Update 04/29/16

  1. First-quarter GDP, or America’s primary economy metric, grew at the slowest pace in the past 2 years.
  2. Apple (AAPL) had its first fall in iPhone sales ever this week. The sales declined by 16% in the first three month of 2016, compared with the same period last year. It is possible that consumers are getting fatigue from the iPhone and the diminishing innovation of Apple’s top selling product.
  3. The poor sales from AAPL, due to it’s market capitalization (it has the largest market cap in the world), is weighing down the entire stock market.
  4. With Prince’s death and Beyonce’s Lemonade album, Tidal continues to convert music-lovers, namely Spotify users, to its music streaming service. Spotify’s Head of Communications suggested that exclusives are not good for anyone, throwing shade at Tidal’s primary marketing strategy. Tidal, owned by Jay-Z, is becoming to premier music-streaming service for Black artists. Artists on Spotify keep 70% of their profits, whereas those on Tidal keep 75% of their profits.

Investment Tip 4: Opening a Brokerage or IRA Account

In the first three Investment Tips, I argued that investing in the markets is critical to wealth-building, and laid out how stocks and bonds work. I received a bunch of questions about accessing the markets so I’ve decided to lay out how to open an investment account.

There are two investment account options: Brokerage and IRA. Both accounts will allow you to invest in the markets; however, the IRA (or Roth IRA) will allow you to invest in retirement, while the Brokerage account is not for retirement and therefore has no tax benefits. The IRA is taxed at retirement (making it tax exempt at the time that funds are added to the account) and the Roth IRA is taxed at the time that funds are added to the account (and is tax exempt at retirement). Both IRA and Roth IRAs has a maximum contribution amount of $5,500 annually.

Researching investment accounts for trading is similar to researching financial institutions for checking accounts: the big companies offer similar products and services. It is important to note that there are a number of start ups in the investment management space today as well. Below I have laid out some traditional as well as new investment management companies.

At present, I have had an eTrade account for 5 years and I recently (two days ago) opened Acorns and Stash Invest accounts; I personally stayed away from the holistic financial planners (Betterment, Wealthfront, and LearnVest) because I do my own financial planning and I have the luxury of obtaining investment opportunities/benefits through my employer.

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There are a number of options that sell the automatic, or “set it and forget it” mantra. I urge you to be an informed investor because it’s your money and, ultimately, only you can be responsible for your finances.

Reach out if you have any questions at TheLucesco@gmail.com.

My Move Back South

It’s been 3 months since my last post, which is a longer break than I expected. I have had a series of experiences (good, bad, and strange) over the last 9 months, as I moved from the northeast to the south, after 10 years in the northeast. I currently reside in Jackson, Mississippi, where I work to fulfill my mission of democratizing financial services, particularly to ethnic minorities. My writing for TheLucesco has been a huge source for self-reflection, which led to my decision to move to one of the most blighted, blackest American cities.

The transition to the South has not been an easy one. I consider myself an “outsider” in many ways, namely my values and perspectives, even though most people here would consider me an “insider,” given that I was born and raised in Arkansas. It’s an interesting dichotomy that I’ll blog about as I work through my transition. The most recurring observation is that everything in Arkansas and Mississippi is rooted in politeness; people pride themselves in being polite, at all times and in all situations.

Fuck politeness. Politeness is not my highest priority. Being a good, honest person is. When someone says something offensive or wrong, I throw politeness out of the window; I see no point in being considerate towards someone who is being disrespectful toward any person or group of people. In most cases, I tend to ask pointed questions to ensure I’m not misinterpreting or misunderstanding the viewpoint.

The second most interesting thing that has occurred was I went to a restaurant/bar that was a former plantation house. Upon locking my car door, I was thinking, “holy shit, is this a fucking plantation?” I walked over some really large tree roots, which only further established, “yes, Kayla, this is a former plantation house.” I then went into joke mode — “I probably won’t be able to go inside.” I found the person that invited me — outside and under a big tree. Needless to say, this was the first bar that I went to where I didn’t have a drink — in solidarity of black people.