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by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Finance Professor – Syracuse University
As a Finance Professor, I find it incredibly ironic that many people get married without talking about money. They talk about every kind of compatibility from emotional, to spiritual, sexual, and professional, but they seldom take the time necessary to ensure that they can tolerate the idea of sharing their financial life with a person who may not be on the same page. This problem is compounded in black relationships, where many women describe economic hurdles as one of the reasons that black women have trouble finding the right mate.
Chain’s new CEO expects international sales to surpass those in U.S. in 3-5 years.
I’d like to ask you a quick question that I ask my students here at Syracuse University. It is also a question I had to honestly ask myself when I thought I was on top of the world after spending 12 years going through college and graduate school to earn a PhD in Finance (which was unbelievably difficult). The question is this: Do you have financial security? If you don’t have financial security, do you at least have job security? If you believe your job is secure, then how many jobs do you have?
If you are like most Americans, you probably have just one job. I am not here to tell you that this is wrong. But, I am here to tell you that you might want to rethink what it means to be economically secure.
At worst, economic security is not provided by just having a high income. In fact, in some ways, having a high income can make you less secure, since you are more likely to have higher monthly expenses. To some extent, having a high income from just one job can fool you into believing that you are financially secure, when the truth is that you might be one paycheck away from economic disaster.
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Why, the email asks, do we still have Black History Month? The writer might be white, or she might not. She identifies her self as a "conscious woman" and sends the email to one of my public addresses. She seems chagrined that "race still matters" and wants to initiate an exchange of views with hers at the foundation – studying black history is obsolete. We have a black president, the woman writes. Black people have made so many strides. Aren’t you holding on to the past, she argues, when you insist on having this month to study black history?
I am not in the habit of engaging in email debates with folks who are ill informed, so I ignore the note. Still, I am intrigued enough by it to print it out and paste it to my desktop for a few days. When I pick up high school history books, I see African American history sprinkled through, like seasoning, as opposed to being placed at a base. And I think of the tremendous vision of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the second African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard (after WEB DuBois) and the founder, in `1915, of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). Woodson wrote the masterpiece "The Miseducation of the Negro" and founded Negro History Week in 1926. By 1976 the week had expanded into African American History Month. The Association, based in Washington, DC, sets a theme for Black History Month each year (notice that I use Black and African American interchangeably – for me they are the same thing). This year the theme is "The History of Black Economic Empowerment".
Economics is the study of who gets what, when, where and why. It is the study of the way the factors of production – land, labor, capital and creativity are paid in rent, wages, interest and profit. It is the history of the knife, of how the pie is sliced. And it is the story of why African Americans get so much less than our fair share of the pie.
Hip hop mogul Russell Simmons seems to feel that banks are not treating the poor in a proper fashion. This week, in a rant on his site, “The Global Grind,” Simmons had this to say:
“They trick customers into doing things that are not good for them through lack of transparency, and surprise them with new fees when they can least afford it. I’m learning an important lesson about ethics or lack of ethics in this industry. In fact, I’m fighting with a bank right now that doesn’t know what kind of ass whipping they are going to get when I expose them for the abusive practices and exuberant fees they are charging the poor. What they are doing is trying to double their already outrageously high fees in exchange for providing absolutely nothing to my customers.”
Simmons went on to try to create a “movement” by adding a call to action:
“Let’s start the biggest public discussion ever about how banks treat us and expose these banks for their unequal treatment and unconscionable conduct. The time is now.”
American Indians and the Great Recession—Economic Disparities Growing Larger
Getting Good Jobs to People of Color
Unequal unemployment—Racial disparities in unemployment vary widely by state
Stuck in Neutral: Economic Gains Stall Out for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in 2000s
Reversal of fortune: Economic gains of 1990s overturned for African Americans from 2000-07
What a recession means for black America
A bleak future for black children
Analysis & Opinion
High unemployment: A fact of life for American Indians
Reversing the Decline in Good Jobs [event]
Jobs creation effort needs to focus on good jobs
Three lessons about black poverty
Analysis & Opinion
African Americans see weekly wage decline
Among college-educated, African Americans hardest hit by unemployment
Jobs Picture, September 5, 2008 – Special Issue
Understanding the black jobs crisis
From left are, Rep. Donald Payne, D-N.J., Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y. and Rep. Charles Rangel D-NY. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
Does anyone think that the Congressional Black Caucus works for the interests of the African-American community? Well, think again. It appears that, according to a scathing report in The New York Times, African-Americans don’t have the money to buy the CBC’s loyalty. At the very least, they do not appear to be the top priority for a legislative group that has allowed dollar signs to complicate its priorities.
The New York Times article details a highly suspicious network of foundations and charities that seem to funnel money to CBC members in exchange for influence in Washington. The political and charitable wings of the CBCtook in $55 million dollars between 2004 and 2008, with only $1 million of that coming through their political action committee; the rest came through their unregulated network of foundations, which are allowed to escape campaign finance laws designed to keep legislators from being bought by corporate America.
While the CBC argues that the funds are used to support charitable causes in the African-American community, it seems that the foundation spends more time "big balling" with elaborate corporate events than it spends actually doing work for the community. Federal tax records show that the CBC Foundation spent more money on the caterer for its annual dinner, $700,000 dollars, than it spent giving out scholarships. As my mama used to say, "That’s just trifling."
Even more disturbing are the relationships that the Congressional Black Caucus has formed with industries that clearly do not have the interests of the black community at heart, including the Internet poker industry, cigarette manufacturers, alcoholic beverage producers and rent-to-own companies. Many rent-to-own companies operate in predominantly black neighborhoods and are effectively electronic drug dealers: They give consumers a quick high today in exchange for unethically high fees and massive amounts of debt. Well guess what? The CBC is one of the reasons that the rent-to-own industry has been allowed to expand its operations in urban communities where CBC members don’t even live.
Historically, marriage was the surest route to financial security for women. Nowadays it’s men who are increasingly getting the biggest economic boost from tying the knot, according to a new analysis of census data.
The changes, summarized in a Pew Research Center report being released Tuesday, reflect the proliferation of working wives over the past 40 years — a period in which American women outpaced men in both education and earningsgrowth. A larger share of today’s men, compared with their 1970 counterparts, are married to women whose education and income exceed their own, and a larger share of women are married to men with less education and income.
"From an economic perspective, these trends have contributed to a gender role reversal in the gains from marriage," wrote the report’s authors, Richard Fry and D’Vera Cohn.
Fake fundraising efforts for the Haiti disaster are spreading like wildfire on Facebook. Dozens of fan pages have been set up, urging users to join and promising a $1 donation for each member. One group this weekend attracted 1.5 million members before it was disabled.
Meanwhile, during the weekend, Facebook officials had to beat back a rumor that the firm had promised a $1 donation for every member that changed their status to include a message about Haiti.
"This status is being tracked, the owners of facebook have confirmed they will send $1 to the rescue fund for the Haiti earthquake disaster for everytime this is cut and paste as a status," read one form of the bogus claim. "You only have to leave it for a minimum of 1 hour. Lets all do our bit to help."
Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt said the firm took aggressive steps to quell the rumor. It posted a note on its blog on Saturday warning about the bogus message.
"Beware of scams and hoaxes and ensure that your donations for Haiti get to the right places," the social networking company wrote on its blog. Contrary to a current meme, Facebook is not donating $1 for statuses, however we are sharing reputable resources via the "Other Pages" tab on the Global Disaster Relief on Facebook Page."
U.S. insurers may have very little exposure to the massive losses caused by the earthquake that struck Haiti.
Haiti is one of the smallest insurance markets in the Americas, with a total non-life insurance premium income of just under $20 million, "which reflect the country’s poverty," according to a report Wednesday from Newark, Calif.-based Risk Management Solutions Inc. By comparison, the total net premiums for property and casualty coverage in the U.S. in 2008 totaled nearly $441 billion, the most recent figures available from the Insurance Information Institutes 2010 Fact Book.
The following is an excerpt from the book, “The Millionaire Mentor” by Dr. Towanna Freeman
Happiness is a Choice You Make
If you are not a happy person that is a choice you are making. You have full control over your life and the decisions that you make. There are many factors which people measure happiness. Some people think money is happiness however they may absolutely miserable with what they do on a daily basis to make their money.
You might look at people who have absolutely everything and you strive to be like them. These things may be wealth, possessions, status, or even the position you hold at work. These things don’t create happiness. Happiness is a choice.
There are many people who have wealth and a high status who are completely miserable. They may be lonely, divorced and more. Happiness comes from within. These people may be working jobs they absolutely hate but just have a knack for making money.
Happiness is Subjective
There are things in life that can make you happy that are subjective. They are subjective because happiness comes differently for everyone.
You might find joy and happiness seeking thrills through rides like roller coasters and bungee jumping. This thrill may be more than torture for someone with a fear of heights who would never step foot on a roller coaster or ever be brave enough to jump from a bridge suspended by a bungee cord.
Everyone seeks happiness in their own way. What makes you happy is a natural high that you deserve to seek. There is nothing wrong with the things that you find joy in. You may be told you are crazy but that is because of the subjectivity.
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During a year-long gambling binge at the Caesars Palace and Rio casinos in 2007, Terrance Watanabe managed to lose nearly $127 million.
The run is believed to be one of the biggest losing streaks by an individual in Las Vegas history. It devoured much of Mr. Watanabe’s personal fortune, he says, which he built up over more than two decades running his family’s party-favor import business in Omaha, Neb. It also benefitted the two casinos’ parent company, Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., which derived about 5.6% of its Las Vegas gambling revenue from Mr. Watanabe that year.
Terrance Watanabe, 52, is believed to have the biggest losing streak in Las Vegas history, losing $127 million dollars in one year. Mr. Watanabe, who now lives in the Bay Area, stands near the entrance to Stanford University on Dec. 3, 2009.
Today, Mr. Watanabe and Harrah’s are fighting over another issue: whether the casino company bears some of the responsibility for his losses.
In a civil suit filed in Clark County District Court last month, Mr. Watanabe, 52 years old, says casino staff routinely plied him with liquor and pain medication as part of a systematic plan to keep him gambling.
Nevada’s Gaming Control Board has opened a separate investigation into whether Harrah’s violated gambling regulations, based on allegations made by Mr. Watanabe.
Funerals are never fun. They are emotionally draining and you are forced to endure the shock of knowing that your loved one will never be back in your life. In addition to the emotional devastation, you have to deal with the financial burdens of paying for someone to be buried. We all know that funerals are not free or cheap, and the last place you want to be cheap is when it comes to burying the person you love.
But there are ways you can keep the cost down. They say you can’t take the money with you, but someone who doesn’t plan for their death may be taking their relatives’ money with them to the grave. Here are some ways that you can bury on a budget: giving relatives dignity without creating financial hardship.
There is a funeral cost calculator on FuneralswithLove.com that helps you to figure out how much your funeral might cost and whether or not you’re going to be able to pay for it. Effectively, the cost estimator first determines your total resources from prepaid expenses, personal savings/investments, and death benefits. Once you know what is available to you, you have to determine how much you want to spend. Some of us want to go out in style and some of us figure that since we’re dead, our relatives should be the ones having all the fun.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. I feel that he is better than the previous chairman, Alan Greenspan, but the Fed Chairmanship (like the presidency) is almost never given to the right man. Just the fact that it is almost always given to a man is problematic enough, and the truth is that only white men need apply for the job.
Well, when you are limited in your option pool for the top job, bad leadership and flat out ignorance can sometimes be the result. While Fed Chairman Bernanke might know some nuts and bolts about economics, he appears to be shockingly misinformed about economic disparities between blacks and whites. His embarrassing and highly inappropriate statements at Morehouse College serve as a significant case in point.
In a recent interview at Morehouse, the Fed Chairman was asked what he felt to be the reason for the wealth gap between blacks and whites. In response, Bernanke said that the gap was due to a lack of "financial literacy" and "financial education" on the part of African Americans. That’s all he mentioned.
- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke listens to businessmen following an address in Chatham, Mass., Friday, Oct. 23, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Last spring when Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke visited Morehouse College, an undergraduate student asked him what accounts for the enormous racial disparity in wealth. Bernanke responded that the source of the problem was the lack of "financial literacy" and "financial education" on the part of blacks, particularly with respect to savings decisions.
He said nothing about the lack of access to inherited wealth, such as inheritances and other intergenerational transfers. Most wealth acquisition today takes place by such asset shifts. Even more astonishing, Bernanke never mentioned the notorious history of white violence that included the seizure, destruction and appropriation of black property.
Acknowledging this unfairness is not an excuse but a powerful truth; remedying it requires straightforward government action, rather than lectures on the value of saving. In fact, the racial wealth gap can be decreased – and without using a race-specific strategy of wealth redistribution.
We propose Children’s Development Accounts, an expanded and non-incremental version of what Manning Marable of Columbia University has called the "Baby Bond" plan. It would provide an endowed trust fund for all children born into families with a net worth below the national median, progressively rising to $50,000 to $60,000 for children whose families are in the lowest wealth quartile. The program could be structured like the Earned Income Tax Credit, which uses a benefits phase-out schedule.
What’s the cost of not showing up to court? For PepsiCo Inc., it’s a $1.26 billion default judgment. A Wisconsin state court socked the company with the monster award in a case alleging that PepsiCo stole the idea to bottle and sell purified water from two Wisconsin men.
Now the company is scrambling to salvage the situation. The damages award was handed down on Sept. 30. PepsiCo filed motions to vacate the order and dismiss the claims on Oct. 13, saying it wasn’t even aware of the lawsuit until Oct. 6.
The litigation began in April when Charles Joyce and James Voigt sued the soft drink maker and two of its distributors, alleging they had misappropriated trade secrets from confidential discussions the plaintiffs had with the distributors in 1981 about selling purified water. The information was illicitly passed to PepsiCo, which used it to develop and sell Aquafina bottled water, the plaintiffs allege in the case filed in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County before Judge Jacqueline Erwin.
Scuffles erupted as several thousand Detroit residents jockeyed, pushed and shoved Wednesday to get free money being offered to only 3,500 of the city’s recently or soon to be homeless.
Several received medical treatment for fainting or exhaustion while frantically trying to obtain the applications for federal housing assistance. The long lines and short tempers highlighted the frustration and desperation that Detroit residents feel struggling through an economic nightmare.
The line around Cobo Center, a downtown convention center, started forming well before daybreak. Anger flared within a few hours as more people sought out a dwindling number of applications for the program.
Members of the Detroit Police Department’s Gang Squad and other tactical units were called in for crowd control. Several people reportedly passed out from exhaustion and had to be treated by emergency medical personnel. Some minor injuries were reported, and no arrests were made.
Back in August, Federal Reserve officials suggested that the Great Recession was ending and the U.S. could expect "a gradual resumption of sustainable economic growth." But even with stock market indexes and the bottom lines of large financial firms bouncing back, small businesses can expect a longer slog to economic health.
"Small business performance is a lagging indicator of recovery in the same way that unemployment is," says Villanova University business school professor John Pearce II.
And it’s likely that small businesses will find this recovery even slower than previous ones. The downturn has especially hurt construction firms, retailers and food service providers, the vast majority of which employ fewer than 20 workers. To make matters worse, more than 110 banks have failed since early 2008, most of them community thrifts catering to the financial needs of local firms.