The Retirement Gap: Eight Ways African Americans Can Save for 65

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African American man and woman in retirement couple looking at each other on a deserted tropical beach

According to the National Black Chamber of Commerce, African American entrepreneurship and college graduation rates are both on the rise; however, even as these rates increase, people of color still have less saved for retirement than the rest of the population.

This stems from a number of factors, including the fact that many people of color work for small businesses, which often do not have the same competitive 401(k) plans offered by larger companies. The Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found that 5.6 million small businesses in the United States lack retirement savings plan options. These factors compound with issues such as the wealth gap and disparity in homeownership. In fact, between the ages of 47-64, white Americans had an average of $67,000 in home equity while people of color in this age range had zero.

Despite these obstacles, the best way to predict the future is to create it. The sooner people begin planning, the better. Saving enough by age 65 can seem daunting, but even with a late start, African Americans can still plan for and create the retirement they deserve.

  1. Evaluate risk tolerance and employer-sponsored retirement plans.

According to the Federal Reserve, the average African American’s 401(k) balance is $23,000. This partly stems from the fact that African Americans are less likely to invest in the stock market. While contributing to a 401(k) plan is an investment with risk attached, the benefits of participating can be very helpful, especially when the employer offers a contribution match. There can be uncertainty surrounding employer-sponsored plans, and seeking assistance from an objective financial professional is critical. Choosing suitable strategies that align with a family’s specific goals and needs is an imperative step toward bridging the retirement gap.

A financial advisor can help discern how contributions should be allocated, how much a participant should contribute and how various investment options may complement one another. After learning if their employer offers a matching benefit, participants should find out if there is a Roth 401(k) option and establish a personal budget so they can decide if contributing the maximum ($19,000 in 2019) is appropriate. It is also important to remember that people age 50 and older can take advantage of a catch-up provision (total contribution is up to $25,000 in 2019).

  1. Understand time horizon as it relates to different investment accounts.  

As investors prepare for retirement they should have a firm understanding of what their fixed and variable expenses will be. African American families have cultural norms that impact how wealth will be protected, distributed, where it has accumulated and therefore how it will be taxed. Without proper planning well before a participant retires, retirement security can be very difficult to achieve. Most plan participants want to live a similar lifestyle to the one they had before retirement, and understanding their time horizon is crucial in planning for life after 65.

  1. Allot for longevity with a distribution plan.

Another factor African Americans need to take into account is their longevity. According to the Social Security Administration, the average 65-year-old can expect to live another 19 to 21 years in retirement. African Americans are now living longer than ever before as well, with the CDC reporting, “black Americans who live to 65 may now expect to live longer than whites of the same age.”

As life expectancy rapidly increases, retirees now need to save for almost a quarter of their lifetime. This may lead African Americans to rethink the way they withdraw funds during their retirement. As such, creating a distribution plan is in the best interest of every African American saving for 65.

Retirees should typically begin by withdrawing from non-qualified taxable and tax-deferred accounts, while tax rates are lower. Then African Americans can move on to tax-free accounts to maximize the value of each of their retirement savings. Developing a diversified retirement account is only half of the work; a sound distribution plan will create the security retirees spend decades preparing for. Working with a trusted financial advisor can help navigate these decisions and create a plan tailored to each individual’s needs.

  1. Make saving for retirement a priority, even while paying back student loans.

Many African Americans in the workforce have student loan debt hanging over their heads and saving for retirement may seem out of reach. This issue can hinder younger people of color especially and make it difficult to save at all. The Federal Reserve found that African Americans have $19,000 on average in liquid assets by their 30s, compared to the $130,000 of the general population.

To best allocate their disposable income, African Americans should begin by writing out what they pay on student loans monthly and the amount they can realistically contribute to their retirement account per paycheck. Even a small percentage will make a huge difference down the road. Plan participants should write down each loan and the interest it is accruing, then prioritize paying off the loans with the highest interest rates first, finishing by paying off lower-interest accounts.

Retirement plans consist of automated contributions, meaning plan participants can budget as soon as they get their paycheck. African Americans who are sole proprietors or self-employed should set up an automatic withdrawal into a retirement account each month. The goal is to save 15-20 percent of one’s salary; if that seems unattainable, a financial advisor can help work up to that amount.

  1. Understand Social Security income.

According to an Associated Press poll, 38 percent of white Americans said they had sufficient money for retirement, compared to 20 percent of African Americans surveyed. Making matters worse, people of color are less likely to receive Social Security, with 62 percent of African Americans collecting Social Security benefits compared to 82 percent of white Americans.

Employers are required to pay half of their employees’ Social Security contribution and the other half is taken out in taxes. Self-employed African Americans should make sure they are contributing on their own behalf in order to have another stream of income during retirement. Within 10 years of retirement age, people can calculate what their Social Security checks will look like and budget ahead of time. The Social Security Administration offers this online calculator to estimate the amount people will receive upon retirement.

  1. Plan for long-term care.

Another important aspect of effective retirement planning for African Americans is preparing for and understanding how long-term care expenses will be paid. In the African American community, family members may be expected to leave careers to stay home with an elderly family member who requires assistance. These expenses can quickly deplete a retirement nest egg and investors should plan for this scenario.

A Northwestern Mutual survey found that 34 percent of current caregivers spend between 21 and 100 percent of their monthly budget on caregiving expenses. As health care costs continue to rise, African Americans should consider the expense of professional care services when saving.

  1. Allot for family costs.

More and more Americans are using retirement dollars to help pay for their children. A 2018 report found that 72 percent of Americans are willing to put their children’s interest ahead of their own; specifically, African American parents were even more likely to sacrifice savings for their kids. Balancing supporting children along with aging parents while nearing their own retirement can be a hurdle many African Americans face.

African Americans should decide the capacity they can help their children while still saving for retirement. Setting clear boundaries early on can help combat the issue later in life.

  1. Consider annuities and pensions.

Living longer than ever before, many African Americans will need more than the traditional 401(k) and social security income streams. While planning for 65, retirees should consider pensions and annuities that will provide steady paychecks throughout retirement. Purchasing either an income annuity or deferred annuity helps mitigate the risk of running out of money during retirement, while adding a dependable revenue stream. Because they generally come with guarantees market investments do not offer, annuities create a tax-deferred nest egg for retirees and their families.

Insulated from market volatility, annuities and pensions can provide peace of mind during longer retirements. African Americans can meet with a financial advisor to find the best annuity for their goals and should heavily research the company they would like to take the annuity from.

Author: Allan K. Bell, Financial Advisor with Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company

7 Myths About Saving for Retirement

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African American man and woman in retirement couple looking at each other on a deserted tropical beach

by Andrew J. Tudor, Financial Advisor with Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company. It’s always a great time to reevaluate your financial goals and dreams for the future. Whether you are decades from retirement or only a few years away, many people have misconceptions about how achievable retirement is, how much they’ll need, and what resources are available to them as they prepare to retire. There is also the universal tension between living for now and saving for later. These factors create a lot of anxiety around preparing for a secure future.

To empower people to make the most of their financial futures, I have compiled several retirement myths below, as well as insight to dispel those myths:

Myth #1: It’s too late. I’m too old to save for retirement.
While you may not have started saving earlier in life, there are still opportunities to accumulate savings now. Take advantage of the catch-up contributions permitted by the IRS, and make sure you’re collecting all your company’s 401(k) plan matching contributions. Additionally, you can open an IRA or Roth IRA account to supplement your retirement savings.

Myth #2: Retirement means not working.
People are increasingly engaging in phased retirement, second careers or part-time work after their first career ends. One reason for this is that people are living longer, healthier lives. The longer you live after work, the larger your nest egg needs to be. Some are phasing their retirement for financial reasons, while others realize a second career or part-time work can make their golden years more fulfilling.

Myth #3: I won’t be able to rely on Social Security.
While the Social Security Administration projects that the trust fund for retirement benefits will be depleted by 2034, it believes it will be able to pay roughly 75 percent of benefits through at least 2092, and that’s if nothing happens to change the system. While Social Security is likely to continue to provide a base of income for many years, it’s a good idea to have supplementary income available in retirement. IRAs and 401(k)s are a good, tax-advantaged way to supplement social security income.

Myth #4: If I save enough to live to age 85, that should be enough.
It is true that expected lifespan is 75-85 years, but with advancements in medicine and health care, living to 100 is becoming more and more common. It’s essential your retirement plan provides income to support you until you die. It’s better to have more money at the end of your life than to have more life at the end of your money.

Myth #5: I’m too young to have to worry about saving for retirement.
You’re never too young to start saving for retirement. Starting early makes it possible to take advantage of compound interest which grows exponentially. For example, let’s say you have $5,000 saved by the time you’re 25. If you let that money compound at a 7 percent annual rate of return, it will be worth more than $81,000 by the time you retire at 65. That’s compound interest.

Myth #6: What’s in my retirement account is all mine.
While traditional IRAs and 401(k)s are critical tools in saving for retirement, it’s important to understand the tax implications of those accounts. A dollar in those accounts has never been taxed, but it will once it’s withdrawn in retirement. For example, at an effective tax rate of 15 percent, a withdrawal of $10,000 will only get you $8,500 after taxes. With Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k)s, taxes are paid as the money goes in, so you don’t owe any more when drawing on those funds.

Myth #7: In order to work with a financial advisor, I need to have extra money to invest.
A financial advisor can be a helpful partner for anyone, regardless of their financial situation, and his or her expertise goes beyond simply saving for retirement. An advisor can help you live the life you want now while still saving for later. Whether your financial goals include paying down debt, setting up a budget, opening a retirement investment account or recommending 401(k) investment options, an advisor can guide you through the process and help you make informed financial decisions.

JPMorgan Chase Announces Brian Lamb as Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion

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JPMorgan Chase recently announced that Brian Lamb has been named the Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, a newly created position at the firm. Lamb, who will report to the firm’s Co-Presidents, will be responsible for executing a strategy that builds on the firm’s existing work and further incorporates a diversity lens into how the firm develops products and services, serves clients, helps communities and supports employees.

“Brian’s deep experience is precisely what we need to help our firm build on our diverse and inclusive culture, and drive it into every corner of our company,” said Gordon Smith, Co-President for JPMorgan Chase and CEO for Consumer & Community Banking. “Building a culture where all employees and customers are treated equally and feel welcome is a business imperative, and we’re fortunate to have Brian’s leadership in this critical area.”

This new role will strengthen and improve coordination of the firm’s existing strategy to support underserved communities as well as elevate the firm’s existing Diversity & Inclusion initiatives, including Advancing Black Pathways, Advancing Black Leaders, Military & Veterans Affairs, Women on the Move, the Office of Disability Inclusion, Global Supplier Diversity, and regional and line of business diversity functions. These focused efforts to-date have strengthened the firmwide culture in important and measurable ways.

The firm recently identified a number of areas across the company that, with enhanced, scaled or new programming or processes, would serve to ensure the firm’s culture is not one where racism can live or thrive. Those include enhancing the employee feedback process, making it easier for customers to access products and services in all branches, bolstering hiring to build a stronger pipeline of diverse talent, implementing additional required diversity and inclusion training firmwide, and increasing the diversity of businesses the firm partners with across the world.

“I’m excited to join JPMorgan Chase and help to further foster a culture where diversity and inclusion are a central and driving force,” said Brian Lamb, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, JPMorgan Chase. “A company that is diverse and inclusive can better serve our customers, employees and communities – and that is good for business.”

“Applying a diversity lens to everything we do is critical to running a successful business,” said Daniel Pinto, Co-President for JPMorgan Chase and CEO, Corporate & Investment Bank. “We are more effective when we take a diverse and inclusive approach to our work, and with Brian on board, I believe we’ll be more successful all around.”

Lamb joins JPMorgan Chase from Fifth Third Bank where he served as Executive Vice President and Head of Retail Banking. His 13 year career there included time as Head of Wealth & Asset Management and Chief Corporate Responsibility & Reputation Officer, where he was responsible for building the comprehensive strategic framework for the Bank’s civic commitments, inclusion & diversity and reputation management.

Throughout his career he has remained passionate about diversity and inclusion. Notably, he partnered with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition to launch a $30 billion community commitment that focused on access to capital for small businesses, first-time home ownership and educational opportunities for underserved communities and people of color.

He currently serves on the United Way Campaign Cabinet, Greater Cincinnati Urban League and is Vice Chair of the Florida Board of Governors. He previously served as Chair of the University of South Florida (USF) Board of Trustees where he also helped to lead a campaign to close the graduation rate achievement gap between women and people of color as compared to white students. While at USF, he mentored hundreds of women and minority students and established a scholarship fund for first-generation minority and female college students.

Brian also served as Chair of the Tampa Bay Partnership and held board positions with the Florida Bankers Association and Florida Council of 100.

Lamb holds a graduate degree from the Stonier Graduate Banking School at the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree and MBA from the University of South Florida.

To learn more about JPMorgan Chase’s Diversity and Inclusion efforts, please visit jpmorganchase.com/corporate/About-JPMC/diversity.htm.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.7 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of customers in the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at jpmorganchase.com.

5 Ways to Keep Your Finances in Check When Between Jobs

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Ashaunda Davis, Financial Advisor with Northwestern Mutual

It’s likely at some point in time you will find yourself between jobs. Whether you were laid off or you willingly left your previous job, this is not an easy time for anyone. But know you are not alone – about four percent of the U.S. population is unemployed at any time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statics.

While you are gainfully employed, prepare for the unexpected. My mother always said, “There is nothing new under the sun, so be prepared when life throws you a curve ball.” Control what you can during employment including your mindset, spending and savings while keeping your resume updated.

When you find yourself between jobs, this period may be overwhelming. You can minimize and prevent future stress by following these recommendations I offer my clients.

1. Create a spending plan and stick to it
Spend some time figuring out how long you can go without an income by taking a look at where your finances currently stand. Budget monthly bills that you cannot forego like rent or a mortgage, utilities and car payments. Then, set a weekly allowance for necessities like groceries and gas, and stick to it.

2. Identify expenses you can cut
Separating wants from needs can help make sticking to a budget possible. Try cutting out luxury expenses like daily coffee runs, eating out and monthly subscriptions. Buying generic products, using coupons and rethinking how you spend time with friends and family can also help eliminate expenses. Although it’s important to maintain a social life and continue to do the things you enjoy, staying frugal now can help avoid putting yourself in debt.

3. Apply for unemployment
While filing for unemployment can be time consuming and tricky, unemployment checks can help make the time between jobs less stressful. If you were fired from your previous job under circumstances that were beyond your control, like a layoff, and you meet the state’s requirements for time worked, then you may be eligible to file for unemployment. Requirements vary from state to state, so be sure to check your state’s Department of Workforce website for all information.

4. Manage your own health insurance
Private health care plans can be expensive, but it’s important to be covered at all times because unexpected hospital visits are even more pricey than paying a monthly premium. Before leaving your job, talk to the HR department about how long you will be covered under your current health insurance plan. Some companies offer a grace period to allow time to find a new plan. If you have a spouse, look into joining his or her plan. Or, consider enrolling in the Affordable Care Act platform. Some states offer a special enrollment period for situations like this, so you don’t have to worry about waiting until the health insurance marketplace opens at the end of the year.

5. Consider a part-time job
Two words: side hustle. Do you have a talent or interest you have wanted to practice, but didn’t have time before? Now is a perfect time to freelance, work a part-time job in retail or sell your artwork or vintage cloths online. Not only can a part-time job provide a sense of purpose during the transition, but the extra cash will help prevent draining your bank account.

Financial Freedom for Millennials: A Bucket List

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millennials discussing finances

By Molly Barnes, Digital Nomad Life

The 2007 movie “The Bucket List” told the story of two terminally ill men seeking to finish out all the things they’ve always wanted to do but never completed. The duo set out on their adventure with the intention to fulfill all their dreams before they “kicked the bucket.”

While most people associate bucket lists with experiences, you can apply the same concept to personal finance matters, as well. Essentially, you list all the things you need to accomplish in your financial life and then start making moves to get them done. According to financial experts, people should start to tick off money-matter items on their lists while they are still in their 20s and 30s. With this strategy, they’ll achieve financial freedom sooner than later because they’ve set themselves up for a less stressful future as they reach retirement age.

At this point, retirement probably seems a million years away, but now is the time to start thinking wisely when it comes to money. Check out our financial bucket list for millennials.

1. Live with roommates

Most millennials want to move out of their parents’ home but can’t always afford to do it. Why forego and miss out on the pleasures of autonomy you can enjoy living on your own? Get some roommates instead to help share housing costs.

When seeking roommates, always be smart and keep safety in mind during the selection process. Everyone, especially women, should stay away from listings on Craigslist and other platforms that don’t fully vet the people out who post these listings.

Once you’ve got your roommates in the house, aside from the financial savings you’ll enjoy by splitting the rent, you can make some great memories — or at least accumulate a few great stories to someday tell your family and friends.

2. Move to an affordable city

Sure, New York is the city that never sleeps, and Los Angeles sees a lot of action, too —but these cities are incredibly expensive to live in. Instead of struggling (even with the help of roommates) in an expensive city, consider relocating to a more affordable city with a lower cost of living. Kansas City, for example, is not only affordable, but it also offers plenty of great job opportunities and even boasts some of the shortest commuting times in the country.

3. Downsize and sell some stuff

We live at a time minimizing is en vogue, especially for millennials. Aside from being a trendy thing to do, selling off possessions you no longer need or want can net you some serious cash. Try selling clothes, unused gift cards, old electronics and gadgets, pretty much anything.

If you have old toys, video games, or other nostalgic items you don’t necessarily want to hang onto anymore, try selling these too. You’d be surprised at how well nostalgia sells! Set up an account on eBay (or another preferred platform) and get selling. Then take that money and save it or invest it so it grows.

4. Learn thrifty shopping habits

Even if you’re aiming to downsize, there will still be stuff you need. Instead of paying full price for new items, learn the art of thrifting by shopping at places like Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Habitat for Humanity resale stores. You can find great deals on everything for the home from kitchen necessities to furniture, along with personal items, too, such as clothing and accessories.

Other ways to save on shopping are to watch for sales, try extreme couponing, and follow discount sites such as Groupon for deals on things you want to buy. Also check out Craigslist and Freecycle to find freebies in your neighborhood.

5. Make a few investments

While making habitual changes can go a long way toward achieving financial freedom, you’ll want to find other ways to increase your bank account. Why not try purchasing some stocks and seeing what happens? Some online brokerage sites let users start buying with as little as $100 and make trades for $5. You can buy small amounts and see if you can aggressively make them grow. “Playing the market” is a unique experience that not everybody gets in their lifetime — and watching your stock’s values go up is a thrill.

6. Launch a business

Even if you’re holding down a full-time job, you can launch a business on the side to generate some extra cash and help build your financial future. It could be something as straightforward as buying a property to use as a vacation rental. Or you can build a brand in your spare time, you can market your business by creating a presence on social media and cultivating helpful business relationships. Sign yourself up to attend some trade shows to help establish a name for yourself.

Depending on your line of work, you may need to obtain a license, insurance, or meet other local legal requirements. Be sure to have your ducks in a row and do everything legally. Also, remember that you’ll need to file taxes as a business. An online calculator can help you make the necessary tax calculations.

Achieving financial freedom is a wonderful feeling! The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be that much closer to your ultimate money goals … and then you’ll be able to afford the things on your “other” bucket list.

Get to Know These Notable Black-Owned Banks

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The outside of OneUnited Bank

As of 2018, there are only 19 black-owned banks in the United States, according to BankBlackUSA.org. These banks, however, make a big difference in their communities. The following banks are among those that have served the African-American community.

Citizens Trust Bank

Citizens Trust Bank has been building relationships since 1921 – it remains committed to providing personalized service and financial solutions to meet the growing needs of its community. Through a legacy built on principle, the bank goes beyond meeting the needs of offering banking solutions; its mission is to empower customers and future generations for financial success. In turn, their success is Citizens Trust Bank’s success.

Source: Citizens Trust Bank

First Independence Bank

First Independence Bank, the only black woman-owned bank in the United States, was founded in 1970. The Detroit-based bank now has three branches and was established to serve the financial needs of its community, businesses and citizens.

Source: First Independence Bank

Liberty Bank and Trust Company

Liberty Bank, a Louisiana-based commercial bank and the third largest African-American owned financial institution in America, was founded in 1972, with holdings of $374 million. Liberty Bank has 15 branch locations in Louisiana, Mississippi, Kansas, Missouri, Alabama, Minnesota, and Illinois. Liberty Bank is passionate about helping more people achieve more economic freedom.

Source: Liberty Bank and Trust Company

Mechanics & Farmers Bank

Founded in 1907, Mechanics & Farmers Bank (M&F) is the second oldest minority-owned bank in the United States. The bank is the ninth largest financial institution in the United States, with nearly $256.9M in total assets as of 2018. M&F Bank is certified as a Community Development Financial Institution and is the only bank in North Carolina to receive this designation.

Source: Mechanics & Farmers Bank

OneUnited Bank

OneUnited Bank is the premier bank for urban communities, the largest Blackowned bank, the first Black Internet bank, and a community Development Financial Institution that started the national #BankBlack Challenge in 2016. OneUnited Bank is designed to harness the economic power of the Black community and focuses on one clear financial message that #BlackMoneyMatters. The bank has offices in Los Angeles, Boston, and Miami and has financed more than $100 million in loans in the last two years.

Source: OneUnited Bank

If you’re on the go and want to see what Black-owned businesses are near you, download WhereU. The app is a directory of local Black-Owned Businesses and has information for the United States, the UK, France, and Canada! It’s user-based so you can add any Black-owned businesses you haven’t seen on the app!

Artist, Icon, Billionaire: How Jay-Z Created His $1 Billion Fortune

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Jay-Z is seated in front of audience clapping his hands wearing a NYN baseball cap

Nine years ago, two unlikely lunch partners sat down at the Hollywood Diner in Omaha, Nebraska. One, Warren Buffett, was a regular there. The other, Jay-Z, was not. The billionaire and the rapper ordered strawberry malts and chatted amiably, continuing the conversation back at Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway offices.

Buffett, then 80, walked away impressed with the artist 40 years his junior: “Jay is teaching in a lot bigger classroom than I’ll ever teach in. For a young person growing up, he’s the guy to learn from.” This moment, which was originally captured in our 2010 Forbes 400 package, made it clear that Jay-Z already had a blueprint for his own ten-figure fortune. “Hip-hop from the beginning has always been aspirational,” he said.

Less than a decade later, it’s clear that Jay-Z has accumulated a fortune that conservatively totals $1 billion, making him one of only a handful of entertainers to become a billionaire—and the first hip-hop artist to do so. Jay-Z’s steadily growing kingdom is expansive, encompassing liquor, art, real estate (homes in Los Angeles, the Hamptons, Tribeca) and stakes in companies like Uber.

His journey is all the more impressive given its start: Brooklyn’s notorious Marcy housing projects. He was a drug dealer before becoming a musician, starting his own label, Roc-A-Fella Records, to release his 1996 debut, Reasonable Doubt. Since then he’s amassed 14 No. 1 albums, 22 Grammy awards and over $500 million in pretax earnings in a decade.

Crucially, he realized that he should build his own brands rather than promote someone else’s: the clothing line Rocawear, started in 1999 for $204 million to Iconix in 2007); D’Ussé, a cognac he co-owns with Bacardi; and Tidal, a music-streaming service.

Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean, the superproducer behind some of Jay-Z’s biggest hits, looks at Jay-Z as something others can model: “It’s bigger than hip-hop … it’s the blueprint for our culture. A guy that looks like us, sounds like us, loves us, made it to something that we always felt that was above us.”

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

Jade Colin is the Youngest Black Woman to own a McDonald’s Franchise

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Colin and her employees pose in the lobby of McDonald's

Meet Jade Colin, the youngest black woman to own a McDonald’s franchise.

The New Orleans native, has always been independent  and a hard worker. The 28-year-old started her career in college while working the night shift at a local McDonald’s.

There, she earned promotions and awards, inspiring her to purchase her own franchise.

After graduating from the University of Louisiana with a business degree in 2012, Colin applied for the Next Generation program for children of McDonald’s owners. During the program, Colin earned several awards for her business management skills.

She received a Ray Kroc Award and was recognized as one of the top McDonald’s restaurant managers in the country.

After she finished the two-year program, Colin became a manager at her parents’ franchise. From there, she planned to open her own – and she succeeded.

Colin opened her first franchise in 2016, and she is still the youngest black franchise owner.”

As an African-American community, we need more men and women to know that it’s not just about right now, but it’s about the generations to come,” she told The Black Professional.

More black investors should look to stock market to grow their wealth

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man with mone

If you can’t see it, will you believe in it?

The “it” takes different forms, depending on the context. If the focus is black wealth, the “it” represents the stock market. And in this context, investing time, energy and even money into something unseen can translate into a very risky proposition.

If wealth is a household objective in black communities, the stock market should absolutely be considered.

Low African-American participation in the stock market contributes to the widening wealth gap between black and white households, according to a 2014 study by Credit Suisse and Brandeis University’s Institute on Assets and Social Policy.

There are signs, however, that change is coming. To that point, according to a 2017 market research report, about 67 percent of African-Americans with incomes of at least $50,000 have money invested in stocks or stock mutual funds. That compares with 60 percent in 2010 and 57 percent in 1998.

Proven, tangible options — such as real estate, certificate of deposits and insurance policy contracts — have made the case for expanding one’s portfolio to include the stock market a tough sell for African-Americans.


(via CNBC)

Let’s be honest, when the stock market’s highs and lows show up in real numbers on investment statements, handling the ping-pong effect between euphoria and misery challenges even the best of us. The stock market as a long-term play requires trust, engagement and belief that “it” was created with us in mind.

The stock market features a concept that resonates with many African Americans: business ownership. In fact, entrepreneurship holds great importance for historically disenfranchised communities seeking greater access to goods, services and sustainable income. Business investment as a stockholder expands opportunities to join other stakeholders in the quest for profitability and returns, as well as to share the risks.

For the complete article, continue on to CNBC.

How This 24-Year-Old Former NYSE Equity Trader Made History

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At 22 years old, Lauren Simmons shattered the glass ceiling by being the youngest and only full-time female equity trader on Wall Street for Rosenblatt Securities.
Affectionately dubbed as the “Lone Woman On Wall Street”, Simmons was also the second African-American woman in history to sport the prestigious badge.

Graduating Kennesaw State University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in genetics and a minor in statistics, Simmons originally aspired to go into genetic counseling. She made a decision to put that on hold. What had not changed, however, was her passion to move to New York City, where networking led her to meet Richard Rosenblatt, the CEO of Rosenblatt Securities. Beyond her many qualifications, it was ultimately Simmons’ confidence that led Rosenblatt to take her under his wing as an Equity Trader.

“Being a trader, you make decisions within microseconds,” Simmons said on meeting Rosenblatt, “So I think for him, even for me, the choice of coming onto the trading floor made sense immediately.”

The job wasn’t completely hers; she still had to pass the Series 19 exam, which is a requirement for all floor brokers to earn their badge. This test has a pass rate of 20% in a class of 10. After studying the book cover to cover for a month straight. Lauren Simmons made history. Since her story broke Lauren Simmons has been featured in various media outlets and currently, she has a movie on her journey to Wall Street starring Kiersey Clemons.

I spoke to Simmons about her journey to Wall Street, favorite moments on the trading floor and what the financial service industries can do to increase diversity and inclusion.

For the complete article, continue on to Forbes.

IBM just appointed the first African-American woman to command a US Navy ship to its board

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IBM appointed Admiral Michelle J. Howard, the first African American woman to command a U.S. Navy ship, to its board, the company announced Tuesday.

A former U.S. Navy officer, Howard was the first woman to become a 4-star admiral in addition to becoming the first African-American woman to command a U.S. Navy ship, according to IBM’s announcement. In July 2014, she became the first woman and African-American to be named Vice Chief of Naval Operations, IBM said, and she retired from her 35-year career in December 2017.

Howard now teaches cybersecurity and international policy at George Washington University, according to the release.

Howard’s board appointment will be effective March 1.

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said in a statement in the release, “Admiral Howard is a groundbreaking leader with a distinguished career in military service. Her leadership skills, international perspective and extensive experience with cybersecurity and information technology will make her a great addition to the IBM Board.”

For the complete article, continue on to CNBC.

Increasing African-American homeownership is important to economic progress

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By:  Cerita Battles, SVP, head of Retail Diverse Segments, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

Black History Month celebrates the achievements of African Americans and the progress that has been made to achieve racial equality in this country. This also is an important time to recognize work that still needs to be done to achieve that equality.

One area is homeownership, where African Americans lag behind all other ethnic groups when it comes to owning a home.

People from rapidly growing diverse communities represent the majority of growth among potential first-time homebuyers. According to the 2010 Census Bureau, of the 14 million new households expected by 2024, 75 percent of those will be diverse. For many Americans and particularly African Americans, homeownership is an integral component of the American dream, and a way to build security and wealth for families.

However, the African-American homeownership rate does not align with the significant desire to own a home. The current homeownership rate for African Americans, about 42 percent, is the lowest among all ethnic minorities.  As one of the nation’s leading lenders with a team of mortgage professionals dedicated to helping customers achieve the dream of homeownership, Wells Fargo stepped up its efforts to positively impact African-American homeownership. During Black History Month in 2017, the company announced a 10-year commitment to help increase African-American homeownership that includes: $60 billion in purchase lending to create at least 250,000 homeowners; a focus on increasing the diversity of its sales team including African-American Home Mortgage Consultants; and dedicating $15 million toward homebuyer education and counseling initiatives. To achieve this important work, Wells Fargo is proud to have the support of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, the NAACP and the National Urban League.

It has been two years since we made that announcement. We continue to make progress on that commitment, helping more customers become educated about and prepared for the homebuying process and guiding and supporting them as they travel the journey to become homeowners.

Our commitment to increase African-American homeownership is part of Wells Fargo’s overall Advancing Homeownershipsm effort, which brings together people, partners and resources to create new opportunities for long-term, successful homeownership.  In addition to the African-American lending commitment, this effort includes programs like Neighborhood LIFT®, which helps low- to moderate-income families achieve homeownership with homebuyer education and down payment assistance. Since, LIFT programs have helped to create nearly 20,000 homeowners.

Even though we are making progress with our African-American lending commitment, we realize there is still much work to be done to raise the homeownership rate of this segment of the population. Like many Americans, African Americans desire to own homes, but are often challenged by industry barriers like affordability and lack of inventory. And even though we have seen improvements in the economy, underemployment and unemployment are factors in the inability to own a home.

In addition, there are misconceptions about homeownership and lack of knowledge about the process that create perceived barriers to owning a home. One of the most-believed myths is that is takes a 20 percent down payment in order to qualify for a loan. That’s not true. Many lenders, including Wells Fargo, offer financing options with a low down payment.  Another myth is that borrowers need perfect credit.  It’s important for aspiring homeowners to speak with a lender to separate the myths from the facts when it comes to purchasing a home. Homebuyer education and counseling are key in helping aspiring homeowners avoid myths, and create more confidence and knowledge when it comes to pursuing homeownership. That’s why investing in education is such a critical part of the African-American homeownership commitment.

Wells Fargo views homeownership as a pathway to financial success for our customers, a source of stability in communities and a key driver of our economy.  We want to help people find the place they will call home – the place where their lives will happen, where they will create memories, spend time with friends or raise their families.  We are dedicated to helping those who want to achieve homeownership, and our African-American commitment is one way we are working to do it.

For more information on home mortgage, visit WellsFargo.com.

Thasunda Brown Duckett, on building a legacy and investing in your future

LinkedIn

The CEO of Chase Consumer Banking weighs in on the importance of saving.

“What are you saving for?”

That’s the question Thasunda Brown Duckett is most passionate about.

As the CEO of Chase Consumer Banking, Duckett’s mission is to inspire people to take their savings seriously. Not only does she want individuals to invest in themselves with intention; she also wants them to realize that the word “savings” doesn’t just apply to the future—it applies to everyday life.

“I’m passionate about the question, ‘What are you saving for?’ because savings is not just about investing or planning for your retirement,” Duckett explains. “While those are soimportant, so is short term savings!”

By prompting individuals to answer the question—whether they’re funding their next trip to the grocery store, buying a plane ticket for a getaway weekend, or storing money away for retirement—this simple query inspires people to connect their savings goals to their day-to-day lives. And when people connect why they are saving to a specific goal they really care about—like being able to travel now, buying a house soon, or having financial independence later—they are more likely to stockpile their money, alleviating financial anxiety, and as a result, make the most out of their lives.

“It’s not only my passion to get people to save,” Duckett says. “It really is my responsibility. I take that responsibility seriously; not just as a CEO, but as the daughter of Otis and Rosie Brown.”

“What you’re really saving for is the ability to be the best version of yourself,” she explains.

Continue onto JP Morgan Chase to read the complete article.

 

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Upcoming Events

  1. National Society of Black Engineers 46th Annual Convention
    August 19, 2020 - August 23, 2020
  2. 2020 American Society for Health Care Human Resources Association Event
    August 22, 2020 - August 25, 2020
  3. Blacks in Government (BIG) 42nd Annual National Training Institute
    August 24, 2020 - August 27, 2020
  4. NFBPA: A Construct for Change Forum 2020
    October 8, 2020 - October 13, 2020
  5. HBCU Career Development Marketplace
    November 10, 2020 - November 12, 2020
 
*Please be sure to check event websites for latest updates on postponements or cancellations due to COVID-19 precautions.

Upcoming Events

  1. National Society of Black Engineers 46th Annual Convention
    August 19, 2020 - August 23, 2020
  2. 2020 American Society for Health Care Human Resources Association Event
    August 22, 2020 - August 25, 2020
  3. Blacks in Government (BIG) 42nd Annual National Training Institute
    August 24, 2020 - August 27, 2020
  4. NFBPA: A Construct for Change Forum 2020
    October 8, 2020 - October 13, 2020
  5. HBCU Career Development Marketplace
    November 10, 2020 - November 12, 2020