MONEY MATTERS Many Americans are familiar with Social Security's projected shortfall and the public debate on how to fix the program's finances. Going forward, fewer workers will support a larger number of retiring baby boomers. Without some combination of tax increases and benefit cuts, Social Security's operating deficit is expected to exceed $800 billion over the next 10 years.
Some of the nation's public- and private-sector pension plans are facing similar financial challenges. Unlike defined-contribution plans such as 401(k)s, pensions are defined-benefit plans that promise to pay lifetime benefits to retirees based on length of service and their pre-retirement salaries.
Pension plans that become severely underfunded could eventually fail, leaving participants without the retirement incomes they were counting on, or transferring the burden to taxpayers if a government bailout is needed.
Roby S. Williams has seen businesses come and go. Ninety percent of them are start-ups that fail to sustain themselves the first couple of years in the marketplace, said Williams, president of the Black Business Association of Memphis, a non-profit network of African-American entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.
Not all businesses fall by the wayside. One of them – The Carter Malone Group, LLC, a public relations, marketing and advertising firm – beat the odds and celebrated its 10th anniversary on June 21.
More than 150 celebrants crowded the Calliope Room in Downtown Memphis and paid tribute to the firm's president and CEO, Deidre Malone. The venue was in close proximity to where Malone had opened her first office.
Universal life insurance was developed in the late 1970s to overcome some of the disadvantages associated with term and whole life insurance. As with other types of life insurance, you pay regular premiums to your insurance company, in exchange for which the insurance company will pay a specific benefit to your beneficiaries upon your death.
As with whole life insurance, a portion of each payment goes to the insurance company to pay for the pure cost of insurance. The remainder is invested in the company's general investment portfolio, with the potential to build cash value.
Most universal life policies pay a minimum guaranteed rate of return. Any returns above the guaranteed minimum vary with the performance of the insurance company's portfolio. The policyholder has no control over how these funds are invested; funds are managed by the insurance company's professional portfolio managers.
Robert L. Johnson, founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies, and Dr. DeForest B. Soaries Jr., senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, N.J. have formed an alliance to reshape the national financial lending climate.
The collaboration is designed to help Americans, particularly minorities, pay down consumer debt, increase household savings, and overcome a cycle of short term and emergency borrowing caused by the "excessive use of payday lending."
Nearly twelve million Americans turn to payday loans annually when faced with financial challenges in order to cover emergency expenses and meet cash shortfalls. Forty-one percent of borrowers have needed a cash infusion to pay off a payday loan and many ultimately turn to the same options they could have used instead of payday loans to finally pay off the loan.
Gina, the owner of a busy graphic design firm, started giving herself – and her employees – four-day workweeks after she had knee surgery and found it tough to get around. It was meant to be temporary, and Gina only made the change because she felt guilty staying home while the others toiled. But she quickly realized the shorter week was less a burden than a surprise boon.
From Monday through Thursday, her staff got in early to get their work done, and employees seemed genuinely excited to be there. Productivity increased dramatically. People still had fun, but even the office chitchat seemed more efficient. And when they were at work, they worked.
"They were using the extra day off to spend time with their families, do errands and take long weekends away, but also to schedule appointments they might otherwise have taken an afternoon off to attend," Gina said. People ended up taking fewer vacations days, and sick days disappeared almost entirely.
"A Creative Entrepreneurial Community Center". . . that's how Tonya Tate, Director of Indie Style Market styles the new venture designed to promote the economic opportunities of creative entrepreneurism and promote the indie product design community of the Mid-South.
Consumer product design is a broad field that covers everything from apparel and accessories to home goods and furniture. The mid-south is known for our food, music, and art but we also have a lot to offer in terms of unique products that you use every day and Indie Style Market (ISM) exists to tell the story of these products and their makers to the world.
In addition to retail storefront from which to sell their products, ISM offers indie designers workshops to help them with various aspects of running a creative product business such as taking Quality Product Photos, Launching an Etsy shop, and Marketing your brand using Social Media.
ON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY: It is pretty common knowledge that the music industry has morphed since the days of Motown. While the model has changed from just ten years ago, the number of artists eager to enter the business has not declined over time. New technology for producing beats allows almost anyone to make a record, thereby diluting and congesting the field. So the dedicated have to distinguish themselves from the pack. Do you ever wonder how some folks made it big in the business with "little" talent, while those that sing like Whitney Houston never make it? Do you have what it takes to make it in the business? Ask yourself a series of questions: Is this my passion? Can I make a living with music? Do I want this to be my business? If the answer is yes, then you have to approach this industry as a business.
Whether a win in the music business is signing to a major deal, signing to an independent label, or starting your own label, the foundation to accomplish either is the same. There are a number of factors that come into play. Passion, hustle, timing, relationships, money, and knowledge are a few of the factors that begin to separate the pack.