Economic Perspectives with Hopeton Hay on KAZI 88.7 FM in Austin, TX

Archive for the ‘Finance’ Category

REBRODACAST: Interview on Increasing Profits and City of Austin Surety Bond Assistance program

Posted by Hopeton on September 5, 2011

Dr. Jonathan Byrnes, author of Islands of Profit in a Sea of Red Ink:Why 40 Percent of Your Business Is Unprofitable and How to Fix It, and Luke Luper, who leads the City of Austin’s Bonding Consulting Services for minority and women contractors, will be the guests for the two segments of Economic Perspectives on September 5, 5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. on KAZI 88.7 FM in Austin, Texas.  Listen online at kazifm.orgThe interviews originally broadcast on October 25, 2010.

In Islands of Profit in a Sea of Red Ink, Byrnes uses a systematic, field-tested approach to analyzing profitability, helping companies quickly determine which parts of the business are worth expanding and which parts drain resources. Then, using his concept of “profit levers,” he show them how to implement effective and sustainable change to improve the bottom line.

Byrnes, a Senior Lecturer at MIT, is an acknowledged authority on profitability management. His extensive experience spans virtually every industry, including healthcare, transportation, software, retail, financial services, distribution, and others.

At MIT, Dr. Byrnes has taught at the graduate level and in executive programs for nearly twenty years. He has authored over one hundred books, articles, cases, notes, and expert submissions. In addition, he wrote a monthly column on managing profitability for Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge for four years.

Luke Luper

Through the City of Austin’s Bonding Consulting Services, Luper will meet on a one-on-one basis to provide confidential advice in the following areas:
  • Evaluation of company’s bonding needs
  • Assistance with bonding application
  • Identify qualified surety bond agents

To be eligible for assistance firms must be certified as a minority, woman, or disadvantaged business enterprise by the City of Austin Small & Minority Business Resources department.  For more information email Luke Luper at luke.luper@ci.austin.tx.us.

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Financing Small Business, Real Cost of Living Focus of January 10 Economic Perspectives

Posted by Hopeton on January 9, 2011

Jimmy Henry and Lloyd Herbert will discuss Prairie View A & M’s Cooperative Extension Program’s Financing for Your Small Business workshop on the January 10 edition of Economic Perspectives on KAZI 88.7 FM, 5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.  Listen live online on kazifm.org.  Other guests include Carmen Wong Ulrich, author of The Real Cost of Living, and Nikki Green will have the latest segment of Young Money Today focusing on student loans.

The Financing Your Small Business workshop will be held January 20, 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the Carver Library, 1165 Angelina Street, Austin, Texas.  The workshop will cover  how to borrow $500 – $100,000 from AccionTexas, the largest microlender in the nation.  The workshop will also provide information on how to start a small business and how to make money selling to the government.

In The Real Cost of Living, well-known personal finance expert Carmen Wong Ulrich makes personal finance personal and takes into account that we all have motivations that go way beyond number crunching. From marriage and family to career, investing, and more, Carmen examines the “real cost” of the choices we all make every day.

Carmen Wong Ulrich is an expert contributor to The Dr. Oz Show and Glamour‘s personal finance columnist. She is the former host of CNBC’s daily personal finance show On the Money and can be seen regularly on Today, MSNBC, and Extra.

Posted in Budgeting, Finance, Small Business Loans | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Twelve-Steps to Financial Success in 2012

Posted by Hopeton on December 29, 2010

The following tips were provided by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling:

  1. Review your credit report – Much of your financial future depends on the contents of your credit report. Therefore, your first step should be to obtain your report, review it for accuracy and dispute any errors.  Since you can access your credit report free of charge, there is no reason to neglect this important piece of your financial life.  Consumers are allowed one free report from each of the three major bureaus once every twelve months.  You can get all three at once, which is a good idea if a major purchase is on the horizon, or stagger your requests to check for identity theft.  Access your report from www.annualcreditreport.com.
  2. Obtain your credit score – The three digits that comprise your credit score are a major dictator of whether or not the lender will extend credit, and at what interest rate.  It is likely that you’ll have to pay to purchase your score, but it will be money well-spent.  Be sure to understand the range within which your score falls, as each score has its own scale.  Further, take the necessary steps to improve your score.  Remember, a high score equals a low interest rate, saving you significant money over time.
  3. Reduce debt – If you’ve dug a deep financial hole, stop digging.  Piling new debt on top of old is a red flag that you are living beyond your means. Lock up the credit cards until they’re paid in full, and meanwhile, reach out for help from a legitimate credit counseling agency sooner rather than later.  Delaying only makes the problem worse.
  4. Commit to save – Americans are great spenders and lousy savers.  Without a well-funded savings account, you are on a very slippery slope, one that becomes treacherous with the next unplanned expense.  Put 10 percent of each take-home check into a savings account.  Find extra money to dedicate to saving by putting all raises, bonuses, birthday checks, and any other windfall monies into savings. This will create a cushion that should see you through most short-term emergencies.
  5. Get financially organized – Create your own personal financial center where you can instantly put your hands on your family’s financial records.  Your center doesn’t have to be a fancy home office.  It could be an accordion folder.  The point is that you know where everything is.  Place original documents such as a will or your mortgage in a safe deposit box, and keep a copy at home.
  6. Avoid incurring late fees – Pay your bills the day you receive them. This way you’ll never risk the creditor receiving your payment after the due date. Delaying could result in you being charged a late fee, a ding to your credit report and a lower credit score.  The risk of delay is simply too great.  If you travel for work or are a procrastinator, consider setting up online bill pay with payments large enough to cover at least the minimum amount due.
  7. Avoid paying overdraft fees – A receipt stuffed into your car visor isn’t simply being unorganized.  It can cost you. Many an account has been overdrawn due to neglecting to notate an ATM withdrawal or debit purchase.  Get into the habit of recording each transaction into your check register on the spot.  Also take the time to balance your checkbook each week, and reconcile your bank statement each month.
  8. Track your spending for 30 days – Have everyone in the household who spends money participate in this exercise.  Write down every cent that is spent, as it’s the small, miscellaneous expenses that often wreck the best of plans. At the end of the month, come together to review the spending.   This is the only way you can truly know where your hard-earned money is going.
  9. Create a spending plan you can live with – Once you’ve tracked your spending, you can then make conscious decisions as to how you want to allocate the money.  Continue tracking with the new plan in place.  Keep doing so until you find a plan that is right for your family.  Make it too strict, and no one will stay on board.  Make it too lenient and you won’t be accomplishing anything.
  10. Take advantage of free money – Contribute the maximum amount to your retirement plan at work, or at the very least, meet the matched amount or you’re throwing away free money.  Also inquire about the availability of Flexible Spending Accounts or Health Savings Accounts.  All of the above can lower your taxable income.
  11. Have an annual insurance check-up – No one wants to be over-insured.  Nor do you want to be under-insured resulting in an unpleasant surprise when making a claim.   Make an appointment with your provider and confirm that your coverage is exactly what you thought you were paying for.  Inquire about ways to lower your premiums, and ask about any discounts for loyalty, good driving and the bundling of multiple polices.
  12. Investigate refinancing your mortgage – Even though rates of late have been rising, they are still very low, potentially saving you significant money over the life of your loan.  There are multiple online calculators that can help you evaluate the options.  Do not extend the term of your loan, however, in order to get a lower monthly payment unless this is absolutely necessary to stay afloat.

Posted in Credit, Finance, financial literacy, Insurance, Mortgages | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Role of Hedge Funds in Financial Crisis Focus of July 19 Economic Perspectives

Posted by Hopeton on July 18, 2010

Sebastian Mallaby, author of More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite, will be a guest on the July 19 edition of Economic Perspectives, 5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m., on KAZI 88.7 FM.  Listen live online at kazifm.org.

Based on Mallaby’s unprecedented access to the industry, including three hundred hours of interviews, More Money Than God tells the inside story of hedge funds, from their origins in the 1960s and 1970s to their role in the financial crisis of 2007-2009.

Finance professors have long argued that beating the market is impossible, and yet drawing on insights from physics, economics, and psychology, hedge fund moguls have cracked the market’s mysteries and gone on to earn fortunes. Their innovation has transformed the world, spawning new markets in exotic financial instruments and rewriting the rules of capitalism.

More than just a history, More Money Than God is a window on tomorrow’s financial system. Hedge funds have been left for dead after past financial panics: After the stock market rout of the early 1970s, after the bond market bloodbath of 1994, after the collapse of Long Term Capital Management in 1998, and yet again after the dot-com crash in 2000. Each time, hedge funds have proved to be. Banks such as CitiGroup, brokers such as Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, home lenders such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, insurers such as AIG, and money market funds run by giants such as Fidelity-all have failed or been bailed out. But the hedge fund industry has survived the test of 2008 far better than its rivals.

Mallaby has been a Washington Post columnist since 1999. From 1986 to 1999, he was on the staff of The Economist, serving in Zimbabwe, London, and Japan, and as the magazine’s Washington bureau chief. He spent 2003 as a Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and has written for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The New York Times, and The New Republic, among others.

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SEC Proposes New Rules to Protect Investors in Securitization Market

Posted by Hopeton on April 17, 2010

On April 7 the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed rules that would revise the disclosure, reporting and offering process for asset-backed securities (ABS) to better protect investors in the securitization market.

The proposed rules are intended to provide investors with more detailed and current information about ABS and more time to make their investment decisions. The proposed rules also seek to better align the interests of issuers and investors by creating a retention or “skin in the game” requirement for certain public offerings of ABS.

“The rules we are proposing stem from lessons learned during the financial crisis,” said SEC Chairman Mary L. Schapiro. “These rules if adopted would revise the regulatory regime for asset-backed securities in order to better protect investors.”

Mary Shapiro

Asset-backed securities are created by buying and bundling loans — such as residential mortgage loans, commercial loans or student loans — and creating securities backed by those assets, which are then sold to investors. Often, a bundle of loans is divided into separate securities with different levels of risk and returns. Payments on the loans are distributed to the holders of the lower-risk, lower-interest securities first, and then to the holders of the higher-risk securities.

Most public offerings of ABS are conducted through expedited SEC procedures known as “shelf offerings.” ABS offerings also are sold as private placements which are exempt from SEC registration. ABS private placements are typically sold to large institutional investors known as qualified purchasers (QIBs).

Public comments on the proposed rules should be received by the Commission within 90 days after its publication in the Federal Register.  To read the proposal click here.  To submit comments on the proposal click here.

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PODCAST AVAILABLE of Interview with Co-Chair of Financial Fitness of Greater Austin

Posted by Hopeton on April 7, 2010

Financial Fitness of Greater Austin will be launching their annual week long campaign to promote financial literacy in the Austin area on April 24.  To listen to a 5 minute interview with Christine Kempff, co-chair of Financial Fitness for Greater Austin, click: Christine Kempff Interview.

Financial Fitness of Greater Austin (FFGA) is a public education and awareness campaign designed to help consumers better manage their personal finances. This is achieved through the collaboration and coordinated effort of several organizations in the Greater Austin area including businesses, financial institutions, schools, not-for-profits, government agencies and the media. These groups came together this year to stress the importance of financial literacy, inform consumers where they can get help, and provide free educational seminars and activities throughout the week. Programming is offered to all demographics and income levels and covers all facets of personal finance.

Some of the events planned for Financial Fitness Week include:

  • April 24, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. – Economic Empowerment Summit sponsored by the Austin Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority
  • April 25, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. – Money Management Class sponsored by Girl Scouts of Central Texas
  • April 27, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. – Understanding and Improving Your Credit sponsored by Consumer Credit Counseling Services

For more information on the events listed above and other upcoming events for Financial Fitness Week for Greater Austin go to financialfitnessaustin.org.

Posted in Finance, financial literacy, Interview, Radio | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

President Obama’s Proclamation for National Financial Literacy Month

Posted by Hopeton on April 5, 2010

In recent years, our Nation’s financial system has grown increasingly complex. This has left too many Americans behind, unable to build a secure financial future for themselves and their families. For many, financial literacy can mean economic prosperity and protection against fraud and predatory banking practices. During National Financial Literacy Month, we recommit to teaching ourselves and our children about the basics of financial education.

President Barack Obama

Our recent economic crisis was the result of both irresponsible actions on Wall Street, and everyday choices on Main Street. Large banks speculated recklessly without regard for the consequences, and other firms invented and sold complex financial products to conceal risks and escape scrutiny. At the same time, many Americans took out loans they could not afford or signed contracts without fully understanding the terms. Ensuring this crisis never happens again will require new rules to protect consumers and better information to empower them.

The new Consumer Financial Protection Agency I have proposed will ensure ordinary Americans get clear and concise financial information. We must put an end to confusing loan contracts, hidden fees attached to mortgages, and unfair penalties that appear without warning on bank statements. The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 began reining in some of these deceptive tactics when it recently took effect. The President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability is also looking for new ways to help individuals make informed decisions and to educate our children on core financial competencies.

While our Government has a critical role to play in protecting consumers and promoting financial literacy, we are each responsible for understanding basic concepts: how to balance a checkbook, save for a child’s education, steer clear of deceptive financial products and practices, plan for retirement, and avoid accumulating excessive debts. To learn more, visit: MyMoney.gov or call toll-free 1-888-MyMoney for helpful guidance and resources.

Our Nation’s future prosperity depends on the financial security of all Americans. This month, let us each take time to improve our own financial knowledge and share that knowledge with our children. Together, we can prevent another crisis and rebuild our economy on a stronger, more balanced foundation.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 2010 as National Financial Literacy Month. I call upon all Americans to observe this month with programs and activities to improve their understanding of financial principles and practices.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this second day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.

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Personal Finance & Selling to Corporate Executives Focus of April 26 Economic Perspectives

Posted by Hopeton on March 13, 2010

Economic Perspectives will feature two guests on the April 26 edition.  Christine Benz, author of 30-Minute Money Solutions, will be the guest on the first segment and Nicholas Read, author of Selling to the C-Suite will be the guest on the second segment.  Information on both guests is below. Listen live online at kazifm.org.

Christine Benz, author of 30-Minute Money Solutions: A Step-by-Step Guide to Managing Your Finances is the first guest for the April 26 edition of Economic Perspectives on KAZI 88.7 FM, 5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. central time. 

In her book, Benz:

  • Lays out the tools to get organized, including setting up a system for tracking your money and important financial documents, setting financial goals, and developing a budget and financial plan
  • Shows you how to match the right investments to your goals, whether you’re just making your first investment or have an established portfolio of securities, using time-tested investment strategies and Morningstar insights
  • Coaches you on tackling other important tasks for a healthy financial life, such as estate planning and managing your taxes

Christine Benz is Director of Personal Finance for Morningstar. She is also editor of the monthly newsletter Morningstar® PracticalFinance and writes a weekly column on Morningstar’s popular Web site, Morningstar.com. Benz is coauthor of Morningstar® Guide to Mutual Funds: 5-Star Strategies for Success and is author of the book’s second edition. Before assuming her current role in 2008, Benz served as Morningstar’s director of mutual fund analysis. She has also served as editor of Morningstar® FundInvestor, a monthly newsletter for individual investors.

Nicholas Read, co-author of Selling to the C-Suite, is the guest on the 2nd segment of the April 26 edition of Economic Perspectives on KAZI 88.7 FM.

Selling to the C-Suite is based on the result of a 10-year global study by Read and his co-author, Stephen Bistritz, to learn how executives get involved in the corporate buying cycle, and what salespeople need to do to become trusted advisors at that level.  With 60 years combined experience selling to corporations around the world, Read and Bistritz conducted in-depth interviews with executive-level decision makers of more than 500 organizations. One of the key things they learned might surprise you: Leaders at the highest corporate levels don’t avoid sales pitches; in fact, they welcome them – provided the salesperson approaches them the right way. Inside this invaluable book, these CEOs reveal exactly which sales techniques they react best to, as well as those you should avoid.

Read is president of SalesLabs, which helps companies drive predictable and repeatable revenue growth through the application of improved process, measurement, and skills. In 2005, he was awarded Winner of the Best Sales Trainer category in the International Business Awards, an annual awards show that has been dubbed “the business world’s own Oscars” by the New York Post.

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Building a Financial Future Focus of KAZI Book Review January 31

Posted by Hopeton on January 29, 2010

Charles Farrell, author of Your Financial Ratios: 8 Essential Tools for Financial Success and Security, is the Sunday,  January 31 guest on KAZI Book Review 4, 12;30 p.m. – 1 p.m. central time on KAZI 88.7 FM.  You can listen live online at kazifm.org.

What You Will Find In This Book

IF YOU ARE IN YOUR 20s OR 30s
Your Money Ratios will tell you how to get started and what you need to do over the next 35 years to stay on track.

IF YOU ARE IN YOUR 40s
You can benchmark your own financial circumstances against the ratios and see how you are doing with respect to your savings, debt, investments and insurance. You have plenty of time to make adjustments if necessary and plot out your path to retirement.

IF YOU ARE IN YOUR 50s
The formula will provide you with a realistic assessment of your ability to retire. It will help you make the important decisions about how to allocate your financial resources over the next 10 to 15 years, and how to put on the final push for retirement.

Farrell is an investment adviser with Northstar Investment Advisors, which has more than $300 million assets under management. His column, “Retirement Roadmap,” appears on the CBS Moneywatch site, and his research is frequently cited in The Wall Street Journal, Smart Money, the Chicago Tribune, and many other consumer and professional media outlets.

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New Book Examines History of Financial Crises Globally

Posted by Hopeton on January 4, 2010

“The financial sector had been liberalized within the preceding 5 years” in 18 of 26 banking crises after 1970 studied by Kaminsky and  Reinhart write economic professors Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff in their new book This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly.

In this book Reinhart and Rogoff look not only at our current financial crises, but they look at the history of financial crises of 66 nations going back to medieval times.  Not surprisingly Reinhart and Rogoff find that excessive debt, a booming economy, lax regulation, and overconfidence in the financial sector often precedes a financial crisis, but our policymakers and financial executives seemed to have thought those history lessons did not apply to the U.S.

I’m hoping to interview Reinhart either on Economic Perspectives or KAZI Book Review sometime in January.

Reinhart is a professor of economics at the University of Maryland and Rogoff is a professor of public policy and economics at Harvard University.

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