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Dr. Boyce and Chris Metzler on CNBC Debating the Rich vs. the Poor

10 Jul

 

Watch Dr. Boyce Watkins and Christopher Metzler on CNBC – should the rich be taxed more than the poor?  Click here to watch

 

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Boyce Watkins on ABC News – Love and Money Questions to ask Your Partner

24 Apr

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.

 

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The latest in Financial News – 3/22/10

23 Mar

India delivers growth for Domino’s Pizza

Chain’s new CEO expects international sales to surpass those in U.S. in 3-5 years.

How Much Dough is Earned in March Madness Anyway?

13 Mar

'March Madness' isn't amateur, it's big league exploitation

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

In 2006, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Bill Thomas, sent a letter to NCAA President, Myles Brand. In this letter, Thomas had this to say:

"The annual return also states that one of the NCAA’s purposes is to ‘retain a clear line of demarcation between intercollegiate athletics and professional sports.’ Corporate sponsorships, multimillion dollar television deals, highly paid coaches with no academic duties, and the dedication of inordinate amounts of time by athletes to training lead many to believe that major college football and men’s basketball more closely resemble professional sports than amateur sports."
In this letter, Thomas makes a very clear point that is also being mentioned by academics, coaches, former athletes, students, attorneys and fair-minded Americans throughout the country: the NCAA is a professional sports league. To call collegiate athletes in revenue-generating sports "amateur" is like calling Barack Obama a part-time politician in training.

Companies pay CBS Sports $100,000 dollars for a 30-second ad during the early rounds of March Madness. This cost jumps to $1 million dollars for a 30-second spot during the Final Four. The NCAA’s contract with CBS is an 11-year, $6.1 billion dollar TV rights deal, with the NCAA hauling in over half a billion per year in revenue. The amount of money made during March Madness exceeds that which is earned in the playoffs for the NFL, NBA or Major League Baseball. The average coach in March Madness earns roughly $1 million dollars per year and schools typically hire their basketball coaches without giving a "you-know-what" about the academic standards of the coach they’ve chosen to hire (you hear that Kentucky)?

Now, who said that any of this could be defined as "amateur"?

 

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Dr. Boyce: Why African Americans are More Optimistic than you Think

11 Mar

Why African-Americans are more optimistic despite fewer jobs

According to a recent survey by Experian, African-American consumption grew by over 50 percent from the year 2000 to 2008 ($590 billion to $913 billion), and it is expected to grow to over $1.2 trillion dollars by the year 2013. The study also shows that blacks are more economically optimistic than whites, with 36 percent of us stating that we expect our financial future to improve, as opposed to 31 percent for all adults.

The Experian study says a couple of things: First, it says that black people love to consume and that we are getting better at it. In fact, black people have historically been very good at buying things and working hard to get them, but we are not very good at production, investment and saving our money. We grab our tax refunds and run to the mall. We become highly paid corporate lawyers in order to purchase the house and car we really can’t afford. We are chubby kids in the economic candy store, accelerating our collective addiction to the monetary engines controlled by corporate greed.

 

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Dr. Boyce Money: Do you really have financial security?

5 Mar

by Dr Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 

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.

Click to read.

 

 

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Julianne Malveaux on Bob Johnson and Black Money

22 Feb

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.

Click to read.

Dr. Boyce: Russell Simmons Rants on Banks

18 Feb

russell_simmons

by Dr. Boyce Watkins 

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.”

 

Click to read.

The Economic Policy Institute – 2/16/10

17 Feb

 

12/07/09
American Indians and the Great Recession—Economic Disparities Growing Larger
Issue Brief

11/12/09
Getting Good Jobs to People of Color
Briefing Paper

07/21/09
Unequal unemployment—Racial disparities in unemployment vary widely by state
Issue Brief

03/09/09
Stuck in Neutral: Economic Gains Stall Out for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in 2000s
Briefing Paper

10/31/08
Hispanics and the economy: Economic stagnation for Hispanic American workers, throughout the 2000s
Briefing Paper

09/18/08
Reversal of fortune: Economic gains of 1990s overturned for African Americans from 2000-07
Briefing Paper

01/18/08
What a recession means for black America
Issue Brief

Web-only Content

Date
Title
Type

12/16/09
A bleak future for black children
Analysis & Opinion

12/09/09
High unemployment: A fact of life for American Indians
Economic Snapshots

11/12/09
Reversing the Decline in Good Jobs [event]
Other

11/10/09
Jobs creation effort needs to focus on good jobs
Economic Snapshots

09/18/09
Three lessons about black poverty
Analysis & Opinion

07/08/09
African Americans see weekly wage decline
Economic Snapshots

04/22/09
Among college-educated, African Americans hardest hit by unemployment
Economic Snapshots

09/05/08
Jobs Picture, September 5, 2008 – Special Issue
Economic Indicators

08/04/08
Understanding the black jobs crisis
Viewpoints

06/10/08
Subprime mortgages are nearly double for Hispanics and African Americans

Congressional Black Caucus “Funny Money”

15 Feb

Corruption in the Congressional Black Caucus threatens African-Americans

by Dr. Boyce Watkins 

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.

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Homeowners Walking Away from Mortgages

3 Feb

Image: Benjamin Koellmann

updated 12:25 a.m. ET, Wed., Feb. 3, 2010

In 2006, Benjamin Koellmann bought a condominium in Miami Beach. By his calculation, it will be about the year 2025 before he can sell his modest home for what he paid. Or maybe 2040.

“People like me are beginning to feel like suckers,” Mr. Koellmann said. “Why not let it go in default and rent a better place for less?”

After three years of plunging real estate values, after the bailouts of the bankers and the revival of their million-dollar bonuses, after the Obama administration’s loan modification plan raised the expectations of many but satisfied only a few, a large group of distressed homeowners is wondering the same thing.

Click to read.

Fake Haiti Fundraisers Hit Facebook

20 Jan

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."

 

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Wyclef’s Charity Under Questioning

16 Jan

Haiti’s musician Wyclef Jean, left, arrives at the airport in Port-au-Prince on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010, the day after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit his country. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

(AP)

Groups that vet charities are raising doubts about the organization backed by Haitian-born rapper Wyclef Jean, questioning its accounting practices and ability to function in earthquake-hit Haiti.

Even as more than $2 million poured into The Wyclef Jean Foundation Inc. via text message after just two days, experts questioned how much of the money would help those in need.

"It’s questionable. There’s no way to get around that," said Art Taylor, president and chief executive of the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, based in Arlington, Va.

Taylor reviewed Internal Revenue Service tax returns for the organization also known as Yele Haiti Foundation from 2005 through 2007. He said the first red flag of poor accounting practices was that three years of returns were filed on the same day — Aug. 10 of last year.

In 2007, the foundation’s spending exceeded its revenues by $411,000. It brought in just $79,000 that year.

click to read.

Jobs Come and then Go

9 Jan

chart_job_losses_010810_3.top.gifBy Chris Isidore, senior writerJanuary 8, 2010: 11:31 AM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Employers once again slashed a substantial number jobs off their payrolls in December, according to adisappointing report from the government Friday. But there was a small glimmer of hope as well.

The payroll number for November was revised to a net gain of 4,000 jobs. That’s the first increase in jobs in nearly two years. The government had previously indicated that 11,000 jobs were lost in November.

Click to read.

Towanna Freeman: How do you find a way to be happy?

8 Jan

The following is an excerpt from the book, “The Millionaire Mentor” by Towanna Freeman (click her name to buy the book)

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.

The Latest from Dr. Boyce Money – 12/21/09

22 Dec

 

 

Dr. Boyce Money

Accenture Drops Tiger Woods

14 Dec

Tiger Woods announced on his Web site Friday that he is taking an "indefinite break" from professional golf.

A major sponsor for Tiger Woods announced Sunday that it is dropping the golf star in light of recent controversy swirling around his personal life.

Accenture, a management consulting firm, said on its Web site that "given the circumstances of the last two weeks … the company has determined that he is no longer the right representative for its advertising."

The move ends a sponsorship arrangement that lasted six years.

Another major sponsor, Gillette, said Saturday it was "limiting" Woods’ role in its marketing programs to give him the privacy to work on family relationships.

Woods announced on his own Web site Friday that he is taking an "indefinite break" from professional golf.

The 33-year-old golfer, who tops the sport’s world rankings, has been mired in controversy since he crashed his car outside his Florida mansion late last month. In the week following the crash, Woods apologized for "transgressions" that let his family down, and US Weekly magazine published a report alleging that Woods had an affair with a 24-year-old cocktail waitress named Jaimee Grubbs.

 

Click to read.

Jobs Report is Optimistic

4 Dec

In the strongest employment report since the recession began nearly two years ago, the government said Friday that the nation’s employers had all but stopped shedding jobs in November, taking some of the pressure off of President Obama to come up with a jobs creation program.

Enlarge This Image

Michael Reynolds/European Pressphoto Agency

Demonstrators outside the White House on Thursday as President Obama met with business leaders and economists to seek ideas for creating jobs.

The Labor Department reported that the United States economy lost 11,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate fell to 10 percent, down from 10.2 percent in October.

The government also significantly revised its September and October job loss estimates. September’s data was adjusted to show a loss of 139,000 jobs instead of 219,000, and in October 111,000 jobs were lost, instead of 190,000. Even allowing for the November loss, the revisions added 148,000 people to the list of those employed in the United States in November.

Though the pace of job loss has been declining since a peak in January, the November number was surprising. Economists had been expecting a turning point to come in the late spring or summer, with employers finally adding workers as a recovery takes hold. The last time the number was so bright was in December 2007, when the economy added 120,000 jobs.

“It is clearly a much better picture, and appears to be mostly genuine,” said Nigel Gault, chief domestic economist at IHS Global Insight, who said he was encouraged by gains in the average workweek and the number of temporary workers hired. “It shows employers have come back so much and are starting to rehire.”

Click to read.

How Does Prosperity Gospel Work Anyway?

30 Nov

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 

Nearly every African American knows just how important the black church is to our community. We also know about "prosperity gospel," the act of preaching about God within the context of wealth building. I admit that this form of faith is a bit odd to me. I am a Finance Professor and I become confused when my pastor talks about money more than I do. The saddest truth is that it’s hard to tell the difference between a pastor and a pimp: Most pastors aren’t pimps, but any pimp could be a pastor. The same skill set is required in both professions.

My father is a preacher, but he almost never preaches about money. I’ve never heard him asking for money on the pulpit, or mentioning that giving money to him is one of the keys to gaining access to heaven. But I don’t presume that my father is right about all things, and given that I write about money on a regular basis, I have gained an appreciation for what financial resources can do to enhance your life. Also, one must be aware of the pragmatic realities of running a church: You have the building fund, bills to pay every month and any community service initiatives that the church chooses to pursue. The proper use of money can certainly enhance your ability to do God’s work.

 

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Dr. Boyce Money: Saving on Funeral Costs

20 Nov

by Dr. Boyce Watkins 

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.

click to read.

Dr. Boyce Watkins: How Rihanna Is Profiting from Her Tragedy

12 Nov

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 

I hated what Chris Brown did to Rihanna. I was angered, disappointed and irritated by the fact that many are quick to forgive egregious behavior on the part of celebrities, and a hit song can forgive all sins. At the same time, celebs are just like the rest of us, full of complexities that the world may never come to understand. Rihanna has walked away from Chris and she is now telling the entire world how bad of a man he is, and we’re all taking her side.

The problem for Rihanna, however, is that her actions aren’t making much sense.

Rihanna’s recent whirlwind media tour has included the likes of ABC News, MTV and other major media outlets. Throughout this tour, she has allowed the world to enter into her dark reflection on the relationship she had with Chris Brown, with that reflection seeming to have almost no productive purpose. I am not sure why the he-say/she-say between two 19-year old kids should be the concern of the nation. But then again, I am sitting here writing about it, so I am as guilty as everyone else.

 

Click to read.

Dr Boyce: Ben Bernanke Needs a Lesson in Racial History

1 Nov

by Dr Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 

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.

click to read.

Ben Bernanke’s Ignorant and Racist Remarks

1 Nov

Bernanke ignores history of black and white wealth rift

  • 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.

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Secretary’s Error Costs Pepsico over $1 Billion Dollars

28 Oct

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.

 

Click to read.

Black Life 101: Should This Man Have Shot the Boy Having Sex with His Daughter

21 Oct

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University, AOL Black Voices 

I have daughters and I love them all. They are all at "that age," between 16 and 20, where they tend to love the boys that you want to beat down the most. Every time I hear them express their undying love for Lil Wayne, I can only think about him having 3 women pregnant at the same time. When I see a Chris Brown poster in their room, I remind them that Chris was accused of having boxing practice on Rihanna’s face.

But as a father, you can’t protect your daughters from themselves. Some things they have to learn on their own. And if sleeping with a pants-saggin, "purple stuff dranking," gold grill wearing, 10,000 tattoo having buffoon is the way they need to learn their lessons, you just kinda have to deal with it.I empathize with Wade Edwards, the man accused of shooting a boy for sleeping with his step daughter. Wade shot the boy four times, aiming for the "relevant zone" with each bullet. But while I can understand Wade’s anger, I do not, for one second, condone his actions.

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If the link above doesn’t work, click here.

Fenorris Pearson: Finding the Right Corporate Champions

14 Oct

by Fenorris Pearson 

No matter how many people work at your company, it only takes one or two people to change the game you’re playing. Choosing your alignments on the job can make all the difference in your career. In fact, forging alliances in the workplace is a lot like getting elected: it’s not the most popular candidate who wins, but the one who has proven himself/herself to be the most influential.

In terms of voting power, finding the right alignments is about courting individuals with the most votes that count. In other words, you can have all the friends in the world, head the Cheer Club, lead the league in strike-outs on your company softball team and generally have the popular vote, all without winning the election. Just ask Al Gore, who won the popular vote in the 2000 election, but lost the Electoral vote.

These viewpoints are most certainly capitalist. When you’re in a corporation, democracy doesn’t help you win the favor of your co-workers; your outcomes are determined by your relationships with key decision makers – those one or two consummate executives who have the most influence on your future with the company.

The corporate alliance is a very intimate one; for better or worse, you could be aligning yourself with someone who is very visible, influential and known throughout the company. A consummate executive also remembers that it’s not just the ally you’re courting, but everyone in his or her network.

Click to read.

People Fight Over Stimulus Money

14 Oct

Detroit residents, right, pick up forms to apply for federal ...

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.

 

Click to read.

Your Health Insurance News – 10/14/09

14 Oct

Health Insurance Companies causing pain for patients: Are insurance companies limiting the options available to your doctor? That may be the case. While our nation is quick to blame physicians for the state of healthcare, the insurance companies may be a more sensible target for our collective frustration.

What is umbrella insurance?
– This type of policy protects you from all the things that your standard insurance plan doesn’t cover. Everyone should consider getting umbrella insurance.
How do you keep your insurance if you lose your job? - If you don’t know the answer to this question, you need to learn about the COBRA laws. COBRA allows you to keep your old health insurance if you lose your job, and as part of the stimulus package, the federal government pays 65% of the cost.

Click to read more.

Financial News: Insurance Costs Overwhelming Many Americans

11 Oct

"The high cost of each premium and the high deductible a person or family must pay per year is my biggest complaint against health insurers."

"For example, I pay around $300 a month for my wife and me for basic coverage, and pay a deductible of $750 each every year, not to mention a co-pay of $15 to $20 at the window."

"My yearly income is around $32,000 a year. Very little is left for goodies. Meanwhile, a doctor takes in $80 to $120 a visit that lasts 15 to 20 minutes. Imagine how much he makes a day, a week, a month, a year. Plenty of goodies here."

 

Click to read.

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Black Money: Entrepreneurs Create their own Economic Recovery

11 Oct

From CNN 

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.

 

Click to read.

Fenorris Pearson Talks to Steve Harvey about Reaching Your Goals

11 Oct

by Fenorris Pearson, CEO Global Consumer Innovation, Inc. 

If you measure some of today’s top performers by yesterday’s gold standards, they simply wouldn’t measure up. Industry icons, business mavericks and game changers like Bill Gates, Walt Disney, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Rachel Ray and Michael Dell didn’t finish school or have a great education; and based on those two metrics alone, no one could have measured their full potential. By focusing only on such metrics, you might be missing the most valuable components of a person’s engine of success.

As a guest on Steve Harvey’s show, I was recently talking about success, potential and the wide gap between good grades and pure genius. Steve said something that I’ll never forget. When coming up “the hard way” he would interview for jobs or audition for various roles and, based on purely measurable qualifications – school records, his one-page resume, or whether he has movie star looks – he never quite measured up. “But what they couldn’t measure,” said Steve Harvey, “was how big my dream was…”

What a difference the power of dreams can make. As the star of The Steve Harvey Show, Steve won four NAACP Image Awards as “Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series.” He also won an NAACP Image Award for his performance as host of the variety series It’s Showtime at The Apollo. In March 2001, Harvey received the ultimate honor: NAACP Image Award’s “Entertainer of the Year,” and now has a NY Times best-selling book on the market.

Click to read.

Eddie Griffin’s New Show – What it Teaches Us about Money…Nothing

10 Oct

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University, Your Black World 

I had a lot of fun watching the new Vh-1 show, "Going for Broke," starring comedian Eddie Griffin. Griffin is one of the funniest comics in America, the comedian that Chris Tucker could have been (if he would simply stop disappearing between Jackie Chan movies).

On the show, Griffin gives insight into his personal life, which is both intriguing and disturbing. The show is called "Going for Broke" for a reason, because Eddie just might actually get there.
Here are some reasons that Eddie Griffin might actually become the broke celebrity that he is trying to become:

1) He spends like a damn fool. One of the easiest traps for an entertainer to fall into is the "infinite money trap." That’s when the person thinks that they’ve got an endless supply of cash, giving them ability to spend whatever they want on whatever they want. Apparently Eddie may have fallen into this trap, since his Bentley was being repossessed in an early episode of the show. Eddie’s conversation with his accountant was also revealing, as the words "all the accounts are empty" seemed to strike him hard. With all the success that Eddie Griffin has had, it is difficult to imagine that he would be completely broke. But the truth is that this kind of thing happens all the time.

Click to read.

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What Matters Beyond the Resume when it comes to Corporate Success?

8 Oct

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by Fenorris Pearson, CEO – Global Consumer Innovation, Inc. 

Education is critical for success, but when everyone has the same education from the same Ivy League schools with the same GPA… how do you stand out? Other factors beyond education – business etiquette, dress, playing well with others, teamwork and dedication are easy to measure and log. But what of those immeasurable traits that count for just as much in the corner office: passion, drive, commitment and stamina?

How can we measure the immeasurable?

When it comes to playing at the top, it’s often the intense, burning desire of the candidate that makes the difference between success and failure. At the end of the day, performance and results are two of the most important traits a top performer can possess. Work harder than your competition, and you’ll win the battle every time.

Another thing that people can’t measure with grades, paychecks, promotions or time cards is what’s inside your heart.

Click to read.

Senate Could Vote to Extend Jobless Benefits

7 Oct

With U.S. unemployment rising, lawmakers hope to resolve a logjam this week on a measure that would extend jobless benefits for those who already may have exhausted them, Senate aides said on Tuesday.

Congressional leaders had hoped to extend benefits before the end of September, when some 400,000 recipients were expected to use them up. But while the House of Representatives last month passed a bill, jobless benefits legislation stalled in the Senate due to a dispute over how many workers should be eligible.

While some details remained unresolved, the measure could come up for a vote in the Senate within days, said an aide to Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who argued that the legislation was too narrowly targeted.

Shaheen objected to legislation passed by the House that would extend benefits for jobless workers only in states where the unemployment rate is above 8.5 percent. The unemployment rate was 6.8 percent in August in Shaheen’s home state of New Hampshire.

Click to read more.

Professor Says We should Stop Buying Black Haircare Products

6 Oct

Atlanta, GA October 5, 2009 – Professor Devin Robinson, an economics professor at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, GA and best-selling author of Taking it Back: How to Become a Successful Black Beauty Supply Store Owner, will lead a one week long boycott against Non- Black Owned Beauty Supply stores.

Robinson stated, "Blacks make up 96% of the consumers of these stores, yet represent less than 5% of the retail ownership." As a previous owner of 3 locations, Robinson understands the industry inside out and offers comprehensive solutions for Blacks to recapture this industry. "The problem is with the distributors. Distributors are mainly Non-Blacks and they handpick who they will distribute products to. This oftentimes leaves aspiring black owners disenfranchised", said Robinson.

Click to read more.

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Consumer Bankruptcies Soar During September

2 Oct

Consumer bankruptcies soared 41% from the previous September and climbed from August, as high unemployment and the housing market crash took their toll, the American Bankruptcy Institute said Friday.

September filings totaled 124,790, the fourth-highest month since the bankruptcy law changed in 2005.

Filings also rose 4% from August, even as recent reports indicated the housing market might be stabilizing and consumer confidence appears to be recovering.

September’s filings pushed 2009 consumer bankruptcies to 1.05 million, the highest for the first nine months of a year since 1.35 million in 2005.

The American Bankruptcy Institute said it expects consumer bankruptcies to climb to more than 1.4 million this year.

The U.S. unemployment rate rose to a 26-year high in September at 9.8%, according to government statistics released on Friday.

 

Click to read.

Black News: Tiger Woods earns a Billion

2 Oct

Tiger Woods has become the first sportsman to break through the billion-dollar earnings barrier, Forbes magazine reported on Thursday.

The 33-year-old American, who has won 14 majors, reached the latest landmark of his career when he won a 10-million-dollar bonus for his FedEx Cup victory last weekend.

According to the magazine’s calculations, Woods went into the 2009 season on 895 million dollars which included prize money, endorsements, appearance fees as well as money earned through his golf course design business.

Even before picking up his end of season bonus, Woods had earned 10.5 million dollars on the USPGA Tour this year, winning six titles.

 

Click to read.

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Fenorris Pearson: Playing the Game at the Top: Your MBA Might Be DOA

30 Sep

 

by Fenorris Pearson

Once upon a time your MBA was the gold standard; a guarantee for eventual and all-but inevitable success in your chosen profession. Today the starting line has moved; an MBA is still crucial for the well-rounded, would-be consummate executive, but no longer the gold standard by which success is currently measured.

Even those reliable old yardsticks by which past business success was calculated – hard work, seniority and massive overtime – no longer ensure you the success you desire today. Many men and women have built their fortunes on these skills alone in the past, but times are changing at a critical pace, and it is important that you keep up. There are thousands of MBAs awarded every year, and the cookie-cutter approach to business success has evolved. How are you going to be different from every other MBA in the country when it comes to finding your path to success?

Here are some things you can do to rise above your MBA, make yourself relevant and prepare for the real world:

1) Never forget that the world is changing: With the increased used of technology, business models are adapting, corporations are changing their strategies, industries are rising and others are dying. Make sure you know where you fit in this bold, new world and don’t assume that you are living the same life you would have lived in 1989. The textbooks used in your MBA courses might have worked for business models in the 1990s, but they may become obsolete in the new millennium.

Click to read more.

Dr Deborah Stroman Speaks on the Financial Struggles of Ebony Magazine

29 Sep

 

Business knows one only color – green. Whether one has a history of success or newfound fame, businesses must continue to make a profit. Unfortunately, the announcement recently made by Johnson Publishing Company, Inc. the world’s largest African-American-owned and-operated publishing company, reflects the simple fact that long-term financial projections reveal that there is more month left than money. A painful pill to swallow for many in the black community due to the legacy of this family and its mission; however, there are important 21st century business lessons to highlight from this sad prospect. First, know and stay in tune with your audience. The graying demographic that historically supported Ebony can’t be relied upon for financial stability in recessionary times. New money is found in collaborative and results-based (not old school relationship) marketing.  Sadly, time is really, really money in today’s new economy. Second, embrace technology or get left behind. Experts have clearly articulated the dying of print media over the past decade. Those who chose to sleep in and ignore the warnings are now locking the doors and turning in keys. Americans want and deserve information fast and accurate. The Internet provides that medium. And lastly, in times of struggle God always provides an opportunity. The leaders at Johnson Publishing have a tremendous asset in their people. They are creative and passionate about their community and they should be given the chance to provide direction. This moment is not the time for consultants and clairvoyants with crystal balls to steer the way. Truly listen to the heart and soul of the company – the journalists and staff – and make the necessary decisions to be a viable institution for another 63 years.  Hey! No pressure but the Black community, avid readers or not, depends on it.

Dr. Deborah Stroman is a Professor at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and an expert on Leadership.  To contact Dr. Stroman for speaking engagements or media requests, please click here.

Black Financial News: Ebony Magazine is About to Be Sold

28 Sep

Can Ebony Magazine survive in the digital age?

 

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, MSNBC’s TheGrio.com, Your Black World 

 

The black journalism students here at Syracuse often come to me to find out how the industry works. They sometimes instinctively wonder if their professors’ stories about being in a CBS newsroom in 1982 are going to help them survive in a world run by Twitter, Myspace and Facebook. The answer is a resounding "probably not."

While respecting the journalism professors teaching their classes, I simply use examples like Ebony Magazine to help them realize that black media is changing, and sites like theGrio.com, BlackVoices.com, and TheRoot.com, are examples of how black media has evolved. In fact, a journalist who doesn’t understand technology and business models is in danger of starting his/her career as a dinosaur.

When it comes to recent reports about Ebony Magazine being offered for sale, I admit that I was saddened, but not surprised. The Ebony Fashion Fair has become one of the most celebrated events in black America, and the magazine has been nothing less than a tremendous source of national pride since its creation in 1945. But in the age of the web, oversized bureaucracies can be crushed under the weight of their own arrogance. Bloated payrolls, pompous corporate functions and a sense of entitlement make them easy prey for quick, hungry and rapidly evolving competition.

In spite of the tremendous love we have for Ebony/Jet, the truth must be confronted when realizing that it is what radio was to TV or what the train was to the airplane. Like radios and trains, there is still a place for print media, but that role is no longer dominant. The current economic climate only accelerated the inevitable, since advertisers were eventually going to stop spending $50,000 for magazine ads when they can buy the same number of eyeballs for $5,000 or less.

I present the following 5 questions I’d like to ask out loud about both Ebony Magazine and the state of African American media:

Click to read.

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Big Money and Big Power at the G20 Summit

26 Sep

A whole bunch of G-20 racket, but is anybody listening?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 

Uncle Ben from Spiderman made the most prophetic statement of the entire film series in his dying days (I almost cried, but don’t tell anybody): "With great power comes great responsibility." Most of us understood what Uncle Ben was trying to say, and that includes Barack Obama.

Uncle Ben should have been the keynote speaker at the latest G-20 Summit, taking place this week in Pittsburgh,PA. The G-20 Summit is a gathering of the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of the world’s 19 wealthiest countries, plus the European Union. These countries encompass 85 percent of the world’s gross domestic product, so they would probably meet Uncle Ben’s qualification for "great power," at least when it comes to money.

The G-20 Summit’s primary objective is to achieve broad cooperation on the preservation of international financial stability. The motivations of the group, created in 1999, are seemingly noble and make perfect sense in light of the fact that the global economy has reached an unprecedented level of integration. If large nations do not work together, the world’s financial system will be subject to alarming amounts of volatility.

Not everyone can see the vision behind G-20 ambitions. Usually, the gatherings of the G-20 are as out of control as a frat party, as protesters have made a game out of disrupting the meetings as much as they possibly can. To prepare for this year’s economic fiesta, the city of Pittsburgh has brought in 4,000 police, 2,000 National Guard troops and 11 Coast Guard vessels.

Police, in an overwhelming show of force, declared Thursday’s march illegal almost as soon as it began, firing rubber bullets and canisters of pepper spray and smoke after small bands of anarchists responded to calls to disperse by rolling huge metal trash bins, throwing rocks and breaking windows. As of Friday morning, reports said nearly 70 people had been arrested and police were bracing for scattered protests around downtown.

President Obama, being the conflicted capitalist/black man/ex-community organizer that he is, made some telling comments about the demonstrators.

Click to read more on MSNBC’s TheGrio.com.

What You Never Thought you needed to know about property insurance

24 Sep

Your Black World 

Most of us know very little about the ins and outs of property insurance. Christopher Chestnut is not in that category. As a prominent attorney out of Florida, Mr. Chestnut has taken on multi-million dollar cases and handled some of the most complex lawsuits imaginable. As one of the leading young black attorneys in America, Chestnut has been recognized by President Obama for his outstanding accomplishments.

I spoke to Chris this week about Property Insurance and what it can do to make your life a little simpler. Here is what he had to say:

1) If you rent, make sure you have renter’s insurance. Also, make sure your landlord has homeowner’s insurance, since renter’s insurance only includes the contents that are INSIDE the house

2) Check your landlord’s insurance regarding injuries on your rented property. Most people are unaware of the fact that the homeowner is liable in the event that someone is injured on their property. Even if the children across the street climb the fence to get into your yard, you are liable if one of them gets hurt. Find out how your landlord’s homeowner’s insurance would cover you if someone has an accident.

Click to read more.

Don’t Kill Tavis Over Wells Fargo

23 Sep

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World 

When I read about the predatory lending allegations against Tavis Smiley and Wells Fargo, I wasn’t surprised. Not because I feel that Tavis is some kind of crook, but because economic downturns are usually when everyone’s dirty laundry gets aired out. The high flying 2000s were a decade of extravagance, overspending, easy money and troubled relationships. The party was bound to end. Smiley’s party has ended with Wells Fargo, as the company has been accused of using Tavis Smiley and financial expert Kelvin Boston to convince African Americans to sign on to loans that turned out to be predatory. Neither Boston nor Smiley is willing to disclose the amount they were paid for the service, but I’m sure it wasn’t chump change.
I’ve been open and honest in my critiques of Tavis Smiley in the past, but I give credit where it’s due. I’ve always felt that Tavis Smiley is a man who works out of a sincere respect and appreciation for the black community. He is not out to hoodwink, swindle or hurt us, at least not deliberately. At worst, Smiley is guilty of being caught in a situation that he may not have fully understood.
Although I agree with the black community’s decision to hold Tavis Smiley accountable for his actions, I want us to be cautious of going overboard in our judgments. Here are 5 things I want to say about Tavis Smiley:

Click to read.

What the difference between a credit union and a commercial bank?

21 Sep

Click the image to watch a video that explains the difference.

 

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Obama Blasts AIG Over Bonuses

17 Mar

President Obama latched on to the latest round of populist anger over corporate greed Monday, ordering his Treasury secretary to "pursue every legal avenue" to stop insurance giant AIG from giving $165 million in bonuses to some of the executives who drove the company into financial ruin before it was rescued by a government bailout.

"How do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?" Obama demanded of the company that last month posted the largest corporate quarterly loss in history, $61.7 billion.

Obama’s scolding of American International Group came after his top economic advisers — Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, White House chief economist Christina Romer and Larry Summers, director of the National Economic Council — also blasted AIG over its doling out bonus checks ranging from $1,000 to $6.5 million to executives after accepting up to $180 billion in government bailout money.

 

Click to read.

Barack Obama’s Fear Language and the Economic Cost

10 Mar

By Dr. Boyce Watkins

http://www.DrBoyceMoney.com

Let’s be clear: This recession has become President Barack Obama’s personal War on Terror. Like the War on Terror, the enemy is evasive, the challenge is global, international cooperation is necessary, and the battle is unlike any other in our nation’s history. Wars are good for political business: when people get scared, politicians get a blank check to fulfill their legislative agenda. After 9/11, President Bush used fear to get the entire nation to sign onto the Patriot Act, and years later, we are wondering if someone is going to tap our cell phones and illegally imprison us for not eating our Freedom Fries. Bad legislation is like an STD: you can pick it up with a snap decision, but you pay the price for the next 20 years.

Click to read more.

 

Bernanke Says Financial System Should Be Overhauled

10 Mar

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks about reforming ...

The nation’s financial regulatory system must be overhauled to strengthen oversight of banks, mutual funds and large financial institutions whose collapse would put the entire economy in peril, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday.

"We must have a strategy that regulates the financial system as a whole, in a holistic way, not just its individual components," Bernanke said in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations.

In his most extensive remarks on the subject, Bernanke built upon previous suggestions to bolster mutual funds and a program that insures bank deposits — and repeated his call for Congress to create a system to cushion fallout from the failure of a big financial institution.

The Fed chief’s remarks come as the Obama administration and Congress are starting to crafting their overhaul strategies. For the administration, critical work on that front will be carried out among global finance officials this weekend in London. That will help set the stage for a meeting of leaders from the world’s 20 major economic powers in April.

 

Click to read.

Dr Boyce Watkins in Essence Magazine

7 Mar

Dr Boyce Watkins, Finance Professor at Syracuse University, appears in the March issue of Essence Magazine to discuss money and investing in light of the 2009 Financial Crisis.

Dr. Watkins is one of the world’s leading experts in Finance and was the only African American in the world to earn a PhD in Finance during the year 2002.  For more information, please visit www.BoyceWatkins.com.

Unemployment Rate Jumps to 8.1%

6 Mar

Employers axed 651,000 jobs in February, pushing the unemployment rate to its highest in 25 years, as companies buckled under the strain of a recession that is showing no signs of ending, according to a government report.

While that figure was near economists’ expectations for a 648,000 drop in non-farm payrolls, January and December job losses were revised sharply higher.

The Labor Department on Friday said the unemployment rate surged to 8.1% in February, the highest level since December 1983. That was above market forecasts for a rise to 7.9 from January’s 7.6%.

Cost-cutting employers are resorting to even bigger layoffs as they scramble to survive the recession, feeding insecurities among those who still have jobs and those who desperately want them.

"The pace of layoffs is fast and furious," said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group, before the report. "We’re still in the teeth of this recession and the bite has not let up at all."

 

Click to read.

Woman Sues for $5,000 AT&T Bill

4 Mar

A woman who received a $5,077 bill from AT&T for data charges on her Netbook is suing the wireless carrier and RadioShack for fraud, reports Jacqui Cheng at Ars Technica.

The lawsuit alleges that the two companies conspired to promote a netbook plus data deal that deliberately misled customers and tricked them into paying thousands of dollars per month for service.

Here’s Parks’ story:

Parks purchased a netbook from RadioShack in December of 2008 after the electronics retailer began advertising a heavily subsidized netbook deal: for $99.99 and a two-year AT&T contract, customers could buy a netbook with AT&T’s DataConnect plan, allowing them to get online from anywhere. The DataConnect service costs roughly $60 per month before the usual taxes and fees.

Click to read.

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