If You Share A Bed, You Should Share Financial Responsibility: Here’s Why

Earlier this month, the New York Times highlighted a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research that shines further light on a problem many couples face: how to distribute responsibility for finances. The study’s author discovered that when couples divide money management unequally, the person taking a less active role is putting themselves at a financial literacy disadvantage over time.

WHY IS PUTTING ONE PERSON IN CHARGE OF THE MONEY SUCH A PROBLEM?

While such a division of labor may seem convenient, it comes at a cost. The authors of the study found that “people generally develop expertise on a “need to know” basis—they pay attention to what they think they need to know, when they think they need to know it—and that the need to know is at least partly determined by one’s social relationships.”

Simply put, when one partner is the money person, that person continues to grow and hone their financial literacy. At the same time, the other person doesn’t develop and maintain the same degree of knowledge about their household financial management. This results in a financial literacy – and financial confidence – gap that grows over time.

A Fidelity survey supports this finding. Among respondents who were married or in a long-term committed relationship, 93 percent of those who said they had primary financial responsibility in their household said they were confident managing money, while just 52 percent of the less involved partners said they would be confident doing so.

DO MOST COUPLES PICK ONE PERSON TO HANDLE FINANCES?

Yes. Over half of respondents in numerous surveys reported deferring to their better half when it comes to money. And women are more likely to step back from managing long-term household financial decisions – retirement accounts, mortgages, and insurance – even as we tend to be responsible for day-to-day purchases.

A UBS survey last year found that 56% of married women leave key financial decisions to their husband. Given that women have a longer life expectancy than men, this is especially problematic. And among younger generations, the trend is actually getting worse! The same UBS survey found that 61% of millennial women reported leaving financial decisions to their partner compared with just over half (54%) of women from older generations.

WHAT CAN LISTENERS DO TO AVOID FALLING INTO THIS TRAP?

One of the best ways to ensure you are both engaged in your joint finances is to have a shared financial plan that outlines your long-term vision. Discussing what you want to prioritize – buying a house, your retirement, your children’s education – and putting it on paper incentivizes each of you to be invested in achieving these goals.

You should also develop a joint budget each year that is benchmarked to this plan. Second, set aside time each month to review your shared financial accounts and assets, and make any necessary adjustments or decisions jointly. If you have shared goals and financial responsibilities, you will both have more peace of mind.


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7 Black Millennial Financial Experts to Follow on Instagram in 2019

Based on Bank of America’s research, millennials are more financially savvy than we give them credit. They are actively seeking ways to experience FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early). As more mature adults continue to connect on Facebook, millennials are leaving this social platform and gravitating to other social networks, like Instagram.

Instagram is not just selfies and food pics. This social network is also a great place to access practical and fun tips about personal finance, credit, and investing. Since 90% of Instagram users are younger than 35, businesses are using this platform to connect with millennial spenders, savers, and investors.

Even financial experts are using Instagram as financial influencers to educate followers about economic empowerment. Here are a few financial experts that are changing the IG financial literacy game for millennials.

7 Black Millennial Financial Experts to Follow on Instagram in 2019

Ash Exantus: @IAMAshCash

Black Millennial Financial Experts

Image: Instagram @iamashcash

Ash Exantus, aka Ash Cash “The Financial Motivator,” is the author of numerous books, including The Wake Up Call: Financial Inspiration Learned from 4:44 + A Step by Step Guide on How to Implement Each Financial Principle and Making Sense of Kanye (West): A Spiritual Guide to Financial Freedom, Peace, Love, and Happiness. Exantus’s energy combined with his financial expertise excites everyone who listens to his personal finance and credit strategies.

“I blend psychology and personal finance with music, pop culture and relevant news to help people manage their money better in order to live the life that they want.” shares Exantus.

If you are in need of some serious money motivation, check out Exantus’s personal finance, credit, and mindset posts on Instagram at @IAmAshCash.

Anthony Copeman: @SharesTV

Black Millennial Financial Experts

Image: FinancialLituation.com

Anthony Copeman, a certified financial education instructor and founder of Financial Lituation, is the creator of $ hares TV. $ hares is an animated series dedicated to helping millennials make money work for them. The animated lessons are not only informative, but they are also funny and entertaining. $ hares TV uses original music and gives different money tips via weekly episodes on Instagram. Each episode shares money tips based on the characters’ individual storyline and experience.

“I believe that our mindset is the primary currency for building wealth and money is second,” explains Copeman. “Through my animated series, I help viewers start the journey toward financial freedom through mindset, movement, money, and maintenance.”

If you love animated television shows and movies just as much as I do, you will love learning about money with Copeman’s animated series on Instagram at @SharesTV.

Choncé Maddox Rhea: @MyDebtEpiphany

Black Millennial Financial Experts

Image: MyDebtEpiphany.com

Choncé Maddox Rhea, a certified financial education instructor (CFEI) and personal finance coach, has overcome many financial challenges. Rhea shares helpful tips to help ambitious millennials regain control of their money and live a life with more possibilities and fewer financial limitations. She uses her experience of paying off over $ 40,000 of debt to help people break through doubts and setbacks to restore financial confidence.

“I believe that we were meant to do more than just work and pay bills until we roll over and die. The real challenge is choosing your values and intentions for your future wisely,” explains Rhea. “Then, regaining control over your money so you can use it as a tool to create the life you truly want.”

For information, advice, and resources about improving your money mindset and managing your finances better, check out Rhea’s posts on Instagram at @MyDebtEpiphany.

Courtney Richardson: @TheIvyInvestor

Black Millennial Financial Experts

Image: Instagram @TheIvyInvestor

Courtney Richardson, the founder of The Ivy Investor, is an attorney and former stockbroker and investment adviser. Through “The Ivy Investor,” Courtney provides resources for women seeking to learn about the investment world in ways that are easy to understand. Her unique and engaging style of breaking down the stock market, retirement, and college savings encourages everyone to take action.

“I have fun giving Wall Street advice in simple terms,” says Richardson.

For easy to understand investment advice for women, check out Richardson’s posts on Instagram at @TheIvyInvestor.

Kevin L Matthews II: @BuildingBread

Black Millennial Financial Experts

Image: BuildingBread.com

Kevin L. Matthews II, a former financial adviser, is the author of Starting Point: How to Create Wealth that Lasts. Matthews has helped individuals and couples plan for their retirement in addition to managing more than $ 140 million in assets during his career as a financial adviser. Matthews, named one of the 2017 Top 100 Most Influential Financial Advisors by Investopedia, shares why he launched Building Bread® …

“My goal is to inspire millennials to set, simplify, and achieve any financial goal.”

If you are ready to take your finances to the next level, check out Matthew’s helpful investment and financial planning tips on Instagram at @BuildingBread.

Tela Holcomb: @TelaHolcomb

Black Millennial Financial Experts

Image: TelaHolcomb.com

Tela Holcomb teaches how to “Trade Your 9 to 5®” by trading on the stock market. Holcomb, a six-figure stocks and options trader, believes that “anyone can learn the stock market when it’s put in plain English.” She uses her knowledge, experience, and every encounter with people whose lives she has touched to show how anyone can do what she has done.

Holcomb shares, “I’m not a stockbroker. I’m simply an ambitious mom and wife who will stop at nothing to build a legacy of wealth for my family without hustling so much that I never get to spend time with the people who matter most to me.”

To learn more about how to “Trade Your 9 to 5®” through stock market trading, check out Holcomb’s posts on Instagram at @TelaHolcomb.

Eric Patrick: @Black_Market_Exchange

Black Millennial Financial Experts

Image: Facebook

Known as the Hip-Hop Stock Doc, Eric Patrick is the founder and chief investment educator of Black Market Exchange L.L.C. Patrick uses hip-hop and urban media to make investing fun and easy to understand.

“Whether I explain that choosing a broker is like choosing a music streaming service; or elaborate on how a company’s IPO (initial public offering) is like Lil Wayne dropping another Dedication or No Ceilings mixtape,” explains Patrick, “your boy has got you covered so you can understand the stock market and can start investing with confidence.”

For stock and investment tips with a hip-hop twist, check out Patrick’s posts on Instagram at @Black_Market_Exchange.

Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

The post 7 Black Millennial Financial Experts to Follow on Instagram in 2019 appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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US households see biggest decline in net worth since the financial crisis

Net worth dropped to $ 104.3 trillion as the year came to an end, a slide of $ 3.73 trillion, according to figures released Thursday by the Fed.
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Regina King, Her Rise to Hollywood Royalty, And How She Survived Financial Hard Times

Regina King delivered a tearful and moving speech on Sunday when she won the Academy Award for best supporting actress for her role in If Beale Street Could Talk. The 48-year-old actress thanked the film’s director, Barry Jenkins, and paid tribute to James Baldwin, who wrote the 1974 book with the same title.

“To be standing here, representing one of the greatest artists of our time, James Baldwin, it’s a little surreal,” said King. “James Baldwin birthed this baby; Barry, you nurtured her, you surrounded her with so much love and support and so it’s appropriate for me to be standing here because I’m an example of when support and love is poured into someone.”

At one point during her speech, the award-winning actress became emotional as she thanked her mother, who sat in the audience. “Mom, I love you so much. Thank you for teaching me that God is always leaning — always has been leaning in my direction,” she said.



 

King picked up her first-ever Oscar nomination and win and after more than three decades of working in Hollywood. She launched her career back in 1985 when she landed a role in the television sitcom 227. She then made her film debut in the cult classic Friday in 1995. Since then, she has starred in the blockbuster film Jerry Maguire and has appeared in a number of hit films and television shows, including Enemy of the State, Ray, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, and The Big Bang Theory.

Below is an exclusive interview with the actress from 2011. King, who today boasts a net worth of $ 12 million, opened up about her career, personal finances, and investments.

BLACK ENTERPRISE: As one of the few black actresses that has transcended race through your roles, what is the secret to your mainstream appeal?

It changes with time. When I was younger my unwillingness to compromise saved me from making choices that I might later regret. Then, I became a mother, which taught me patience and that has been a tremendous help in my career’s perseverance. It reinforced my belief that if you are truly committed to doing something and believe it will happen, it will happen in due time. Patience and obedience [to your craft] is key in this industry.

Indeed, and you credit that with helping you wait for the better roles after having been typecast as the devoted or no-nonsense girlfriend or wife in the past?

At one point I was stalled with only those types of roles and I could have continued the wife roles because the offers were there, but I had to believe that the universe would provide another role if I turned one down. I also had to make sure that my finances were in place.

Self-preservation can be difficult in such a fickle industry. What are some practices that have ensured your financial stability throughout the years?

Often we see the big check, but don’t take time to think that it might have to last you all year. The worst thing is living hand-to-mouth. While I’m definitely a shopper, I make smart choices. I’m a huge Target fan and not ashamed to admit that I keep up with what they have new each month (laughs). I do my best not to buy things for the moment and spend less money on trendy items, but invest in timeless classics such as a pump or a watch.

As an actress, what other personal investments do you make for the long haul?

The Screen Actors Guild has a pension plan that you can put money in, which is equivalent to an employee setting up a 401(k) with their company. Whenever I get a big check I make some type of investment. I’ve done many of them in small ($ 65,000 to $ 120,000) in 24-hour fitness gyms and the amount of return was genius. People are always going to work out. If you’re going to try to invest, it’s important to take your time and find someone you really trust who can help advise you. I’ve been with my business manager for 13 years and he’s great. Try to keep abreast of business opportunities that fall between the lines of conservative and liberal. You don’t want to be too progressive. When the stocks dropped, I lost very little because I didn’t have any money in stocks. Find different types of investments like a storage company. When folks went bankrupt and lost homes they had to find storage for their personals. Sometimes the most practical items and services are the ones worth investing in.

After your HuffPost op-ed “The Emmys: As White as Ever” did you receive any backlash or did it generate healthy dialogue between you and colleagues?

I think it generated healthy dialogue between people. Those that are around me (black and white) mirror my sentiments, so I wouldn’t say I received a lot of backlash.

 


Editor’s note: This article originally published on Jan. 25, 2011. It was updated by Selena Hill.

The post Regina King, Her Rise to Hollywood Royalty, And How She Survived Financial Hard Times appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Special counsel says Paul Manafort deserves up to 24.5 years in prison for financial crime

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The Four Financial Love Languages Spoken in Every Relationship

Financial fights are one of the leading causes of divorce. Many couples find it difficult to effectively communicate with each other about money matters because they are actually speaking different financial languages. That’s right! Finance is a language, and unfortunately, most people are not financially bilingual. It is actually more difficult to speak or understand someone else’s financial communication when you don’t really understand your own financial language.

In 2004, Gary Chapman introduced the concept of Love Languages to help people improve their relationships through communication. In my upcoming book, 4 Financial Languages, I explain that financial languages are identified by behaviors and words that represent an individual’s financial value systems. By understanding these behaviors and words, couples can improve communication and establish a collective financial value system.

Put the two concepts together and you have financial love languages.

Learning how to speak in your mate’s financial love language will not only help you avoid money misunderstandings, but it will help you and your mate enjoy the journey toward your financial goals.

The 4 Financial Love Languages

SAVING

Financial security is usually the primary concern of people who speak the dominant language of saving. A Saver primarily saves money because they like to see their money grow like a strong tree.

Some savers also save to protect themselves and their family from financial hardships and emergencies. It is vital for them to be able to help their loved ones financially — now, and in the future.

One of the best ways to communicate with Savers about money matters is to talk about how much money they will save or including them on a purchase to find the best deal.

For example: “You are the best at saving us money. Can you help me find the best deal on a big screen TV so we can stay within our budget?”

GIVING

People who speak giving have a philanthropist’s heart. For most givers, giving is an expression of love. They give their time, money, resources, etc. to help those in need.

Givers should be cautious if they find that they are giving out of an act of insecurity in exchange for an emotional connection or to be liked.

The best way to communicate with givers is to praise them for their giving spirit. In most instances, givers simply like to feel appreciated.

For example, “You have such a wonderful heart of giving. Let’s find some more ways to give where it will be a bigger impact.”

INVESTING

Those who speak investing take relative risks and enjoys watching their money grow as well.

They like to invest in the stock market, retirement, business opportunities, education, or other people.

The best way to communicate with investors is to discuss transactions or opportunities as “investments” and as well as share the potential return on those investments.

For example, “We could make some great contacts for our business if we invest $ 200 in attending this conference.”

 

SPENDING

Spending deals directly with the pleasure principle. Whether the spending is for someone else or themselves, spenders find ultimate pleasure in spending money, usually on stuff.

True spenders can be rebellious when they feel financially deprived or restricted.

The best way to communicate with a spender is not to judge, but rather give parameters of spending.

For example, instead of telling a spender they can’t spend because of the budget, tell them, “We have $ 200 to spend this month.”

Understanding financial love languages will aid in having more effective financial conversations with your mate. If needed, seek help from a financial professional to mediate your cash conversation. Finances, just like love, can be a beautiful experience when both partners respect and appreciate the other’s language.

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4 Financial Steps to Take if You’re Raising a Child With Special Needs

Raising any child is expensive, but when you’re raising a child who has special needs, there are additional financial responsibilities to consider.

The cost of doctor’s visits, therapy appointments, medication and special equipment add up. The amount of time needed to provide care may restrict you or your partner from working outside the home — or even at all.

Depending on your child’s condition, you may need to provide them with lifetime support.

It can be overwhelming just dealing with the medical and emotional aspects of your child’s particular challenges. Here’s what to know so that your finances don’t add to that stress.

Apply for Government Benefits

After your child is diagnosed, you’ll probably want to speak with a social worker who can help you understand what assistance may be available to your family and how to apply for that aid. Your child’s physician may be able to recommend a social worker, or you can contact your city or county department of social services.

A special needs attorney can also assist you. Robert Fechtman is a special needs attorney in Indiana and the president of the Special Needs Alliance, a national organization made up of attorneys who specialize in disability and public benefits law. He helps families navigate the public benefits system and plan for their children’s futures.

Fechtman said families may qualify for financial assistance through Social Security.

The Social Security Administration gives out Supplemental Security Income, also referred to as SSI, to children with qualified medical conditions whose family’s income falls under a certain threshold. The amount of assistance, which is given out monthly, varies from state to state.

Once your child reaches adulthood, he or she may also be able to receive Social Security disability benefits, which the administration gives out when an adult isn’t able to work due to a medical condition.

Depending on your family’s income, your child may also be able to qualify for free health insurance through Medicaid. Oftentimes if your child qualifies for SSI, he or she would also qualify for Medicaid. The Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, is available for families that make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but still can’t afford private health insurance.

The Fouche family of Ocala, Florida, qualifies for both Medicaid and SSI to cover costs for their 10-year-old daughter, Hannah, who has cerebral palsy. Vicki Fouche, Hannah’s mother, says the government aid has been a blessing for their family, but she worries that if her husband made more money, they’d lose those benefits and have more out-of-pocket expenses.

A mother puts shoes on her daughter as her daughter is playing on an iPad.

Families that don’t qualify for publicly funded medical insurance might find an affordable health insurance provider via the Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov. Open enrollment has ended for 2019, but you can enroll if you have a qualifying life change, such as if you recently lost health insurance.

Fechtman also tells his clients to apply for Medicaid waivers, which allow those in need of long-term care to get free health care in home settings instead of a nursing facility. Children with special needs may qualify regardless of their parents’ income or assets. Each state operates its own Medicaid waiver program.

Fechtman said that many times, families aren’t aware of these waivers. There are often waitlists for applicants, so it’s generally one of the first things he brings up when meeting with new clients.

Families struggling with their finances should also check to see if they qualify for other public benefit programs, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). TANF provides monthly cash assistance for families, while SNAP provides money specifically for buying food. Both are income-based programs.

Set up a 529 ABLE Account or a Special Needs Trust

When you’re applying for government aid, the administering agency will typically have rules about how much income your family can earn and how many assets you can own. Money in a traditional checking or savings accounts could restrict a family from receiving public benefits.

However, Fechtman said parents can save money in a 529 ABLE account or a special needs trust, and those dollars won’t count toward a family’s assets.

ABLE accounts are tax-deferred similar to 529 college savings accounts. However, ABLE account funds can be used for more than just education. Fechtman said qualifying expenses also include health, wellness and transportation expenses for a child with a qualifying disability.

According to SavingforCollege.com, families can withdraw the money tax-free and can have up to $ 100,000 in the account without it affecting the child’s eligibility for SSI benefits.

The annual amount that could be contributed to an ABLE account in 2018 was $ 15,000.

Fechtman said it’s relatively inexpensive to open and maintain an ABLE account. However, one downside is if the child dies, the money in the account must go to reimburse whatever state provided Medicaid benefits for the child.

Families that save money for a child in a special needs trust don’t have to worry about those savings going to reimburse the state. A special needs trust is a legal arrangement set up to hold money for someone with a disability so that the person can continue to receive public benefits. The trustees — those who manage the trust — generally have few restrictions on how the money in the trust is used as long they don’t interfere with the beneficiary receiving government assistance.

Another difference between the two money-saving vehicles is the cost, which varies depending on factors such as who sets up the account and what state you live in.

Fechtman said an attorney might charge around $ 1,500 to draft a special needs trust. However, families can also join a pooled trust managed by a nonprofit organization, which could cost half that. Setting up an ABLE account could cost as little as $ 50.

Look Into Assistance from Nonprofits

Government programs aren’t the only source of assistance. Nonprofit organizations also provide help to families struggling financially.

Here are just a few organizations that help families in need:

  • The HealthWell Pediatric Assistance Fund provides financial assistance for families whose health insurance doesn’t cover the critical medical treatments their children need.
  • The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation issues grants to help children get medical services that aren’t fully covered by their private health insurance.
  • The Different Needz Foundation provides grants for families so they can get medical equipment or services.
  • The M.O.R.G.A.N. Project has a pediatric disability equipment exchange program that lets families receive donated medical equipment for free.
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities provides families with places to stay when they have to travel so that a child can receive extended treatment at a hospital away from home. Families may be asked to make a donation of up to $ 25 per day, but no family is turned away if they can’t pay.

Organizations like United Way and the Salvation Army also help families struggling financially — not just those with special needs children.

Think About the Future

No parent wants to think about a situation where they aren’t alive to care for their child, but it’s important to prepare for — especially if your child has special needs.

“Every person who’s got a disabled child is horrified by the notion that they’re going to die before that child and that the child won’t have the care and support and everything that the parents provide,” Fechtman said.

Having a will is a given. But Fechtman said the will should direct inheritance money to a special needs trust so that the child can continue to qualify for public benefits.

Designating who will become the child’s guardian is also key, he said. Parents should look for someone who would be able to provide proper care for their child.

In addition, Fechtman said parents should have an adequate amount of life insurance to provide for their family in the event of their untimely death.

He recommends parents — specifically those in a two-parent household — get a survivorship life insurance policy, also known as a second-to-die life insurance policy. It covers both parents, but it doesn’t pay out until both parents are deceased.

One benefit of this type of policy is that premiums are generally much lower than for other policies. Another benefit is that coverage lasts until the policyholders die — unlike term life insurance, which ends after a certain number of years. This is especially important for parents who have special needs children, because those children may not be able to be independent and support themselves once they reach adulthood.

Of course, single parents wouldn’t be able to open this type of policy, and it may be insufficient if one parent is the household’s sole income earner.

“If you only have one breadwinner, you’d need to have individual insurance on that breadwinner,” Fechtman said. “Maybe you’re lucky enough that they have some kind of life insurance through work, so maybe you wouldn’t have to run out and get a seperate policy.”

The important thing is to have a plan in place so that your child is financially taken care of no matter what.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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4 Ways to Help Loved Ones Dealing with Financial Hardships

After experiencing the longest government shutdown in history, many federal workers and contractors who experienced financial hardships are still trying to recover.

The government shutdown tested people’s financial preparedness, and many unfortunately failed. Also, with another possible shutdown looming, many people are frightened that this will catapult them into homelessness.

Approximately 1 in 3 Americans do not have emergency savings to cover a $ 500 emergency, according to personal finance website Bankrate. This statistic became a heartbreaking reality when real life financial hardship stories recently surfaced due to the federal furlough.

Unexpected emergencies like medical bills, the death of a family member, job termination, or an unwarranted furlough, are common causes of most financial traumas. The reasons people do not set aside money for these unexpected emergencies range from unlivable wages, sluggish salary raises with rapid inflation, unfair wage gaps, or even poor financial habits.

When a loved one is dealing with a temporary financial hardships, there are ways to provide assistance or relief.

4 Ways to Help Loved Ones Dealing with Financial Hardships

 

Lend money

If you have the financial ability to lend money to a loved one and are confident you will be repaid, offer a short-term loan. Treat the loved one with compassion, but explain the offer is a loan and is expected to be paid back.

Write up and sign an agreement between you (lender) and the loved one (borrower) to clarify the financial transaction as a loan.

Debt.org shares that a loan agreement between loved ones should include:

  • The names of the parties involved
  • The date of the loan agreement
  • The amount borrowed (principal)
  • Interest rate (if applicable)
  • Repayment terms (monthly payments over a specific period or a lump sum on a certain date)

In the event of nonpayment, the loan agreement should also include:

  • Modification of loan terms
  • Taking ownership of collateral
  • Possible legal action

Hard feelings and arguments between relatives and friends occur when money is lent in good faith but not repaid. So, take the advice I give to my clients who consider lending a loved one cash …

“If you can’t afford to give the money, don’t lend it.”

 

Give money

Instead of lending the money, give the loved one the amount of cash you can afford as a gift.  By giving money as a gift you release the possible future tension in the event the loved one does not pay you back. Consider it as a few early birthday or Christmas gifts.

When giving money, do it privately, discreetly, and without pity. Many loved ones suffer in silence, financially, because they do not want their business shared.

Assure the loved one that you will not share the monetary gift to anyone. Respecting the loved one’s need for privacy is important, especially if they are a very private or prideful person.

 

Pay a bill directly

Consider paying a specific bill or expense directly if you prefer not to give a loved one cash, or they do not want to accept your loan or monetary gift.

Paying a utility, car payment or insurance, or even a rent or mortgage payment, will release a significant financial burden.

Some companies, like PECO, formally Philadelphia Electric Company, allow people to help out and pay a bill on behalf of their customers.

 

Provide a service

Perhaps you may be unable to give a loved one money.

An act of service will go a long way when it comes to helping a loved one experiencing financial hardship. Sometimes, taking time to do something for someone is more helpful than giving money.

Some amazing acts of service can include:

Care for the kids

Offer to babysit or care for their elderly family member who requires special attention. This will free up some time for the loved one to work another job, or get some much-needed rest.

Cook a few meals

You may be aware of a loved one who is struggling to feed their family. Cook and deliver meals for a few days to offset their grocery bill, and relieve the burden of cooking.

Chauffeur for a day

If a loved one does not have transportation, be their chauffeur for one or a few days. Driving them to appointments, run errands, or their job will be much appreciated.

Clean up the house

Clutter can sometimes cause just as much stress as the financial trauma. Offer to clean a loved one’s kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, or the entire home to eliminate that responsibility from their list. Often a clean environment can calm our consciousness to better deal with difficult situations.

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How millennials can contribute to their financial futures while supporting their values

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Millennials have made headlines for everything from their tendency to job-hop to their fondness for avocados. There’s a reason the media has a laser-focus on millennial habits: In the not-too-distant future, the spending power of this avocado-loving generation has significant implications for governments, NGOs, and businesses the world over.

Financial experts are keeping a close watch on millennial investment data to gain insight into what this generation cares about and how it affects their long-term choices. According to a UBS Investor Watch report, millennials are optimistic about achieving their financial goals — even though they tend to invest conservatively. They also express interest in sustainable investments. This suggests that they’re more likely to put financial support behind initiatives that generate environmental, social, and governance resultsRead more…

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People Share Why They Don’t Use Financial Advisers; Some Alternative Ways to Get Financial Help

Many people just do not want to meet with a financial adviser despite the fact that using one may provide numerous financial advantages. Financial advisers provide objectivity of financial situations and give advice to help establish a more secure financial position.

A few personal finance professionals, authors, teachers and bloggers, from the Elevate Community, dedicated to uplifting people of color financially, shared their perspectives:

“Just Not Ready”

Just like weight loss, financial wellness is one of the top three new year resolutions and personal goals. Most people generally know what to do to improve their financial situation, but some are just not ready to do it.

“We like comfort!” says Andre Albritton of The Millennials Next Door. “A financial adviser will give recommendations outside of our comfort zone which can be a frightening experience.”

Money mantras like “save more and spend less” and “pay yourself first” have been stated by every financial expert. The reality is if a person is not mentally ready, they will not execute any plan.

Cost

On television, rich and famous people seem to be the only ones talking about meeting with financial advisers. This creates the perception that it takes thousands or millions of dollars to work with a financial adviser. The consumers living paycheck to paycheck with minimal or no assets (like a home, investments, etc.) may presume it is too expensive to meet with a financial adviser.

Many middle-class Americans are working hard to pay their bills and make ends meet. Paying to meet with a financial adviser may seem premature or unrealistic.

Denial

“People put off seeing a financial adviser for the same reason they avoid going to the doctor or dentist” shares Alfred Edmond Jr., BLACK ENTERPRISE Your Money Your Life Podcast host and co-author of Loving in the Grownzone. “They don’t want to deal with the choices, remedies, or lifestyle changes that will likely be necessary to improve their condition.”

People that practice avoidance in the hope that the problems will go away, or correct itself will deny the problem, and chose not to deal with the financial situation. Unfortunately, avoiding the dis-ease in the bank account will leave a person vulnerable to more financial hardships.

“People are embarrassed about their current (financial) situation and believe their choices got them in that predicament” explains Atiya Brown of Live Financially Savvy Podcast. “Since they don’t know the extent, they may tend to ignore and avoid.”

Pride

Almost 10 years ago, my pride almost put me in the poor house. I remember being ashamed to admit my major money mistakes and felt like a failure. I locked myself in a self-inflicted private prison of shame.

People suffer in silence because of their pride and the shame they feel because of making money mistakes. Making the decision to let go of the shame and ask for guidance will help to release the guilt.

Product Pushers

Julien Saunders of rich & REGULAR states, “Some financial advisers have a tendency to be pushy. Although well-intended, some (financial advisers) can make a person feel pressured. Consumers must fully understand the implications, alternatives, or cost to them as the investor.”

Some financial advisers are perceived as product pushers. Product pushing financial professionals turn off and scare away many consumers. Even though consumers know that financial advisers sell products, they do not want to feel pressured into purchasing products they don’t understand.

Stranger Danger

People do business with people they like, know, and trust. Sharing secret financial skeletons with  someone you don’t know can be extremely uncomfortable. It is even more frightening to give control of your money and assets to that stranger.

Patrina K. Dixon of It’$ My Money says, “Some people have trust issues. Therefore, if they do not trust the financial advisor, they will not be safe to share relevant information the adviser may need to assist the client.

 

Some Alternative Options to Using Financial Advisers 

Many are not ready for the financial commitment to meet or work with a financial adviser. Here are some alternative options and resources to help you “start where you are.”

Financial Blogs and Podcasts

Financial blogs are an excellent resource for free money tips and strategies. Here are a few blogs and podcasts to check out.

Tanya Rapley’s My Fab Finance Blog teaches millennial women of color how to regain control of their finances, overcome financial challenges, and pay off debt.

Talaat and Tai McNeely host the His And Her Money Podcast. Their podcast and blog aim to help married couples reach their financial goals together.

Marsha Barnes’ The Finance Bar Blog connects individuals to their financial wellness. She offers one-on-one coaching and an app that shows where your money is going.

Online Financial Tribes

John Hope Bryant, the founder of Operation Hope stated, “If you hang around nine broke people, you will be the tenth.” Connecting with people who have similar financial goals or have achieved the success desired is essential to financial success. Here are a few online financial tribes to check out.

The Live Richer Academy founded by Tiffany Aliche, who is known as The Budgetnista, is a membership-based online platform that offers courses designed to help participants take their finances to the next level.

Founded by Sandy Smith, of Yes I Am Cheap blog, Hustle Crew is a private Facebook group community that provides resources on entrepreneurship and starting a side hustle.

Financial Coaches

Financial coaches educate clients on the basics of money and credit management. They help their clients establish financial goals and create a customized plan to reach those goals. Financial coaches act as accountability partners to encourage and challenge their clients to success.

Financial coaching services range free through a non-profit programs to a few hundred dollars per hour to work with popular financial coaches privately.


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Here’s Where This Financial Planner Keeps Her Money (Hint: Not a Big Bank)

After becoming a financial planner in 2017, Denisa Petricko took a closer look at her own finances.

“After looking at the breakdowns of how my money was being handled by a larger bank, I realized that I had large sums just sitting in an account accumulating interest — but not for me,” she says in an email. “It was for the banks themselves.”

Then, she stumbled upon an article about the Aspiration Account.

When she read the online account would collect 1% in interest — for her to keep — she was sold.

The Perks of Opening an Account With Aspiration

This online-only account comes with a debit card, so you can easily access your money when you need it. Here’s what else you get:

  • As we mentioned in our Aspiration review, Aspiration is a do-good company, focusing on what’s best for you and the planet. You can even track the impact of your spending based on the retailers you frequent.
  • It allows you to choose what you pay each month — even if that’s $ 0. Additionally, there are no sneaky fees. There’s no minimum balance and no minimum monthly deposit. Plus, you can open an account with just $ 10.
  • You can travel without facing insane ATM fees. In fact, ATM fees across the world are 100% refundable. Aspiration automatically reimburses you a couple of days after you’re charged.
  • Aspiration has an easy-to-use app and website, making it accessible everywhere there’s cell phone or internet service.
  • It offers investment options, including its Redwood Fund and Flagship IRA accounts.

With her old bank, Petricko was lucky to earn 8 cents a month on a $ 10,000 balance. Now, Aspiration’s high-yield account slides $ 5 to $ 10 into her account each month, thanks to those interest rates.

Interested in learning more about the online-only  account? Head over to Aspiration.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Your Money, Your Life: Episode 5 – ‘Biggest Threat to Financial Wellness’ with Ash Cash

Too much debt is the biggest threat to financial wellness. Financial motivator Ash “Cash” Exantus, co-founder and CEO of MindRight Money Management, explains why your mindset and lifestyle determines how you manage debt, and offers valuable actions you can take to get and keep it under control



The new personal finance podcast, Your Money, Your Life is sponsored by Prudential and hosted by Black Enterprise’s own Alfred Edmond Jr. This special series features a lineup of great guests including The Breakfast Club’s Angela Yee; DeForest B. Soaries Jr., founder of the dfree Financial Freedom Movement; Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche; and Jacquette M. Timmons, president & CEO of Sterling Investment Management. The show will cover money topics ranging from how to control your debt to our psychological relationship with our finance. A can’t miss!

The post Your Money, Your Life: Episode 5 – ‘Biggest Threat to Financial Wellness’ with Ash Cash appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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UK Parliament votes to create financial obstacle to a ‘no-deal’ Brexit

British Prime Minister Theresa May suffered another setback to her Brexit withdrawal deal Tuesday as members of her own Conservative Party joined opposition Labour Party MPs in favor of a vote to curb the government’s spending powers if Britain fails to secure an agreement deal on its departure from the European Union.


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“Budgetnista” Helps Create Financial Literacy Law for Kids in New Jersey

Last Thursday, acting New Jersey governor Sheila Oliver signed a new law requiring financial literacy education for New Jersey’s middle school students. New Jersey assembly woman Angela V. McKnignt and personal finance expert Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche were both key in getting the legislation passed.

According to NJ.com, the new law, (A1414) says “the lessons should provide students with knowledge to make ‘sound financial decision-making,’ with content on budgeting, savings, credit, debt, insurance, investment, and more.”

“Many young people go into adulthood knowing little about finances and end up making decisions that cost them in the long run,”  Assemblywoman McKnight said to NJSpotlight.com.

“Teaching our kids early about the importance of managing their money and making sound financial decisions can prevent them from making costly mistakes and set them on the right financial path.”

On her Instagram, Aliche outlined how she came to work with Assemblywoman McKnight on the bill.

“3 years ago, HISTORY was set in motion… Assemblywoman Angela V. McKnight @aswmcknight reached out to me and asked for my help with a financial literacy bill. That meeting took place at a Starucks in Dec. 2015, and yesterday after years of hard work, committee meetings, follow-ups, social media pushes, and an initial veto by our former Governor, WE HAVE A LAW! Angela is a POWERHOUSE and worked to make sure this day happened despite the many setbacks.The law takes effect during the next school year, Sept. 2019. Woot woot!”

Aliche, who most recently appeared as a guest on the BLACK ENTERPRISE personal finance podcast “Your Money Your Life,” says similar legislation is being considered in Texas and Maryland.

Currently, few states—only 17—require high school students to take a course in personal finance, yet the Council of Economic Education survey states that the country’s low level of financial knowledge exacerbated the effects of the Great Recession.

Black financial literacy is critical for African American economic well-being. For instance, nearly half (49%) of all black borrowers default on their student loans within 12 years of entering college.

-Robin White Goode contributed to this report.

The post “Budgetnista” Helps Create Financial Literacy Law for Kids in New Jersey appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Manhattan real estate closes 2018 as worst year since the financial crisis

The number of home sales in Manhattan fell 14 percent in 2018, the steepest drop since 2009, according to new data. The median price for an apartment in New York City fell below $ 1 million for the first time in three years in the fourth quarter.
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US stocks suffer worst year since 2008 financial crisis

Yes, stocks do go down sometimes. After the sugar high of 2016 and 2017 — that saw the S&P 500 gain 9.5 percent and 19.4 percent, respectively — Wall Streeters tasted more bitter than sweet in 2018 amid historic volatility. The Dow Jones industrial average shed 5.6 percent during the roller-coaster year, which saw it…
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The Financial Movement for Anyone Who’s Sick of Working 9 to 5

The typical road to retirement looks like this: Graduate college. Get a job. Get promoted. Get raises. Buy a house. Fill it with stuff. Work for at least 40 years to pay for the stuff.

Then you retire and finally have time to do all the things you’ve been dreaming of… if you have the money to do them.

For many people, this path has lost its appeal, and they’re turning toward a different one.

It’s called financial independence, or FI for short.

Financial independence is having enough wealth to live on for the rest of your life without the need for traditional employment.

That usually means you can live off your investments, but as FI gains popularity, people have included passive income, real estate, and even freelance and part-time passion projects into it.

People who pursue financial independence have decided their time is worth more than their money. And they’re willing to make sacrifices to have more of it.

In the early ’90s, friends Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin capitalized on the concept of valuing time over money. They hosted talks during which they asked people to consider how many hours of work something costs them instead of just thinking of the cost in terms of dollars. They turned those talks into the best-selling book “Your Money or Your Life.”

Over a decade later, blogger Pete Adeney, also known as Mr. Money Mustache, further popularized financial independence by equating it with early retirement. Adeney and his wife practiced extreme frugality to save 66% of their incomes as software engineers. They retired with a paid-off home when they were both 30.

Nowadays, the goal of FI-seekers is to save enough in investments and lower their expenses to the point where they can live off passive income without the need for paid employment.

Why This Couple Is Sacrificing Now

A man and woman work out.

Shane Courtney discovered FI from Mr. Money Mustache, though at first he didn’t put his extreme practices into action.

But by October 2017, Shane had been working nights as a diesel hydraulic mechanic for over a decade, and he began to consider financial independence again.

“Only being able to see my wife on Saturday and Sunday was probably the biggest driver of trying to figure out something different,” he said.

So he looked for other stories of people pursuing FI. He found the financial independence subreddit, where people of various ages, locations, incomes and professions share the ways they’re trying to escape traditional employment.

Shane, 33 at the time, and his wife, Melissa, 32, realized that without kids they could reach FI and retire early at 50 to fulfill their dream of moving to the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina.

Their first steps were deciding how much they’d need to spend in retirement and how much to save to get there.

The Courtneys make a combined income of $ 160,000, and they would like to live off of $ 45,000 to $ 50,000 per year in retirement. For their investments to produce that much growth every year accounting for inflation, they estimate they’ll need to save $ 1.25 million.

To lower their expenses, Shane and Melissa cut out most of their recurring bills aside from their mortgage, utilities and internet.

Shane had a car he loved, but it got horrible gas mileage and had dropped significantly in value. It was too expensive for Shane to justify keeping, even though as a mechanic, he’s passionate about cars.

They’re also planning ways to save after they reach financial independence. Going to the grocery store is easy now in their suburban Tampa, Florida, neighborhood, but they’re learning new skills to be more self-sufficient in North Carolina.

Melissa is taking canning classes, and Shane has learned to make sourdough bread. “It’s so much cheaper than buying bread,” he said.

And they’ll start to look at properties near Pisgah National Forest soon, in hopes of buying land and paying it off before they start building their house in five years. They plan to move into a mortgage-free home when they retire.

Reaching financial independence isn’t just about raising your income and lowering your spending. It takes a lot of grit and perseverance to do something so wildly different from your peers for such a long time.

But their vision for the future drives their day-to-day decisions. Shane sees himself riding mountain bikes around Pisgah, and Melissa dreams of being able to rescue and foster animals.

How to Save For Financial Independence

So once you’ve calculated how much you need to save and you’ve cut your expenses in order to save it, where is this money going?

The easiest and most common way is to invest it in retirement accounts. The Courtneys max out two Roth IRAs, one 401(k), contribute to a second 401(k) and max out a family HSA. They put these savings into low-cost index funds.

But there are alternatives. Chad Carson, aka Coach Carson, used creative financing to purchase duplexes and single-family homes and his own money for renovations. His portfolio generated enough passive income for him to become financially independent in his 30s.

And Michelle Schroeder-Gardner created a blog and online course that generates more than enough passive income for her to travel full time in her 20s.

And then there’s the hybrid approach, sometimes referred to as “Barista FIRE”: This is when you save enough to cover some expenses in retirement and work part time at a job you love — hence the name “Barista” — regardless of what it pays to cover the rest.

Even if they don’t need to, Shane plans to coach CrossFit and Jiu-Jitsu to supplement their income, and Melissa may earn money doing animal rescue.

The supplemental income is also helpful in times the stock market doesn’t produce as much growth as planned.

… but What if You Don’t Make Six Figures?

Sure, Shane and Melissa have great incomes. He’s been a diesel hydraulic mechanic at the same company for over 10 years, and she’s an accountant. They can afford to save a large portion of their money.

But most of us aren’t making six figures, even in two-income households.

So what options are there for the rest of us? Fortunately, investment growth isn’t the only passive income option to reach financial independence.

Passive income from an online business, royalties from creative works like art or music, rental properties or a number of other sources can provide non-employment income and lower the amount you need to reach FI.

In 2016, Jonathan Mendonsa and Brad Barrett started the Choose FI podcast. They talk about complex and intimidating financial independence topics twice a week and make those topics understandable for a broader audience.

They highlight entrepreneurs who build passive income streams to escape traditional employment, early retirees who work part-time jobs to get out of the house or supplement their income, and people who downsize homes and cars to cut their fixed expenses.

FI-seekers stack these strategies on top of one another to optimize what they have to work with.

FI is often dismissed as unattainable for average income earners. But while saving a significant portion of your income is difficult, the math shows it’s possible for more people than you might think.

Take a 25-year-old single person who earns $ 30,000 and wants to live off of $ 30,000 per year in retirement. Even if they have nothing saved for retirement, they can become financially independent at 52 if they max out a Roth IRA during their working years and earn average returns of 8.1%.

A couple in their 30s bringing home a combined income of $ 70,000 per year with $ 0 saved for retirement can become financially independent in just over 16 years under the same market conditions if they stay within a $ 40,000-per-year budget (including in retirement).

These scenarios aren’t as sexy as retiring at 30, but they show that with perseverance and focus, financial independence can be achieved at a diverse range of incomes, ages and marital statuses.

Even if pursuing financial independence doesn’t result in everyone retiring at 30 or even 50, no the movement is motivating people to open up about their finances and save a little extra every month.

And that’s never a bad thing.  

Jen Smith is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She gives money-saving and debt-payoff tips on Instagram at @modernfrugality.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Here’s Where This Financial Planner Keeps Her Money (Hint: Not Big Banks)

After becoming a financial planner last year, Denisa Petricko took a closer look at her own finances.

A lump of her money sat quietly at Wells Fargo.

With a more informed eye, the 40-year-old resident, whose primary gig is as a real estate agent, started investigating what the bank did with her money.

“After looking at the breakdowns of how my money was being handled by a larger bank, I realized that I had large sums just sitting in an account accumulating interest — but not for me,” she says in an email. “It was for the banks themselves.”

Petricko met with her bank’s financial consultants to see if there was anything out there that’d help her out — earn her some interest.

The meetings led nowhere.

Then, in the summer of 2017, as she clicked through Elephant Journal, an online yoga-centric magazine (she’s also a certified yoga instructor — holy side gigs!), she stumbled upon an article about the Aspiration Account.

When she read the online checking account would collect up to 1% in interest — for her to keep — she was sold.

Why This Financial Planner Banks With Aspiration

using debit card in the city

Although the initial sell for Petricko was the interest rate, she’s come to love many other parts of Aspiration and her account, including:

  • As we mentioned in a previous Aspiration review, Aspiration is a do-good company, focusing on what’s best for not only you, but also the planet. You can even track the impact of your spending based on the retailers you frequent.
  • It allows you to choose what you pay each month — even if that’s $ 0. Additionally, there are no sneaky fees. There’s no minimum balance and no minimum monthly deposit. Plus, you can open an account with just $ 10.
  • You can travel (which Petricko does frequently for both business and pleasure) without facing insane ATM fees. In fact, ATM fees across the world are 100% refundable. Aspiration automatically reimburses you each month.
  • Aspiration has an easy-to-use app and website, making it accessible everywhere there’s cell phone or internet service.
  • It also offers investment options, including its Redwood Fund and Flagship IRA accounts — all of which Petricko has in one convenient spot.

It’s been more than a year since this financial planner trusted Aspiration with her money, and she says she has no regrets; she’s yet to have a negative experience.

In fact, Petricko would go as far as to call Aspiration’s online-only model “banking of the future.”

“The big banks are proving to be crooked,” she says. “…Aspiration gave me new hope in banking.”

With her old bank, she was lucky to earn 8 cents a month on a $ 10,000 balance. That’s because, Petricko explains, the bank was earning interest interest for themselves — from her money.

Now, Aspiration’s high-yield account slides $ 5 to $ 10 into her account each month, thanks to those interest rates.

Petricko wholeheartedly recommends Aspiration to her clients, her friends and her family.

If you’re interested in learning more about the online-only bank account, head over to Aspiration.

We may receive compensation from Aspiration for promoting the company, but we weren’t paid for this specific review. All reporting is our own.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She too banks with Aspiration and broke down why she loves it (as well as a few downsides).

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Your Money, Your Life: Episode 3 – ‘Key Questions To Ask Before Working With A Financial Adviser’

How to know when you are ready to hire a financial pro and what you need to ask to find the right one for you, with guest Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche, founder of the Live Richer Challenge Movement.



 

The new personal finance podcast, Your Money, Your Life is sponsored by Prudential and hosted by Black Enterprise’s own Alfred Edmond Jr. This special series features a lineup of great guests including The Breakfast Club’s Angela Yee; DeForest B. Soaries Jr., founder of the dfree Financial Freedom Movement; Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche; and Jacquette M. Timmons, president & CEO of Sterling Investment Management. The show will cover money topics ranging from how to control your debt to our psychological relationship with our finance. A can’t miss!

The post Your Money, Your Life: Episode 3 – ‘Key Questions To Ask Before Working With A Financial Adviser’ appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Q&A: Smart Year End Financial Moves

With unemployment at historic lows, rising wages and consumer confidence at an 18 year high consumers are understandably in good cheer and ready to go out and spend this holiday season.

But for you, the thrill of the deal can quickly turn in to despair over the debt if you go overboard with your holiday gift giving.

Here’s how to keep your budget in check during the holiday shopping season.

What’s the best way to approach holiday shopping if we don’t want things to get out of hand?

Well, if there’s one thing that I hope people ask for, and get, this Christmas, it’s discipline. All the budgeting “tips and tricks” in the world won’t help you if you can’t control yourself.

Yet, relying on willpower alone won’t be enough to get the job done. You need a system.

Here’s what I suggest:

 

  1. Build a Budget– This sounds simple, but on one likes to do this. You have to go into shopping season with a set amount that you’re committed to not outspend. When you do this, be sure to include ALL of your costs such as wrapping, shipping, travel, etc.

 

  1. Save All Year– You do realize that Christmas happens at the same time every year, right? So why do you seem so surprised when Black Friday rolls around and you haven’t set aside any money for gifts?

 

Americans are expected to spend $ 1000 on average during the holiday shopping season.  That’s $ 80/month or $ 20.00/week you should save in advance.

 3Create a Separate Account – Don’t keep your “gift” money in the same account as your “bill” money. Open a free checking account or put money onto a prepaid debit card that will only be used for your holiday shopping. When it’s gone, it’s gone.

4. Never Use Credit – Buying something on sale, but using credit to do so and paying the minimum each month totally defeats the purpose of getting the deal in the first place. Only use your credit card if you’re getting points or rewards and you’re going to pay it off in full when the bill comes.

Ok, but what if we didn’t save up much money for Christmas, what should we do then? 

In that case, it’s time to think about generating some extra cash. Luckily, since there’s so much spending going on during the holiday season, there should be lots of opportunities to do this.

For example you can:

Convert Old Gift Cards – Check your wallet for unused or partially used gift cards. Use the balance for gifts, or use a site like CardCash.com to convert those balances to cash.

Sell Your Junk! – Go through your garage and your closet to find things that still have tags or haven’t been used in a while.  Sell these things on eBay, Poshmark, etc.

Donate Items – Donate the things you can’t sell to Goodwill, etc.  You’ll get the advantage of the tax deduction, which may put extra cash in your pocket at tax time.

Ok, what if people are expecting expensive gifts?

Look, you have to take charge and set the expectations up front.

With Your Kids – This is a great time to discuss needs vs. wants and priorities with your kids.  They may not be able to get everything they want, so give them a say in what is most important to them.

With Your Family – Perhaps set up a Secret Santa gift exchange where each family member only has to buy one gift. Try secretsanta.com or Elfster to set up your exchange.

With Yourself – Buying great presents won’t make you a better friend, spouse or parent. Have a real discussion about what the most important people in your life really want, and you might find that it may not cost you anything at all.

 

Rob Wilson is the Chief Insight Officer at Wilson Insight and a frequent contributor to CNN, CBS, NBC and Fox.

For more important lessons on improving your finances, connect with Rob on Twitter @robwilsontv or at his website http://www.robwilson.tv

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11 Smart Financial Tools Made Just for Your Type A Personality

I’m a proud Type-A.

I have this innate drive to get things done — and get them done correctly and on time. I’m not happy coasting along; I want to climb that ladder, baby. If I’m running behind, I’m probably impulsively biting my nails off. I don’t think I’m competitive until I’m competing. Then it’s like some weird instinct kicks in, and I don’t know who I become.

I can be impatient with my Type-B counterparts, who are a little, well, too laid back for my taste.

OK, I kind of sound super high-strung. I promise I’m tolerable… ask my boyfriend. (Errr, well, maybe don’t.)

Although I have this innate love for to-do lists, color codes and all-things organization, some parts of my life are, well, not as tidy. Like my finances.

I can procrastinate the crap out of any financial matters. I get stressed out, so I push tasks to the side. Oh, I’ll check my retirement account… tomorrow. Oh, I’ll update my budget… never.

But don’t fret just yet. There are a number tools out there that can help us Type-A people organize our finances — without losing hours to get everything just so.

1. Check Your Financial Grade

Checking her credit score

While most of my classmates hated the day grades came out, I loved it. Luckily, most of mine were good, but I also just loved gauging my performance — knowing how I was doing and where I could work harder.

In real life, you don’t get grades. Your manager might offer feedback, but that’s about it.

What about finances? How do you know how you’re doing there?

Luckily, Credit Sesame offers free credit scores and credit report cards.

The easy-to-understand report outlines how you’re doing financially. You’ll get a big-picture view of your open accounts, your debt and any items sitting in collections. And, perhaps even better, it’ll offer actionable tips to help you improve your credit score.

2. Consolidate Your Financial Stress

If you’re juggling several unpaid credit card bills, or any form of debt for that matter, don’t panic. There’s an easier way to keep tabs on your outstanding balances — and even pay off your debt faster.

Try consolidating it into one manageable bill through Fiona, a financial technology company that helps match you to a personal loan that meets your needs. Consolidating your credit card debt could also help get you a lower interest rate and save you thousands while you pay it off.

Fiona searches the top online lenders to match you with a personalized loan offer in less than 60 seconds. Its platform can help you borrow up to $ 100,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 4.99% and terms from 24 to 84 months.

Now, breathe a sigh of relief. No more juggling approximately 293,003 bills this month. You’ve just got one!

3. Optimize Your Retirement Plan

Woman planning her finances

Got a 401(k)? You’re on the right track. Now it’s time to clean it up by making sure it’s doing exactly what you need it to.

However, tapping into that account and deciphering the information — or lack thereof — can take hours. Not to worry: There’s a robo-adviser for that. Blooom, an SEC-registered investment advisory firm, will optimize and monitor your 401(k) for you.

It gives you an initial 401(k) checkup for free, and you’ll get to know your account a little more intimately. Find out if you’re paying too many hidden fees, have the appropriate amount invested in stocks versus bonds, that kind of fun stuff.

After that, the tool is $ 10 a month to use to continue to monitor your retirement account. Let Blooom know your target retirement age, and it can help you get there by investing more and less aggressively.

4. Compare Yourself to Others — and Be the Best

Ah, got a competitive streak like me? Sometimes life turns into a competition. I’ve got this insane drive to be The Best. It’s hard to make it stop.

If you want to use that force for financial good, tap into Status Money, an app that allows you to anonymously compare your financial situation with your peers without asking those awkward, prying questions.

Link an account to tap into this database and you’ll be able to compare your income, debt, interest rates, credit score, spending… you name it.

By seeing how others are doing, you can see what you need to work on — or where you can sit back a little and just breathe easy.

5. Make Your Money Work as Hard as You Do

Woman holding money

Listen, you work hard for your money, so it should work just as hard for you. It shouldn’t be just sitting around. How dare it?

Make it work for you with an interest-earning bank account from Radius Bank.

The Radius Hybrid Checking account earns .85% APY on balances of at least $ 2,500 with no monthly fees or minimum balances after the initial $ 10 to open an account.

Sounds better than what you’re getting with your checking account at that big bank, right?

6. Strike a Budgeting Balance

As a Type A, it’s easy to get stuck in the details. Sometimes I’ll fixate on my pennies and dimes — versus the big-picture dollars.

But a budget can help you strike this balance. It allows you to keep track of those daily expenses in a way that’s future-thinking.

That’s where Empower comes in to help you organize and track your financial goals.

Simply link your accounts, and every time you log in, you’ll see a simple snapshot of where you stand on your monthly budget. Are you above or below the line? In one second, you’ll know whether you’re on track or need to dial things back a bit.

You can set goals, and Empower will keep you accountable.

7. Keep Overachieving — and Saving Money

Man driving his car

You’re most likely an overachiever, so of course you do your due diligence to hunt down great deals. But some bills fall to the wayside… When’s the last time you compared rates on your car insurance?

Your premium can creep up on you several times a year, if you’re not monitoring it.

The Zebra, an online car insurance search engine that offers “insurance in black and white,” compares your options from 204 providers in less than 60 seconds to help you find the best rate.

If you’re beating its top pick, you know you’ve beat the system. If not, go ahead and secure the best rate.

8. Get Rewarded for Your Ability to Hit Deadlines

Your mom probably gave you an allowance for washing the dishes and sweeping the floor when you were a kid. (You were really good at it.) Now all you get for doing it is a kitchen that’s clean for, like, 15 minutes.

As an adult, you don’t typically get rewards for doing things that are expected of you… until now.

This app kind of rules them all: MoneyLion, a free all-in-one app for managing your personal finances.

MoneyLion offers rewards to help you develop healthy financial habits and will literally pay you for logging onto the app.

You can earn points in the rewards program by paying bills on time, connecting your bank account or downloading the mobile app. You can redeem those points for gift cards to retailers like Amazon, Apple and Walmart.

If credit cards aren’t your thing, MoneyLion is like having a rewards credit card without the temptation to overspend.

The app also connects with all your bank, credit card, student loan and other financial accounts. Based on your income and spending patterns, it offers personalized advice to help you save money, reduce your debt and improve your credit.

9. Dig Into Your Deep-Seated Clutter

Woman pulling out a sweater from her closet

Although I’m innately Type A, there are some deep, dark corners of my life that are, well, less than tidy. (Ask my boyfriend about the bomb that recently went off in my closet… Yikes.)

If you need some motivation to declutter even the darkest corners of your home, turn it into a fun side gig.

For example, if your closet looks anything like mine, consider cleaning it up and creating a “for sale” pile. You can list any items on Letgo, an easy-to-use app that allows you to snap a photo and list your unneeded items to folks in your area. It’s 100% free to use and removes a lot of the hassle of selling online.

For your technology (uh, yeah, for some reason I collect old phones in my bedside table…), get free estimates from Decluttr, a site that’ll buy your old CDs, DVDs, video games and even phones.

Just download the Decluttr app and start scanning the barcodes on your media to get immediate quotes. It’s completely free to use, you won’t pay listing or seller fees, payment is super fast and even shipping is free.

10. Tidy up Your Subscription Services

For the most part, I love subscription services. I can get whatever I need to my front door each month. Vitamins? Check. Feminine products? Check. Beauty products? Why not…

Yeah, with my Type A comes compulsion sometimes, so I can go overboard. Every now and then I like to check in and see which subscriptions I’m getting billed for each month — clean things up a bit.

Download TrueBill, an app that’ll negotiate your bills, refund your bank fees and, yes, cancel unwanted subscriptions. The app will remind you of all those sneaky subscriptions you’ve signed up for through the years, so you can cancel what you don’t use and reclaim your monthly budget.

On average, Truebill says it helps customers save more than $ 700 a year by lowering their bills, canceling necessary subscriptions and getting refunds.

Signing up and using the service is free, though there are some paid premium services that are totally optional — but could totally be worth it.

11. Track Your Lofty Goals With Colorful Pens

Bullet journal planning

If you want to get a little more creative, set up goals and track them with a bullet journal. A bullet journal is great for the more creative Type A folks — the ones who love color-coding and drawing the straightest line possible.

You can set up a debt payoff plan, track your expenses or set up an annual savings plan. The Jihi Elephant blog has some great ideas to get you started.

In the end, embrace your Type-A tendencies. They’ll help you become financially happy and healthy.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She loves the feeling of crossing off items on a to-do list.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

The Penny Hoarder

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Your Money, Your Life: Episode 3 – ‘Key Questions To Ask Before Working With A Financial Adviser’

How to know when you are ready to hire a financial pro and what you need to ask to find the right one for you, with guest Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche, founder of the Live Richer Challenge Movement.



 

The new personal finance podcast, Your Money, Your Life is sponsored by Prudential and hosted by Black Enterprise’s own Alfred Edmond Jr. This special series features a lineup of great guests including The Breakfast Club’s Angela Yee; DeForest B. Soaries Jr., founder of the dfree Financial Freedom Movement; Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche; and Jacquette M. Timmons, president & CEO of Sterling Investment Management. The show will cover money topics ranging from how to control your debt to our psychological relationship with our finance. A can’t miss!

The post Your Money, Your Life: Episode 3 – ‘Key Questions To Ask Before Working With A Financial Adviser’ appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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If you are suffering from ‘stress brain,’ you might be making some bad financial decisions

To safeguard or drive financial portfolio gains, it's key to pay attention to how stress caused by everyday life affects our financial decision-making.
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5 Times You Need a Financial Adviser — and When the DIY Approach Is Fine

When I decided to start investing for retirement, I had no clue where to start.

I had no 401(k), individual retirement account (IRA) or health savings account (HSA). I didn’t even have one of those apps that invest your spare change. I was starting from zero.

I assumed that to start investing you had to have a financial adviser.

So I made an appointment with one who would see my husband and me for free — how sweet of him! — and we sat for hours as he went over four investment options.

I left more confused than I came in. I just wanted to give him my money. But it had to pass through so many hands before it could enter the market, and for some reason, we needed another meeting.

At that second meeting, I found out how he got paid: a 5% commission on all of my contributions. I realized that if I did this on my own, even if my returns were worse, I might come out on top with all the money I’d save without his commission.

That was the first time I realized that I didn’t need to use a professional to start investing.

When Can I Do It Without a Financial Adviser?

If you’re just starting out and you don’t have any complex situations like a large inheritance or six-figure income, you can succeed for a while on your own.

But if you’re going to DIY your investments, you’ll need to commit to learning about investing. Luckily, there’s a wealth of information on the internet.

The Penny Hoarder has a lot of articles to help you get started saving for retirement that explain things like:

If you prefer a book to a computer screen, I recommend “The Simple Path to Wealth” by JL Collins. It explains everything you need to know to get a grasp on basic investing concepts while not putting you to sleep.

As long as you continue accumulating cash in your accounts and everything is smooth sailing, that’s the time when, if you feel confident, you can go it alone.

But what are the signs it’s time to pony up for a professional?

When Do I Need a Financial Adviser?

Financial advisor Paul Ruedi poses outside in front of greenery.

I talked with three professionals in the planning industry who have fiduciary obligations — meaning they’re legally obligated to work in the best interest of clients. (I know: Why isn’t that universal yet?) They filled me in on when you really need to get professional help.

Paul Ruedi of Ruedi Wealth Management specializes in retirement planning. He thinks one of the best times to consult an adviser is before or during the transition to retirement.

Transitioning into life without a paycheck requires making a lot of complicated decisions,” Ruedi said. “On top of that, people’s investment account balances are likely the highest they have been in their lifetime, which amplifies every little movement in the stock market and can turn investing into an emotional rollercoaster.

When you’re making decisions like how to make your investments last for multiple decades, when to claim Social Security and how to best withdraw from those accounts, it’s time to get someone on board to guide you.

In some instances, you might need someone in your corner well before retirement.

Kayse Kress, a certified financial planner at Physician Wealth Services, poses outside.

Kayse Kress, a certified financial planner at Physician Wealth Services, said people often benefit from objective advice.

Even if you are a really smart person, it can be hard to keep your emotions out of your financial decisions,” Kress said. “You could benefit from working with an adviser that will provide you with objective advice and help you make more sound financial decisions.

The people who benefit most in Kress’ practice are those who are just too busy to find time to focus on creating a plan for their finances.

But a big reason people don’t find the help they need is that traditionally, it’s been difficult and expensive to work with someone.

It wasn’t too long ago that if you weren’t sitting on a pile of cash to invest, then it could be difficult to get anyone in the financial services industry to work with you,” Kress told me.

But with the rising popularity of fee-only financial planners, people can now seek out the help they need at any point in their financial journeys.

Chris Hutchins, co-founder and CEO of online financial planning service Grove poses in his office.

Chris Hutchins, co-founder and CEO of online financial planning service Grove, has seen many circumstances when having a financial planner before retirement was necessary. Some examples include:

  1. You’re not sure how to figure out if you’re saving enough or whether you’re on track for your retirement goals.
  2. You don’t know what your goals are or how much you need to be saving for them.
  3. You’ve intended to do something about your finances for a long time, and yet they’re still in the same spot.
  4. You’ve had a sudden financial windfall (inheritance, your company was acquired, etc.).
  5. The stress of trying to figure out whether you’re on track or doing the right thing with your money is too much.

No matter how young or old, or investment savvy or not you are, there’s no excuse to not plan for retirement. For some, that might mean a DIY approach. But for others, it means seeking professional help.

Thankfully, there’s a place for everyone to get what they need.

Jen Smith is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She writes a lot about retirement and gives money-saving and debt-payoff tips on Instagram at @savingwithspunk.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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Mizuho Financial Group H1 Profit Up 13.4%; Affirms FY18 Outlook – Quick Facts

Japanese lender Mizuho Financial Group (MFG, MZHOF.OB) on Wednesday reported that its profit attributable to owners of the parent for the six months ended September 30, 2018 increased 13.4 percent to 359.36 billion Japanese yen from 316.65 billion yen in the year-ago period. Earnings per share were 14.16 yen, up from 12.47 yen a year ago.
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Spending Rehab: 3 Steps To Avoid A Financial Hangover

In an economy like ours—driven by consumer spending and near-ubiquitous advertising designed to get you to spend, and then spend some more—even the most financially disciplined among us can fall prey to overspending. For example, most of us are especially vulnerable during the holiday shopping season, during which many of us spend more money in 30 days than we have in the previous six months combined. To avoid a financial hangover after a serious shopping binge, here’s a plan—let’s call it a spending rehab intervention—to sober up your finances and get your budget back under control.

Spending Rehab Step 1

You have to be woke—more conscious and aware—when it comes to how you are spending your money. Most of us spend money mindlessly, without really considering the impact on our financial health, or even whether we really need or want what we purchase. That’s the very definition of impulse spending.

So, to begin the spending rehab regimen, for one month you’re going to track your spending (which is a good idea to do two to three time a year even if you don’t overspend). Keep a record of every penny you spend, and what you spent it on. Also, note how you made each purchase—with cash, credit card, debit card, personal check, automated payment, whatever. You can track your spending using a pen and small notepad, or your mobile device or computer. Using an app like Spendr might also help. Do whatever works to have a complete record of your spending for one month.

Spending Rehab Step 2

This is where we test your commitment to getting your spending under control: Continue to track your spending for a second month, with one change—no using credit cards. That’s right; you have to go cash only for the entire month. Debit cards are OK, too, since you are just using plastic to spend cash. But no using credit cards or other tools to borrow money to finance expenditures for the entire month.

As with the previous month, keep a record of every penny you spend, and what you spent it on. Use a pen and pad, your mobile device, whatever works to have a complete record of your spending—without using credit cards.

—Be sure to catch Alfred Edmond Jr.’s personal finance podcast: “Your Money, Your Life” sponsored by Prudential. 

For those who have become accustomed to treating their available credit balance as if it were income, this might be the toughest part of spending rehab. Brace yourself for the withdrawal pains of giving up the plastic. If you literally can’t make it through one month without using credit cards, you need emergency intervention. Make an appointment with a qualified credit counselor immediately. You can find one in your area at DebtAdvice.org.

Spending Rehab Step 3

Sit down and look at your spending choices over the two months. How did your spending differ from one month to the next? Have you been too reliant on credit cards, or using them needlessly when you could have used cash and avoided wasting money on paying interest on credit card balances? Where in your budget can you eliminate spending (or at least avoid paying interest and fees), and where can you better apply that money to more beneficial, financially healthy uses—such as paying down debt faster, increasing contributions to your retirement savings, building a stronger cash emergency fund or financing a new money-making venture?

The point of this exercise is to make you more conscious of how you spend, what you buy, and most importantly, why—so you can challenge and change your thinking and adopt a healthier financial lifestyle. To get started, you want to identify and eliminate three kinds of spending—confused spending, compensatory spending, and conspicuous spending—if you are serious about improving and maintaining your financial wellness:

Confused Spending

This is when you make purchases without giving any real consideration to what you are getting for your money—or whether you even really want or need what you are buying. Confused spending almost always results in overspending.

Are you repeatedly surprised when you bounce a check, the ATM gives you a negative balance message or your credit card is declined at a store? That likely means that you are either operating without a spending plan—also known as a budget—or you have one, and are ignoring it, and instead, you are trying to keep track of it all in your head. The result: sloppiness, disorganization—and confused spending.

Compensatory Spending

This is when you spend as a form of self-medication in order to cope with emotional pain or discomfort, such as boredom, feelings of unworthiness, sadness, or repressed anger. The problem with this so-called “retail therapy” is that when you’re done, the bad feelings return, often more intensely, requiring more spending to cope—and leading to shopping addiction.

At its worst, compensatory spending leads to a vicious cycle: You feel bad, whether sad, angry, lonely or just plain bored. You go shopping to feel better—spending money you don’t have on things you have not budgeted for. When the high of getting so-called great deals wears off, you now have shopper’s remorse and guilt, on top of the original bad feelings. What do you do? Unless there is an intervention—more compensatory spending. If this is you, get help; a good place to start is the nonprofit self-help organization Debtors Anonymous.

Conspicuous Spending

This is when you spend in order to buy social status—to try to impress others, “keep up with the Joneses,” or maybe do a little frontin’ for the ‘Gram. If you rock nothing but luxury brands but have horrible credit, this is likely you.

Your friend or neighbor has the new custom kicks or latest smartphone, so you have to have it, too—whether you can afford it or not. This tendency can be exacerbated by engaging social media, where it is easier than ever to see the latest shiny new things that seemingly everyone but you has, including tons of approval in the form of likes, favorites, and shares.

Statistics show that you’re likely racing each other to the poor house. Unfortunately, too many of us spend money we don’t have to buy things we can’t afford, to impress people we don’t know and may not even like. Stay in your lane and live according to what you can afford, not by what others have.

How do you determine affordability? By continuing to monitor your spending, being more organized, sticking to a real spending plan, and otherwise staying woke when it comes to your money. The more diligent, consistent, and conscious you are, the lower the odds that you will relapse into overspending, and the less likely you’ll need another round of spending rehab.

—Be sure to catch Alfred Edmond Jr.’s personal finance podcast: “Your Money, Your Life” sponsored by Prudential. 

 

The post Spending Rehab: 3 Steps To Avoid A Financial Hangover appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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ITG To Be Acquired By Virtu Financial; Q3 Results Beat View – Quick Facts

Investment Technology Group Inc. (ITG), an agency broker and financial technology provider, said that Virtu Financial, Inc. (VIRT) has agreed to acquire all outstanding shares of ITG’s common stock for $ 30.30 per share in cash. ITG also reported third-quarter financial results that beat analysts’ estimates.
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Your Money, Your Life: Episode 1 – “Achieving Financial Freedom and Leaving A Financial Legacy”

“Your Money, Your Life” is our new money podcast sponsored by Prudential. Black Enterprise’s own Alfred Edmond Jr. hosts this special series with a lineup of great guests including The Breakfast Club’s Angela Yee; DeForest B. Soaries Jr., Founder of the dfree Financial Freedom Movement; Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche; and Jacquette M. Timmons, President & CEO, Sterling Investment Management. The show will cover money topics ranging from how to control your debt to our psychological relationship with our finance.

Episode 1

“Achieving Financial Freedom and Leaving A Financial Legacy”

Learn how gaining freedom from debt and controlling your spending forms the foundation for your financial wellness and wealth-creation potential, with Guest DeForest B. Soaries Jr, Founder of the dfree Financial Freedom Movement.

Listen now:

Soundcloud:



 

The post Your Money, Your Life: Episode 1 – “Achieving Financial Freedom and Leaving A Financial Legacy” appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Trump claims he has ‘no financial interests in Saudi Arabia’ — but he makes lots of money from it

President Donald Trump's new tweet denying a financial stake in Saudi Arabia comes amid a growing furor over suspicions that the country's rulers ordered the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
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Eddie Lampert destroyed Sears — and his reputation as a financial genius

It’s been a long, strange trip to bankruptcy court for Sears — and you can thank a brilliant, reclusive and woefully misguided hedge-fund manager for the ride. The 125-year-old retailer — for decades one of the nation’s iconic corporations, selling everything from TVs to dresses to riding mowers — filed for bankruptcy early Monday, as…
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Trade tensions could trigger another global financial crisis, but investors appear complacent: IMF

The International Monetary Fund warned on Wednesday that "a further escalation of trade tensions, as well as rising geopolitical risks and policy uncertainty in major economies, could lead to a sudden deterioration in risk sentiment."
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