- Created on 22 May 2013
Half of African Americans say their financial situations have improved from a year ago, compared to 33 percent of the general population, according to a Prudential report released Tuesday. The survey polled 1,153 people who identified as African American or black and a general sampling of 471 Americans.
African Americans are also significantly more confident about making financial decisions. Nevertheless, they get 13% less contact from financial advisers, and only 26% of respondents feel that a financial firm has "effectively engaged and shown support for the African American community." As a result, only 19% have financial advisers, compared to 30% of the overall population.
Yet on average, African Americans find the financial industry to be more trustworthy than the general population does, and more than half say a financial adviser could help them -- making this underserved population an untapped opportunity for financial firms, Prudential found.
And the need for help is there.
Debt is the number one concern among the African American population, according to the survey. The median household had $18,000 in non-mortgage debt -- including student loans, credit cards and personal loans. That's 50% more than the general population. And those with college degrees were twice as likely to have student loan debt than the average college-educated American.
With higher debt, it's often harder to build savings. Median household savings is only $40,000 for African American households, compared to $97,000 nationally. When a college education is added to the equation, household savings rises to $66,000 for African American households but jumps to $207,000 for the average American household.
African American respondents were half as likely to have long-term investments like stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Yet they were significantly more likely to be financially supporting someone who is unemployed, as well as grandparents, parents, children and grandchildren.
- Created on 22 May 2013
Some people say “common sense is not common,” which may be the main reason Black people are not as far up the economic ladder as we should be. Having been in this country since it started, having provided the free labor that led to the creation of much of the wealth now enjoyed by those in charge, and having built a history of self-help and entrepreneurial initiative since our enslavement, Black people have the strongest case and the greatest need to exercise a little common sense when it comes to working collectively to improve our position in the U.S.
If we use our common sense, we will have more common cents. Using our common sense will cause us to do what other groups are doing, and as our forebears did in this country: pool our resources and support one another.
Common sense tells us to look around and see the dire straits our children are facing in this country and start compiling some common cents to help them meet and overcome their current and future economic challenges.
Common sense teaches us that we must not do anything that will subject us to the misery of incarceration and the profiteering of this nation’s prison system; we must give our youth alternatives, especially economic alternatives, to their negative behaviors.
Common sense should have taught us that discrimination still exists in financial institutions, and using our common cents we can overcome much of that discrimination by collectively leveraging our resources and supporting our own financial institutions. (When you ask why we need Black-owned banks and credit unions, also ask the same about Korean banks, Cuban banks, Polish banks, Chinese banks, and all the others that exist in this country.)
Common sense dictates that we utilize our common cents to fund our own initiatives, first, and then look to others to support them, not control them. Having common cents would also increase our ability to defend ourselves against local political issues that are not in our best interests; our common cents can be used to fund ballot initiatives, finance the campaigns of candidates who will work on our behalf, and pay for research, analyses, and recommendations that can be used to make informed voting decisions.
Common sense instructs us to pursue our self-interest in a society that is rapidly becoming more polarized. Common sense tells us that we do not control the major political and economic games. However, in order to assure a win every now and then, we must use our common cents. Economics runs this country; common sense tells us that.
If we use our common sense, we will also use our common cents to create and sustain an economic foundation from which to operate and on which to build even more common cents’ initiatives. We must use our common sense the way our ancestors did, as they quickly caught on to the system they faced and immediately went to work building their economic resources to purchase their freedom and that of their relatives and friends. Freedom still ain’t free, y’all.
Looking back on our progress for the past 50 years, common sense shows us how far we have come relative to the strategies we chose to pursue and the leadership we decided to follow. Common sense says several of our leaders have done marvelously well, but as a whole Black people are still stuck at the bottom of the economic ladder, a ladder with rungs that begin at the halfway point. We must figure out how to get to the halfway point by adding our own rungs to the ladder.
Utilizing our common sense would move us away from individualistic thinking and toward common cents strategies. We must change our minds, raise our level of consciousness, and put positive action behind our rhetoric.
We must be willing to use our individual God-given gifts, to contribute to the uplift of a people who have suffered more horrendous treatment, both physical and psychological, than any people in this country. Common sense tells us that. How else are we going to prosper? How else will we achieve economic empowerment? How else will we be able to positively impact the futures of our children?
If common sense is not common then I guess I can understand the paucity, or lack of common cents initiatives among Black people. But I don’t believe Black people are short on common sense. How did we survive in this country? How did we progress in the face of adversity and even death? Why are we still here? How have we retained our sanity? How could there have been a Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma – and all the other Black economic enclaves across this country?
Our great-grandparents could not have done all they did without possessing a tremendous amount of common sense that, in turn, directed them to accumulate a great deal of common cents with which to take care of their business? So, what’s up with us?
Jim Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati and can be reached through his Web site, blackonomics.com.
- Created on 21 May 2013
Bay area businessman Richard Gregory is moving to a new home. The former executive at Spotify and a previous member of Google's team is moving to Quixey, a new app search platform.
News of Gregory's move was previously reported by BlackEnterprise.com:
"Mobile app discovery company Quixey announced on Tuesday that it has hired former Google and Spotify executive Richard Gregory as executive VP of revenue. Gregory, who most recently was VP of revenue at Spotify, also previously worked at Google.
Known for growing businesses internationally, Gregory has been responsible for over one billion dollars in revenue over the course of his career. Most recently, Gregory was VP of Revenue at Spotify, where he helped establish the company in the United States while overseeing launch partnerships like GM, P&G, and Coke, as well as global accounts and vertical strategy. At Google, Richard served in many international roles, creating new markets around Google AdWords.
“As the number of apps continues to increase around the globe, there is a growing need to democratize the app search space,” said Gregory. “Quixey is building the next great search company and I look forward to championing what has become a key solution to fixing app discovery.”
“Richard brings unique global expertise and experience to this role as Quixey continues to develop new partnerships and strengthen our focus on new markets around the world,” said Tomer Kagan, CEO and Co-founder of Quixey. “He joins us at a time of rapid growth, as Quixey now powers over 100 million queries per month.”
- Created on 21 May 2013
Knowing when a contract is necessary and when a simple handshake will do the trick can often be tricky. There are times when an agreement will do the trick and there are others when it's not only prudent, but absolutely necessary to have something in writing. Legal professional Rachel Rodgers, who works with young and women entrepreneurs, details each scenario and how you can tellt the difference.
Do you sometimes lie awake at night wondering what will happen if your biggest customer doesn’t pay you? How about if the vendor handling your website upgrade takes off with your thousand-dollar down payment? These scenarios would be a nightmare for any bootstrapping entrepreneur — and they happen all the time.
Here’s a pretty typical scenario. One of my clients, who owns an Internet-based consulting firm, was hired to create a new website for a client a few months back. He received a $500 deposit for several thousands of dollars worth of work. Then he hired a web coder, with whom he had a good relationship, to handle certain aspects of the design. He and the coder completed the work, and guess what happened next?
The client stiffed him. And not only him, but also his colleague, because he didn’t have the money to pay the web coder out of his own pocket. This caused a strain in the relationship between the consultant and his coder, and a major strain on his pockets.
Several months later, the consultant hired me and I used my magical lawyer ways to collect all of the money from the client. (Note: magical lawyer ways = calling the client, announcing that I am a lawyer and demanding payment. Okay, okay, it was more complicated than that but, most importantly, it worked). He was happy to get fully paid, but the strain on the relationship could not be erased, he lost the time value of the money he was paid in January instead of August, he spent a lot of time chasing this guy instead of working on other projects, and he was out the attorney’s fees he had spent, too.
How would this scenario have been different if the consultant had a contract for both relationships? First of all, in his initial strategy session with me, I would have advised him that his payment collection method wasn’t working and we would have set up a better payment system. Additionally, the client contract would have required the client to pay interest on late payments and court fees plus attorney’s fees if he wound up having to take him to court. This makes it really easy to sue and win.
With such a contract, the chances of getting an enforceable judgment (read: getting paid) jump sky-high — and it won’t cost you money, since the client has to pay your lawyer’s fees.
The lesson? When you show clients that you are professional and serious about your business, they will think twice before trying to stiff you.
Regarding his relationship with the developer, an independent contractor agreement that stated that the coder would get paid when the business owner gets paid would have eliminated the bad blood between the parties.
So, Do You Need A Contract
I often tell my clients, “Everyone is an enemy to your business!” Your business partners, customers, vendors, employees, etc. all have the ability to screw your business over. So you have to treat everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) like an enemy on paper. Only then are you free to treat them like a friend in person.
How do you do that? By having a contract for every relationship your business enters into.
These contracts do not have to be complicated. In fact, they can be pretty simple, but they do need to protect you from all (or at least most) of the ways the relationship can go wrong. And please don’t forget the all-important boilerplate at the end of the contract, because it provides lots of protection and will save you money, time and headaches.
Once you have an agreement with your independent contractors, vendors, clients and business partners, you can go back to getting enough sleep at night because you know you’re well-protected in any situation.
Note: This article is a resource guide for educational and informational purposes only and should not take the place of hiring an attorney. No information in this article creates an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader.
- Created on 21 May 2013
(CNN) -- A month after being released to mostly positive reviews, Samsung's flagship phone is getting some validation from Consumer Reports. The publication has run all its tests, kicked the phone's tires, and named the Android-powered Galaxy S4 its top rated smartphone.
The previous list-topper was the Optimus G, a solid $100 4.7-inch phone from LG that held Consumer Reports' No. 1 spot for several months. The Optimus G is now ranked as the No. 2 smartphone, followed by the HTC One, the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Apple iPhone 5.
Consumer reports bases its ratings on a number of extensive tests and rates the devices in categories including ease of use, display and voice quality, portability and battery life. The $200 Galaxy S4's weakest scores were in video quality and portability. Like all the other smartphones on the list, it also had mediocre scores for voice quality, a sacrifice that seems common in the smartphone market. The publication also lamented the lack of one-button phone access.
Consumer Reports specifically called out the S4's 5-inch, 1080p touch-screen, multitasking in split view, and a built-in IR feature as some of the handset's standout features. The abundance of features were seen as appealing to more advanced users without complicating the phone for more entry-level users. The publication said the device's camera was "among the best phone cameras for photo quality."
The Galaxy S4 is an update to Samsung's wildly popular S3 phone, which was one of the best selling smartphones of the past year. Samsung was the leader in the smartphone market in in the first quarter of 2013, according to research firm IDC, and it looks like its latest offering will help it hang on to that top spot for the time being.
Last week, Google announced a new version of the Galaxy S4 that will run a pure form of the company's Android mobile operating system. That unlocked and uncluttered phone will cost $649 when it becomes available at the end of June.