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Watch Dr. Boyce Watkins and Christopher Metzler on CNBC – should the rich be taxed more than the poor? Click here to watch
Visit our Other Blogs and Join Our Family!
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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.
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"?
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.
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.
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.
A former NAACPexecutive was charged in Fulton County, Ga., with embezzling $275,000 from the U.S. civil rights organization, NAACP officials say.
The Rev. Amos Brown, administrator for the NAACP’s Atlanta chapter, said former NAACP official Judith W. Hanson and Hanson’s former assistant, Saundra Douglass, are accused of embezzling funds during their time with the Baltimore-based organization, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said Tuesday.
Authorities allege Hanson, who served as the executive director of the NAACP’s Atlanta chapter, and Douglass used NAACP funds for personal expenses during a six-year period.
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."
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)
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.
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.
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.
Many of us don’t spend much time thinking about retirement planning. We figure that it’s something …
It turns out that Sinbad is broke. The comedian declared bankruptcy on December 11th of this year, …
Terrance Watanabe has a serious problem. The 52-year old man went into Harrah’s casino, got drunk …
Gatorade has dropped Tiger Woods, well, at least they dropped his drink. The new Gatorade drink, …
Nearly every African American knows just how important the black church is to our community. We …
The following is an excerpt from the book, "Black American Money." I saw some random "expert" on a …
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
If the link above doesn’t work, click here.
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.
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.
"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."
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In this challenging time for print media, the historic jewel of African American periodicals, Ebony (like so many of our ancestors) is on the auction block. What was once a staple in so many African American homes is now struggling for its survival as many question its relevance.
During segregation Ebony and Jet magazines were key sources of information for the African American community about the community. With integration, too many of us left our communities, churches, and culture behind in order to assimilate into the dominant culture. With that, for too many, Ebony no longer reflects the community they live in; aspire to live in or a lifestyle that they see as relevant.
I have always felt that Ebony needed to incorporate more relevant political/economic/business information, analysis, and content to appeal to the growing African American middle and upper class. Life style and entertainment is great but that needs to be supplemented with the relevant information to maintain that life style. It’s a difficult mix to maintain but necessary.
Selling Ebony/Jet does not mean that those magazines will cease to exist but with ownership comes control. The sale of Ebony/Jet goes back to the question of who will be left to define and interpret the issues that are relevant to the African American community and who will control its imagery. I don’t know that Viacom has that mission or interest.
John H. Johnson said that Ebony was founded to "project all dimensions of the Black personality in a world saturated with stereotypes. We wanted to give Blacks a new sense of somebodiness, a new sense of self-respect. We wanted to tell them who they were and what they could do. We believed then–and we believe now–that Blacks needed positive images to fulfill their potentialities." The world continues to be saturated with those stereotypes and the community still needs positive images in order to fulfill its potential.
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.
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:
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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:
The president recently gave an interesting address to Wall Street on the anniversary of the start of the financial crisis which began last year (and also got him elected). One year ago, the fall of Lehman Brothers left the nation scrambling to find ways to secure critical liquidity to a financial market that was on the brink of devastation.
In his speech, the president wasn’t nice. He received applause from the audience only one time, so they don’t like him as much as black people do. What’s also clear is that he’s not President Bush: Wall Street doesn’t want Barack Obama to be president, but he is exactly what they need right now.Our banking system is ranked 108th in the world in terms of stability, behind Tanzania. What’s even more frightening is that while being incredibly reckless, our banking system is the most powerful in the world, driving the strongest economy on earth. We can’t afford to be silly or irresponsible.
The president focused his conversation around three key adjustments:
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.
By Dr. Boyce Watkins
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.
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.
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.