The Money Mentor: Buying Facebook Stock? 6 Things to Know When Buying Stocks Online

21 May

By:  Lorillia Brown-Phillips, The Money Mentor, Your Black World

The Facebook stock buying frenzy began on Friday May 18, 2012, the company’s initial public offering (IPO) stock image credit: cbsnews purchase price opened at $38 for the general public.  Everyone is talking about buying Facebook stock with the hopes of riding the stock tidal wave of wealth.   While buying a company’s stock can be a great asset class to have as part of your investment portfolio, many novice investors need to be cautious before joining the masses of online stock purchasers.  If you are considering opening a stock account online to begin investing, here are 6 tips to consider before you make your first stock purchase.

  1. Understand Risk tolerance – an investor’s risk tolerance determines if an investor is a conservative, moderate or an aggressive investor.   Knowing your risk tolerance is important before you make any type of investment purchase, conservative investors tend to be risk averse to stock buying, where as moderate and aggressive investors are risk seekers. Always check to see if the online broker’s website has a risk tolerance measuring questionnaire.
  2. Commission & Transaction fees – find out what are the transaction fees being charged to place a stock order.  Many stock trading websites fees range from 4.95 to 9.95 the price can be based on the day of the week, the buying frequency or type of investment selection.
  3. Minimums – do the online broker require an upfront deposit to place an order, make sure minimums are not required to get started.
  4. Customer service – what type of interaction is available to answer your questions; are there live agents to take your calls, live chat sessions or only a FAQ page.   Keep in mind customer service can only answer questions regarding the online trading plat form; many customer service agents that work for online brokers are not license professionals.  This means they cannot give customers advice on their investments.
  5. Investment selection – what type of investments do the online broker provide for purchasing, it’s important to know is the website for only buying EFTs, stocks, mutual funds,   or a variety of investments.
  6. Oversight affiliation –is the online servicer a member of SIPC®, which is the Securities Investor Protection Corporation or FINRA, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.  Online brokers usually include their affiliations within the footer of the website.

About the Author:  

Lorillia Brown-Phillips is a Financial Literacy Educator and Author of “Jump Start Your Credit: How to Negotiate and Settled Your Debts in 10 Steps”, subscribe to her blog at:  www.yourmoneymentor.com

The Money Mentor: Do you know the signs of Debt Related Depression

5 May

It’s no secret or fallacy that Debt Related Depression does not exist, and statistics show that 8 out 10 families have one or even two family members who may be suffering with Debt Related Depression without getting help.    Many individuals ignore the warning signs, and do not get help.  Individuals, who put off treating their Debt Related Depression Symptoms, may experience constant fatigue, panic attacks, anxiety disorders and even suicide.

Discussing Debt Problems

Before an individual can begin to ask for help or seek help, he or she has to admit they have a debt problem.  Individuals who accumulate debt and are unable to eliminate their current or past due debt, always want to blame their debt problems on external factors; for example the lost of a job, a love one, or even society.  Blaming others and not admitting that you have a problem, will only cause a delay with you getting or seeking help.  Debt problems cannot be eliminated overnight, and many people need to understand that reality in order to see the light at the end of tunnel.   Expecting overnight results for a long term problem will only lead to an immediate disappointment.

Steps for handling Debt Related Depression

If you are seeking some relief for DRD and you want to take control of your life.  Here are 8 steps to assist in the process.

  1. Seek help – find someone who specializes with dealing someone who suffers from Debt Related Depression.  Attempting to do it alone can be overwhelming, especially if you have thoughts of suicide.
  2. Stop Spending – if you have access to credit or money, stop spending.  Adding to the problem will only make things worse, some people truly believe living paycheck to paycheck and being in debt and depress is a normal way of life.
  3. Unrealistic goals – don’t expect to get out of debt overnight, put together a long term strategy if you’re doing it alone without professional help.
  4. Don’t Ignore Symptoms – recognizing the symptoms are key, many substance abuse habits are cause by ongoing and long term depression.
  5. Asks your employer – Seek help from your employers HR dept, many companies understand that employees who have problems with debt are prone to take part in embezzlement or any other illegal financial schemes.
  6. Don’t ask for money – Be cautious about asking family or friends for money to get you out of debt.  If you don’t have a plan to pay individuals back the end results will not be nice.  It could even lead to being sued.

About the Author:  

Lorillia Brown-Phillips is a Financial Literacy Educator and Author of “Jump Start Your Credit: How to Negotiate and Settled Your Debts in 10 Steps”, subscribe to her blog at:  www.yourmoneymentor.com

The Money Mentor: Student Loan Debt Continues to Rise with Interest Rate Hike

26 Apr

By:  Lorillia Brown-Phillips, The Money Mentor, Your Black World

In the next coming months the current subsidized student loan interest rate of 3.4 percent will be expiring  and the new increase tax rate will be 6.8 percent.   The increase interest rate hike could increase some student loan payments an extra $1,000, which could impact 7.4 million students according to the White House.

Who will be affected

Federal  subsidized student loans that were disbursed  to undergraduate students after July 1, 2011, are the only type of student loans that will be affected by this rate increase .   Student loans that were disbursed prior to July 1, 2011 carried an interest rate of 5.6 percent and higher.  Many industry analyst say that this interest rate hike will only add to the $1 trillion in student loan debt that’s outstanding.   Currently 84 percent of student loan debt is underwritten by the federal government, and that number is expected to rise to mid-90 percent range in coming years.

Remedy for graduating students

Although statistics has shown that student loan debt payments have not increase as rapidly as inflation.  Many college lending experts say,  the cost of college has increased about 498 percent since 1986, while the rate of inflation over that same period has only been 115 percent.  How can students manage their student loan debt,  without facing the chance of a student loan default?  Students who are facing a financial hardship and find making student loan payments difficult, they should contact their loan servicer early after graduation to discuss what options they have available to them.  Those options could result as a deferred payment plan or an income base repayment plan.

About the Author:  

Lorillia Brown-Phillips is a Financial Literacy Educator and Author of “Jump Start Your Credit: How to Negotiate and Settled Your Debts in 10 Steps”, she can  found at:  www.yourmoneymentor.com

The Money Mentor: : The IRS Warns Tax Filers about the Dirty Dozen

26 Mar

By:  Lorillia Brown-Phillips, The Money Mentor, Your Black World

Every year the IRS provides  the public with the Dirty Dozen tax scams, that tax payers should be aware of to protect themselves from tax payer fraud. The tax filing season ends on April 17, and there are still some tax payers who will wait until the last minute to file their taxes. If you are one of those last minute tax filers, it’s important you are aware of the wide range of schemes ranging from identity theft to preparer fraud.  Here are just six of the Dirty Dozen tax schemes.

  1. Identity Theft – IRS says identity theft tops their list for tax schemes because of the growing cases throughout the US.  The IRS has put in place a comprehensive strategy for preventing, detecting and resolving identity theft.  IRS wants to warn taxpayers that identity thieves are constantly looking for ways to file fraudulent returns to get a tax refund.
  2. Phishing – Be on the lookout for disguised emails that resemble an IRS correspondence, encouraging tax payers to provide personal information.  The IRS will never contact tax payers through email, report all weird emails to phishing@irs.gov.
  3. Return Preparer Fraud – Beginning for the 2012 tax filing season, tax preparers who are not licensed CPA, EA or attorneys, have to apply for a PTIN to prepare taxes for the public.  All tax preparers must sign returns and provide their PTIN on all returns.
  4. Free Money” from the IRS & Tax Scams Involving Social Security – Flyers have been distributed to community churches around the US, claiming that tax payers can file with little or no documentation.  These scams have been successful preying on low income or elderly individuals.
  5. False Form 1099 Refund Claims– Perpetrators create false 1099 tax forms to claim credit or deductions that are not allowed.  The IRS has warned individuals that if are party to these claims will be liable for financial penalties or even face criminal prosecution.
  6. Falsely Claiming Zero Wages – Filing false information returns such as W-2 or 1099 is an illegal way to reduce taxable income to zero.  Fraudsters will file tax form 4852 as a way to properly support their false tax filings.  Individuals who take part in this scam may face a harsh penalty of $5,000.

About the Author:  

Lorillia Brown-Phillips is a Financial Literacy Educator and Author of “Jump Start Your Credit: How to Negotiate and Settled Your Debts in 10 Steps”, she can  found at:  www.yourmoneymentor.com

The Money Mentor: Are You Being Haunted by Old Debts?

8 Mar

By:  Lorillia Brown-Phillips, The Money Mentor, Your Black World

Have you ever been issued a credit card that was charged off due to non payment?  Did you know that a charged off credit card balance is considered taxable ordinary income, according to the IRS.  Charged off credit card debt that is either canceled or forgiven may cause taxpayers to receive a 1099-C.  A 1099-C is a tax form issued to taxpayers if they incur $600 or more in canceled or forgiven debt.  The issuing company must be applicable entity which includes a: financial institution, credit union, federal government agency or a money lending company.

Exceptions to the rule

There are exceptions for not reporting the 1099-C as ordinary income.  If you were insolvent or the debts were discharged in bankruptcy you are exempt from reporting the amounts on your income tax return.  The IRS has provided worksheets that taxpayers must use to prove their insolvency.  Keep in mind that your debts have to exceed your assets, and your insolvency is reported on IRS Tax Form 982.

Debts that were discharged in bankruptcy are not taxable.  But if you still received a 1099-C you still have to report the income, keep in mind to exclude the income you have to use IRS Tax Form 982 to report the exclusion.

Ignoring will not help

If you are in disagreement with the organization that issued you the 1099-C, do not ignore the tax form and refuse to file the tax form.  Keep in mind, any tax form that has been sent to you in the mail has also been reported and filed with the IRS.  If you believe the tax form has been sent to you in error, call the institution that issue you the form and see if they will revise the tax form sent in error.  Always consult with your accountant, CPA or tax advisor, if you feel overwhelmed and need guidance on any tax matters.

About the Author:  

Lorillia Brown-Phillips is a Financial Literacy Educator and Author of “Jump Start Your Credit: How to Negotiate and Settled Your Debts in 10 Steps”, she can be reached at  www.yourmoneymentor.com

The Money Mentor: How to Manage Debt for Married Couples

2 Mar

Committing to a marital partnership can be one of the most intimidating life events that two individuals may face.   But when you add personal finances woes, for example uncontrollable debt to the mix;   the combination can be lethal to a relationship.  Debt problems can either arise before a marriage or during the marital union, recognizing the warning signs are key.  Here are 6 tips to help married couples manage and eliminate debt.

  1. Make small strides.  To eliminate debt, start with the smallest to the largest debt.  Make a spreadsheet with a combination of separate and joint debts, and make a plan to contribute extra money to eliminate the smallest debt first.
  1. Identity is important.   Once the debts are put in a spreadsheet listing, its important to determine what is current, late or a defaulted debt.  Identification is key, you always want to continue to pay current debts on time, bring late payments up to date and put together a strategy to tackle defaulted debts.
  1. To separate or not separate.  Debts that were accumulated before marriage are a sensitive matter and should be approach with caution.  Decide how the debt will be a paid down and decide if it will be paid from a joint or separate bank account.
  1. Commit to savings.  A savings plan should be set up to work systematically on an ongoing basis.  Creating an emergency savings plan of 9-12 months of expenses should be a goal to reach by both spouses.
  1. Don’t argue.  Arguing will never provide solutions to spouses who are having financial problems.  It only causes a blame game session with no end results. Instead of arguing, couples should face their financial problems together and put together a realistic strategy that both spouses can commit too.
  1. Don’t keep secrets.  Whether the debt was accumulated before or after the marriage, secrets are never a good thing.  Both spouses should commit to a personal oath to one another, this will deter sneaking behind each other backs; that will only cause  havoc once the truth comes to light.

About the Author:  

Lorillia Brown-Phillips is a Financial Literacy Educator and Author of “Jump Start Your Credit: How to Negotiate and Settled Your Debts in 10 Steps”, she can be reached at  http://www.yourmoneymentor.com

The Money Mentor: IRS Cracksdown on Identity Theft in 23 States

31 Jan

By: Lorillia Brown-Phillips, The Money Mentor, Your Black World

Since the IRS open the tax filing season on January 17, 2012, the Justice Department’s Tax Division and local U.S. Attorneys’ Offices targeted 105 people in 23 states on indictments, arrests and the execution of search warrants involving the potential theft of thousands of identities and taxpayer refunds.  Along with 939 criminal charges which included 69 indictments and information related to identity theft.

The identity theft crimes took place in money service businesses also called check cashing stores.  Many check cashing stores are highly trafficked money outlets that service the unbanked and underbanked population.  So far the IRS has made surprise compliance visits to 150 check cashing facilities throughout the US.  According to the IRS.gov website the commissioner Doug Shulman said, “This unprecedented effort against identity theft sends a strong, unmistakable message to anyone considering participating in a refund fraud scheme this tax season.”

Currently, the IRS plans to perform compliance audits to more than 250 check-cashing operations across the country and will be looking for indicators of identity theft as part of the exam effort.  The information from these audits and compliance visits will be used to assist continuing IRS investigations into refund fraud and identity theft.  Some of the US states that are considered high-risk are Atlanta, Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Phoenix, Tampa and Washington, D.C.

About the Author:

Lorillia Brown-Phillips is a Financial Advisor and Author of “Jump Start Your Credit: How to Negotiate and Settled Your Debts in 10 Steps”, she can be reached at  http://www.brownassocllc.com

Ryan Mack: Suze Orman vs. Suze Orman – Money Vs. Principle

31 Jan

by Ryan Mack

I have long admired the work and writings of Suze Orman; I have often taken her advice and advised others to do the same. As a financial advisor I have taken the path to teach financial literacy to individuals in economically challenged communities across the United States – those who do not have access to solid fiscal management principles, those who can least afford to be irresponsible with their money, and those who also know and respect the name Suze Orman. Therefore I was sadly surprised and disappointed to learn that someone for whom I had so much respect would be an advocate for the prepaid debit card. My “unofficial mentor” had chosen to make money from the very people I am attempting to help. She had joined the ranks of the Lil Wayne, Tom Joyner, Russell Simmons, and the Kardashians.

Continue reading

Ryan Mack: Not You Too SuzeOrman…Say It Ain’t So!

16 Jan

Written By Ryan Mack, Author of Living in the Village (www.livinginthevillage.com)

Continue reading

Suze Orman is Banking on your Financial Ignorance

12 Jan

By:  Lorillia Brown-Phillips, The Money Mentor, Your Black World

I have always respected Suze Orman’s advice and her brand awareness in the area of personal finance, so I want to begin that this is not a Suze Orman bashing article.  But it is an article to bring awareness, to the exorbitant fees associated with her newly issued Approved Prepaid MasterCard.  The Approved Prepaid MasterCard a campaign that is targeted to the unbanked or under banked consumers, which consist of approximately 9 million Americas according to the FDIC.  The Approved Prepaid MasterCard card is being promoted along with Suze Orman’s newly released book America’s Money Class.  The America’s Money Class is also a television show that premiered January 9, 2012 at 9pm on the OWN network.

According to the card’s website http://www.approvedcard.com, the card is advertised as a “smarter way to be debt-free”, but consumers who may find this card as a solution to their money problems will still be financially poor.  Prepaid debit cards do not educate or encourage consumers to be fiscally empowered or responsible.  Relying on prepaid debit cards, check cashing stores or tax refund loans shows that there is an urgent need for financial literacy, not a saturated market of predatory financial products.

What are the fees associated with this card?  There are 20 fees that total $145.95 that a consumer should be aware of if they plan to use the Approved Prepaid MasterCard.  The Approved Prepaid MasterCard fees are as follows:

  1. Card Purchase Fee                3.00
  2. Monthly Account Maintenance Fee    3.00
  3. Allpoint ATM Withdrawal Fee – Domestic 2.00
  4. Non-Allpoint ATM Withdrawal Fee – Domestic    2.00
  5. Domestic ATM Balance Inquiry Fee    1.00
  6. Domestic ATM Declined Fee    1.00
  7. International ATM Withdrawal Fee    2.00
  8. International ATM Balance Inquiry Fee    1.00
  9. International ATM Declined Fee    1.00
  10. Over-the-Counter Cash Withdrawal Fee    2.00
  11. Live Agent Customer Service Call Fee (English & Spanish)    2.00
  12. Card Replacement Issuance Fee    3.00
  13. Express Card Delivery Shipping Fee    20.00
  14. Paper Statement Fee    2.00
  15. Bill Payment Fee – Paper Check    1.00
  16. Bill Payment Fee – Expedited/Same Day Payment    9.95
  17. Bill Payment Fee – Check Re-Issue    15.00
  18. Bill Payment Fee – Payment Inquiry    30.00
  19. Bill Payment Fee – Postal Reject    25.00
  20. Bill Payment Fee – Check Copy    20.00

 About the Author:

Lorillia Brown-Phillips is a Financial Advisor and Author of “Jump Start Your Credit: How to Negotiate and Settled Your Debts in 10 Steps”, she can be reached at admin@brownassocllc.com or http://www.brownassocllc.com

5 Steps to a Financial Makeover in 2012

6 Jan

By:  Lorillia Brown-Phillips, The Money Mentor, Your Black World

It’s now 2012, and if you’re still procrastinating with making a financial leap, then you don’t want to put it off any longer.   Procrastination is never a good thing, and why have your personal finances suffer in the meantime.  If you need a financial makeover, it takes a mental commitment; one that will allow you to stay the course until the end of the year.  Here is a quick 5 step checklist that can assist you in staying committed to a financial makeover in 2012.

1.    Set Realistic Goals – Making a laundry list of all the things you want to change and correct can be intimating, and intimidation can breed failure.  Consider taking a four quarter approach when you set your financial goals.   For example during the first quarter of 2012, I will only reduce and pay down debt, and second quarter I will rebuild my credit.  There are four quarters in a year, and by taking a quarter approach, you’re slaying your financial giants in small pieces, instead of one big unrealistic punch.

2.    Write it Down – Studies show that people who write down their goals, are more committed, then people who do not.  You want to see it on paper; this will allow you to see the progress. It’s important to write your goals down; you want to see where you started and where you want to end up in December.

3.    Financial Buddy – Ask a friend or a love one to hold you accountable to reach your goals.  Individuals, who work with someone, are much more likely to reach their goals successfully.  Find someone you trust who will not make you feel bad about your financial shortfalls.

4.    Automate and Systematize – Use online tools that will allow you to program a certain dollar amount or percentage into an automatic deposit account.  If you have a job, you can go to your HR department and elect to have a designated amount of your paycheck be deposited to an outside account of your choice.

5.    Reward yourself – Once you reach a successful milestone with your quarterly goal setting.  Reward yourself without splurging, if you didn’t meet your goal as plan. Examine what did you do wrong, find out was your goal unrealistic, if so make changes so it will be attainable, but stick with it and don’t quit.

 About the Author:

Lorillia Brown-Phillips is a Financial Advisor and Author of “Jump Start Your Credit: How to Negotiate and Settled Your Debts in 10 Steps”, she can be reached at admin@brownassocllc.com or http://www.brownassocllc.com

Black Life Coaches: How to Shake the Midday Blues

3 Jan

Rapper 50 Cent Signs Major Deal with Pepsi

3 Jan

click to read

Kanye and Jay Z Get Paid Nearly $3M apiece to Perform at a Sweet 16 Party

30 Dec

To All Black Leaders: Why You Need a Leadership Coach

26 Dec

If you are a black leader on any level, you probably need a leadership coach. 

Dr. Boyce: What I’d Like to Get Black People for Christmas

23 Dec

 

Click to read

Dr. Boyce – New Study Shows that Black Men Don’t Benefit from Mentorship in the Same Way as Whites

22 Dec

A new study says that black men don’t benefit from having mentors in the same way that whites do.

 

Click to read

The Money Mentor: Using the Game of Monopoly to Teach Your Kids about Money

19 Dec

lorillia brown-phillips teaches about building black wealth

Lorillia Brown-Phillips talks about teaching kids about money.

The Money Mentor: Can the Game of Monopoly Teach Children about Money?

18 Dec

By:  Lorillia Brown-Phillips, The Money Mentor, Your Black World

 

Teaching children the different concepts of Personal Finance can be a difficult topic of discussion for some adults.   Many adults feel clueless on where to start to make the subject interesting and captivating.  Keeping a child’s attention on the subject can be daunting if the approach is too analytical.  If you want to succeed with introducing children to the topic of personal finance, make the subject fun and exciting by using board games.

The game of Monopoly serves as a great resource for teaching children about the concepts of Banking, Real Estate, Law, Taxes, and Personal Income.  In recent years, newly developed versions have been created to mirror the current world economy.  The paper money has been replaced with debit and credit cards; everything is recorded electronically to capture transactions on rent payments, tax payments and passing go bonus.  Instead of moving along US landmarks like Atlantic Ave, Park Ave and Boardwalk, the movement around the board is done within different continents.   What ever version you choose, the principles are same and the rules of the game of monopoly have not changed.

If your serious about teaching personal finance to your child and if you’re going to use the game of Monopoly as a resource.  Follow the real game instructions, not the instructions that were passed on to you as a child.   Many adults don’t know the real rules, so its understood when some adults have trouble understanding how a board game that was issued to the public in 1930 can teach a person about finance in today’s economy.  Here are 5 concepts that are thoroughly shown, when played the game of Monopoly the right way:

1.    Banking – The Bank controls all the commerce and transactions in the game of Monopoly.  The Bank holds the Title Deed cards to the houses and hotels, sells and auctions properties, pays salaries and bonuses, loans money when required on mortgages; also the bank never goes “BROKE”.  Newly created money using blank paper can be used if all the money is distributed to the players.  In today’s economy, the “Big Banks” were too big to fail, government bailouts and federal rescue plans allowed the Big Banks to not go “BROKE”.

2.    Real Estate – Purchasing real estate either houses, hotels, railroads or utility companies.  The goal and strategy with purchasing real estate is to not over or under leverage your real estate properties.  If you have obtained a monopoly, then want to put at least 3 houses on the property.  Buying railroads are also a strategic buy, because they are all around the board, if your opponent lands on them they have to pay you.   The primary goal of monopoly is to bankrupt the other players, managing your debt load is key.   In 2009, many individuals found out the hard way by not managing real estate debt.  If buyers were over leveraged with owning real estate, they experience a financial hardship.  But real estate is always a good investment, if you understand cash flow, leveraging and appreciation.

3.    Taxes – There are two options with paying taxes, a player can either pay $200 or 10% of the total worth of assets owned.   If you cannot pay your taxes you have to start selling off real estate assets to pay your debt.  Just like real life everyone pays taxes.

4.    Personal Income – Understanding how a player accumulates income either earned (active) or passive income.  Cash may be king but understanding how cash flow work is important, accumulating $200 for passing go is earned income.  You have to make it around the board to receive your salary, but in order to receive passive income you want to purchase assets.  Many adults still struggle with the concept of earned and passive income.  When you’re passive income exceeds your earned income, your money is working for you not you working for your money.

5.    Law – In the real world, jail may be bad, but in the game of Monopoly a wealthy player can still receive income on assets purchased and bankrupt other players.  After a large portion of assets are owned by other opponents, being in jail is a good thing, you don’t have to travel around the board and  you can still collect your rents from properties owned.

About the Author:

Lorillia Brown-Phillips is a Financial Advisor and Author of “Jump Start Your Credit: How to Negotiate and Settled Your Debts in 10 Steps”, she can be reached at admin@brownassocllc.com or www.brownassocllc.com

Kobe Bryant’s Wife Files for Divorce: Will Split an Estimated $200M Fortune

17 Dec

kobe bryant's wife files for divorce

Kobe Bryant’s wife Vanessa has finally gotten tired of his cheating ways.  She’s filing for divorce and likely to experience the payday of a lifetime.

Yvette Carnell: Should Fathers Be Allowed to Opt Out of Child Support?

8 Dec

Yvette Carnell asks whether men should have more reproductive rights. 

Click to read

Ryan Mack: A Poor Man’s Appeal to Black Corporate America

7 Dec

Ryan Mack argues that black people should do more for the homeless and impoverished. 

Click to read

Ryan Mack: A Poor Man’s Plea to Black Corporate America

7 Dec

 

by Ryan Mack 

If we are real with ourselves, there has to be a time when we confront the disconnect that exists in Black America between those who have become “successful” and those who continue to struggle in impoverished conditions.  If you talk to anyone living in a public housing community, prison, or shelter, I am willing to bet they will tell you it is a rarity to see an individual from Corporate Black America volunteer their time in the facility to give back and impart knowledge. I have done many financial literacy workshops in all venues and the level of surprise I receive when I initially contact them to set up workshops is usually one of shock, disbelief, or the infamous “What’s the catch?”

Continue reading

The Money Mentor: Keeping your Holiday Season Debt Proof

5 Dec

By:   Lorillia Brown-Phillips, The Money Mentor, Your BlackWorld

 

Borrowing money for the holiday season is no misnomer for many American families.  American families are constantly being bombarded with retailer’s advertisements of buying, and fighting the buying temptation can be difficult.  Statistics show that nearly 1 in 10 families borrow money to spend on Christmas gifts and those same families are unable to pay their bills at the end of month in December.

Many of these same individuals or families, who will possibly face the harsh reality of not being able to pay their bills, will rely on Advance Tax Refund Loans in January.  So the roller coaster of accumulating debt begins in a new year.   In order to practice healthy spending habits and keep your personal finances sustainable for the holidays, here are 8 tips to keep you debt free:

1.    Pay with cash and limit debit card usage – Cash is king, paying with cash will eliminate overspending that can occur with a debit card.

2.    Don’t use or max out credit cards to buy gifts – A credit card balance of $500 at an interest rate of 18% will take 7 years to payment off by making the minimum payment of $10.

3.    Don’t skip paying bills to buy presents – Avoiding to pay bills to buy gifts will put an individual in further debt some late fees can be pricey and exorbitant.

4.    Prioritize your gift list – Put a set amount of money for gift purchases, and initiate a secret Santa plan with friends and extended family.

5.    Utilize retailer’s coupons – Use retailer’s coupons on and offline to maximize sale price items.

6.    Check out online retailers for deals – some retailers have exclusive deals only for online shopping, focus on websites offering free shipping and free returns.

7.    Do not take a loan out of your 401k – a 401K is not a liquid savings account for immediate use, loans paid back are done with after tax dollars defeating the tax deferral feature.

8.    Start contributions for the Christmas club – some community banks and credit unions offer Christmas club accounts for customers, consider making contributions in January to avoid year end overspending.

About the Author:

Lorillia Brown-Phillips is a Financial Advisor and Author of “Jump Start Your Credit: How to Negotiate and Settled Your Debts in 10 Steps”, she can be reached at admin@brownassocllc.com or www.brownassocllc.com

If a Woman Has the Right to Choose to Have a Child, Can the Man Choose Not to Pay?

5 Dec

If a Woman Can Choose to Abort a Child, Can a Man Choose Not to Pay?   cost of raising children picture

Dr. Boyce Watkins and relationship therapist George James discuss the concept of the “Financial abortion.” 

Click to read

Dr. Boyce Watkins: It’s Time For Black People to Own Our Own “Stuff”

5 Dec

It’s Time for Black People to Own Our Own Stuff 384089 951128663754 38301732 40493320 82501434 n picture

Lawrence Watkins and Tre Baker from Ujamaa Deals are paving the way for a new paradigm of black economic thought. 

Shocking: Black Unemployment Rises in Every Category, While White Unemployment Drops for All Demographics

4 Dec

Black unemployment keeps rising, while white unemployment goes down in every single category. 

Click to read

 

 

Pay Ya Bills Dude: Soulja Boy Now Facing Eviction

2 Dec

soulja boy facing eviction

It seems like a man who once said he was buying a private jet would be able to pay his rent.  Soulja Boy is now getting visits from the eviction fairy. 

Click to read

Bank Tries to Evict 103-Yr Old Woman, But Movers and Deputies Refuse to Put Her Out

30 Nov

6502295ce24058c70ced06e9fcf7d09d

People took a stand for this elderly woman in Atlanta who was about to lose her home. 

Click to read

Comcast Being Sued for Racial Discrimination Against Black Employees and Customers

30 Nov

Black employees say that Comcast treate their black customers and employees unfairly. 

Former Philly Schools Superintendent Files Unemployment After Receiving Nearly $1 Million Buyout

30 Nov

philadelphia schools superintendent takes unemployment benefits after million dollar buyout

Arlene Ackerman is getting a lot of criticism. 

click to read

 

 

The Money Mentor: Protecting Your Wealth on Cyber Monday

28 Nov

Saving money on cyber monday - the money mentor gives advice

The Money Mentor talks about how to protect your money when you shop online. 

click to read

Ryan Mack Speaks on West, Smiley and the Poverty Tour

28 Nov

I want to personally thank Dr. West and Tavis Smiley for bringing their “Poverty Tour” to my hometown of Detroit, Michigan in the first week of August 2011. Had I not taken the time to come to their stop in Downtown Detroit, Michigan I never would have had the inspiration to structure the “Less Talk…More Action” Empowerment Tour in this way.

Continue reading

The Money Mentor: How Corporations Play with Your Mind at Christmas

28 Nov

The Money Mentor talks about black friday and cyber monday

Dr. Boyce Watkins and Lorillia Brown-Phillips, “The Money Mentor” discuss how Cyber Monday and Black Friday are meant to play with your heads. 

click to read

4 Tips for Protecting your Finances Online on Cyber Monday

28 Nov

By:  Lorillia Brown-Phillips, The Money Mentor, Your Black World

Cyber Monday has been called the most profitable online shopping day for retailers since 2005.    Online retailers have been rallying to get Black Friday shoppers to continue their shopping frenzy until Monday, with hopes that this year will be even more profitable.  But consumers who are planning to shop on Cyber Monday, to score big on sales for the holidays.  Here are 4 tips to consider when shopping on Cyber Monday.

1.    Protect your Identity – When using a wireless WI-FI connection it’s important that your connection is secure.  Only use your home WI-FI connections, do not use public hotspots to do your online shopping.  Although online retailer’s sites maybe secure, it’s still possible that your online identity can be stolen when using debit and credit cards.

2.    Look for Bargains – Search for the best deals when shopping online.  Try websites for example http://www.cybermonday2011.com or http://www.dealscybermonday.org  There you can do price comparison to make a decision on what and where to shop.

3.    Create a List – Don’t just shop online without proper planning; create your list and budget.  Creating a list and budget will eliminate overspending.

4.    Free Shipping – Focus and concentrate on retailers who are offering free shipping and free returns.  Look for online retailers who don’t have spending limits in order for you to take part in the free shipping and free return offers.  Go to http://www.freeshipping.org, to find retailers who offer the best free shipping offers.

About the Author:

Lorillia Brown-Phillips is a Financial Advisor and Author of “Jump Start Your Credit: How to Negotiate and Settled Your Debts in 10 Steps”, she can be reached at admin@brownassocllc.com or www.brownassocllc.com

Dr. Boyce: Re-Defining the Word “Black” in “Black Friday” – Time to Support OUR Businesses

25 Nov

 black scholar dr. Boyce watkins discusses buying black on black friday

click to read

 

 

Poppin Bottles at the Club: How Black Men Go Broke by Over-Investing in their “Sexual Portfolio”

25 Nov

click to read

 

 

The Money Mentor: Don’t be a Turkey this Black Friday!

24 Nov

By:  Lorillia Brown-Phillips, The Money Mentor, Your Black World

It’s been reported on the news and all over the internet that retailers are expecting record breaking sales this year on Black Friday.  Regardless of what some individuals may think about the current economic climate of this country.  Buyers are still going to buy and retailers are still going to sale.  If your one of those consumers who will be waiting anxiously the day after Thanksgiving, at midnight to take advantage of those door buster sales.   Here are 5 tips that will prevent reckless overspending, to reduce the regret that you may feel later down the road.

1.      Create a Budget–  a budget will allow you to see on paper what income and expenses you currently have coming   in, and what you expect to spend on Black Friday.

2.      Plan your Trip – know what store you plan to go to before you leave home, to eliminate the temptation of store hopping.

3.      Create a List – know what you’re going to buy, will you be shopping for yourself or others.

4.      Use Cash – eliminate the use of the debit card, and plan to shop with just the cash you have on hand.

5.      No Credit Cards – do not be lured into the applying for  a store credit card to receive 10-15% off to lower your shopping bill; and do not use your own personal credit cards to go shopping as well.

About the Author:

Lorillia Brown-Phillips is a Financial Advisor and Author of “Jump Start Your Credit: How to Negotiate and Settled Your Debts in 10 Steps”, she can be reached at admin@brownassocllc.com or www.brownassocllc.com

Wesley Snipes Sued for Owing $30,000 to AMEX

22 Nov

How Do You Go from South Central to Princeton? Just Ask Dominique Reese

22 Nov

Dominique Reese was the first student from Crenshaw High in Los Angeles to go to Princeton University.  When she found herself without her prestigious Wall Street job, she turned challenge into triumph and went on to start her own business. 

click to read

Less Talk, More Action Seeks to Partner with Your Organization

22 Nov

 

Here is a message from Ryan Mack at the Less Talk, More Action Empowerment Tour 

Continue reading

What? The Cost of Raising a Child Just Rose to $226,000

20 Nov

black children

click to read

 

Ryan Mack: Russell Simmons Can Help Occupy Wall Street, but Not with His Rush Card in Hand

19 Nov

Written By Ryan Mack, President of The Optimum Institute of Economic Empowerment, Inc. – Your Black World 

I have been a long admirer of you Uncle Rush (Russell Simmons). The Godfather of Hip Hop that brought me “Krush Groovin”, the serial entrepreneur whose success and drive inspired me to start my own business, and the community activist who places a strong emphasis on giving therefore motivating me to do more for the benefit of serving others. You are all of these things and more to many people, but why did you get booed on television when you spoke on behalf of Occupy Wall Street?

Continue reading

The Money Mentor: Young Money Prepaid Credit Card Preys on the Un-Banked!

18 Nov

by:  Lorillia Brown-Phillips, The Money Mentor, Your Black World

The Young Money Prepaid Discover® Credit Card, which launched in November 2011, is promoted as a card to serve the estimated 43 million Americans who are either unbanked or underbanked.  The prepaid credit card advertises on the website to include  features such as Billeo bill pay, direct deposit, spend analyzer, prescription discounts and shopping discounts in the form of cash back to the card to offset card fees.  It’s important that consumers don’t get fool by the promotion of a portion of card fees will use to support charitable causes such as Lil Wayne’s One Family Foundation.

Many unbanked and underbanked consumers who are considering the Young Money Prepaid Discover® Credit Card should be aware of the six hidden fees that this prepaid credit card contains.  Listed below are the six hidden fees consumer should recognize when considering the Young Money Prepaid Discover® Credit Card:

1.    One Time Purchase Fee $6.95 per card (deducted from your first load)
2.    Reload Fee $4.95 per load
3.    Monthly Maintenance Fee $3.95 per card per month
4.    ATM Withdrawal Fee $2.00 per transaction for domestic
ATM Withdrawal Fee $3.00 per transaction for international
5.    Monthly Statements $2.50 per statement if requested by mail
6.    Lost/Stolen Card Replacement -Active Cards Only $5.95 per replacement

Consumers who are underserved when it comes to their banking needs should understand that the Young Money Prepaid Discover® Credit Card is not their only alternative.  The “Bank On” initiative is a locally government led program that  provides low-income un- and underbanked people with free or low-cost starter or “second chance” bank accounts and access to financial education.  The program is a partnership between banks and credit unions in local communities to reduce barriers to banking, and increase access to the financial mainstream for un- or underbanked individuals.  To learn more about the BankOn program go to http://joinbankon.org.

About the Author:

Lorillia Brown-Phillips is a Financial Advisor and Author of “Jump Start Your Credit: How to Negotiate and Settled Your Debts in 10 Steps”, she can be reached at admin@brownassocllc.com or www.brownassocllc.com

Documents Detail How Visa Tried to Buy-Out Nancy Pelosi

16 Nov

Nancy Pelosi 16.jpeg

Dr. Boyce: White House African American Policy Conference – Hype or Substance?

16 Nov

african american policy conference at the white house

click to read

 

 

Black Scholars Disappointed with Black in America 4

15 Nov

click to read

 

The Money Mentor: Look Out For Ridiculous Travel Fees

14 Nov

By:  Lorillia Brown-Phillips, Your Black World, The Money Mentor

In the upcoming weeks many consumers will embark on the busiest travel season of the year.  These same individuals are looking to find ways to save on travel expenses.  Unfortunately planning ahead in advance will not prevent consumers from incurring fees that some companies are imposing.  Here are three ridiculous travel fees that consumers should be aware of this holiday travel season.

  • $5.00 Boarding Pass Fee – Spirit Airlines known as the budget airline for consumers looking to save on airline prices, has incorporated a $5.00 boarding pass fee for customers who have their boarding pass printed at the airport.  The $5.00 boarding pass fee which started on November 1, 2011, allows customers who want to avoid the fee to print their boarding pass from online or the kiosk at the airport.   According to the Spirit Airline press release this new option is a savings feature for customers, but the savings is only $5.00 dollars, each way on non-stop flights.
  • $18.00 Gift Ticket Fee – Greyhound Bus Lines has added an $18.00 gift ticket surcharge fee for credit card holders who purchase a ticket for another person.  It has been reported that this new surcharge counteracts fees incurred by the company for credit card fraud and serves as a handling fee for providing the ticket to the recipient.  In some instances, this surcharge fee doubles the cost of the bus ticket, for some destinations.  A Greyhound express bus from New York to Boston is only $16.00 dollars imagine adding another $18.00 gift ticket surcharge fee.  There are consumer advocate online groups that are petitioning this surcharge fee, and many feel that lower income individuals who are unable to travel by airplane will not be able to take advantage of the low bus fares.
  • $14.95 Internet Access Fee – Many upscale chain hotels, for example Four Seasons, Hilton and Marriott are charging hotel guest for in room WI-FI computer access.  WI-FI computer access should be a free hotel amenity for your hotel stay, but the brand chains previously mention only provide this amenity to their lower scale chains.  According to a travel industry analyst for Forrester Research, “the hotels charge for internet because the customers continue to pay for it.”  There are ways to avoid the internet access fee, hotels encourage their frequent guest to enroll in the hotel’s Loyalty program to receive perks and skip the extra charges.  The loyalty program would eliminate the nickel and dime approach hotels impose on their guests, but it would not help that one time traveler.

About the Author:

Lorillia Brown-Phillips is a Financial Advisor and Author of “Jump Start Your Credit: How to Negotiate and Settled Your Debts in 10 Steps”, she can be reached at admin@brownassocllc.com or www.brownassocllc.com

What are the Best Cities for Black Businesses?

13 Nov

 

click to read

 

 

 

Lil Wayne to Issue a Pre-Paid Credit Card

12 Nov

click to read

 

Is There Racism Against Black Tech Entrepreneurs?

12 Nov

click to read

 

 

 

Two Black Men Want to Create a Company that Will Help Reduce the Wealth Ga

9 Nov

click to read

 

 

The Money Mentor: Why Your New Employer Can See Your Credit Report?

8 Nov

by: Lorillia Brown-Phillips, Your Black World, The Money Mentor

It was reported on the US Department of Labor website that employers added 80,000 jobs for the month of October.  If you were one of those candidates your current or potential employer may have asked your permission to do a background check before you were hired.  That background check could consist of your employment history, your driving record, your criminal records, and your credit report.   Your personal credit report will provide information on where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you have filed for bankruptcy.  Many employers will allow your credit report to be an evaluating tool to help them decide if you will be considered for employment, retention, promotion or reassignment.

According to the FTC.gov, which is the  nation’s consumer protection agency, that enforces the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a law that protects the privacy and accuracy of the information in your credit report.   Current or potential employers must get permission before accessing your credit report.  It is important to understand your rights as consumer, especially when employers use your credit reports and other background information as criteria on whether or not you are hired for the job.    FTC.gov states that there are 3 conditions employers must follow when accessing your credit report:

  1.  Notice and Authorization – Before an employer can ask for reports about you from any companies that provide them, it must tell you that it might use the information to make a decision. This notice is separate from other documents you get — like an application. An employer may not get a report about you for employment purposes without getting your permission or authorization first, usually in writing.
  2. Pre-Adverse Action Procedures –  If an employer might use information from a credit or other background report to take an “adverse action” — say, to deny your application for employment or a promotion, to terminate your employment or to reassign you — he must give you a copy of the report and a document called A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act before taking the adverse action. Read your report, and contact the company that issued it if you find inaccurate or incomplete information.
  3. Adverse Action Procedures  If an employer takes an adverse action against you based on information in a report, it must tell you — orally, in writing, or electronically. The notice to you must include:
  • the name, address, and phone number of the company that supplied the credit report or background    information;
  • a statement that the company that supplied the information didn’t make the decision to take the adverse action and can’t give you any specific reasons for it; and
  • a notice of your right to dispute the accuracy or completeness of any information in your report and to get an additional free report from the company that supplied the credit or other background information if you ask for it within 60 days.

About the Author:

Lorillia Brown-Phillips is a Financial Advisor and Author of “Jump Start Your Credit: How to Negotiate and Settled Your Debts in 10 Steps”, she can be reached at admin@brownassocllc.com or www.brownassocllc.com

Warrant Issued: Terrell Owens May Go to Jail for Child Support

8 Nov

click to read

Lawrence Watkins Explains Ujamaa Deals–How We Can Help Others Buy Black

6 Nov

https://www.youtube.com/v/y0TQYRJYIh0?version=3&feature=player_embedded

To sign up for Ujamaa Deals for free, please follow this link.

Dr. Boyce: Black Unemployment Drops, but There Isn’t Much to Celebrate

4 Nov

click to read

Dr. Boyce: Black Unemployment Drops, But There Isn’t Much to Celebrate

4 Nov

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World

This month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released unemployment data for the month of October.  The numbers are an improvement for African Americans, but only about as much as going from extreme misery to less extreme misery.  Not to sound like a pessimist, but there is no point where any American should be asked to celebrate double-digit unemployment.

Continue reading

The Money Mentor: Get Your Money Straight for 2012

4 Nov

by: Lorillia Brown-Phillips, Your Black World, The Money Mentor

Every first of the year, many of us will make New Years resolutions that are based on the guilt that we experience from the previous year.  For example, uncontrollable spending during the holiday season triggers a feeling of guilt.  What can people do to control their compulsive spending habits during the year and holiday season?  In 2011, the SEC.gov website put together 11 financial tips, to give individuals a guide on how to be fiscally responsible throughout the year.  The year 2012, will be here in less than two months, and now is the time to plan how you can become a more proactive with your finances.  Listed below are 11 Financial Tips created by the SEC.gov:

1~    Save and invest.   Don’t underestimate your ability to save and invest.   With compound interest, even modest investments now can grow over time.
2 ~   Lighten your credit load.   Paying off high-interest debt may be your best investment strategy.   Few investments pay off as well, or with less risk than, eliminating high-interest debt on credit cards or other loans.
3 ~   Boost your “rainy-day” fund.   Many experts recommend keeping about six months of expenses in a federally insured account to cover sudden unemployment or other emergencies.
4 ~  “Sure thing” is fine as an expression but not as an investment pitch. Promises of guaranteed high returns, with little or no risk, are a classic warning sign of fraud.   The potential for greater returns typically comes with greater risk. You know the saying — if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
5 ~   Take charge of your money. If you don’t know where it goes, start keeping track.   There are plenty of tools to help you set a monthly budget and stick to it.
6 ~   Pay yourself first. Put yourself at the top of your “payee” list. Regular automatic deductions from your paycheck or bank account into a savings or investment account will keep you on track toward your short and long-term financial goals.
7 ~    Know your investment self.   You’re the best judge of yourself. Use that knowledge to find investments that are a good match for you, based on your goals and your ability to tolerate risks.
8 ~    Make sure your older investments still fit you.  Take time to review your holdings and see if they’re still appropriate for you.   If you’ve outgrown them, it’s probably time to sell them and buy something better suited to you.
9 ~    Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.   One way to reduce the risks of investing is to diversify your investment holdings.   Think twice before investing heavily in shares of your employer’s stock or any single investment.
10 ~ Ignorance isn’t always bliss, especially when it comes to your account statements. Sure, it can hurt to look at statements when investments are losing value.   But if you don’t review your statements, you may miss problems in your accounts that are unrelated to performance.
11 ~ Do your homework. Asking questions about financial opportunities and checking out the answers with unbiased sources can help you make informed choices and avoid fraud.

About the Author:

Lorillia Brown-Phillips is a Financial Advisor and Author of “Jump Start Your Credit: How to Negotiate and Settled Your Debts in 10 Steps”, she can be reached at admin@brownassocllc.com or www.brownassocllc.com

The Money Mentor: Can President Obama Save Homeowners from Foreclosure?

3 Nov

By:  Lorillia Brown-Phillips, Your Black World, The Money Mentor

Last week President Obama announced in Las Vegas (which has become one of the hardest hit areas to be affected by this mortgage crisis) that the government will be providing relief to homeowners who are underwater on their home mortgage loans.   The new rules that have been put forth to provide relief only apply to homeowners who are current on their mortgage payments and are seeking to refinance out of their high rate mortgages to lower rate loans.   According to treasury.gov, which oversees the Making Home Affordable program, the government wants to provide economic relief to homeowners through refinances which will reduce the likelihood of default and boost consumer spending.

What type of homeowner qualifies for relief?    Homeowners who have a government owned or backed mortgage loan by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.  The homeowner has to be current on the mortgage home loan, not missed a payment in the last six months and not had more than one late payment in the past year.   The new plan will require constant monitoring by the administration and midcourse corrections, should the rules for homeowners turn out to be overly restrictive or the banks pad up the new loans with excessive bank fees.

What about homeowners who do not have a Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae owned or backed loan?  According to the Making Home Affordable.gov website, there is relief for homeowners who have conventional, FHA, VA and USDA loans.  If you do not know what type of loan you have, the website will provide guidance to help you learn about your mortgage relief needs.  Examples of the additional mortgage relief programs are, the Principle Reduction Alternatives (PRA), FHA-Home Affordable Modification Program (FHA-HAMP), and others will address the needs of homeowners who do not have Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae loans.

Will this new mortgage relief legislation prevent or eliminate the rise of foreclosures?   Reports have shown that real recovery, in the housing market and in the economy, will require reducing the principal balance on many underwater loans.  By taking the recourse of providing mortgage relief to homeowners this measure will reduce defaults and foreclosures by restoring equity to borrowers along with lowering their mortgage payments.

About the Author:

Lorillia Brown-Phillips is a Financial Advisor and Author of “Jump Start Your Credit: How to Negotiate and Settled Your Debts in 10 Steps”, she can be reached at admin@brownassocllc.com or www.brownassocllc.com

Oprah’s Network Keeps On Losing Money

3 Nov

oprah winfrey's network continues losing money

Looks like Oprah had better get it in gear soon. Her network keeps on losing money. 

click to read