FINANCIAL FOCUS – Make Sure You Choose the Right Financial Professional

Come by March 15th to find out about Capturing Capital – How to Acquire it, Apply it and Manage it

Join Connecting Atlanta on LinkedIn and Facebook.

These days, you have more options than ever – including so-called robo-advisors. Robo-advisors typically use algorithms to assemble investment portfolios, with little to no human supervision, after customers answer questions online. Generally, robo-advisors are fairly cheap, and their recommendations are usually based on sound investment principles such as diversification.

However, when considering a robo-advisor, you should determine if an algorithm can address your needs as well as a human being – someone who actually becomes familiar with your life and all aspects of your financial situation. Furthermore, a robo-advisor can’t really handle the new wrinkles that will inevitably pop up, such as when you change jobs, and you’d like to know what to do with your 401(k) from your previous employer – leave the money in that employer’s plan,  transfer the account to the new employer’s plan or roll it over to an IRA. You probably couldn’t receive a personalized evaluation of your options, based on your individual goals and circumstances, from a robo-advisor.

So, if you decide to work with an individual financial professional, what should you look for from this person? Here are a few questions you might want to ask:

  • Who is your typical client? By asking this question, you may get a sense of whether a particular financial advisor has experience working with people in your financial situation and with goals similar to yours.
  • What’s important to you? The quality of your relationship with your financial advisor is important – after all, you may be working with this person for decades – and he or she likely will be involved with many of your most personal decisions. Consequently, you’ll want to work with someone you connect with on an individual level, as well as a professional one. So, if an advisor seems to share your values and appears to have a good rapport with you, it could be a positive sign for the future.
  • How will we communicate – and how often? If you’re interviewing candidates, ask them how often they will meet with you in person. At a minimum, an advisor should see you once a year to review your progress and suggest changes. Will they also call or e-mail you with suggestions throughout the year? Are you free to contact them whenever you like? Will you get a real, live person every time you call? Will they send out newsletters or other communications to update you on changes in the investment

world? If so, can you see some samples of the communication vehicles they send to clients?

  • How do you get compensated? Some financial advisors work on a fee basis, some on commissions, and some use a combination of both. Find out how your advisor will be compensated, when you’ll need to make payments and how much you’ll be expected to pay.

By asking the right questions, you should get a good sense of whether a particular advisor is right for you. And since this likely will be one of the most important professional relationships you have, you’ll want a good feeling about it, right from the beginning.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Marques Young
Edward Jones Investments
8001 Centerview Parkway, Suite 112
Cordova, TN 38018
Office: (901) 751-0634
Email: marques.young@edwardjones.com
Member SIPC

marques-young

Advertisements

Robert Smith Launches Smith Center, Makes Largest Donation For Black Men’s Prostate Cancer Research

Come by March 15th to find out about Capturing Capital – How to Acquire it, Apply it and Manage it

Join Connecting Atlanta on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Robert F. Smith wants to help keep black men who have prostate cancer alive, raise awareness and fund research. He recently donated $2.5 million to the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) to focus on black men and launched the Robert Frederick Smith Center of Precision Oncology Excellence in Chicago. Smith is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Vista Equity Partners.

Smith’s gift is the largest donation ever made specifically targeting research and care for black men with prostate cancer who, statistically, are 73 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer than any other race or ethnicity. The Smith Center will serve as a precision oncology hub in PCF’s preeminent network of centers working to fulfill the ambitious mission of improving the care of U.S. veterans with prostate cancer. It also has a focus on aiding veterans in the Greater Chicagoland area and beyond who are battling prostate cancer.

“I am delighted to support the lifesaving work of accelerating promising medical research to serve our nation’s veterans who urgently need better treatments and cures and access to cutting-edge precision oncology,” Smith said. “With these resources, we will do right by those brave veterans who served our country, and we will change the odds for millions of African-American men who should be surviving prostate cancer.”

One in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. It is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among veterans, accounting for a third of all male cancer cases. Black men are 2.3 times more likely to die from the disease. To date, little is known about the biological reasons for the alarming disparities.

For veterans with the late-stage disease who are running out of choices, this gift will enable the Prostate Cancer Foundation to accelerate the work of clinical investigators working to solve some of the most lethal forms of prostate cancer while also advancing the quality of healthcare for black men.

In 2018, PCF will fund a series of precision medicine teams at leading Veterans Administration medical centers and universities across the country through a call for proposals issued in January. Although all highly innovative research proposals will be considered, priority will be given to higher risk-highest potential of impact to maximize the benefits to veterans, with a focus on African-Americans, in the near term.

“We are profoundly grateful to Robert F. Smith for his incredible generosity and his leadership. The Smith Center of Excellence represents a new model of American philanthropy and will pave the way for groundbreaking discoveries that will have a transformative impact on our research enterprise and its role in improving health equity for veterans and their families,” Jonathan W. Simons, MD, PCF’s president and CEO said.These survival disparities represent a real crisis, and this gift – so timely in the spirit of honoring the legacy of Dr. King – has the power to save lives.”

Article by Dominique Huff.

FINANCIAL FOCUS – How Can Women Make Financial Progress?

Come by March 15th to find out about Capturing Capital – How to Acquire it, Apply it and Manage it

Join Connecting Atlanta on LinkedIn and Facebook.

On March 8, we observe International Women’s Day. This year’s theme is “Press for Progress,” and events around the world will celebrate women’s advancements in the political, social and cultural arenas. But right here in the United States, women still face barriers to their financial progress. If you’re a woman, you need to recognize these challenges – and respond to them.

So, what are the key obstacles to financial security for a woman? Probably the first thing that comes to mind is the gender wage gap: Women generally earn around 80 cents for every dollar men earn, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

But women also face other threats to their financial security. For one thing, they are far more likely than men to take time away from the workforce to raise a family – and time away means smaller Social Security payments and significantly lower balances in 401(k) plans and other retirement accounts. And women’s roles as caretakers don’t end when their children are grown – in fact, women are twice as likely as their male siblings to end up caring for an elderly parent, according to a Princeton University study.

What, then, can you do to help ensure a comfortable retirement and achieve your other financial goals? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Take full advantage of your employer’s retirement plan. If your employer offers a 401(k) or similar retirement plan, take full advantage of it. Invest as much as you can afford each year, and every time you get a raise, increase your contributions. At the very least, put in enough to earn your employer’s matching contribution, if one is offered.
  • Invest for the long term. Some evidence shows that women may be more conservative investors than men. But if you want to reach your long-term goals, you will need to consider some growth-oriented investments in your portfolio, factoring in your risk tolerance and time horizon. You may want to consult with a financial professional about the best way to invest for the long term.
  • Maximize your Social Security. If your spouse is the higher earner, you may want to consider how you can use this disparity to your advantage when you collect Social Security. Specifically, you may be eligible for Social Security benefits based on your spouse’s earnings and Social Security record. You’ll want to consult your tax advisor before making any moves.
  • Protect yourself from long-term care costs. More than two-thirds of nursing home residents are women, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. And

the median rate nationwide for a private room in a nursing home is over $97,000 per year, according to the Genworth 2017 Cost of Care Survey. Medicare generally pays very little for long-term care, so if you ever need these services, you’ll have to find other ways to pay for them. A financial professional can suggest some ideas.

As a woman, you face special financial challenges, and striving to overcome them will be a lifelong activity. But it’s worth the effort.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Marques Young
Edward Jones Investments
8001 Centerview Parkway, Suite 112
Cordova, TN 38018
Office: (901) 751-0634
Email: marques.young@edwardjones.com
Member SIPC

marques-young

Ahmir Young Uses ‘EGrassRoots’ To Promote, Develop Black-Owned Businesses

Come by February 24th to find out How to Run a Successful Business with a J.O.B

Join Connecting Atlanta on LinkedIn and Facebook.

In 2010, Ahmir Young did what any typical Facebook user would do, create a group based on his interest and gather like minds. At that time, he started the Black Owned Businesses group with eight people with the intention of gathering like minds locally.

“I was tired of spending money with people who don’t look like me nor care about me,” he said. “Racism is clear as day and we are still giving people who hate us our money. I didn’t know this group was going to turn into a movement.”

Fast forward to 2014, the EGrassRootsBusiness.com website was launched. The site is a place to feature black businesses in various states and cities, allow consumers to provide real-time reviews, encourage event producers to list their events, businesses develop their own coupons and promotions for those wanting to try them out or return again and allow people to spend money with known black businesses.

“Word of mouth is cool but dated in this economy. A business that is virtual can pick up customers from anywhere, but people need to know who you are,” he said.

Over 550 businesses are listed from a variety of categories within the firm to business and business to consumer. The site also has an app available in the Google Play and Apple stores for downloads with over 1,000 having the access. The Facebook group contains nearly 35,000 members.

While many argue black business initiatives and directories are dated, the census date proves different. There were 2.6 million black-owned firms in 2012, a 34 percent increase from 1.9 million in 2007. While 9.4 percent of all U.S. companies were black owned, the largest percentage was 19.2 percent within the health care and social assistance sector. The state of Georgia had the most black-owned businesses in 2012 totaling 256,848 companies with Florida coming second with 251,216.

Metro Atlanta has more black owned businesses 176,245 in 2012 than any other metro area. New York City’s Metro area had 250,890. Cook County Illinois has the most black-owned firms out of all the counties with 110,155. Detroit and Memphis had the largest concentration of black-owned businesses out of the largest 50 cities. Detroit had 77 percent whereas Memphis had 56.2 percent.

The EGrassRootsBusiness movement has also produced other fruits such as a black-owned business coupon book, the first known of its kind on a national level. The group also hosted local meetups in Atlanta, Charlotte, Philadelphia, and various parts of the DMV region. It has also partnered with the South Fulton Business Coalition to work jointly on projects in the Fulton County area of the region.

“I want to see people get serious on a local level so we can do more on a national level,” he said. “It all starts in our backyards. There is so much more we all can do to support each other.”
There are also quiet successes within the movement from people finally starting their business, creating partnerships, finding the will to keep their struggling business going and several new life long connections.

“Those are the things you wouldn’t notice unless you had your eyes open. We have kept money in our community longer by passing referrals and making people think about using a black business for various services,” he said. “We always hear about how fast the dollar leaves our community and forever talk about it. Well, we are doing something about it.”

Many non-profits have thrived in the group, and a few members have started working on community issues together. Members give advisement and encouragement to each other while praising each other for accomplishments.

Young wants to eliminate all the excuses people come up with and the bashing of black businesses.

“You never hear other races bashing their businesses, they work it out and handle it. We can’t wait to blast someone,” he mentioned. “Many of us love to talk, but very few of us are willing to put in the effort. No reason why local meetups are not full and more people are not doing business with each other.”

EGrassRootsBusiness has a merchandise line from t-shirts, coffee mugs, laptop bags and much more. Young looks at it as a symbol to show who is truly a supporter of black-owned businesses. There have been conference calls to teach people business and other crucial information.

Many directories and initiatives have come and gone, but Young credits the efforts of the businesses, team members and patrons for keeping the movement going.

Team members include Dustin Queenan, Tamikka Goldsby, S. Elle Clark, Lakeisha Singletary, Rochelle Hayward-El and Lem Mobley.

“We’re consistent and continue to push ourselves to the limits. We are innovative and creative,” he said. “Everyone wants to see each other do well. We’re the networking event that never ends.”

Website: http://www.egrassrootsbusiness.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/blackownedbusinesses/
Fan Page: Egrassroots Business

Publisher’s Disclosure: The writer and editor of this magazine is also the founder of South Fulton Business Coalition and a team member for Egrassroots Business project.

Article by Dominique Huff

FINANCIAL FOCUS – Is a Managed Account Right for You?

Come by February 24th to find out How to Run a Successful Business with a J.O.B

Join Connecting Atlanta on LinkedIn and Facebook.

As an investor, you’ll face many decisions over the years. How much should you invest? Where should you put your money? When is it time to sell some investments and use the proceeds to buy others? Some people enjoy making these choices themselves – but not everyone. Consequently, the type of investor you are will influence your thinking about whether to open a managed account.

As its name suggests, a managed account – sometimes known as an “advisory” account – essentially is a portfolio of stocks, bonds and other investments chosen by a professional investment manager who makes the buy and sell decisions. Typically, each managed account has an investment objective based on your goals, and you may have some voice in investment choices – for example, you may be able to request that the manager avoid certain investments. Or, you might still work with a personal financial advisor who can help you identify and quantify your goals, define your risk tolerance, and track changes in your family situation – and who can then use this information to help guide the investment manager’s choices.

Beyond this basic structure, managed accounts can vary greatly in terms of administration, reporting, fees and minimum balance.

So, assuming you meet the requirements for a managed account, should you consider one? There’s really no one right answer for everyone. But three factors to consider are cost, control and confidence.

  • Cost – Different managed accounts may have different payment arrangements. However, it’s common for a money manger to be paid based on a percentage of assets under management. So, if your manager’s fee is 1% and your portfolio contains $100,000, the manager earns $1,000 per year, but if the value of your portfolio rises to $200,000, the manager earns $2,000. Because the manager has a personal stake in the portfolio’s success, this arrangement could work to your advantage. Be aware, though, that other fees may be associated with your account.
  • Control – With any managed account, you will give up some, or perhaps all, of your power to make buy-and-sell decisions. If you have built a large portfolio, and you’re busy with work and family, you may like the idea of delegating these decisions. And, as mentioned above, you can still oversee the “big picture” by either working through a financial advisor or, at the least, having your goals, risk tolerance and investment preferences dictate a money manager’s decisions. But you will have to decide for yourself how comfortable you are in ceding control of your portfolio’s day-to-day transactions.
  • Confidence – It’s essential that you feel confident in a managed account’s ability to help you meet your goals. And the various elements of a managed account may well give you that assurance. For example, some managed accounts include automatic rebalancing of assets, which, among other things, can help you achieve tax efficiency. Other features of a managed account – such as the experience and track record of the manager – also may bolster your confidence.

Ultimately, you’ll need to weigh all factors before deciding whether a managed account is right for you. In any case, it’s an option worth considering.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Marques Young
Edward Jones Investments
8001 Centerview Parkway, Suite 112
Cordova, TN 38018
Office: (901) 751-0634
Email: marques.young@edwardjones.com
Member SIPC

marques-young

Dominique Magazine Reflects: Business Lessons Gleaned From Victor H. Green

Come by February 24th to find out How to Run a Successful Business with a J.O.B

Join Connecting Atlanta on LinkedIn and Facebook.

In honor of the late Victor H. Green, the publisher of the Negro Motorist Green Book, Dominique Magazine reviewed the history and many commentaries written by the staff of the guide including Green himself. The publication served as a tool that provided state by state listings where black motorists could stop for the night. It allowed travelers to have safe places to stop for food, gas and resting. The Negro Motorist Green Book enabled black drivers a mapping tool for a cross-country drive through towns with places to stay while avoiding “sundown towns” where no Blacks were allowed at night.

The book was published from 1937 to 1966 highlighted both black-owned businesses and white establishments that were willing to serve black customers. Green stated he looked forward to the day that printing his book would no longer be needed. He died in 1960 and the book published up until 1966. The Civil Rights Act passed in 1964. The heir of his empire, his wife, continued the operations until that time. She died in 1978. The Greens had no children.

“There will be a day sometime shortly when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States,” Green wrote in the 1949 edition. “It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication, for then we can go wherever we please, and without embarrassment. But until that time comes, we shall continue to publish this information each year.”

Over the years, we have many black business associations, black chambers of commerce, black networking groups, black business directories, and apps sprouted all over the marketplace to assist black consumers with black-owned firms. The premise of these entities was to encourage companies to market and promote themselves. As with the Green Book, many of these platforms struggle to capture firms who want to use the venues.

Assistant Editor Novera C. Dashiell documented Green’s lament in 1957 on how many black firms refused to advertise.

“He regrets the shortsightedness of most of our businessmen to see the urgent need and value of advertising. If a negro owned business is good, it can be better with advertising,” she wrote. “We can create our own name brands. We should have the patience to build. Build for yourselves and the future of our children.”

Green considered his publication a live example of patience. The outlet started out for Greater New York then expanded nationwide. He also, according to Dashiell, lamented the lack of interest among young people in the field of advertising.

“The need for trained personnel is acute. He urged more youngsters to take advantage of the opportunities offered,” she wrote. “This, in turn, will create greater achievements in our business ventures.”

In 2009, a panel of black media experts was featured in Black Enterprise Magazine discussing the issues impacting black media. The problems were Black Americans spend money on things not marketed towards them which can hinder media outlets from generating revenue. It also noted a push by many Fortune 500 companies for large market penetration has made it even more difficult for these outlets. The smaller audiences often are perceived as not a high return on investment.

In 2012, the Small Business Administration reported 2,584,403 black businesses were in operation comprising 9.5 percent of the total number of American companies. Blacks accounted for 12.6 of the population at that time. A black firm that year was reported to average $58,000 yearly in sales. However, Hispanic companies said $143,000 annually in sales, and white companies reported $546,000 in sales. Asians owned 7.1 percent of the operating businesses in 2012, Hispanics held 12.2 percent, and Whites owned 70.9 percent.

For a 1957 commentary, Dashiell’s words and Green’s thoughts apply 60 years later. Many of these black directories struggle to get black companies to advertise, and the lists, for the most part, could use a significant marketing push. Green’s mindset of allowing black people to shop and patronize whatever business they wanted to was an appropriate dream for the time. While some argue that black business leaders are promoting voluntary segregation with the ‘supporting black business’ movement, but I argue otherwise.

Case in point, the data shows that our firms make the least amount of money and granted, many blacks do open business in some of the lowest grossing industries as outlined by the SBA report, it can also be concluded that many of us still rely on ‘word of mouth’ and dated marketing practices. Granted, many firms often don’t have the budget or resources to make such investments whereas others just do not see the value. A goal of a business should extend beyond making a profit but creating a legacy to pass to your children or family. This is how generational wealth is built and distributed.

The Negro Green Book was able to thrive in an era where black motorists needed to be safe in their travels and also promoted businesses and services along the way. The same logic must be applied when addressing local firms and black-owned ones. Some argue they don’t want to be labeled as a black business but want black dollars. Think about how many major corporations study the black demographic and cater their marketing to capture those dollars. While we should have the home court advantage, we must recognize we have many obstacles that we’re competing with such as larger budgets, social media, digital marketing, multiple platforms, brand awareness and more. The climb is not an easy one but one that a company must be willing to take.

It’s time for more business owners to take marketing and advertising seriously and know who their customer is. Other races should not be able to study our marketplace better than us, and in fact, we should study theirs to capture dollars from their communities. Black businesses must recognize that chess is the name of the game and if we want our companies to be major brands, we must start thinking like a major brand. Dominique Magazine has that mindset, and we look at ourselves in being in the same realm of Madam Noire, a publication created for black women (which was founded by a black man named Jamarlin Martin) and other outlets. We don’t want to play it small, and no business that considers themselves a legacy should have this mindset. The tools are here, and it’s time for us to get to work.

So, develop that market strategy. Hire that consultant! Do that research and have a critical analysis of where you want your business to go. While Green and Dashiell cited this problem in 1957, we’re mentioning this issue in 2017, and we hope that by 2077, the business owners of the time would have captured this and excelled. It’s also our hope that Tenth Amendment Media Group, the parent company of Dominique Magazine thrives and prospers when the owner is no longer living so it can take care of his unborn children and future family.

Article by Dominique Magazine

FINANCIAL FOCUS – Consider Financial Gifts for All Your Valentines

Come by February 24th to find out How to Run a Successful Business with a J.O.B

Join Connecting Atlanta on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Valentine’s Day is almost here – and it’s a pretty big business. In fact, U.S. consumers spent about $18 billion on their valentines in 2017, according to the National Retail Federation. Of course, recipients certainly appreciate flowers, candy, jewelry and so on, but this year, consider going beyond the traditional favorites to give your loved ones something more long-lasting – a financial gift.

And, while you’re doing so, why not also go beyond the traditional definition of a “valentine”? After all, not all that $18 billion went to spouses or significant others. A sizable amount also went to non-romantic connections, including children, parents, friends, teachers – even pets. So, in the spirit of ecumenical Valentine’s Day gift-giving, here are some suggestions for financial gifts for your loved ones:

  • For spouse or significant other – One valuable gift to your spouse or significant other might be an IRA contribution. While you can’t directly contribute to someone else’s IRA, you can certainly write a check to that person for that purpose. This gift is particularly valuable because many people have trouble coming up with the maximum annual IRA contribution, which, in 2018, is $5,500, or $6,500 for individuals 50 and older. As an alternative to an IRA contribution, you could give shares of a stock issued by a company whose products or services are enjoyed by your spouse or significant other.
  • For your children –  It’s never too soon to start saving for college for your children. Fortunately, you have a few attractive college-funding vehicles available, one of which is the 529 Savings Plan. You can generally invest in the plan offered by any state, even if you don’t live there. If you do invest in your own state’s plan, you might receive a tax incentive, which could include a deduction, match or credit. Plus, all withdrawals from 529 Savings Plans will be free from federal income taxes and, in most cases, state income taxes as well, as long as the money is used for qualified college or graduate school expenses of the beneficiary you’ve named. (If a withdrawal is taken from a 529 Savings Plan but not used for a qualified expense, the portion of the withdrawal representing earnings is subject to ordinary income tax and a 10% federal penalty.)
  • For your parents – You can probably find a number of thoughtful and valuable financial gifts for your parents. You could, for example, offer to pay a month’s worth of their premiums for their auto or health insurance. Even if they are on Medicare, they may still be paying for a supplemental policy, so your gift may well be appreciated. But you might want to go beyond helping them with just a single component of their financial situation and instead provide them with assistance for their “big picture.” To do so, you could arrange a visit with a trusted financial professional, assuming your parents aren’t already using one. This person could look at all issues, including investments, retirement accounts, long-term care and estate-related financial strategies, and then make appropriate recommendations and even referrals to other professionals.

Everyone likes the hearts, flowers and sweets of Valentine’s Day. Nonetheless, give some thought to making financial gifts – they can make a difference in your loved ones’ lives long after the chocolates are eaten and the roses have faded.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Marques Young
Edward Jones Investments
8001 Centerview Parkway, Suite 112
Cordova, TN 38018
Office: (901) 751-0634
Email: marques.young@edwardjones.com
Member SIPC

marques-young

Victor H Green: Pioneer Of The First Black Business Directory

Come by February 24th to find out How to Run a Successful Business with a J.O.B

Join Connecting Atlanta on LinkedIn and Facebook.

The Negro Motorist Green Book was a legendary guide to hotels and restaurants that accepted black customers.

“The idea crystallized when not only himself but several friends and acquaintances complained of the difficulties when encountered; often painful embarrassments suffered which ruined a vacation or business trip,” Novera C. Dashiell, Assistant Editor of the Green Book wrote in 1956.

Launched in 1936, the Negro Motorist Green Book was a guide that provided state by state listings where black motorists could stop for the night. It allowed travelers to have safe places to stop for food, gas, and resting. The Negro Motorist Green Book enabled black drivers a mapping tool for a cross-country drive through towns with places to stay while avoiding “sundown towns” where no Blacks were allowed at night. Restaurants, gas stations, and other services are also listed.

“The white traveler had no difficulty in getting accommodations, but with the Negro, it has been different. He, before the advent of a Negro travel guide, had to depend on word of mouth, and many times accommodations were not available,” he wrote in the intro to the 1955 edition. “The Negro traveler can depend on the Green Book for all the information he wants and has a wide selection to choose from. Hence the guide has made traveling more popular, without encountering embarrassing situations.”

During the era, many businesses often declined services to blacks, and many roads drove through ‘sundown towns’ often putting unsuspecting motorists at risk. Green started the booklet with the intention of going out of business.

“There will be a day sometime shortly when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States,” Green wrote in the 1949 edition. “It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication, or then we can go wherever we please, and without embarrassment. But until that time comes, we shall continue to publish this information each year.”

This legendary guide to lodgings and restaurants that accepted Black customers has become a vital reminder of life before the Civil Rights Act, but surviving copies are museum items. Now, a small California publisher has reprinted the guide, making it available to those wishing to understand our history.

“Put a Green Book into someone’s hands, and an immediate understanding develops,” About Comics Publisher Nate Gertler explained. “Looking at this efficient guide, they comprehend how stifling segregation was.” Gone for fifty years, the guide now gets media attention – the New York Times called it a “beacon for Black travelers,” the Washington Post said it was “a game changer,” Newsweek called it “practical scripture” that “saved black lives on the road,” and NPR dubbed it “revolutionary.” The scarce original copies go for thousands of dollars.

The 1947 reprint just released ($8.99) joins 1940, 1954, and 1963 editions in the series. They are carried at the gift shops of major museums and historic sites, including the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. All are also available on Amazon.

“They remind us of a past that we still carry with us and warn of what may come again,” he said.

Green was born on November 9, 1892, in Manhattan, New York City. He was the oldest of three siblings. He started his U.S. Postal Service career in 1913, and by 1918, he married Alma (Duke) Green. The era of segregation led Green to create the Green Book starting in 1936. The Green Book printed 15,000 copies yearly. Esso Gas Stations (now ExxonMobil), one of the first companies to franchise gas stations to black business owners, sold the books.

Not much is known about Green’s life. He had no children and died in 1960 on an unknown date. His wife, Alma continued to print the book until 1966. The book ceased publication two years after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. No details were known about his wife, and it was reported she died in 1978 on an unknown date.

To purchase a reprint of The Green Book, visit http://www.aboutcomics.com.

Article by Dominique Huff

FINANCIAL FOCUS – What Should You Do With Your Tax Refund?

Come by February 24th to find out How to Run a Successful Business with a J.O.B

Join Connecting Atlanta on LinkedIn and Facebook.

You may not get much of a thrill from filing your taxes, but the process becomes much more enjoyable if you’re expecting a refund. So, if one is headed your way, what should you do with the money?

The answer depends somewhat on the size of the refund. For the 2017 tax year, the average refund was about $2,760 – not a fortune, but big enough to make an impact in your life. Suppose, for example, that you invested this amount in a tax-deferred vehicle, such as a traditional IRA, and then did not add another penny to it for 30 years. At the end of that time, assuming a hypothetical 7 percent annual rate of return, you’d have slightly more than $21,000 – not enough, by itself, to allow you to move to a Caribbean island, but still a nice addition to your retirement income. (You will need to pay taxes on your withdrawals eventually, unless the money was invested in a Roth IRA, in which case withdrawals are tax-free, provided you meet certain conditions.)

Of course, you don’t have to wait 30 years before you see any benefits from your tax refund. If you did decide to put a $2,760 tax refund toward your IRA for 2018, you’d already have reached just over half the allowable contribution limit of $5,500. (If you’re 50 or older, the limit is $6,500.) By getting such a strong head start on funding your IRA for the year, you’ll give your money more time to grow. Also, if you’re going to “max out” on your IRA, your large initial payment will enable you to put in smaller monthly amounts than you might need to contribute otherwise.

While using your refund to help fund your IRA is a good move, it’s not the only one you can make. Here are a few other possibilities:

  • Pay down some debt. At some time or another, most of us probably feel we’re carrying too much debt. If you can use your tax refund to help reduce your monthly debt payments, you’ll improve your cash flow and possibly have more money available to invest for the future.
  • Build an emergency fund. If you needed a new furnace or major car repair, or faced any other large, unexpected expense, how would you pay for it? If you did not have the cash readily available, you might be forced to dip into your long-term investments. To help avoid this problem, you could create an emergency fund containing three to six months’ worth of living expenses, with the money kept in a liquid, low-risk account. Your tax refund could help build your emergency fund.
  • Look for other investment opportunities. If you have some gaps in your portfolio, or some opportunities to improve your overall diversification, you might want to use your tax refund to add some new investments. The more diversified your portfolio, the stronger your defense against market volatility that might primarily affect one particular asset class. (However, diversification, by itself, can’t protect against all losses or guarantee profits.)

Clearly, a tax refund gives you a chance to improve your overall financial picture. So take your time, evaluate your options and use the money wisely.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Marques Young
Edward Jones Investments
8001 Centerview Parkway, Suite 112
Cordova, TN 38018
Office: (901) 751-0634
Email: marques.young@edwardjones.com
Member SIPC

marques-young

Paying for overtime with cash under the table is NOT a good practice!

Come by February 24th to find out How to Run a Successful Business with a J.O.B

Join Connecting Atlanta on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Reading through the USDOL press releases it appears that many companies have problems paying for overtime. Case after case show companies being fined for overtime violations and recordkeeping errors. At an average of about $250,000 per case, plus whatever the legal costs were, a lot of overtime could have been paid for without getting in trouble.

Under the table

One company in Southern California apparently tried to hide the fact they were not paying overtime at the required rate of time and a half. They would pay only a 40 hour straight time week and then pay for any hours over 40 by offering cash at the straight time rate. I imagine they thought that workers would be willing to accept that cash because they didn’t have to pay any taxes on the wages. The problem was, someone was not willing to be paid like that.

Missing the paperwork

As you can imagine the recordkeeping on these hours was also found to be lacking and that cost the company even more money. Of the $289,215 they had to pay I am sure the vast majority went to pay the fines levied by the USDOL as opposed to back wages to the 60 employees. Just not a wise business practice.

An additional problem they may have is the fact that they could probably be charged with tax evasion. They did not collect the payroll taxes on the “wages” paid in cash. I am pretty sure the IRS would not be happy about that.

Just don’t do it

Trying to come up with an alternative for paying overtime is just not worth it. While not all your employees are educated about wage and hour laws, there is likely to be one or two in your workgroup who have seen commercials by attorneys, or who have read an article online, that may then question your practice of not paying overtime. Plus, you are supposed to have the FLSA poster in your workplace that also tells them they are to be paid for working more than 40 hours in a week. Be a legal employer! It is not as expensive as you think and it is better for your reputation.

Article written by Mike Haberman

Mike Haberman