All Articles Tagged "finances"
From Black Enterprise
Through the years, the African-American community has been struggling with the ability to brand success and intelligence as being cool. Particularly with black male teens and adults, oftentimes we don’t fully utilize our potential because we fear the risk of being labeled as “acting white.”
However, I’m starting to realize a powerful movement that’s centered on career “swagger” (or swag). In recent years the term swag has landed a prominent place of endearment in the urban lexicon. From President Barack Obama to celebrity actor Idris Elba, there has been an emergence of professional men who carry themselves and conduct their business with a swagger that cannot go unnoticed.
Another highly regarded man on the come-up who has embodied this is 31-year-old Enitan O. Bereola, II (@bereolaesque). As a bestselling author and popular speaker, Bereola has gained the respect of entertainment industry leaders, including actors Hill Harper and Meagan Good, through collaborative projects. Advice from Bereola’s first book How To Be a Gentleman – Bereolaesque: The Contemporary Gentleman & Etiquette Book For The Urban Sophisticate has been discussed on BET and the nationally syndicated “Russ Parr Morning Show.”
“I am not suggesting that men should be corny, walking around in suspenders and bow ties daily,” Bereola writes. “However, some basic good manners will go a long way in helping you during your ascent to the top. This book introduces new ideas and opens up the mind to a lifestyle that will ensure achievement in every walk of life”
During an interview with Bereola offered the following principles to help elevate their professional swaggar as an urban sophisticate:
Look like—and be—a smart, hard-working professional.
All too often some men believe they have to compromise their identity to advance or accelerate their careers, Bereola says. The essence of being an Urban Sophisticate is being wise enough to adhere to corporate norms while being true to who you are. Bereola contends that men must wear appropriate suits, lose the earrings, and eliminate sagging and baggy clothes from their professional wardrobe. This is vital because in Bereola’s words “true gentlemen know how to maneuver in all facets of life—particularly in his business affairs.”
“While formal education is key, you will be surprised how far a hard work ethic can take you,” Bereola adds. There are plenty of thriving businessmen and professionals who are not college graduates. Despite their lack of formal education, they rolled up their sleeves and outworked their competition.
Read more at BlackVoices.com
“We Need To Stop Buying Into The Myth:” Beyonce Writes Essay On Gender Inequality For The Shriver Report
We can officially say Beyonce is where she wants to be financially now that she’s ready to speak her mind. After releasing her fifth album with no marketing, the Queen has made another surprise move that could make corporations even more uncomfortable. In The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink, Beyonce writes a very frank gender and development piece on income equality. In the first sentence of her prose, the singer states:
“We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn’t a reality yet.”
“Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes. But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change. Men have to demand that their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters earn more—commensurate with their qualifications and not their gender. Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect. old attitudes are drilled into us from the very beginning. We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.”
The purpose of The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink is to ask citizens of the United States serious questions such as:
“Why are millions of women financially vulnerable when others have made such great progress? Why are millions of women struggling to make ends meet even though they are hard at work? What is it about our nation—government, business, family, and even women themselves—that drives women to the financial brink? And what is at stake?”
The examination of these questions will delve into the detailed cultural programming Americans accept. For example, more women work outside the home but earn less than their male counterparts. Despite the patriarchal notion of a man leading the household unit, women usually lead the operations of their household and more women are earning higher education so they may become a part of the middle class.
Entertainers, athletes , fashion designers and politicians who have also offered their thoughts to The Shiver Report, include Jada Pinkett Smith , Eva Longoria, Lebron James, Tory Burch, Maria Shriverand Hilary Rodham Clinton. To read more of Beyonce’s essay, download The Shriver Report here. It will be free until January 15.
What do you think of Bey’s essay?
From Black Enterprise
Unless you’re a college kid establishing credit for the first time or someone looking to reestablish credit after a major financial setback such as bankruptcy, there’s really no reason to carry department store credit cards. The scenarios above usually make them a great last resort, but if you already have established credit and are looking to dump debt for good, then check out three reasons to ditch those department store cards once and for all.
1. They are useless when you have a real emergency.
Look in your wallet right now. Ask yourself what good that Victoria’s Secret card would do if you had a flat tire tomorrow. Or, how would that Macy’s card help out in the emergency room? Not looking good, eh? In the face of an actual emergency, department store credit cards are simply worthless. And oftentimes the money you can’t find in your budget to save is going towards the interest on department store stuff you didn’t need and likely couldn’t afford in the first place.
2. The interest rates are too high.
Forget about those fake introductory rates the nice lady at the counter offers you. As genuine as she appears, she’s trying to meet her daily enrollment goal and keep her boss off her back. It’s your job to read the fine print and understand the APR.
The APR is the actual yearly cost of using the credit card and includes the additional fees or costs associated with your transactions. An important point to remember with many department store credit cards is that rewards, perks, and discounts shouldn’t come at a price of high interest rates or overwhelming fees. Interest rates on some department store cards may range from 16 percent to as high as 22 percent, despite the low APR pitch that you were probably given for the first three to six months.
Read more at BlackEnterprise.com
Monday’s Madame: Dana Stanford Thomas
Why she inspires us:
Dana Stanford Thomas is a financial expert in the areas of marketing, business positioning, lending and management. She earned her Marketing and Management Degree from the University of North Florida, as well as an MBA from Jacksonville University.
While working as a Business Banker, Dana Thomas heard a speaker give a message that questioned and challenged her life’s legacy. It prompted her to take her love for youth to the next level.
Therefore, her non-for-profit Mye-Dash was born to encourage youths to begin working on ‘their’ dash. Located in Orlando, Florida Mye-Dash will equip students with tools and strategies that will broaden their perspective and shift paradigms. The information they gain will position them to transform their lifestyle and transition their communities into viable havens for entrepreneurship and education. The mission of Mye-Dash has been designed to empower youth (at-risk of becoming financially dependent) between the ages of 11-19, in the areas of financial literacy, community activism, leadership and entrepreneurship.
Monday’s Madame is a new column on MadameNoire that highlights inspirational women who are doing great things in black communities around the world. If you would like to submit an inspirational woman for consideration, please send her name, age, location, photo, and a blurb about the work she’s doing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Black Enterprise
Anything that encourages you to save is a good thing. Or is it? Investment rewards credit cards are touted as a savings tool. The cards, around for more than a decade, are still a small slice of the rewards card pie. They’re linked to vehicles like a money market, brokerage or investment account, or college savings plan. Rewards are credited to the accounts as a percentage of the purchase activity on the card.
“It’s a great way to supplement your investment efforts by using your own spending to help fund a college education or a retirement account,” says John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education at SmartCredit.com.
For example, with the Upromise World Mastercard there is no annual fee or limit on how much you can earn. You also get 4% cash back at Upromise dining restaurants and up to 3% on eligible gas purchases at Exxon or Mobil locations, 2% at certain movie theaters and 1% on everything else. The cash can be deposited monthly in your account and then invested in a tax-deferred 529 college savings plan; deposited into a Sallie Mae savings account; used to pay a Sallie Mae student loan, or you can receive payment by check, explains Debby Hohler, a spokesperson for Sallie Mae, the parent company of Upromise. While there’s no tax on the money earned at the time you invest it in the 529 plan, when withdrawing, it is important to make sure it is for qualified education expenses to minimize taxes, says Hohler.
Big spenders benefit. Investment rewards cards can offer two points per $1 spent, compared to the typical one point for $1 for other reward cards. The savings add up: In 2012, Fidelity customers averaged nearly $122 in rewards per month using their Fidelity Rewards Cards, which put them on track to earn nearly $1,500 by year-end, according to William McLimans, senior vice president of cash management for Fidelity Investments.
No annual fees. “You’d expect annual fees, but these cards don’t have them. And, the credit limits can be very high. Mine is $35,000,” says Ulzheimer.
The most fundamental benefit is that it keeps card holders on track for investing and saving, “staying true to the pay-yourself-first rule,” says Bruce McClary, spokesperson for ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions.
Read more at BlackEnterprise.com
Given the fast approaching new year it’s a pretty good idea to take a look at our finances. Hopefully you find yourself in decent shape as no one really wants to enter a new year with old debts and financial woes.
Now’s the time to take a look at ways to step up your game. Here are some tips for taking your finances to the next level. Who knows, it might just be less painful than you imagined.
For years, I stalked this house. I’d fallen in love with it by accident when I was exploring that matrix of streets surrounding Frederick Douglas’ estate, which sits high on a monstrous hill and looks down on a smaller homes not quite as grand but still beautifully historic. Like so many others in the neighborhood, my house—because, in my mind, it was already my house—bore the wounds of neglect and the bruises of age. I didn’t care that it was a little tumbledown. I adored it anyway.
When the suckishness of apartment living grated my last nerve down to the nub, I’d find respite in fantasizing about my first home. I envisioned how I would renovate and decorate it, contemplated adding another bathroom, wondered where my guests would park when I hosted my housewarming. One Sunday, I was so wound up in the spirit after church that I took my bold self up to the porch and held hands with my daughter to pray that the property would someday be ours. She was probably on the other end pleading the blood of Jesus for the very opposite thing. Whatever. I sealed my supplication with an “amen” and a won’t-he-do-it first pump and left the Lord to his work.
Sometime at the end of last year, I slacked up on my impromptu drive-bys. The next time I cruised past, my heart dropped: there was a sale sign taunting me in the yard and the telltales of construction scattered by the fence. Someone un-abandoned my abandoned home. Someone else saw its understated potential. It was just a house that didn’t know who I was, but it gave me something to work towards and dream about, especially in a time when I had been broken by a breakup and downsized out of a day job. It may seem silly, but it felt like another loss. God had declined my prayer request, and I mourned something that was never mine in the first place.
All my naming and claiming, believing and receiving—for a relationship I just knew would mature into a marriage and for a gig that provided security while I chased my dreams—failed to give me favor I could see. Now, the house that was the object of my real estate affections and the inspiration behind my enrollment in the first-time buyers program wasn’t on the “no” list too. And when God says “no” there ain’t much wiggle room for argument.
Continue reading on to find out how to survive when God does not answer your prayers at Essence.com
From Black Enterprise
A new infographic released Tuesday by the National Women’s Business Council illustrating the economic clout of women-led businesses.
“Successful women-led businesses have a variety of trajectories and strategies for growth, and there is no one right way to grow a business,” said Emily K. Bruno, Research and Policy Director for NWBC. “We’ve seen that in many cases, successful women entrepreneurs running high-growth companies have chosen to give up equity in order to raise capital. While women-led businesses are less than 51% owned by women, women still have a significant leadership position and ownership within the company, and this matters.”
The infographic is the second in a series that NWBC is producing utilizing its original research and new data sources from the Census Bureau.
Important highlights from the infographic include:
- Women have a greater economic impact than most think – 36% of employer firms are either women-owned or women-led. 17.5% of employer businesses are 51% owned by one or more women. Yet, 18.8% of employer firms are at least 30% owned by women and have a woman in a leadership role. When those two numbers are added together, women’s economic impact is much clearer. That makes 36% of employer firms either women-owned or women-led. When not focusing on women’s leadership roles within a company, the numbers look even better. 42.4% of businesses are at least 30% owned by women. These firms capture 26.1% or $2.6 trillion in receipts.
Read more at BlackEnterprise.com
The year is almost over, and after some wise (and perhaps some very unwise) personal financial decisions throughout the course of 2013, you may be ready to close the books on another year. Don’t miss a beat before this year is out. There are many financial decisions you should make before the end of year, such as starting a retirement fund or making room for a little extra cash with a side hustle.
Before the year is over, challenge yourself and accomplish these financial resolutions before the New Year.
I am a 34-year-old female and I’ve been working at a firm for 13 years and I’m not even making $30, 000 a year. I have two children and I can hardly pay for their tuition and my others bills every month. I have bad credit and I am drowning in debt. I feel that no matter how I try I can’t see my way out of all this debt. I live in a studio apartment that I rent from my parents (when I can afford to pay them) and neither of my kids have their own room or space. What hurts even more is that when my parents need my help financially I can barely help myself much less to help them.
I feel like such a disappointment to my kids, my parents and myself. I have been feeling so bad for the past five months that I am wondering if
I am falling into depression. I feel that I am not worthy of happiness or anything good. Do you know how it feels for your kids to want to do the simplest of things on the weekends and you can’t afford it? How can I get my life back? Where do I go from here? Honestly, if I continue on this pathway of life I really don’t know where I am going to end up emotionally.
Read Dr. Sherry’s response at Essence.com