Equifax has all of my salary history.   It’s all in a 20 page packet detailing each paycheck that I’ve received since I was in college.  Yes, this is the same company that got hacked and leaked practically every Social Security Number to hackers; they also have information that I only thought the IRS had.

I got curious what data Equifax keeps and ran across the Work Number.   Employers–including all of my former employers–send Equifax salary history. Equifax takes this data and sells it to other companies who want to verify your income thru a service called the Work Number. You can request your own free report at the Work Number online, thru mail, or via phone. I couldn’t figure out how to use the website–not surprised that their IT infrastructure isn’t super updated.  So I printed the PDF and mailed them a letter. The report arrived a couple weeks later.

What’s in a Work Number Report

The report is broken out into three parts. The first details an overview with an introduction and record of who has requested a report in the last 24 months.  The second part is a record of your income history; mine was especially detailed.  The third is a bunch of stuff on the terms and how to correct the records if they’re wrong.

My data has been provided three times to two companies (Credit Karma and Chase) over the past 2 years.  This is what is looks like:

Work Number Report requestors

It’s not entirely clear to me what employers or creditors can and can’t see if they request the report.  I’ve never logged into the Work Number website to get a pin, but I must have clicked a button or signed off somewhere to give Credit Karma and Chase access to my data. That means whenever you agree to a background check by a potential employer, creditor, or landlord you could be also giving them permission to access your pay records that the Work Number sells.

Every pay check is listed in detail

The next 17 pages were a record of my employment history. It lists a gross and net record of each and every pay stub I have ever received as an adult.  The layout and information that is includes varies a little bit by employer, according to the Work Number each employer owns the data so they decide what they send.  My current employer has a pretty typical layout:

At the top you have employer info, role information, start and end dates.  Next is an annual summary of my income.  Then comes the unexpected part of a listing of every paycheck with the net and gross income. It is 100% accurate.  In fact, I think that these records are far more thorough and complete than anything I personally have been recording for the past 10 years.  When I requested the report, I never expected that this level of detail was being sent to and recorded by 3rd parties.

The report just goes on and on after this. Some of my former employers reported information about insurance, specific with-holdings.  Also, at least one employer only listed out my cumulative annual pay, but that was for an internship.

Be careful what you share

I see a lot of job search advice that says to fudge salary history, so that you can ensure that you get a raise for jumping ship, but keep in mind that this information is available and out there.  If you lie about what your compensation was at a previous employer, you could be found out.  So be careful with what you agree to, because your records are out there for companies who are willing to pay for it.

This report is 100% free, so I would definitely recommend requesting it at least once just to see what is in your file.

Charting Income Distributions of Rodan + Fields and It Works!

I’ve had a rash of co-workers and Facebook friends posting about MLM’s like Rodan and Fields, Nerium, and It Works! So, I’ve been reading Lazy Man and Money’s blog posts about MLM’s, and decided to chart their self reported income disclosures visually. Visually looking at a graph can be very different than looking at a table of the same data.

MLM Income Disclosures

Each MLM must publish income disclosures to be compliant with governmental FTC regulations. These disclosures can tell you how much people are earning at each level of the company. For example, the top level at Rodan and Fields is the RFx Executive Consultant. According to Rodan and Field’s discolsures, 0.1% of all active distributors are at that level. That translates to one in a thousand distributors is an RFx Executive Consultant. The average annual earnings for the top 1 out of a 1,000 consultants was $661,474 in 2015.

In the charts below, are the distributor levels for R + F and It Works! with the percentage of distributors who in each level with their average earnings next to it.

Rodan + Field 2015 Income Distribution

Source: Rodan and Fields 2015 Income Disclosure

It Works! 2015 Income Distribution

Note: The It Works! disclosure is reported in monthly values, whereas the previously mentioned R + F values were reported as annualized values.

Source: It Works! 2015 Income Disclosure

A special thanks to Jason Davies for posting his example of a D3 stacked population chart that I modified for this.

Top American Cities to launch a Financial Career

Finance is one industry that is very strong across most American cities with many job options that pay extremely well compared to median salaries. Read more to find out about the cities with the largest job markets and the fastest growing job markets. Also explore the county by county data in the interactive map at the bottom, where you can explore the regional differences in job growth rates, raises, income, and number of people employed in companies in the financial sector.

Top 5 Cities by Total Number of People Employed in Finance

 City Employed in Finance 2015
NYC (5 boroughs) 324854
Chicago (Cook County) 146597
Los Angeles (LA County) 133268
Phoenix (Maricopa County) 122541
Dallas (Dallas County) 117263

These cities generally align with the major financial areas that you typically think of for finance. NYC has Wall Street. Chicago has commodities and is the heart of trade for the center of the country. Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Dallas are corporate centers with many financial companies supporting. While these cities currently have the most jobs, they aren’t all growing. So these cities might have healthy financial sectors today, in the future other cities lower in the list may grow past them.  Many of the cities in the top 5 such as Chicago and Los Angeles have seen substantial drops in financial sector employment over the past 10 years. Keep reading to find out where the up and coming cities are.

Financial sector jobs have seen declines in many major areas.

Financial sector jobs have seen declines in many major areas.

Top 5 with Growing Finance Sectors

Texas dominates the counties with the largest nominal increases in employment in the financial sector with 3 of the top 5 counties with job growth over the past 10 years. With greater job growth comes greater opportunity to move companies for increased pay and responsibilities that you might not be able to get in more stagnant markets.

City 10 Year Growth in Employment
Dallas (Dallas County, Texas) 14740
Phoenix (Maricopa County, Arizona) 14671
San Antonio (Bexar County, Texas) 14558
North Dallas Suburbs (Collin County, Texas) 8265
Des Moines (Dallas County, Iowa) 7900

Top 10 Counties by Growth Rate

While Texas dominates the raw growth by number of jobs, the fastest growing counties by annual % job growth are spread all over the country in smaller cities. It may be good to launch your career in a smaller market that is growing fast. Sometimes it’s better to be a big fish in a small but growing pond than a big fish in a large shrinking pond.

City Annual Increase % (10 yr avg)
Des Moines (Dallas County, Iowa) 10.08
Denton (Denton County, Texas) 8.71
Birmingham (Shelby County, Alabama 8.36
Bloomington (McLean County, Illinois) 5.2
Columbia (Richland County, South Carolina) 3.9
North Dallas Suburbs (Collin County, Texas) 3.3
Austin (Travis County, Texas) 2.95
San Antonio (Bexar County, Texas) 2.82
Kansas City (Johnson County, Kansas) 2.26
Salt Lake City (Salt Lake County, Utah) 1.93

 

 

Interactive map after the jump.

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