All posts by afromadu

Financial Planning; Short Term Plans, Long Term Actions.

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Financial illiteracy has plagued and largely impacted the African-American community for many generations. Most of us are lacking when it comes to the understanding of how money works and how to efficiently manage and build wealth. Our impoverished communities continue to rest in this state because there is no transfer of wealth. Wealth continues to be held and dominated outside of our communities because of our low receptivity to financial literacy. Though the tides are beginning to turn on this matter as awareness grows, we as a people still have quite a ways to go. How do we regain prosperity? How do we bring it back to our communities and families? How do we protect it and keep it? How do we go from “new money” to “old money?”

Every great accomplishment begins with careful and strategic planning. While planning may be the answer, it may NOT be the solution. Integrated financial planning as the answer only becomes the solution when it is followed through. You need a plan, it begins with a plan! Wealth building is an ongoing process of structured forced, systematic, efficient and consistent saving habits.

While having a generous income does help, it is not entirely about how much money you make or the lack there of. It is about having the discipline to start today with a meaningful amount that you can commit to monthly or annually regardless of your economic status. Truth is there will always be a reason or rather an excuse NOT to save or invest. You have to conquer that need of immediate gratification by giving up the things you want now, to invest in what you will need in the future. Don’t put it off any longer because there is a huge cost in waiting. Time is our most valuable asset as well as our biggest liability. Due to compound interest of returns over time, essentially the more time you have or the sooner you begin to save, the less it will cost you to achieve your financial goals.

Find a trusted and competent advisor to help you with your financial planning. Google makes it very easy to self-educate, so I am sure that most of us are well capable of doing our own planning. One of the biggest reasons that I recommend you leave it to a professional is that we all have emotional attachments to our money, believe it or not. When it comes to money most of our decisions are made based on emotions and feelings, rather than logic. I have found it to be very helpful to have a fellow colleague as my advisor even though I am in the profession as well. It gives you someone to hold you accountable and to help take out the emotions to make sound financial decisions.

This is my last bit of advice and what I believe will catapult your finances to new unseen levels; pay God first. First and foremost, even before you save or spend, pay God what is due to him. As a devout Christian, I believe that being a faithful tithe payer is imperative to our financial success. With EVERY increase the bible says to give10% to the house of the Lord. In fact it is one of the few areas in our lives that God says “TEST ME!” (Malachi 3:10).

Financial Post

Questions & Inquiries

Laud K. Anderson

Website: Laudanderson.nm.com

Email: Laud.anderson@nm.com

Phone: 732-310-6697

Pray, Plan, Persist

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#FinancialFall Introduction: The first step is admitting, right?

Financial Freedom

Sooooooooo, I have a problem. I shop uncontrollably, I dine out at places all over the city, I party excessively, and I carelessly spend money on any and everything. Phew, that was easy. But I am not completely off the hook just yet.

I have decided to devote the entire Fall season to getting my act right, financially. This fast is in place to manage my money better and continue to grow my personal finances. Whether that be paying off long-term debts, considering investments that I would have never thought about, learning how to say no to that cute dress on sale, and saving MORE money than ever. I am going to stay committed, for 28 days, and see how much of an impact I can make.

I’ve received tons of feedback about the fast, and I wanted to extend the invitation to everyone who is interested! Fasting and blogging along the way will be a cool way of holding myself accountable for keeping up the promise to myself. For folks who want to fast, I’ve laid a few things out.

For starters, here are the rules:

  1. Absolutely, no excessive spending: You should only be spending on your basic needs (food, water, bills, rent,etc.)  There are exceptions to everything of course. But you should be able to decipher which expense is absolutely necessary or if its truly a want.
  2.  Keeping a financial journal: yup, that’s right. Some good ol’ pen and paper. This will help you write down financial goals, tracking spending expenses, and writing through your thoughts and reflections along this journey. Its ok if you want to curse your journal out one day because you weren’t able to turn up with your friends that night. That what its there for.
  3. Discipline and Sacrifice: Even if you’ve never had it before. Taking this fast one step at a time will open you up to the characteristics that you never even seen. This is going to be extremely rough, but looking at your flourishing bank account afterwards will make you feel A LOT better.

So, for those who plan to fast with me, I have a few goodies for you. I have been researching  different sites and resources to not only stop spending, but to learn about money and the rewards one can have for being conscious about personal finances. Here are some of my favs:

  • mydfree.org
  • thefinancebar.com
  • thebudgetnista.com
  • michellesingletary.com

From these sites, I will be pulling a few things and discussing them here. I will share important stuff like budgeting tips, saving, debt dashing, and just getting you in the habit of letting go. I will also have a few guest post of folks in the financial field who know their stuff, along with some friends that are fasting with me.

Are you ready? Let’s begin!

P.s: Please, please, please feel free to comment, like and share your thoughts with me. I wanna know what you’re thinking!!!

Isaiah 58:9-10: “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.”

Between The World And Me, And Every Other Black Man.

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More times than others, I read books that compliment my moods. If I am happy, I will not even think to touch a Toni Morrison, but rather consider some work from Maya. When I want to feel hopeful, Ill grab Zora Neale. And on a rainy day, shade is usually being thrown from Richard Wright and Audre Lorde.

But I didn’t get a chance to choose this book, it just happened. And I realized that I not only read the book at the right time, but so did everyone else. And that was because we had no choice.

I took my seat on the Ta-Nehisi Coates’ bandwagon and I don’t think that I will ever get off. In fact, I might have to bully someone for their front seat  because his new book, Between The World and Me, helped heal my temporal fury.

The overall purpose, a letter to his son, was more than I can bare. The thought of constructing a letter that contained all the problems to Black male existence and not even giving a solution, because there is none that you can possibly provide, shows me all the revolutionary steps needed in the awakening  process.

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The idea of the body; existing physically, biologically, politically, and socially, was extremely necessary to digest. The consequences of not living  causes disembodiment. Both self-inflicted and inflicted, in which you have no control over. The tennis game of Coates analyzing his manhood versus raising a child to challenge manhood was extremely striking.

And the responsibility of mustering up a narrative that share Black America’s grief has already been acknowledged by one of the finest American writers ever, Toni Morrison.

‘The modern-day James Baldwin’ comparison straps this author with an extreme high award of valor, because someone has to fill the shoes. And Coates, with his blunt references and his bold opinions does nothing less than remind you of our Uncle Baldwin himself.

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This is no ordinary book review, because this is no ordinary book. I usually include fancy quotes and witty remarks, but it is nearly impossible to choose quotes that are more important than others.

I found myself in a salsa of emotions during my time reading because it is reflective of the current happenings in the world. This book does not put you in some kind of fairy tale land that you are able to get away from once you close the book. The reality is, the book is just as dark as the world we share.

Go ahead, it is safe to pick up.

Book Review: Our Black Year.

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“..because you are dealing with a Black people who are inflicted with their own sense of inferiority.”

Maggie Anderson tells us the small story of feeling frustrated about the economic conditions of Black people. She wanted to make a change. And she did. Deciding to take a huge risk with her family, The Andersons decided that for the next year they would only purchase and support Black businesses. What does that look like? How is that even possible? Our Black Year is the record of their results. Her findings are not only ludicrous, but they also shed light to the biggest elephant in the room: Black people lack capital, which correlates to the oppression that we suffer from every day.

It is obvious that when we need to think about the Black dollar, and how much we are suffering from the lack of investing in our own products, businesses, and communities. This book proves that we have a stronghold on spending power, yet we barely own anything. Strange, right? We have the power to keep designer brands and corporations in business, yet we can’t find ways to fund our own businesses properly.

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Things like leakage, gentrification, urban planning, impoverished neighborhoods, and domination of other ethnic businesses are all discussed in the book for the plight of economic empowerment.

To sum, a very impactful paragraph slapped me in the face:

“These cold realities – that buying from businesses in Black neighborhoods doesn’t necessarily work, that so few Black-owned establishments have shortcomings—become clear in the early days of The Ebony Experiment. Uncovering the reasons why [the experiment] would take longer.

Despite a few points of privilege that needed to be checked (in my copy of the book, I definitely marked and scratched a few of her ideas) Maggie’s experience of simply buying Black for an entire year was filled with many emotional, physical, and mental roller coasters.

With dense research and great references, it is clear that Maggie finds herself torn between the facts and her actual opinion. I noticed that many of her personal statements were contradictory towards the facts that she presented about the state of the Black community and the lower class. I think this distinction is also important in understanding how people can disagree with the how’s and why’s of our institutional state of, well, lack.

I won’t give too much of the book away, because I am URGING folks, as usual, to begin to think about their financial future. This book is definitely a great start to begin to get your mind going about the economic state of the Black community.

Gonna leave you guys with one more gem:

“How will history view this generation of African Americans? Will they say that we had it all, that we made headway in corporate America and in the legal and educational arenas, but we earned our individual success and left our neighborhoods for disrespectful outsiders to raid? Will they say that we sold our history, potential, dreams, and destiny in exchange for the comforts of suburban life, shunning our own entrepreneurs and professionals, and treating them with condescension? Did we squander our chances? Fail to deliver on so much promise?”

Happy reading!

Understanding Your Finances.

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I was reading a blog post the other day about a woman who shared her debt-free testimony. She talked about how she took on two jobs to pay off her student loans and credit card debt. Through her experiences, she also managed to save enough money to begin investing and afford a mortgage on a new house. Epic, right? I then looked at the comments and saw this interesting post:

“I don’t consider this article to be pretty accurate because we do not know her wages or her financial situation to determine that she made enough money to do all of this.”

Um, what?!?!?!?

Understanding your personal finances are extremely important in your beginning steps of educating yourself on accumulating wealth. We all tend to have this idea that it is not possible to become wealthier because we aren’t in the same position as one who began their journeys as well. THAT IS NOT ALL THE WAY TRUE.

One habit that needs to be broken is checking the other person’s pocket for their status. We MUST work on our own.

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We need to begin to look at our financial status for what it is and where we essentially want it to go. It is the FIRST and ONLY way. Decoding what we have and what we can do is the first problem, so getting these questions answered should be your preliminary step:

1. How much money do I currently make?

2. How much debt do I have?

3. How much money do I have saved?

4. How much money do I spend?

I encourage you to write down on a piece of paper the answers to these questions. Having a clear understanding of your personal numbers should make the wheels begin to turn in your head. Knowing where you stand and what you need to do is the essential part in gaining more.

So to begin, our initial process of learning our current financial status actually begins with these questions at hand. Let us use these numbers for our next sessions about how we can increase our earnings, and decrease our spending and other bad habits.

 

p.s: feel free to share any of your numbers and your realizations through this process! We can all learn from each other if we are open with each other.

 

 

Top 5 Benefits of the Big Chop!

Hello my beautiful sistasss, I’ve missed you all so much! I first want to start off with apologizing for my absence on the site. So to start things off, I’ll be sharing with you the benefits of the Big Chop. If you haven’t heard the term, “big chopping” before, let me explain what it is for you guys. The big chop is the act of taking your natural hair journey from transitioning to officially natural. The term “big chop” is the act of cutting off all of your relaxed hair, leaving only your wonderful new growth, which is natural hair.

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This is the quickest way to go natural. It’s not only effects you in the physical approach, but it’s also effects you mentally. To “big chop” you have to emotionally detach yourself from your hair’s length and understand that you are taking a huge step in your natural hair journey. There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to a women’s hair length. For those of you who decide to take the plunge and big chop here are some benefits of the Big Chop.

  1. Immediate Satisfaction

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As you know, we now live in a world where people want immediate results. We don’t want to wait for our hair to grow but rather install weave to have immediate length. If this sounds like you then the big chop is definitely for you. When you big chop, your natural hair journey starts instantly. Big chopping is like starting on a new foot, which gives you the chance to do whatever you want with your hair; grow it out, cut it some more, or even dye it. You have so many options with your new found hair journey, you will absolutely love it.

  1. Celebrity Status

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            Have you ever wanted to feel like a celebrity? If so, you should definitely big chop. Everyone who knows you will want to discuss your new hairstyle. People you know will be amazed at your new cut and will probably view it as a badge of courage. People who don’t even know you will come up to you asking all types of questions, and even ask to take a picture of your hair. You will feel unstoppable with your new cut, TRUST ME!

  1. Products

One of the biggest benefits of big chopping is that you only have to deal with the texture of your natural hair. It’s very difficult to cater to both relaxed hair and natural hair textures. With only natural hair on your head, you will have a better understanding of how products actually work for you and your hair. The amount of product you use will also decrease because you have less hair on your head. That also saves you some money as well, so it is a win-win at the end of the day.

  1. Get up and Go!

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Accessories Accessories Accessories!!! You can dress it up with; head bands, slinky earrings, eye catching lip gloss and cute eye shadow. Big chops allow women to highlight their natural beauty which can often be covered up by our hair at times.

  1. Confidence

A big chop is like a fresh breath of new found confidence for a woman. When you big chop you need to own that hair style and wake up like every day is New York fashion week. Need I say more?

So, women. If you were asking around and questioning what your next move should be, give the big chop a go! we are all rooting for you!!!

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DOJ and Black Bodies.

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It seems like the Department of Justice decided to close the Civil Right books these past two weeks. With three big decisions on the table, what is the Department of Justice really saying about the lives of Black people? Lets break down each finding.

No Federal Civil Rights Charges Against George Zimmerman: I think the most relevant thing to highlight is the fact that Trayvon was murdered three years ago. Reaching a decision to not charge a person for three years might be a “traditional procedure”, but it is still triggering. Not only does a guilty man walk freely for a crime we all know he did, but it is “cleared” by the DOJ that this act was non-indictable. I’m still writing about Trayvon’s injustice. I can’t even write further on his life because of it.

Ferguson Police Racial Bias and Unconstitutional Practices: I mean, didn’t we know this already? Ferguson became a war zone. Militia weaponry on local citizens. Was there anything practical about that choice? Moving forward, what will happen to these racist, unconstitutional cops? How do they keep their jobs and departments knowing this information? Are we condoning racial and unconstitutional practices in a police department? Can these racist cops continue to police a Black community?

Non indictment of Darren Wilson: another jab, don’t you think? Not only does Ferguson Police get away with killing Michael Brown, they also get away with destroying trust between the authority and the community, but they get away with LITERALLY destroying a community.

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These announcements from the Department of Justice simply triggered a population of people to remember the dark place of mourning that they have tried to overcome these past few years. We have been trying to suppress feelings of anger and despair, but when news as such comes out that makes us remember, its beyond psychological trauma. It’s remembering that not only were these Black bodies murdered, but in a sense, does not matter in a court of law.

So Department of Justice, thank you for reminding me these past two weeks that Whiteness has the systematic power to parade around the streets and kill Black people. You are truly appreciated.

For the DOJ report, click here. Tell us what you think.

 

UPDATE!!

Micheal Brown’s family attorney will be filing a civil law suit. More details forthcoming.