Thursday, October 4, 2018

African Americans Believe In The American Dream Although Their Finances Are A Struggle In Reality

As Posted by TheBlackList-Publisher on October 2, 2018 at 10:52am in CURRENT EVENTS AND TOPICAL ISSUES

New MassMutual study shows the disconnect between African Americans' financial situations and hopefulness towards the future.

Most African Americans believe the American Dream means financial security (84 percent), not living paycheck to paycheck (78 percent) and owning a home (77 percent).  However, according to the new State of the American Family Study released by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), many African Americans lack tangible assets necessary to accomplish those goals currently.
While the American Dream is still attainable, the survey calls attention to high debt, low savings and a lower likelihood of wide financial product ownership amongst African Americans.  Financial disparities and the wealth gap can possibly explain why 31 percent believe it is disappearing. Among the dynamics:
  • Outside of retirement accounts, only 37 percent of African Americans own wealth-building products such as stocks and mutual funds
  • 35 percent believe they are doing a good job at preparing for retirement
  • 33 percent have less than one month of funds saved for a crisis and less than 25 percent have amassed more than six months of emergency savings
The survey also reveals the importance of family influences on financial decisions:
  • 58 percent are actively involved in educating their children on finances (as compared to 48 percent of Caucasians)
  • 40 percent rely on family members for information
  • 50 percent include extended family and friends in their definition of family
"The study shows African Americans want to improve their financial situations and are hopeful about the future," said Evan Taylor, African American market director, MassMutual. "At the same time, it sheds light on the financial struggles and inequities that the African American community continues to battle. Those contradictions indicate a need for greater financial education and discipline for the whole family to achieve economic success. In fact, the biggest financial regret expressed by respondents was that they wished they had started saving and investing sooner."
To help bridge the gap, MassMutual has teamed up with Tarra Jackson, who runs the Madam Money blog, to help African Americans improve their finances. Jackson is a personal finance expert, TV/radio personality, author and speaker with over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. She is an experienced financial contributor for numerous newspapers, magazines, blogs, podcasts and radio shows.
"Most African Americans are not taught about or involved with household finances," said Jackson. "They also are not educated about personal financial strategies in school. This lack of financial education increases the use of credit, which results in higher debt burden, and minimum or nonexistent savings and investing behaviors. This perfect storm of high debt, low or no savings or investing, as well as lack of life insurance, stifles the attainment of the American Dream of financial security."
"The American Dream is possible with simple financial steps," Jackson added. "It is never too late to start taking ownership of and investing in your financial future."

Her top five recommendations:
1.     Begin with the end in mind.  Thinking about a desired lifestyle will help to determine potential financial needs and wants. Whether it's traveling the world, being debt free or having enough money to meet basic living standards and health needs, understanding preferred outcomes helps determine the right financial plan.
2.     Create a spending & savings plan.  Overspending and debt are destructive to financial stability. Creating a budget helps to determine expenses, income gaps or ways to save more money and pay down debt. A budget gives you the power to make informed decisions necessary to meet your short, mid and long-term financial goals.
3.     Start saving something sooner.  Most people don't start saving for their later years in life because they seem so far away.  They think they have enough time or they may believe that they don't have enough money. Saving a percentage of your paycheck now will help build savings by taking advantage of the power of compound interest.
4.     Set it and forget it.  Set a specific amount or percentage of your paycheck to automatically deposit into your retirement savings or investment accounts monthly or every pay period. This will help create consistency in savings. Automatic deposits will also limit access to the money and avoid the temptation to spend it.
5.     Consult with a financial professional.  Seeking advice from family members may be tempting, but when it comes to financial advice, it is often best to consult with a financial professional. They can guide you through options right for your financial situation and income while making the process less intimidating and overwhelming. 
Additionally, consumers are encouraged to visit for more financial tips and an overview of the research findings.
The State of the American Family survey was conducted for MassMutual by Isobar between January 19 and February 7, 2018 via a 20-minute online questionnaire. The survey comprised 3,235 total interviews with Americans, including 482 African American respondents. The vast majority of these interviews (2,730) were conducted with men and women aged 25-64 with incomes equal to or greater than $50,000  and with dependents under age 26 for whom they are financially responsible.  Respondents had to contribute at least 40% to decisions regarding financial matters in their household to qualify. Results were weighted in the March 2017 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) of the Current Population Survey for age, income, gender, ethnicity, region, and weighted to the 2016 American Community Survey Public Use Microdata Sample for same sex married/partnered couples, to be representative of American families in this age and income bracket. This study includes trending data for the previous survey wave conducted in 2013. The sampling margin of error for this study is +/- 1.88 percentage points at the 95% confidence level when looking at the results for the 2,730 interviews at a total level.
About MassMutual
MassMutual is a leading mutual life insurance company that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policyowners. MassMutual offers a wide range of financial products and services, including life insurance, disability income insurance, long term care insurance, annuities, retirement plans and other employee benefits. For more information, visit
Media Contact:
Tracey Bowen
PRecise Communications
SOURCE Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Oct. 2, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --

Friday, September 28, 2018

UNCF Launches the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Scholarship Program established by Tony Signore for Students Attending HBCUs

In commemoration of the bicentennial of the birth of Frederick Douglass, a scholarship program was launched today in support of students attending accredited historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) nationwide. The program, which recognizes and celebrates one of the most transformative figures in our nation’s history, will be administered and managed by UNCF (United Negro College Fund) for a period of 20 years, through 2039.

UNCF Launches the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Scholarship Program for Students Attending HBCUs
$200,000 in awards eligible to scholars enrolled in public and private four-year HBCUs
In commemoration of the bicentennial of the birth of Frederick Douglass, a scholarship program was launched today in support of students attending accredited historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) nationwide. The program, which recognizes and celebrates one of the most transformative figures in our nation’s history, will be administered and managed by UNCF (United Negro College Fund) for a period of 20 years, through 2039.
The Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Scholarship Program was established by New York City native Tony Signore, whose knowledge, respect and deep admiration for Douglass was instilled in him more than 35 years ago by the Jesuits at Fordham University. To honor one of the most important African American figures in our country’s history, the Signore Family designed and funded the program to recognize this historic leader, providing scholarship support to outstanding young women and men. It is the first ever Frederick Douglass scholarship aligned exclusively with accredited, four-year public and private HBCUs across the country.
The program will award a $10,000 scholarship to one exceptional HBCU senior per year who has demonstrated high academic achievement, strong leadership skills, commitment to community service and unmet financial need.
“It’s an incredible honor and privilege for our family to celebrate the life of a true American hero,” said Tony Signore, founder and chairman of The Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Scholarship. “On the 200th anniversary of his birth, it is with great reverence that we reflect upon the legacy of a great man and leader who had such a profound impact on our nation’s history. We also understand the importance and responsibility of supporting HBCU scholars who demonstrate their passion for education.”
Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, who was born into slavery in Talbot County, Maryland in 1818, became one of the most famous intellectuals of his time. His journey from an enslaved child, separated at birth from his mother, to one of the most articulate orators of the 19th century, was nothing short of extraordinary. At the age of 20, after several failed attempts, he escaped from slavery and arrived in New York City on September 4, 1838, before settling in New Bedford, Massachusetts with his wife, Anna.
The man who became known to the world as “Frederick Douglass” dedicated his life to the abolitionist movement and the equality of all people. In doing so, Douglass went on to become a great writer, orator, publisher, civil rights leader and government official. Douglass wrote three autobiographies, with his first and best-known, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, published in 1845. It became an immediate best-seller and was circulated throughout the United States and Europe. The Library of Congress named the Narrative one of the “88 Books that Shaped America.”
The father of the abolitionist movement, who advised presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson on the Civil War and black suffrage, respectively, has provided our country with lessons that remain relevant and impactful to this day. Throughout his life, Douglass was steadfast in his commitment to breaking down barriers between the races. His courage, passion, intellect and magnificent written and oratory skills inspired hundreds of the world’s most prominent civil rights activists of the 20th century, as well as pioneers of the women’s rights movement.
“The narrative of Douglass’s life is the foundation upon which many of us owe our path to a quality education,” said Michael L. Lomax, President and CEO, UNCF. “Paying homage to this great pioneer through The Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Scholarship Program is not only admirable but speaks on the responsibility we all have in paving a road for the next generation of leaders.”
Selection Criteria
The inaugural application will open during the 2018-19 academic year, with annual applications thereafter through the 2038-39 academic year. Applicants for the program must meet the following criteria:
1. Be enrolled full-time as a senior at any accredited public or private four-year historically black college or university (HBCU).
2. Possess a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale as verified through submission of a current transcript.
3. Demonstrate a commitment to community service.
4. Have a demonstrated, unmet financial need as verified by their college or university.
Application Process
Applications are to be submitted online and include:
1. Two letters of recommendation from faculty members on how the applicant reflects the values espoused by Frederick Douglass.
2. Responses to two essay questions. The first requires the applicant to assess self-awareness, leadership and community involvement. The second will address the impact Frederick Douglass had on society in the 19th century and its relevance today as our nation continues to fight for equality.
The application will be available via UNCF’s website at All application materials must be received by the applicable deadline.
Program Administration and Selection Process
1. UNCF will administer and manage the program, which includes online applications, applicant relations, awarding and reporting.
2. UNCF will screen all applications to ensure they are in compliance with the program, then thoroughly review and rank the applicant pool.
3. UNCF will provide a list of its top 10 finalists to an esteemed panel of judges selected by Signore. The judges include the direct descendants of Frederick Douglass—Nettie Washington Douglass and Kenneth B. Morris, Jr.; senior academic leaders and scholars—Dr. Rochelle Ford and Dr. Benjamin Robinson; and Leon H. Carter, Vice President of ESPN and Founder of the Sports Journalism Institute.
4. Following a thorough evaluation of the 10 finalists, the five judges will rank their top three finalists and submit their feedback to UNCF.
5. UNCF will select one program award winner, annually, from the three finalists. Award winners will be provided a $10,000 scholarship during their senior year.
About UNCF
UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at, or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.
About Tony Signore
Tony Signore is the CEO and managing partner at Taylor, a brand counselor and public relations partner to a select portfolio of the world’s leading consumer brands. The measurable results of his innovative approach, bold vision and unique business model were validated through the publication of a Harvard case study titled, “Transformation at Taylor.” His career accomplishments and influence on C-suite executives nationwide earned Signore a SABRE Award, the industry’s highest honor for outstanding individual achievement.
Signore, a graduate of Fordham University, resides in New York City with his wife, Elizabeth. They have three children: Rocco (23), Yvette (22) and Ashley (21).