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A fighting chance for Memphis artists and musicians

CarleeMcCullough-160ON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY: While other cities may have surpassed Memphis as far as their music business infrastructure, Memphis has not given up the fight. As African-American Music Appreciation Month (AAMAM) dawns, three organizations in the city are putting forth every effort to give Memphis artists and musicians a fighting chance in the industry.

The Memphis & Shelby County Music Commission, the Memphis Music Foundation and the Consortium Memphis Music Town are all aggressively supporting Memphis talent. As part of our celebration of AAMAM, we'll profile all three, beginning this week with the Memphis & Shelby County Music Commission (MSCMC).

According to its website (www.Memphismusic.org), the Music Commission preserves, fosters and promotes Memphis music locally, nationally and throughout the world. That involves education, networking, advocacy and professional and industry development.

Business bootcamp has single moms in sight

Nicole Gates-300This summer, Successful Single Moms Memphis, Inc. plans to take another step in its mission of "advocating for fair wages, opportunities to return to school, homeownership and entrepreneurship" for single moms.

Single Moms University (SMU) – in concert with its collaborative partners – will provide an avenue for their single moms to participate in classes designed to foster continuing education opportunities.

"We are excited to announce our Mogul Mom™ Business Bootcamp as the first set of classes under our Single Moms University," said Nicole Gates, director of Successful Single Moms Memphis, Inc. "(This) is a collaboration of the Home Based Business Chamber of Commerce (HBBCC), National College of Business and Successful Single Moms Memphis. Completion of the training sets the women up to become Mogul Mom™ Certified business enterprises."

DIVORCE – Property distribution and alimony

CarleeMcCullough-160Remember the popular song lyrics of Johnnie Taylor – "Cheaper to Keep Her?"

Well, there just may be some truth to those words.

The after effects of a divorce can wreak havoc on a business. Taking into consideration loss of property and the payment of alimony, the consequences can be long lasting and difficult to overcome.

Property distribution

Fraud never sleeps

CharlesSimsJr-160The Federal Trade Commission received over 1.8 million consumer complaints in 2011. More than half of these were for various types of fraud. Despite improved consumer education and tighter controls, criminals continue to come up with new ways to separate unwitting victims from their hard-earned money.

A list of potential scams would fill many pages, but here are three relatively new ones to watch out for.

Cut your credit-card rate! An unsolicited caller offers to help you reduce your credit-card interest rate for a fee, and you must fill out a financial profile with account numbers, Social Security numbers, and other personal information. The scammer may arrange a conference call with your credit-card company and ask for a fee reduction, which is usually refused and could have been requested yourself. You are out the fee and at risk for the misuse of your personal information.

Divorce & business – Child custody and support

CarleeMcCullough-160Whether you have a multi-million dollar business or a minimum wage job, divorce can put your income at risk when it gets down to child support. Although the distribution of property and alimony payments may be governed by a prenuptial agreement, child custody and support will be solely determined by the court.

Child custody

According to the Tennessee Code – Title 36, Sections 36-6-106, the court may award custody to either parent, or to both parents (joint custody or shared parenting) based on the best interests of the child. The court will consider the following factors:

Surprise! It’s retirement time

CharlesSimsJr-160In a 2012 survey, 50 percent of current retirees said they retired earlier than they had planned, up from 45 percent in 2011.

Many retirees reported reasons that were beyond their control, such as health problems or disability, company downsizing or closure, changes in the skills required for their jobs, or having to care for a spouse or family member. Yet some said they retired early by choice – because they could afford to or because they wanted to do something different.

If you're nearing the end of your working years, you probably have a retirement timetable in mind. It may be as specific as a particular date or as general as a range of years. Regardless of your timetable, circumstances could change – as the experience of current retirees demonstrates – and retirement might come sooner than you think.

Divorce and business – the ins and outs

CarleeMcCullough-160I, John Doe, take you Jane Marie, to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.

For those in business, divorce can be devastating, especially when we have to be at the top of our game daily. It can affect job performance and the delivery of goods and services.

When we are in love, birds seem to sing louder and even when it is raining it seems like the sun is shining bright. Our mates can do no wrong and we are their biggest cheerleaders. We overlook their flaws and make excuses for their shortcomings.

Moving on and rolling over

CharlesSimsJr-160Despite the uncertainties of the job market, today's workers stay in a job for an average of only 4.4 years. Job-hopping is even more prevalent among younger workers: about nine out of 10 millennials (born between 1977 and 1997) expect to stay in a job for less than three years.

The impact of moving from job to job on a worker's career depends on individual circumstances. However, any time you leave a job – whether you've been there for three years or 30 years – you could be faced with a decision about what to do with the savings in your employer-sponsored retirement plan. There are typically four options.