Businesses face health-care decisions

CharlesSimsJr-160MONEY MATTERS: Although the Affordable Care Act does not require companies to provide employee health insurance, business owners may want to pay special attention to the law's tax implications.

Large employers that do not offer workers a minimum level of essential health coverage could be hit with costly penalties. Meanwhile, financial incentives may be available to certain small employers that choose to provide employee health coverage.

For many businesses, the presence of certain staffing thresholds may also influence hiring decisions.


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 (, 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.


Student loan mess: What’s at stake?

A-A-graduate-600NEW YORK – On July 1, the interest rates on student loans subsidized by Uncle Sam will most likely double to 6.8 percent.

Congress and the White House agree that something should be done, but they don't agree on what. The Republican-controlled House passed a bill that would stop the rates from doubling now but allow them to rise later. Obama vowed to veto it. On Friday, Sen. Harry Reid said the Senate would vote next week to extend the current rate for two more years.

If this sounds familiar, it is. Last year, facing a July 1 deadline, Congress put off any tough decisions and kept rates the same. In a press event Friday, President Obama blamed Congress for another round of interest rate roulette.


African Americans more financially confident, but underserved

3aaFinances-underse-400NEW YORK – While the average African American is feeling more financially secure, many still feel neglected by the financial industry, new research shows.

Half of African Americans say their financial situations have improved from a year ago, compared to 33 percent of the general population, according to a Prudential report released Tuesday. The survey polled 1,153 people who identified as African American or black and a general sampling of 471 Americans.

African Americans are also significantly more confident about making financial decisions. Nevertheless, they get 13 percent less contact from financial advisers, and only 26 percent of respondents feel that a financial firm has "effectively engaged and shown support for the African American community." As a result, only 19 percent have financial advisers, compared to 30 percent of the overall population.


The secret to putting together an insanely successful team

leaders-400What are 13 of the most common words that keep companies from realizing their full performance potential? (Hint: They are 13 words that are very difficult to argue with.)

Those words are: "Hey, our goal is simply to put the best person in the job." Can't argue with that, can you? Who can be against putting the best person in the job??


African-American consumers: Still vital, still growing

AA-consumer-400A new report from the Nielsen company suggests that with increases in income and education, African-American consumer buying power is projected to grow by $100 million in just two years. By 2015, African-American buying power is estimated to be $1.1 billion.

According to the Nielsen study, "African-American Consumers: Still Vital, Still Growing," the African-American population's growth outpaces the rest of the population by 30 percent. The demographic is also increasingly younger, more educated and has higher incomes than commonly believed. Between 2000 and 2009, the number of African Americans attending some college or earning degrees has grown to 45 percent of men and 54 percent of women.


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.


Top internships for minority and African-American students - 2013/14

( – Internships are a gateway for students that lead to careers. There are thousands of internship opportunities each year across the country, and some of these programs are specifically for minorities and African Americans. Here are just five of such programs:

#1 – Explore Microsoft Internship Program For Women and Minorities
: This program is for current college undergraduate minority students pursuing a degree in computer science or software engineering. Students may apply in their freshman or sophomore year of college.
 Learn more at:


David Ortiz selling f---ing charity bat

david-ortiz-boston-500NEW YORK – Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz is using his colorful language again, this time to raise funds for victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.

Ortiz famously told Boston fans "This is our f---ing city!" during a ceremony at Fenway Park on April 20, which was being broadcast on live television.

Rather than spark controversy, his choice of language was widely praised, bringing cheers from the crowd and statements of support even from FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, who called his choice of words "outstanding."