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

helpinghand 600When 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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Links drive home point about bone marrow need

bonemarrow 600The River City (TN) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated recently put the spotlight on transplant donations at The LeMoyne Owen College. Students and the community at large turned out for The River City (TN) Chapter's "Be The Match" Bone Marrow Drive held on the front lawn of Memphis' only HBCU.

More than 100 people attended the community event (April 12th) and 41 signed up to be tested as possible matches for people needing an organ, tissue or blood donor. Radio station KJMS V101.1 provided live remote coverage and encouraged listeners to join in the event.

With African Americans having a greater than average need for transplants, the "Be The Match" Bone Marrow Drive was the perfect opportunity to reach a large segment of the community and student population.

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‘Hurricane’ Carter went to the mat for the wrongfully accused

hurricanecarter 600With the death of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, we have lost a great fighter in the ring and a powerful advocate for the wrongfully convicted. In many ways, he helped open the eyes of many to the injustices of a system that far too often throws innocent people behind bars.

Carter knew firsthand about the plight of the wrongly accused because he had spent 19 years behind bars for crimes he did not commit. He and co-defendant John Artis were charged with a triple murder at the Lafayette Grill in Paterson, New Jersey in 1966. There was little physical evidence in the case, and the so-called eyewitnesses who testified against them were two convicted felons. And Carter and Artis maintained their innocence and passed a lie detector test. However, an all-white jury found them guilty. Carter was sentenced to three life sentences.

A victim of an unfair trial with corrupt prosecutors who originally sought the death penalty, Hurricane Carter was released after two decades in prison, including time in solitary confinement. A federal judge found that the prosecution of his case was "predicated upon an appeal to racism rather than reason, and concealment rather than disclosure." Specifically, "the jury was permitted to draw inferences of guilt based solely upon the race" of the defendants, according to the judge.

 

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Ole Miss frat chapter closed in wake of Noose incident

olmissfrat 600The parent organization of a University of Mississippi fraternity has closed the campus' chapter, nearly two months after expelling three members charged with hanging a noose around the neck of the statue of the school's first African-American student, the Associated Press reports.

The university announced Thursday that the national office of Sigma Phi Epsilon, based in Richmond, Va., had closed the chapter, the AP says.

The three students, all from Georgia, are accused of looping a noose around the neck of a statue of James Meredith and draping its face with a Confederate flag. In 1962, Meredith's enrollment at the university sparked a vociferous outcry from anti-integration protesters.

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Looking beyond the bull market

moneymatter 600When 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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