Posts tagged with "Financial Literacy"

photo of Invest Fest via The Nottingham Group for use by 360 Magazine

EARN YOUR LEISURE × INVEST FEST

The biggest financial literacy podcast, Earn Your Leisure, returned to the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta for their 2nd annual Invest Fest. This year’s festival brought out more than 12,000 people for the weekend-long assortment of activities & expert-led discussions focused on investing, entrepreneurship, real estate, and financial literacy. Speakers included billionaire Dan T. Cathy (chairman of Chick-fil-A), billionaire real estate entrepreneur Donahue Peebles, T.I., Dame Dash, Terrence J, DJ Envy, Angela Yee and many more.

Steve Harvey and Harvey Ventures were strategic partners and co-producers for this year’s Invest Fest and programming. “I am proud to partner with Earn Your Leisure, which was founded by two young and dynamic Black entrepreneurs, to take this year‘s Invest Fest to the next level,” said Steve Harvey. “There is an urgent need for more expansive financial literacy to promote saving, investing, and generational wealth creation for traditionally underserved communities. Rashad and Troy have responded with an incredibly innovative and visionary platform to make this information open and accessible to all.”

The highlight of the festival came when billionaire writer/director Tyler Perry took to the stage alongside Earn Your Leisure hosts Troy Millings, Rashad Bilal to share words of wisdom and influential takeaways he learned throughout his career. Immediately following Tyler Perry’s fireside chat, Steve Harvey joined the guys on stage to congratulate them and to salute Mr. Perry.

“We created Earn Your Leisure and now Invest Fest to marry culture and commerce. We know that information and resources about financial literacy, investing, entrepreneurship and building generational wealth have traditionally been inaccessible for our culture, said Rashad Bilal, Troy Millings, Founders, Earn Your Leisure. Sponsored by ChaseVibraniumBET META, Invest Fest included a vendor marketplace with over 250 small businesses as well as live podcast stages with interviews from top entrepreneurs and celebrities.

The festival began with a VIP kick off-party featuring fireside chats with Terrence J, Kenny Burns and others, followed by a high-energy performance from T-Pain and a surprise performance by multi-platinum selling singer/songwriter Queen Naija.

One of the most anticipated moments of the festival was the all-star billionaire fireside chat with Chick-fil-A chairman Dan T. Cathy, R. Donahue Peebles, moderated by Matthew Garland. Stand-out speakers included Ian Dunlap,19 Keys, Pinky Cole (founder/owner of Slutty Vegan), ET The Hip Hop Preacher and Dame Dash, who dropped gems on ownership and becoming your own boss. The festival came to a close with an explosive, awe-inspiring performance from Hip Hop heavyweight Rick Ross.

Image via Schure Media Group for 360 Magazine

Lecrae × Experian – Protect the Bag

GRAMMY AWARD WINNING ARTIST, LECRAE, TO HOST NEW PERSONAL FINANCE WEB SERIES PROTECT THE BAG, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH EXPERIAN NORTH AMERICA.

The Protect The Bag Web-Series Talks About the Basics Of Financial Health! Go from FOMO to legacy building.

Grammy Award-winning recording artist, Lecrae, has partnered with Experian North America, a leading information services company, to present Protect The Bag, a six-part web series that provides viewers with a blueprint for building a financial legacy.

The video series produced by Lecrae’s production company, 3 Strand Films, premieres Fall 2021, and guides audiences through the ins and outs of financial health. Through short sketches and the help of some high-profile special guests, Lecrae will break down the basics of financial literacy and credit education to help viewers understand how to balance their financial needs of today, with those of tomorrow.

I am on a mission to spread the word on financial education because I wasn’t educated about money and didn’t know about budgeting, Lecrae explained. I didn’t know to think about the cost of things or what to pay off first because I just didn’t have a strategy. He believes that through his unique vision, partnered with Experian’s expertise, the message of financial health and inclusion will be embraced.

Each episode will cover a key point of building a financial legacy starting with understanding money and utilizing checking and savings accounts. Other topics include budgeting, saving, protecting one’s identity, debt, and investing.

This partnership is part of Experian’s United for Financial Health, a global financial recovery initiative that helps educate and empower vulnerable consumers around their finances and minority business owners around financial health. Under this program, Lecrae previously supported the Home Preservation Grant, an Experian partnership with the NAACP to provide mortgage relief to homeowners negatively impacted by COVID-19.

Credit education isn’t always taught in homes and schools. In fact, a recent Experian survey shows almost one in three (30%) of young adults wish they learned how to build credit or improve their credit scores before entering adulthood, said Wil Lewis, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer for Experian. We’re excited to partner with Lecrae for ‘Protect The Bag’ and see this as an innovative way to reach young consumers so they can start their financial health journey on the right foot.

Protect The Bag will premiere on Lecrae’s YouTube channel and social media platforms. Learn more at their site or follow Lecrae via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

ABOUT LECRAE

A Multi Grammy Award-winning platinum selling artist, Lecrae has evolved into a New York Times best-selling author, entrepreneur, speaker, thought leader, and philanthropist. He is the Co-Owner/Co-Founder/President of Atlanta based record label, Reach Records. He made history as the first artist to have a #1 Album on both the Billboard Top 200 and Gospel Charts simultaneously! His first book, Unashamed is a New York Times best-seller! In 2021, he released his second book, I Am Restored: How I Lost My Religion but Found My Faith, a new album Restoration, and The Road To Restoration, 3-part video narrative and a prelude to his forthcoming documentary. Restoration is more than an album, a book, or documentary, he is involved and partnered in several community initiatives that are rebuilding the west-side of Metro Atlanta.

ABOUT EXPERIAN

Experian is the world’s leading global information services company. During life’s big moments, from buying a home or a car to sending a child to college to growing a business by connecting with new customers, we empower consumers and our clients to manage their data with confidence. We help individuals to take financial control and access financial services, businesses to make smarter decisions and thrive, lenders to lend more responsibly, and organizations to prevent identity fraud and crime. We have 17,800 people operating across 44 countries, and every day we’re investing in new technologies, talented people and innovation to help all our clients maximize every opportunity. We are listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and are a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

Learn more at Experian or visit our global content hub at our global news blog for the latest news and insights from the Group.

Mina Tocalini, 360 magazine

Retirement Planning Starts With Taxes

There is a lot to understand when it comes to paying taxes and many Americans have to take it upon themselves to learn the ins and outs of taxes. One aspect many do not account for is the higher tax rate paid once in retirement.

The insurance company Nationwide surveyed retirees and found that over one-third didn’t take into account how taxes could affect their income during retirement. Less than half said they know how to leverage their financial accounts to minimize their tax burden.

“One of the greatest disruptors of wealth and its potential is taxation,” says John Smallwood, president of Smallwood Wealth Management and author of It’s Your Wealth – Keep It: The Definitive Guide to Growing, Protecting, Enjoying, and Passing On Your Wealth. “Most financial strategies are missing the fundamentals, leaving you to pay much more in taxes than you should over your lifetime.

“There are some fundamental concepts of taxes that apply to the financial planning process. The goal is to have multiple sources of retirement income that balance out taxes and fees. That way, if one or more of the sources dries up, or if tax law changes a source or two, then the impact on your portfolio will be minimal.”

Smallwood highlights four important items related to taxes that he sees are important to know when creating a retirement plan. Tax deferral strategies are one way. This is all based on the concept of moving from a higher tax bracket that you’re in right now to a lower one in the future. But Smallwood cautions, “The tax rate in the future may not be in your favor. If you defer and don’t end up in a lower tax bracket, you can lose. You might end up paying more than if you had not deferred.”

Smallwood also stresses the importance of looking at qualified plans as specific rules and penalties apply when you withdraw from tax-deferred retirement accounts. Withdrawing before age 59½ brings a 10% penalty. At 70½, there are required minimum distributions (RMDs). “With RMDs, there is a 50% penalty for not withdrawing the right amount of money.” he says. “Plus, depending on the account, you have to pay taxes according to your bracket.”

But once you’re ready to make an offer, you can choose one with the best rates and terms. According to the people at Lowermybills.com, “Like all things connected to home buying and mortgage rates, do your research.” and that “If you find a rate you are comfortable with, and it gets you the mortgage payment in your price range, it might be a good idea to decide to lock in the interest rate.”

Another strategy Smallwood emphasizes is compound taxes. He says that in regards to tax strategy, this is the most important parts of a wealth plan. “For example, a 45-year-old with a savings rate of 6% and putting away $51,000 per year could accumulate a healthy balance of $2.5 million by age 65,” Smallwood says. “But with compound taxation, money is eroding all the time. Each year that an account grows, the investor’s tax liability grows along with it. Interest earnings, along with dividends and capital gains, get larger over time as the investment gains in value. If the gains the first year include $30,000 worth of interest but at the 30% tax bracket, then you’ll have to pay $9,000 more in taxes.”

Lastly, systematic withdrawals can significantly reduce the tax impact on an investment portfolio if done correctly. “Let’s say, late in 1989, you placed a lump sum of $100,000 in an S&P 500 index fund with a good track record,” Smallwood says. “Instead of leaving the funds in the account, however, you took $6,000 from the account each year and repositioned those assets elsewhere. After 20 years, the fund balance would have reached $243,191, an annual gain of 7.92% that exceeds the return earned by leaving the funds in the account. Why? Because taking those withdrawals undercuts the impact of compounded taxes. Over time, the tax obligation would be $30,451, or $13,622 less than leaving the money in the account.”

All of this can come across as overwhelming, especially if money and taxes aren’t something you are well versed in. However, starting to learn about these tactics before you hit retirement can be beneficial, even if you are far from this age.

Smallwood says, “Good retirement planning includes all the possible tax implications and gives you options. Organizing income sources so that they hit your tax return the right way should be a deliberate strategy every year.”

Sean Dubravac, 360 MAGAZINE, ImPOWER Youth, Beverly Hills

ImPOWER Youth Fundraiser

At Caffe Roma Lounge in Beverly Hills, ImPOWER Youth hosted their annual “Back to School Fun-draiser”. ImPOWER Youth is a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring and empowering youth to believe in themselves and discover their full potential through mentorship, exposure to opportunities, and life skills development.


Nearly 200 people came out in support of ImPOWER Youth and their programs in leadership development, financial literacy, and community building.

To learn more about ImPOWER Youth, visit impoweryouth.org

*Photo courtesy of Sean Dubravac

Majority of Recent Graduates Plan to Start a Business: AICPA Survey

The entrepreneurial spirit in America is alive and well. As they prepare to enter the workforce, seven in ten (70 percent) young adult job seekers say the freedom of being their own boss is worth more than the benefit of job security working for someone else. Additionally, more than half (53 percent) said they are likely to start their own business in the future.

This, according to research conducted by MAVY Poll on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) among millennials who graduated from college in the last 24 months or will graduate in the next 12 months and are currently looking for employment referred to as “young adult job seekers.” “It’s not surprising that the generation currently entering the labor market is looking beyond the traditional approach of rising through the ranks in a well-defined career path,” said Gregory Anton, CPA, CGMA, chairman of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission. “Developments in technology and the internet have made it easier than ever to start a business. However, they have not necessarily made it easier to succeed.” Small Business Startups Don’t Need to Go It Alone Ambitious young entrepreneurs are not alone. Each month, approximately 540,000 people become new business owners. Contrary to the commonly-held belief that most businesses fail to gain any traction, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), roughly 80 percent survive the first year. However, the success rate of small businesses begins to fall sharply as time goes on. Only about half survive past the five-year mark, and beyond that, only about one in three get to the 10-year mark.

“I don’t know of anyone who sets out to start a business that closes in three years. But the reality is, the first few years are almost always the hardest. That means every financial decision needs to be well thought out, with a clear eye to the future.” said Teresa Mason, CPA member of the AICPA PCPS Executive Committee. “Working with a CPA helps small business owners ensure their business plan is structured to be as tax-efficient as possible. CPAs also partner with business owners to help them work out their cash flow consideration and opportunities for growth.”

For those looking to start a business, the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission share these tips to help to set yourself up for success:

1. Start with a Solid Financial Foundation

“The stronger of a financial foundation you build early in your career, the more options you’ll have in the future. Paying off your student loan debt, getting a head start on saving for retirement and having an emergency fund affords entrepreneurs a degree of flexibility that they wouldn’t otherwise have.” – Gregory Anton, CPA, CGMA, chairman of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission.

2. Ask Yourself the Tough Questions

“Being your own boss means looking only to yourself for the income you’ll need to meet your obligations and save for your goals. This means asking yourself some tough questions. Do you have enough set aside to cover your expenses during a potentially slow start-up period that new businesses often face? Do you have a ‘Plan B’ in the event that your expectations aren’t realized within a reasonable time frame? Address these scenarios proactively and have a plan in place.” – Neal Stern, CPA member of the AICPA National CPA Financial Literacy Commission.

3. Prepare for All the Costs Involved

“Before going out on your own professionally, it is important to compare your current budget with your forecasted budget. Know what you are currently getting versus what you may or may not have available if you start your own business. For example, if your current employer provides healthcare, retirement benefits and pays for out of pocket expenses you will now need to factor those expenses into what it is going to cost you to be on your own. These expenses can quickly add up which is why talking to a CPA about the costs involved in running your own business is critical.” – Michael Eisenberg, CPA/PFS member of the AICPA National CPA Financial Literacy Commission.

4. Keep Finances Organized & Build an Emergency Fund

“Maintain a bill-paying checking account where all your fixed monthly bills with a due date and a consistent amount are paid. Make sure that account always has at least 2 months’ worth of bill payment money in it, ideally 3+, and set up as many as you can for auto-pay on their due date. This not only helps eliminate late fees, but it’s an easier way to quickly see how much is ‘leftover’ to reinvest in your business. It can be tempting when you get a big check to take care of that month’s bills then spend the rest on wants, but until you can consistently keep 3+ months of expenses in that account, you have to resist the wants. This will give your business the chance it needs.” – Kelley Long, CPA/PFS member of the AICPA Consumer Financial Education Advocates.

5. Take Advantage of Free Tools & Resources

For those who want help turning their idea into a successful business, the AICPA’s #CPApowered website provides free tools designed to help small businesses grow. Experienced CPAs share insight on a range of topics such as the risks involved in starting a business and how to acquire financing. And to help those who don’t know where to begin, there is even a small business checklist.The AICPA’s 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy website also features free resources including information about how to plan for a career change as well as a wide-variety of calculators on topics like loan repayment and setting a monthly budget.