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Business

An interest in lending

An interest in lending

Like most consumers, you have probably paid interest on a loan, whether it was a credit card, student loan, auto loan, or home mortgage. As an investor, it might be advantageous to be on the other side of the lending equation by purchasing bonds.

When you invest in a bond, you are loaning money to the bond issuer in exchange for the issuer's promise to repay the principal on the specified maturity date, plus the interest, which is usually paid every six months. Bond maturities typically range from 30 days to 30 years. Bonds with longer maturities generally pay higher interest rates than do similar bonds with shorter maturities.

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Animator’s dream morphs into a business in motion

Animator’s dream morphs into a business in motion

He was just a kid, much like any other kid growing up in Memphis – except for a couple of things. Chris O'Conner was being raised by a single father, Donald O'Conner. Yes, that Don O'Conner. The director of Memphis' own Watoto De Afrika Performing Arts Academy.

Watoto De Afrika (Swahili for "Children of Africa") created the perfect backdrop for Chris O'Conner growing up to even think that the Memphis was due its first animation studio.

"I always knew I could never be a 9-to-5 guy," he said. "If I was on someone else's job, I would always want to do things my way. Prodigi Arts is what I've wanted to do my whole life. When I was a kid, I loved comic books and cartoons. I loved the art of storytelling."

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  • Written by Dr. Sybill C. Mitchell

ON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY: The business of landscaping

ON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY: The business of landscaping

The beautiful May flowers nurtured by April showers are usually accompanied by overgrown grass and weeds. With very little upfront investment, a lucrative business can be created for landscaping residential and commercial properties.

Many men have flashbacks of their younger days when their parents demanded they mow the lawn. Equipped with little more than a push mower and a rake, the teens went to work on the lawn. The more industrious teens became entrepreneurs, mowing more than just their parent's home. They made contact with the neighbors and began their summer jobs tending to the lawns in the neighborhood.

With a standard of expertise above the norm, lawn care now is a thriving business. Whether the business is independently started as a sole proprietorship or a franchise is purchased, there is money to be made in the industry. The benefit of an independently started business is that the profits are not shared and the entrepreneur is free to make his or her own rules. The benefit of a franchised business is that most of the documents needed to begin the business have already been created by the franchisor. Depending on the geographic region, marketing may also be included in the monthly fees.

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How to make sure a helping hand doesn’t make you go broke

How to make sure a helping hand doesn’t make you go broke

When a university failed recently to award Marlon D. Cousin's nephew thousands of dollars in anticipated financial aid, the managing partner of an Atlanta-based recruiting firm was happy to step in and close the financial gap.

In fact, he had set aside a fund for such family emergencies, especially those that pertain to education. And he advises other individuals and families in the process of building wealth to do the same. It's especially important at a time when jobs in the African-American community are sparse and financial needs high.

"I have an emergency investment account that is funded by one of my businesses," said Cousin, managing partner of The Marquin Group. "If something happens, it's there for that. If you prefer to set aside a certain amount for emergencies instead of setting up a fund, you could set aside up to 10 percent of your wealth. But you do need to set parameters. Do you use the money to get your brother out of jail? I don't know. The fund isn't set up for that, but it's really real-life stuff."

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Looking beyond the bull market

Looking beyond the bull market

When the latest bull market for U.S. stocks reached the five-year mark on March 10, 2014, only five bulls had lasted longer. The Standard & Poor's 500 index posted a gain of 177 percent for the five-year period.

The current bull followed on the heels of the Great Recession and the worst stock market decline since the 1929 stock market crash. The most recent bear market began in October 2007; the S&P 500 fell 57 percent before hitting the bottom on March 9, 2009.

In typical fashion, investors who sold stocks during the downturn may not have participated fully in some of the subsequent bull market gains. A recent Morningstar study found that emotional trading practices had a negative effect on investment returns over the last decade. For the 10-year period ending December 31, 2013, investor dollars returned an average of 2.5 percentage points per year less than the average mutual fund's performance, largely because people have a tendency to buy high and sell low.

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Natural hair: Doing business with ‘a movement’

Natural hair: Doing business with ‘a movement’

Maintenance of natural hair is not just a science; it is an art. Additionally, it is now a unique profit center for black hair care companies, divisions, stylists and schools. In that mix is natural hair instructor Anya Parker, who clearly has a passion for natural hair care.

Carlee McCullough: Tell us about yourself.
Anya Parker: I've been a licensed hair stylist for almost ten years. I am also a natural hair instructor at Lisa Akbari Hair Institute, where we specialize in the training of future natural hair stylists.

C.M.: What makes natural hair a business opportunity?
A.P.: This is a great business opportunity because it is "today's" popular trend that I don't feel like it's going to run out like most trends do. I encourage anyone who is in fashion, makeup, hair or whatever it is that you do to make people feel good on the inside and the outside, to jump on board. Natural hair is a movement of women and men determined to live healthier lifestyles.

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Retirement risks to consider

Retirement risks to consider

The road to a comfortable retirement is full of risks, and they don't end when you stop working. As an investor, you are probably aware of market risk. You might also have considered longevity risk – the risk that you could outlive your retirement assets.

Here are four additional risks that may be worth considering, whether you are in the accumulation phase of your retirement journey or are already spending down your savings.

Inflation. The inflation rate has been relatively low over the last five years, averaging about 2.25 percent per year. But even that level can eat into the purchasing power of your savings. And long-term inflation trends have been higher, averaging 2.85 percent annually over the last 30 years. Although you may want to tilt your portfolio toward more conservative investments after you retire, you still might allocate some assets to stocks and other investments that have the potential to outpace inflation. Of course, all investments are subject to market fluctuation, risk, and loss of principal. When sold, they may be worth more or less than their original cost.

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