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HOW CAN BLACK WOMEN ERASE DEBT ?

Balancing family inancial obligations has made it nearly impossible for some Black women to save, a study by ING shows. The survey, which polled 1,000 Black and 454 "non-Black" women about their spending habits, found that more than half of the Black respondents lent $500 or more to a friend or family member within the last year; one-third said they loaned more than $1,000. "Black women's sense of obligation to community and family is both extraordinary and commendable," says Rhonda Mims, president of ING Foundation and senior vice president of ING's Office of Corporate Citizenship & Responsibility. "But when you are pulled in so many directions financially, something or someone has to pay the price. For Black women, it appears their financial well-being suffers." Unfortunately, that sense of obligation has adversely affected Black women's ability to save. Among those surveyed:

· 66 percent own a retirement account, compared to 79 percent of all other women

· 28 percent own individual stocks and bonds, compared with 52 percent of all other women

· 23 percent own mutual funds, compared with 39 percent of all other women

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WAKE UP!

During the last several months, many unusual events occurred that should have made us reflect as individuals where we are standing in life.  For starters, we’ve experienced extreme weather patterns-hurricanes and tornadoes in areas not accustomed to that type of weather, a nor’easter in the middle of April along the east coast, a blizzard in Ohio at the same time, just to name a few.  In addition, a major corporation decided to re-assign positions internationally, leaving domestic employees searching for new jobs because they have decided to stay in America.  Another company decided to terminate long tenured employees and offer them their jobs back at 1/3 of their original salary.  What is going on? This article is written specifically to make you reflect on the choices you are making in your personal lives.  Most individuals intend to get their financial house in order, but it isn’t a priority.  What has to happen that will make you change your way of thinking?

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GETTING STARTED WITH ONLINE INVESTING

As with everything else these days, the stock market has gone online. If you can shop, pay bills, and do your banking online, why not invest too? Investing online is not as big of an ordeal as some people make it out to be. The key is to know what you want before you start. 

When opening a new account, investors need to answer the regular questions, such as the type of account they want and how it will be funded. When selecting an account type the kind you choose will depend on whether or not the account is taxable or tax-deferred, and also whether it is for just you or you and someone else.

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DIFFERENT KINDS OF INVESTMENTS

These days, you can’t retire without using the returns from investments. You can’t count on your social security checks to cover your expenses when you retire. It’s barely enough for people who are receiving it now to have food, shelter and utilities. That doesn’t account for any care you may need or in the even that you need to take advantage of such funds much earlier in life. It is important to have your own financial plan. There are many kinds of investments you can make that will make your life much easier down the road. 

The following are brief descriptions for beginning investors to familiarize themselves with different kinds of investment options: 

 401K Plans 

 The easiest and most popular kind of investment is a 401K plan. This is due to the fact that most jobs offer this savings program where the money can be automatically deducted from your payroll check and you never realize it is missing. 

 Life Insurance 

 Life Insurance policies are another kind of investment that is fairly popular. It is a way to ensure income for your family when you die. It allows you a sense of security and provides a valuable tax deduction. 

Stocks 

Stocks are a unique kind of investment because they allow you to take partial ownership in a company. Because of this, the returns are potentially bigger and they have a history of being a wise way to invest your money. 

 Bonds 

 A bond is basically a promise note from the government or a private company. You agree to give them a set amount of money as a loan and they keep it for a set number of years with a predetermined amount of interest. This is typically a safe bet and one that is a good investment for a first time investor because there is little risk of losing your money. 

Mutual Funds 

Mutual funds are a kind of investment that are based on the gains and losses of a shareholder. Basically one person manages the money of several or many investors and invests in a list of various stocks to lessen the effect of any losses that may occur. 

 Money Market Funds 

 A good short-term investment is a Money Market Fund. With this kind of investment you can earn interest as an independent shareholder. 

 Annuities 

 If you are interested in tax-deferred income, then annuities may be the right kind of investment for you. This is an agreement between you and the insurer. It works to produce income for you and protect your earning potential. 

 Brokered Certificates of Deposit (CDs) 

 CDs are a kind of investment where you deposit money for a set amount of time. The good thing about CDs is that you can take the money out at any time without paying a penalty fee. We all know life isn’t predictable, so this is a nice feature to have in your option. 

Real Estate 

Real Estate is a tangible kind of investment. It includes your land and anything permanently attached to your piece of property. This may include your home, rental properties, your company or empty pieces of land. Real estate is typically a smart and can make you a lot of money over time

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