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America's median household income had its fastest growth on record

A new government report shows the median household income increased 5 percent between 2014 and 2015 -- the fastest growth on record.

It's the first time that measure has increased since 2007. At the end of that year, the Great Recession began.

>> Read more trending stories  

Last year's median household income in real terms was $56,500 -- almost $3,000 higher than the year before.

About 43 million Americans still lived in poverty in 2015, but the report notes that that's about 3.5 million fewer people than in 2014. The poverty rate in 2015 sat at 13.5 percent but still saw its lowest one-year drop since 1968 to get there.

The country's lowest earners also saw the largest increases percentage-wise in their incomes. 

Average incomes increased across almost all regions of the country. However, workers in rural areas didn't see a significant boost in pay.

Asian-Americans were the only racial group that didn't see a significant increase in income, but that demographic still has the highest average income overall.

Target hiring 70,000 workers for the holiday season

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Looking for a seasonal job? Look no further than your neighborhood Target store. 

>> Read more trending stories 

The company said Monday that it plans to hire at least 70,000 seasonal workers during the busy fall and winter months.

"The Target team is famous for serving up exceptional shopping experiences," said Janna Potts, chief stores officer of Target. "We can't wait to welcome new seasonal team members on board to help us make the holidays extra bright for our guests. And new this year, all of our 1,800 stores will host dedicated hiring events in October, meeting with thousands of prospective candidates in just 48 hours."

Fortune pointed out that the retailer opened the same number of positions last year during the same time. The stagnant number reflects a slowdown in the retailer's business, the magazine noted.

But Target can report an increase in the starting wage for many workers, which is a positive improvement to the company's employment benefits.

Target also plans to hire an additional 7,500 people for distribution facilities, which ship online orders and send products to stores.

"Our distribution teams will be major players in that game, helping us get all those products to guests in time to host holiday events, give gifts and celebrate all season long," said Carson Landsgard, senior vice president of distribution at Target.

The discount chain said it will hold hiring events at all of its 1,800 stores on Oct. 14 and 15. Candidates can also apply online.

The company also said existing employees will get "first dibs" on any extra holiday hours they want.

New York Times publishes article with 1 word

A New York Times article published on Friday read only one word: "No."

>> Read more trending stories

The one-word sentence was an answer to a much longer headline: "When I’m Mistakenly Put on an Email Chain, Should I Hit 'Reply All' Asking to be Removed?"

The article was written by Daniel Victor and published in the business section of the paper as a "Tech Tip."

The printed edition left approximately 10 or 12 inches of blank space on the page, Geek Wire reported.

A digital version of the piece offered more context via a PDF, in which Victor explained a scenario in which "an innocuous email that you probably don’t need lands in your inbox."

"Soon someone inevitably replies (all): 'Please remove me from this email chain.'

"Then another: 'Unsubscribe.'

"Soon, dozens of people are replying­all, sending their fruitless requests to people who are equally annoyed. Notifications on your phone won’t stop buzzing.

"This is known as the dreaded replyallpocalypse."

Read more of Victor's explanation here.

These jobs need a college degree, but don't pay well

Going to school is important, but for those aiming to hit the job markets and snag one of these gigs, don’t expect a yacht and big house anytime soon.

Finiancial news website 24/7 Wall St. compiled a list of the 14 lowest-paying jobs that require a college degree. 

According to the site, the median annual salaries of the 14 jobs on the list were all less than $50,000 with the typical worker earning more than the national median wage of $36,200 a year in all but four of the jobs. The site reviewed the median annual wage for jobs the Bureau of Labor Statistics said typically requires a bachelor's degree to determine the ranking. The annual median pay data comes from 2015 data of 449 jobs tracked by the BLS.

24/7 Wall St. reports most religious workers have part-time work and other sources of income to supplement the average of $28,750 that they make, while educators are the sixth most common occupation of the 100 that were reviewed for the study.

The lowest-paying job, legislators, has a median salary of $20,500 a year, but does have the perk of possibly having their student debt forgiven after 10 years of public service.

The site added that by 2024, “employment across all occupations is projected to grow by 6.5 percent” with “five of the 14 jobs expected to grow faster than average.”

It was reported recently that the U.S. hiring is slowing to 151,000 jobs in August with stocks rising during this period of time. At the same time, Wal-Mart is set to eliminate about 7,000 office jobs at their stores around the country.

The list of the 14 lowest paying jobs for college graduates, according to 24/7 Wall St., is below:

14. Farm and home management advisors

13. Meeting, convention, and event planners

12. Audio-visual and multimedia collections specialists

11. Clergy

10. Agricultural inspectors

9. Statistical assistants 8. Social science research assistants

7. Biological technicians

6. Education, training, and library workers

5. Directors of religious activities and education 4. Proofreaders and copy markers

3. Teachers and instructors

2. Religious workers

1. Legislators

Janitor, secretly a millionaire, donates fortune after his death

Not even those closest to Ronald Read, a Vermont-based janitor, knew that quiet man had amassed a fortune of nearly $8 million before his death.

>> Read more trending stories 

After his death in 2014, Read left $1.2 million to the Brooks Memorial Library and $4.8 million to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital in Vermont.

"I always say about Ronald, 'Still waters run deep,'" neighbor Mark Richards said.

Read served in WWII after high school in 1940. He later worked as a gas station attendant and as a janitor at a J.C. Penny department store, Reuters reported.

In his later years, Read, who married and gained two stepchildren, became a regular at the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital cafe. 

"He always had a cup of coffee and and English muffin with peanut butter. That was it," said friend Ellen Smith.

Smith said Read told her about an incident in which another man paid for his breakfast because he thought Read wouldn't be able to afford it.

"You'd never know the man was a millionaire," his lawyer, Laurie Rowell, told Reuters. "The last time he came here, he parked far away in a spot where there were no meters so he could save the coins."

Read drove a secondhand Toyota Yaris, according to Reuters.

Friends said Read, who made most of his money in the stock market, never spent money unnecessarily.

"Mr. Read owned at least 95 stocks at the time of his death, many of which he had held for years, if not decades," the Wall Street Journal reported.

The hospital and library are using the money to improve their operations. They're also taking a leaf out of Read’s book by investing some of the money to make it last.

"Being a self-made man with his investments, he recognized the transformative nature of a library, what it can do for people," said the library's executive director, Jerry Carbone. 

Should you invest like Ronald Read, the frugal Vermonter who left behind an $8 million estate?Posted by The Wall Street Journal on Sunday, March 22, 2015

Amazon experimenting with 30-hour work weeks for some employees

Amazon is will experiment with a shorter work week for specific employees.

According to a report from The Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the company is launching a program that will give a few technical teams a 30-hour work week.

The Post says these select employees will be salaried and receive the same benefits as their 40-hour counterparts, but they will only earn 75 percent of the pay that full-timers make.

>> Read more trending stories  

Amazon already offers its part-time workers the same benefits as full-time employees, but this is the first time the company is giving that option to specific teams, including their managers.

A posting by Amazon for an informational seminar on the initiative said it was created with the company's "diverse workforce" in mind. 

"We want to create a work environment that is tailored to a reduced schedule and still fosters success and career growth," the post said. "This initiative was created with Amazon's diverse workforce in mind and the realization that the traditional full-time schedule may not be a 'one size fits all' model."

Many are speculating that the move is in response to The New York Times' derogatory investigation into Amazon's work culture last year, which labeled the company as a "bruising" workplace.

The idea of a shorter work week definitely isn't anything new.

Many companies all over the world have switched to a 30-hour week, and studies show it has increased productivity and happiness among employees.

According to the Post, Amazon doesn't have plans to reduce its work week for the entire company.

Job recruiter says women should hide engagement ring during interviews

A job recruiter started waves after he posted an article on LinkedIn last week detailing why a woman should avoid wearing her engagement ring to job interviews. The post sparked rebuttals from female users on the site.

>> Read more trending stories

The post was made on LinkedIn by Bruce Hurwitz, who said that women should avoid wearing engagement rings to interviews because it "sends the message that she's high maintenance," according to Mashable.

"When a man sees that ring he immediately assumes you are high maintenance," he wrote in the post. "When the woman at the office who has the largest diamond on her finger, sees that ring, she will realize that if you are hired she will fall to second place and will, therefore, not like you.  Lose the ring!"

Many LinkedIn users took offense to Hurwitz's advice with one user calling it "misguided, petty, and misogynistic" and another saying it is "ridiculous and it makes women sound petty and small," according to Mashable.

Hurwitz published a follow-up post that related the engagement ring advice to having men avoid wearing expensive watches and made a final post titled, "How to Watch a Viral Article on LinkedIn," Mashable reports.

"In a perfect world we would be judged solely on our professional qualifications.  It is not a perfect world.  And our behavior is relevant in a job interview," he stated in the final post. "Behavior includes what you wear to an interview and, whether you like it or not, how you behave on-line.  Except if it is for religious or health purposes, or a consequence of sexual orientation, an employer can reject an employee based on what they are wearing.  They can always be rejected based on how they act."

#QuitYourJobIn5Words reveals hilarious last words before would-be resignations

Have you ever imagined what you would tell your boss if you could say anything to him or her and then walk away with no repercussions?

Alas, #QuitYourJobIn5Words.

The hashtag surfaced overnight on Tuesday in response to Saturday's #FirstSevenJobs, according to Facebook.

Users post five-word phrases that they believe would cause them to lose their jobs. Many of them would likely leave workers without the option to ask their former bosses for recommendation letters or to be able to list those bosses as references for future professional endeavors.

>> Read more trending stories  

So how would you go out with a bang? 

Here are some of the best responses on Twitter:  

<iframe src="//;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe><script src="//;border=false"></script>[View the story "#QuitYourJobIn5Words" on Storify]

Stephen Colbert, Monica Lewinsky among celebs who tell their #FirstSevenJobs

Maybe you're working in a position with a company you love. Maybe you have dreams to fulfill another passion in another line of work.

The good news is: Even celebrities had to pay their dues to get where they are today. 

>> Read more trending stories  

According to Time, Twitter user @mariancall asked social media users, "What were your first 7 jobs?"

She then listed her first seven jobs which included "babysitting, janitorial, slinging coffee, yard work, writing radio news, voice-overs (and) data entry/secretarial."

Hundreds of internet users, including many local and international celebrities, responded to the question, igniting the hashtags #firstsevenjobs and #first7jobs. 'Hamilton' creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, Golden State Warriors owner Chamath Palihapitiya, singers Christina Perri and Regina Spektor, comedian and W. Kamau Bell and Monica Lewinsky are among those who responded.

<iframe src="//;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe><script src="//;border=false"></script>[View the story "#FirstSevenJobs" on Storify]

Self-employed? 8 keys to getting approved for a mortgage

Your office might be a built-in desk in the corner of a spare bedroom, a downtown co-working  space — or the front seat of your pickup. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there are 15 million self-employed workers in America living the dream, being their own boss. Sure, it can be a struggle, but there is great satisfaction in seeing your very own business grow from a sketch on paper to profitability.

Until you try to get a home loan. Self-employed people have to work harder to score a mortgage. Here’s how to crack the code on getting the credit you deserve.

Get Advice from a Mortgage Expert Documentation is the difference

For the self-employed, the actual loan process is the same as for others, says Jason van den Brand, co-founder and CEO of online mortgage company Lenda.

“You’re still going to start with a rate quote, you’re still going to fill out an application, you’re still going to sign paperwork, and you’re still going to be required to provide documentation,” he says.

Down payment, debt-to-income and credit requirements are the same, but, van den Brand says, the difference in documentation requirements is significant. While employed applicants provide W-2 forms as proof of income, self-employed borrowers will need to show their 1040 tax returns, including all schedules.

“That’s where it gets tricky,” van den Brand says. Typically, self-employed tax filers write off a bunch of expenses that W-2 employees can’t. “And so their actual net income after all the write-offs actually is a lot lower than it would be otherwise.”

That makes it harder to qualify for a mortgage, because it hurts your debt-to-income ratio. The key is to show a net income, after write-offs, that meets the debt-to-income ratio that lenders prefer, usually ranging from 36% to 43%.

You may pay more for your mortgage

Because some lenders consider self-employed applicants to be higher-risk borrowers, you may pay more for your mortgage, says Mazyar M. Hedayat, a real estate attorney and former title company owner in Romeoville, Illinois.

“If you’re a self-employed borrower, you have to make a decision,” Hedayat says. “Are you prepared to pay a little extra for the money, in a slightly higher interest rate? My answer to that is that it usually is worthwhile because good credit leads to good credit.” With a solid payment history, you might be able to refinance at a lower rate later.

Improve your odds of being approved

Hedayat and van den Brand say that if you’re self-employed, you can make several moves to enhance your chances of getting a home loan:

  1. Register and license your business.
  2. Pay yourself a W-2 wage rather than an owner’s draw.
  3. Lower your debt load.
  4. Reduce your tax deductions.
  5. Keep separate business and personal accounts.
  6. Maintain good records. Van den Brand suggests using tools like QuickBooks to help track and classify income and expenses — and to generate a profit and loss statement, which lenders often require from sole proprietors.
  7. Consider making a larger down payment, perhaps by tapping your IRA or 401(k).
  8. Consider working with another small business, such as a local credit union or mortgage company, Hedayat says. That’s where you could benefit from a factor rarely in play in lending today: a relationship.
It’s not impossible

“If you’re self-employed, you have to acknowledge that the reality is you’re starting at a disadvantage,” Hedayat says. “It’s part of the price you pay for calling your own shots, for being your own boss.”

Getting approved for a mortgage may be a hard task, but it’s not impossible. In fact, van den Brand says that in an average month, 22% to 24% of the mortgage loans Lenda makes are to self-employed borrowers.

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Hal Bundrick is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: Twitter: @halmbundrick.

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by Redfin.

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