Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dr. Boyce: Does Prosperity Gospel Actually Work?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University – Scholarship in Action 
Nearly every African American knows just how important the black church is to our community. We also know about "prosperity gospel," the act of preaching about God within the context of wealth building. I admit that this form of faith is a bit odd to me. I am a Finance Professor and I become confused when my pastor talks about money more than I do. The saddest truth is that it's hard to tell the difference between a pastor and a pimp: Most pastors aren't pimps, but any pimp could be a pastor. The same skill set is required in both professions.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Love and Money Questions to Ask Your Partner

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Finance Professor - Syracuse University

As a Finance Professor, I find it incredibly ironic that many people get married without talking about money. They talk about every kind of compatibility from emotional, to spiritual, sexual, and professional, but they seldom take the time necessary to ensure that they can tolerate the idea of sharing their financial life with a person who may not be on the same page. This problem is compounded in black relationships, where many women describe economic hurdles as one of the reasons that black women have trouble finding the right mate.


Click to read more

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

News: The Economic Policy Institute – 2/16/10


American Indians and the Great Recession—Economic Disparities Growing Larger
Issue Brief

Getting Good Jobs to People of Color
Briefing Paper

Unequal unemployment—Racial disparities in unemployment vary widely by state
Issue Brief

Stuck in Neutral: Economic Gains Stall Out for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in 2000s
Briefing Paper

Hispanics and the economy: Economic stagnation for Hispanic American workers, throughout the 2000s
Briefing Paper

Reversal of fortune: Economic gains of 1990s overturned for African Americans from 2000-07
Briefing Paper

What a recession means for black America
Issue Brief

Web-only Content


A bleak future for black children
Analysis & Opinion

High unemployment: A fact of life for American Indians
Economic Snapshots

Reversing the Decline in Good Jobs [event]

Jobs creation effort needs to focus on good jobs
Economic Snapshots

Three lessons about black poverty
Analysis & Opinion

African Americans see weekly wage decline
Economic Snapshots

Among college-educated, African Americans hardest hit by unemployment
Economic Snapshots

Jobs Picture, September 5, 2008 - Special Issue
Economic Indicators

Understanding the black jobs crisis

Subprime mortgages are nearly double for Hispanics and African Americans

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Financial News: Man Loses $127 Million Dollars at Casino

During a year-long gambling binge at the Caesars Palace and Rio casinos in 2007, Terrance Watanabe managed to lose nearly $127 million.

The run is believed to be one of the biggest losing streaks by an individual in Las Vegas history. It devoured much of Mr. Watanabe's personal fortune, he says, which he built up over more than two decades running his family's party-favor import business in Omaha, Neb. It also benefitted the two casinos' parent company, Harrah's Entertainment Inc., which derived about 5.6% of its Las Vegas gambling revenue from Mr. Watanabe that year.

Terrance Watanabe, 52, is believed to have the biggest losing streak in Las Vegas history, losing $127 million dollars in one year. Mr. Watanabe, who now lives in the Bay Area, stands near the entrance to Stanford University on Dec. 3, 2009.



Today, Mr. Watanabe and Harrah's are fighting over another issue: whether the casino company bears some of the responsibility for his losses.

In a civil suit filed in Clark County District Court last month, Mr. Watanabe, 52 years old, says casino staff routinely plied him with liquor and pain medication as part of a systematic plan to keep him gambling.

Nevada's Gaming Control Board has opened a separate investigation into whether Harrah's violated gambling regulations, based on allegations made by Mr. Watanabe.


Click to read.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dr. Boyce Watkins: How Does Prosperity Gospel Work Anyway?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University, Your Black World 

Nearly every African American knows just how important the black church is to our community. We also know about "prosperity gospel," the act of preaching about God within the context of wealth building. I admit that this form of faith is a bit odd to me. I am a Finance Professor and I become confused when my pastor talks about money more than I do. The saddest truth is that it's hard to tell the difference between a pastor and a pimp: Most pastors aren't pimps, but any pimp could be a pastor. The same skill set is required in both professions.

My father is a preacher, but he almost never preaches about money. I've never heard him asking for money on the pulpit, or mentioning that giving money to him is one of the keys to gaining access to heaven. But I don't presume that my father is right about all things, and given that I write about money on a regular basis, I have gained an appreciation for what financial resources can do to enhance your life. Also, one must be aware of the pragmatic realities of running a church: You have the building fund, bills to pay every month and any community service initiatives that the church chooses to pursue. The proper use of money can certainly enhance your ability to do God's work.


Click to read.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dr Boyce Watkins: Ben Bernanke Needs a Lesson in Racial History

by Dr Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 

I've always had mixed feelings about Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. I feel that he is better than the previous chairman, Alan Greenspan, but the Fed Chairmanship (like the presidency) is almost never given to the right man. Just the fact that it is almost always given to a man is problematic enough, and the truth is that only white men need apply for the job.
Well, when you are limited in your option pool for the top job, bad leadership and flat out ignorance can sometimes be the result. While Fed Chairman Bernanke might know some nuts and bolts about economics, he appears to be shockingly misinformed about economic disparities between blacks and whites. His embarrassing and highly inappropriate statements at Morehouse College serve as a significant case in point.
In a recent interview at Morehouse, the Fed Chairman was asked what he felt to be the reason for the wealth gap between blacks and whites. In response, Bernanke said that the gap was due to a lack of "financial literacy" and "financial education" on the part of African Americans. That's all he mentioned.

click to read.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

News: Fenorris Pearson: Finding the Right Corporate Champions

by Fenorris Pearson, CEO – Global Consumer Innovations, Inc

No matter how many people work at your company, it only takes one or two people to change the game you’re playing. Choosing your alignments on the job can make all the difference in your career. In fact, forging alliances in the workplace is a lot like getting elected: it’s not the most popular candidate who wins, but the one who has proven himself/herself to be the most influential.

In terms of voting power, finding the right alignments is about courting individuals with the most votes that count. In other words, you can have all the friends in the world, head the Cheer Club, lead the league in strike-outs on your company softball team and generally have the popular vote, all without winning the election. Just ask Al Gore, who won the popular vote in the 2000 election, but lost the Electoral vote.

These viewpoints are most certainly capitalist. When you’re in a corporation, democracy doesn’t help you win the favor of your co-workers; your outcomes are determined by your relationships with key decision makers – those one or two consummate executives who have the most influence on your future with the company.

The corporate alliance is a very intimate one; for better or worse, you could be aligning yourself with someone who is very visible, influential and known throughout the company. A consummate executive also remembers that it’s not just the ally you’re courting, but everyone in his or her network.

Click to read.

News: People Fight Over Stimulus Money

Detroit residents, right, pick up forms to apply for federal ...

Scuffles erupted as several thousand Detroit residents jockeyed, pushed and shoved Wednesday to get free money being offered to only 3,500 of the city's recently or soon to be homeless.

Several received medical treatment for fainting or exhaustion while frantically trying to obtain the applications for federal housing assistance. The long lines and short tempers highlighted the frustration and desperation that Detroit residents feel struggling through an economic nightmare.

The line around Cobo Center, a downtown convention center, started forming well before daybreak. Anger flared within a few hours as more people sought out a dwindling number of applications for the program.

Members of the Detroit Police Department's Gang Squad and other tactical units were called in for crowd control. Several people reportedly passed out from exhaustion and had to be treated by emergency medical personnel. Some minor injuries were reported, and no arrests were made.


Click to read.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fenorris Pearson: What Matters at the Top of the Corporate Ladder?

by Fenorris Pearson – CEO Global Consumer Innovation, Inc

Despite a growing number of women and minorities in the workplace, the directors of corporate boards remain mostly white and male, according to a new report on Fortune 100 companies. Women and minorities together account for less than a third of the directors on more than 60 percent of the boards examined, according to the report. African Americans represent 7% of all corporate board members.

In spite of these grim statistics, there is a great deal of hope for the possibility of women and minorities sitting in positions of authority. The more you perform and the higher you go up the corporate ladder, the less color matters. The truth is that corporations are seeking individuals who can enhance the bottom line. A good corporate manager doesn’t care if you are black or white, as long as you deliver the green.

Click to read.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Black and Corporate: Fenorris Pearson Explains How to Find a Mentor in your Company

by Fenorris Pearson, CEO – Global Consumer Innovation, Inc. 

Even when I was a Vice President at Dell Computers, one of the most cutting edge companies on the planet, our problems remained the same. The variables changed, but the bottom line always came down to figuring out how to sell to one customer at a time. Reaching this critical objective becomes more complex as technology changes and the world becomes more advanced. As complacent as we’ve gotten with new technology and global opportunities, this much has become clear: what got you here won’t get you there. In fact, what positioned you here, might not even keep you here…

…At least, not without a sponsor.

These days competition isn’t just stiff, it’s rigid. You need every advantage you’ve got, particularly if you’re a recent grad, female or minority. Think hard work, an MBA and a well-rounded resume will get you to the top? Think again; that might be what got you here, but to get there – the proverbial corner office or CEO’s chair – you’ll need more than just a spotless resume and a 4.0 GPA; you’ll need a sponsor.

Click to read more.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dr. Wilmer Leon’s Remarks about the Pending Sale of Ebony Magazine

Quick comments from Dr. Wilmer Leon, Political Science Professor – Howard University 


In this challenging time for print media, the historic jewel of African American periodicals, Ebony (like so many of our ancestors) is on the auction block. What was once a staple in so many African American homes is now struggling for its survival as many question its relevance.

During segregation Ebony and Jet magazines were key sources of information for the African American community about the community. With integration, too many of us left our communities, churches, and culture behind in order to assimilate into the dominant culture. With that, for too many, Ebony no longer reflects the community they live in; aspire to live in or a lifestyle that they see as relevant.

I have always felt that Ebony needed to incorporate more relevant political/economic/business information, analysis, and content to appeal to the growing African American middle and upper class. Life style and entertainment is great but that needs to be supplemented with the relevant information to maintain that life style. It's a difficult mix to maintain but necessary.

Selling Ebony/Jet does not mean that those magazines will cease to exist but with ownership comes control. The sale of Ebony/Jet goes back to the question of who will be left to define and interpret the issues that are relevant to the African American community and who will control its imagery. I don't know that Viacom has that mission or interest.

John H. Johnson said that Ebony was founded to "project all dimensions of the Black personality in a world saturated with stereotypes. We wanted to give Blacks a new sense of somebodiness, a new sense of self-respect. We wanted to tell them who they were and what they could do. We believed then--and we believe now--that Blacks needed positive images to fulfill their potentialities." The world continues to be saturated with those stereotypes and the community still needs positive images in order to fulfill its potential.

Dr. Wilmer Leon is the host of the Sirius/XM Satellite Show “On with Leon.”  To contact Dr. Leon for media requests or speaking engagements, please click here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Financial Alert: No Property Insurance Can Leave You Bankrupt

Your Black World, AOL Black Voices 

Most of us know very little about the ins and outs of property insurance. Christopher Chestnut is not in that category. As a prominent attorney out of Florida, Mr. Chestnut has taken on multi-million dollar cases and handled some of the most complex lawsuits imaginable. As one of the leading young black attorneys in America, Chestnut has been recognized by President Obama for his outstanding accomplishments.

I spoke to Chris this week about Property Insurance and what it can do to make your life a little simpler. Here is what he had to say:

1) If you rent, make sure you have renter's insurance. Also, make sure your landlord has homeowner's insurance, since renter's insurance only includes the contents that are INSIDE the house

2) Check your landlord's insurance regarding injuries on your rented property. Most people are unaware of the fact that the homeowner is liable in the event that someone is injured on their property. Even if the children across the street climb the fence to get into your yard, you are liable if one of them gets hurt. Find out how your landlord's homeowner's insurance would cover you if someone has an accident.

Click to read more.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dr Boyce Watkins: Don’t Kill Tavis Smiley Over Wells Fargo


by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World, AOL Black Voices 

When I read about the predatory lending allegations against Tavis Smiley and Wells Fargo, I wasn't surprised. Not because I feel that Tavis is some kind of crook, but because economic downturns are usually when everyone's dirty laundry gets aired out. The high flying 2000s were a decade of extravagance, overspending, easy money and troubled relationships. The party was bound to end. Smiley's party has ended with Wells Fargo, as the company has been accused of using Tavis Smiley and financial expert Kelvin Boston to convince African Americans to sign on to loans that turned out to be predatory. Neither Boston nor Smiley is willing to disclose the amount they were paid for the service, but I'm sure it wasn't chump change.
I've been open and honest in my critiques of Tavis Smiley in the past, but I give credit where it's due. I've always felt that Tavis Smiley is a man who works out of a sincere respect and appreciation for the black community. He is not out to hoodwink, swindle or hurt us, at least not deliberately. At worst, Smiley is guilty of being caught in a situation that he may not have fully understood.
Although I agree with the black community's decision to hold Tavis Smiley accountable for his actions, I want us to be cautious of going overboard in our judgments. Here are 5 things I want to say about Tavis Smiley:

Click to read.

Monday, September 14, 2009

News: The President Speaks Harshly to Wall Street


The bailouts have largely stabilized the financial system, but regulatory reform is needed to prevent a similar crisis from happening again, said President Obama in a speech delivered Monday on Wall Street.

Marking the anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse, which set off a series of events that led to last fall's financial crisis, Obama cautioned Wall Street to step lightly as the economy and financial sector recover.

"Normalcy cannot lead to complacency," Obama said. "Unfortunately, there are some in the financial industry who are misreading this moment. Instead of learning the lessons of Lehman and the crisis from which we are still recovering, they are choosing to ignore them."

"They do so not just at their own peril, but at our nation's," the president added.


Click to read.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dr Boyce Watkins on ABC News – Love, Money and Sex

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University

I recently appeared on ABC News to talk about Financial Lovemaking, and the link between sex and money. I've discussed relationships and money several times on AOL in the past, but I think that I should quickly lay out some very interesting similarities that may not have crossed your mind. As I teach my Personal Finance Class at Syracuse University this semester, I am reminded that managing our money is linked to managing our love, which is critical to the ultimate goal of effectively managing our lives.

1) Many people think about both sex and money every single day. Don't lie, you know you enjoy thinking about sex, even if you aren't getting any. But chances are, you also think about money, whether it's figuring out how to get what you need or how to keep what you've got. Even most rappers spend all their time talking about either sex, money or how they use their money to get more sex. It's actually a universal concept.

Click to read.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Financial Plan for MJ’s Kids

by Dr Boyce Watkins

"Stuntin like my daddy" was the first song on the album, "Like Father, Like Son," issued by Lil Wayne and Birdman in 2006. "Stuntin" is a hip hop term synonymous with "flossing," blinging," and "balling." It means that you've engaged in excessive spending to ensure that you have the finest of everything and are even willing to live at the edge of your means in order to present appropriate status symbols to the world. Anyone who follows hip hop knows that you should never take financial advice from a rapper. In light of the recent passing of their father, I sincerely hope that the children of Michael Jackson didn't hear the Lil Wayne song, since their daddy's financial "stuntin" before his death has left the children with a conflicted economic legacy.

On one hand, we shouldn't feel sorry for Michael Jackson's kids, at least not financially. Their father's amazing talent gives them a brand that is literally worth well over a billion dollars in future royalties and licensing fees. Michael Jackson may have died physically. But financially, he is still a viable and overwhelmingly powerful corporate entity.

Click to read.

Is Actually Free?

5 months ago I signed up for the "free" credit report. Little did I know that I would be charged 1.00 per month on aservicecalled "Your Savings Club" which they automatically sign you up. Also they charge you another 1.00 per month as well as 30.00 for "CREDITDIAGNOS". In addition it is your regular charge of 11.95 for "CIC*Credit Monitor". So because I didn't cancel in time, my "FREE" credit report cost me 214.75.

Justin of Lawndale, CA June 10, 2009 requires you to enter yourinformationin BEFORE it discloses its terms and conditions. Upon reading all the terms and conditions I simply closed my web browser. I did not click on "agree" to terms and conditions and I did not click on either "no, just give me my free credit report" or "yes, I would like my 27 three credit reports" I simply closed the window.

Click here to read more.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Lessons to be Learned from Michael Jackson’s Debt

Michael's $500m debt: lessons we can all learn

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

Doctor talks to police about Jackson's final moments
Let's remember what Michael did for us

Michael Jackson is not dead. No, he's not on a deserted island chilling with Tupac and Elvis (who some believe faked their deaths), but he is certainly alive in corporate and social spirit, impacting millions of people.

Michael will make 1000 times more money in death than most people make when they are alive. But similar to when he was alive, massive amounts of cash will have to be generated in order to counter the enormous debt that Michael created while he was doing his thing.

Reports have stated Michael Jackson's debt to be as high as half a billion dollars, enough to make some major corporations blush. What's worse is that this debt was not created via a series of sound financial investments: it was conceived by building personal amusement parks, buying rare monkey statues, and rocking his way from one expensive store to the other.

Michael's spending became his addiction. Financial needs could have been what led to him agreeing to do 50 concerts in London this year (a tour he was preparing for just before his death), when he may have not been able to handle one. It was starting to get sad watching Michael perform, similar to watching Muhammad Ali after he'd spent 10 years dealing with Don King. While the 50-year old Michael Jackson may have given a great performance, it would probably be something less than what we've come to expect.

Click to read.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dr. Boyce Watkins: Why I support Obama’s Financial Overhaul

Obama's financial regulatory reform risky but necessary

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Finance Professor Syracuse University

I have a friend who broke both of his legs climbing a dangerous mountain in Southeast Asia. This friend has nearly died 8 times, been chased by bears, and has had food poisoning too many times to count. After his latest injury, we presumed that he would understand that taking such risk simply doesn't pay. But he rebuffed our intervention, stating that the risk is what makes his life worth living. My friend seems to believe that pursuing and living the dream might be worth enduring the occasional nightmare.

The current financial crisis is certainly the worst of economic nightmares. Job losses have been enormous and the stock market has shrunk faster than Lindsay Lohan's dress size. A report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics last week reported that in May jobless rates were higher in all 50 states and in the District of Columbiathan they were a year ago.

The Black community has had a double dose of economic drama, as our unemployment rate is nearly double that of White Americans, standing at 14.9% according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Black urban centers such as Detroit have been hit especially hard.

Click to read.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Retirement is Changing for Baby Boomers

From our Black Money Blog.  For more black wealth advice, please click here.

They grew up during a time of cultural change, and now are being forced to redefine retirement at midlife.

The 77 million Americans in the Baby Boom generation face an economic storm: The Wall Street meltdown trampled their retirement nest eggs more than any other group. After losing jobs during what they thought would be some of their peak earning years, many are struggling to get back into the workforce. Health care costs are rising, and declining home values mean they might not be able to count on home equity to guarantee an easier retirement.

SAVE EARLY: Tips for building a solid retirement plan

"This generation will be sobered by their experience," says John Coyne, president of Brinker Capital, an investment management firm. "They may not have as extravagant a vision of retirement as they did last July."

The confluence of events has an even bigger impact on a subset of the Baby Boomers known to analysts as the Sandwich Generation. Those Boomers are putting money toward their children's college education and their aging parents' long-term care, as well as their own retirement savings.


Click to read more.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dr Boyce: How Kobe Bryant Came Back

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

Syracuse University

Kobe Bryant started his career with the LA Lakers as a tremendous athlete with a valuable brand. His stock rose like an elevator, as Madison Avenue loved him as much as Laker fans. Then life took a strange twist. First, there was the nasty departure of Shaquille O'neal, which instantly reduced Kobe and the Lakers to "also-rans" in the NBA playoffs. A man who was used to winning championships was reduced to simply playing for pay.

Off the court, things got even worse. In 2003, Kobe was accused of a horrifically embarrassing sexual assault, a case that was later dropped. But even though the charges were dropped, the case still had a lasting impact on Bryant's reputation: Sponsors ran the other way and everyone wondered if Kobe might turn into another "coulda, woulda, shoulda" black athlete.

But he persisted. The Lakers got a little bit better every year, with that improvement culminating in what some believe to be Kobe's first "real championship" this year; a title without the boost of a dominant big man. For the first time, the Lakers are champions under Kobe's watch. He has proven that he is more than a replica of Anfernee Hardaway.

Click to read more.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Preparing for the Retirement Crisis: America’s Perfect Storm

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Finance Professor at Syracuse University

I hate to be the bearer of bad news. But then again, it must not bother me very much, since I am going to give you a big pile of bad news right now. Given that I earned a Masters Degree in the "morbid science" of statistics, I figured I would start the day by fulfilling my occupational expectation.

The first piece of bad news is that you are going to die. One day, your heart will stop beating and the 2.5 billion breaths you'll take during your lifetime will come to an end. Hopefully, it won't be painful, but I can't guarantee that. The truth is, however, that death might not be the worst part of it all.

The toughest news is that before you die, you are likely going to experience a long, slow period of physical and psychological decline called "old age". In conjunction with this decline, you are going to see your financial resources dwindle as quickly as the muscles in your body. Not only will the scale of your resources decline, but your expenses will likely mount as you go to one doctor's visit after another, all with the hope of delaying the inevitable. That period of life is called "retirement", and most Americans are not financially prepared for it.

Now that you are sufficiently depressed (there's no point in lying to you, I'm not very good at that), I will give you some facts to chew on. I also hope that in light of these realities, you will engage in something that the rest of America is not doing: preparing for retirement. While retirement planning has always been important in the past, it has never been more important than it is for you right now. The Perfect Economic Storm is coming, one in which all the scary clouds merge together into one big ball of fiscal devastation that can only be created by God himself. When your financial meteorologist (me) gives you that information, it's your decision to get your family prepared. Let's break down the components of the storm, shall we?


Click to read more.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Tavis Smiley and Wells Fargo: Partners in Deception?

by Genma Holmes

This is the third in a series of posts about Tavis Smiley and Wells Fargo, sponsor of the State of the Black Union (SOTBU). Everyone is in uproar about Wells Fargo employees calling loans to black mortgage holders “ghetto loans” and the disdain they showed for the customers they made the most profit from. But the media, especially black media, has been very silent about the role Tavis Smiley played in helping stack this ill fated deck of cards that has plagued the black community in several major cities.

When Mr. Smiley first partnered with Wells Fargo in 2005, he was a TEACHER of economic empowerment and assembled seminars around the country as the keynote speaker for wealth building. Press releases filled every major news outlet inbox and black newspapers were infected with faxes stating Mr. Smiley’s desire to teach the principles of home ownership as the key for breaking the cycle of poverty in the African American community. All this knowledge was given at no charge to trusting black folks. This was the golden ticket to obtaining the elusive piece of the pie via Mr. Smiley’s recommendations. Surely the intentions of all involved were pure and Mr. Smiley had vetted Wells Fargo thoroughly. Or so we thought. My granddaddy would say often, “Be wise when someone wants to give you something for free, there will be a price to pay later.”

Here’s what Mr. Smiley and Wells Fargo said in 2005 according to a widely circulated press release:

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Joins With Tavis Smiley to Offer Free Wealth Building Strategies Seminar in Washington, DC Tavis Smiley and a Host of Financial Experts Share Information About Building Generational Wealth and Family Financial Security

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, the nation's leading originator of home loans to ethnic minority customers, has joined forces with talk show host and author, Tavis Smiley; and several financial affairs experts to provide free Wealth Building Strategies Seminars in eight cities across the country, including Washington, D.C. Additional seminars featuring other popular panelists also will be offered in 12 more cities, nationwide.

Click to read more on the African American Money Blog

Black America: Do Not Let Capitalism Enslave You

Dr Boyce Watkins – Syracuse University: Black Scholars Coalition

I recall giving a speech at a university in Upstate New York. We were talking about wealth building for the Black community and how Black folks can remove themselves from the underbelly of American capitalism. I'd heard this school had a reputation for strong liberalism and I was looking forward to addressing the audience. A young white female in the back of the room raised her hand to ask me a question. She said "How can you support a system that enslaves people?"

The woman was clearly offended by my mere presence as a financial expert and apparent supporter of capitalism. I could immediately tell, that no matter what my answer was, she was going to hate me and wish death upon my children. She didn't realize that I am not just a Finance Professor, but also a closet socialist in many contexts. While I am not one who wants to live in a socialist society, I do understand that capitalism and socialism must balance one another in any society that alleges to embrace human compassion. 

Click to read.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Black Money Expert Explains How to Not Lose your home

Black finance expert Ryan Mack brings us advice from a place of real heart to help hard-working Americans deal with the mortgage mess. With his warm brand of personal finance advice, Mack's strongest words to the community are: "If you are having problems paying your mortgage DO NOT WALK AWAY FROM YOUR HOME!" In part one of our two-part interview, learn more about how we got into this housing crisis, how it has affected the general economy and what you should do now to protect your home.
How did you become a finance expert? What inspired you to pursue this goal?
When I was on Wall Street making great money I felt empty, because I was not an effective contributor to my community. I knew that finance was my passion, but I also knew that sitting in a cubicle making money only for the sake of self-empowerment was not my purpose.
Like too many families in America, many people in my family were not financially literate. My passion was to change that. In addition, I was always getting asked personal finance questions from peers who knew I was a stock trader. But trading is different from personal finance. To address these questions, I began to study personal finance and started a Yahoo group called MakingMoneyWork, which provided tips and strategies to over 200 members through weekly newsletters.

Click to read more on the African American Money blog.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Your Black News: Detroit Becoming a Hot Bed for Real Estate Purchases

NEW YORK ( -- As Detroit home prices in Detroit crash, sales are heating up. But with all of the plant closings and layoffs, who's buying? Investors -- some of whom are snapping up five and 10 houses at a time.

"I have investors from all over the country and the world," said Jeremy Burgess, co-founder of Urban Detroit Wholesalers, which buys undervalued homes to rehab and rent or to sell to other investors. "One Lithuanian woman just bought a second house."

"Most of the local investors are out of money," added Mike Shannon, who specializes in Detroit foreclosures and has clients from New Zealand, Australia, England and other places.

Recently a Californian purchased 178 properties, mostly one at a time, and most for under $10,000. Another has purchased six Detroit properties since September and hopes to begin buying five a month.

Click to read more on the African American Money Blog.


Dr Boyce Watkins: What the Wells Fargo Predatory Lending Suit Means to the Black Community

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

Tavis Smiley needs to have a conversation with one of his primary sponsors, Wells Fargo. This week, it was announced that Wells Fargo is being sued by the city of Baltimore for egregiously racist predatory lending practices in the black community. The company has been accused by some former loan officers of targeting subprime, low quality loans to black neighborhoods, leading to a dramatic economic collapse for the black community of Baltimore.

The statistical evidence is daunting. Half of all the properties foreclosed by Wells Fargo are vacant and 71% of those properties are in black neighborhoods. Wells Fargo's African American borrowers with incomes greater than $68,000 per year were 8 times more likely to hold subprime loans than white borrowers with the same income.

Click to read.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Black Men Can be More than Athletes: NY Yankee Transitions Successfully to Business

Jason Robertson is a man of many gifts. As an young man, he was an All-American baseball player, drafted by the New York Yankees straight out of high school. He was also listed by Essence Magazine as one of the most eligible bachelors in America for his good looks and success. If that were not enough, Jason retired from baseball and re-invented himself as a leading, award-winning entrepeneur.

Besides being a model of success for his 3 sons and celebrating his engagement to fiance Marshawn Evans, Jason is on a mission to teach other young men how to make the transition from successful athlete to outstanding businessman. Black Voices got a chance to catch up with Jason.

1) What do you do for a living?

I own an industrial packaging company. We sell corrugated boxes, bags, films, pallets, and we also provide warehousing and storage.

Click to read.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Credit Card Addiction

by Dr Boyce Watkins

In an interview with NPR's Michel Martin, I explained how credit card companies are really financial drug dealers. While this comparison might initially seem out of the park, it is actually quite appropriate: Credit is like a drug: it makes you feel good, and it is difficult for most Americans to feel secure or comfortable without it. Also like a drug, credit can be abused. Americans are hooked on consumption and credit card companies are willing to serve us our drug to the point of financial ruin.

The difference between financial drugs and medical drugs is that most financial drugs are legal, no matter how harmful they might be. In 1979, Congress got rid of usury laws, allowing credit card companies to charge darn near any interest rate they wanted, any fee they felt applicable and any penalty they felt you deserved. In other words, the legalized financial drug dealers were allowed to run rampant and sell as much of their product as the addicts could consume.


Click to read.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

How Does Your Financial Situation Compare with Most Americans?

Polonius wouldnt have gotten very far in America today. He's the Shakespeare character in Hamlet who warned, neither a borrower, nor a lender be.

Modern society, as we know all too well, is overrun with both borrowers and lenders. But just how big is the typical family's debt? How fast is it growing? How does your mortgage compare to the Joneses next door? And how might consumer debt -- your debt -- affect the U.S. economy?

We decided to look at the most recent numbers and take a snapshot of household debt in the United States, circa 2004. What emerges is a picture that's both familiar and unsettling. Yes, consumer debt -- encompassing credit cards, mortgages, student loans and more -- is growing like a well-fed St. Bernard puppy. No, there's no sign that the growth will slow. Yes, some economists worry about the ill effects, but no, not many of them are sounding urgent alarms.


Click to read more.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Your Black Money: Is the American Dream Dead for Autoworkers?

There was a time, not very long ago, when getting a job on the production line at a big automaker meant an instant ticket to the American dream, even for someone with little formal education. Not anymore.

"The minute you signed the paper, you were instantly vaulted into the middle class," said Mike Smith, director of Wayne State University's Walter P. Reuther Library in Detroit, named for the founder of the United Auto Workers, the union that represents auto workers.

A shrinking paycheck. As the auto industry undergoes a sea change, the government has demanded that Chrysler and General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) bring their labor costs in line with foreign competitors operating non-unionfactories in the U.S.

Today, an entry-level auto-worker will be making $14 an hour, compared to the $28 "base rate" the job had earned before, according to a summary of Chrysler's contract agreement.


Click to read.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Planning for Your Death: Will Your Kids Be Protected?

For more financial advice, visit

It may shock you to read this, but you are going to die. Young people don't seem to believe they are ever going to leave the earth and even old folks aren't ready to accept it. Many of us become sole providers for our families under the assumption that we are going to be around forever. Well, there comes a time when we must realize that if we get into our car and head out to work one morning, we may never come back.

What happens to those we leave behind? They are left to clean up the messes that we've left, and you probably know at least one person who has gone to a funeral and watched their daddy's dirty laundry pour itself out all over the front row. The funeral is a day of reckoning, from both a personal and financial standpoint. The point of death is when the Grim Reaper makes us reap what we have sewn throughout our lives.

How do you determine whether or not you have enough life insurance? Let me break it down for you.

Continue reading Do Your Children Have a Plan for your Death? You Might Want to Think Again

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Black News: “Buy Black” Campaign is working

It's been two months since 2-year-old Cori pulled the gold stud from her left earlobe, and the piercing is threatening to close as her mother, Maggie Anderson, hunts for a replacement.

It's not that the earring was all that rare — but finding the right store has become a quest of Quixotic proportions.

Maggie and John Anderson of Chicago vowed four months ago that for one year, they would try to patronize only black-owned businesses. The "Empowerment Experiment" is the reason John had to suffer for hours with a stomach ache and Maggie no longer gets that brand-name lather when she washes her hair. A grocery trip is a 14-mile odyssey.

"We kind of enjoy the sacrifice because we get to make the point ... but I am going without stuff and I am frustrated on a daily basis," Maggie Anderson said. "It's like, my people have been here 400 years and we don't even have a Walgreens to show for it."


Click to read.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Keys to Success: Avoiding the Wizard of Oz Syndrome

by: Lawrence M. Watkins

Last weekend, I had the wonderful opportunity to go home to Louisville and attend the Kentucky Derby. Growing up, I was not allowed to participate in many of the Derby festivities. My father was a Major with the Louisville Metro Police Department and was often over security for the city’s Derby festivities. Because of this task, he was subjected to a lot of foolishness through the years during Derby in order to serve and protect the city’s patrons. Therefore, he insulated me from most of the damaging behavior that comes with having an extra 200,000 people in the Louisville metro area of only 700,000 residents. This year was only my second “true” Derby experience and it was completely different from the Derby with which my father was familiar. I was excited to get the weekend rolling!

As I boarded my plane from Ithaca, NY all I could think about was how much fun I was going to have at all of the VIP events and all of the interesting people I was going to meet. Thanks to an awesome friend, my girlfriend, Kandice, and I were given some box seats to the Derby and tickets to all of the VIP galas. I was afforded the opportunity to spend hours with some of the top entertainers, athletes, and business moguls in the nation. I quickly became disappointed, however, as I transitioned from dreaming about talking to ‘Deity XYZ’ to actually speaking to him in person.

After exchanging small talk for a few minutes, I asked each person one simple question, “What are you passionate about?” My goal was to attain deeper insight on what made them successful. After proposing the question, each individual looked at me for a moment with a perplexed expression. After a much anticipated silence, most of individuals said, “Wow . . . No one has ever asked me that before.” As people answered this question for me throughout the evening, I slowly became saddened and disappointed by their responses. I was shocked by the amount of times I heard “making money”, “ballin’”, and “I have no idea” as simple responses to the question asked of them. I then asked myself a vital question . . . Is there really anything more to life than fast cars, chartered jets, and high class sporting events?


Click to read more on the Black Authors Blog

Friday, May 1, 2009

Love and Money: Are Rich Guys allowed to cheat?

In this episode of "Financial Lovemaking", Dr Boyce and Tia break down whether or not wealthy men are allowed to make mistakes that men with less money are not allowed to make. Dr. Boyce brings up Kobe Bryant as an example of men with power and wealth who are sometimes given the right to do things that other men might not be allowed to do.

Click the image to watch!