port of harlem magazine

January 8 January 21, 2015

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Financial Fitness for 2015

nicolas abrams2015 is here and now is the time to get your finances in order.  I know you might be thinking “I’ve tried and I always seem to fall back into the same financial situation.” Let’s forget about the past and  look to the future. Having good money management skills is a must in today’s world.  Here are five steps to taking control of your finances.

1. The first step in getting your finances in order is to establish goals. With a new year come new dreams and ambitions.  We all have things we want and need to accomplish in 2015, and establishing goals will help make your dreams a reality.  Let’s say you want a new house, a new car, to pay off some bills, or to retire in the near future.  If you don’t plan for these goals, the likelihood of them happening is slim to none.

The average US household credit card debt stands at approximately $6,802.

2.  Once you have established your goals, the second step is to establish a budget.   This can be
frightening for some people, but I want to let you know that there is nothing in which to be afraid.  Having goals are nice, but goals are hard to accomplish unless you have a plan to achieve them (your budget is your plan).  One of the best ways to develop a truly accurate budget is to track and record all of your expenses for 30 days.  Track everything from your mortgage or rent payment to your daily cup of coffee.  The point of this is to make you get an honest assessment of what you are spending your money on so you can see if your money can be spent differently. 

Once you have successfully tracked your expenses, record all of your income.  This includes your salary from your job, rental property income, investment income, alimony, etc.  If your income exceeds your expenses, you are ready for the next step.  If your expenses are more than your income, then it’s time to look at some ways to reduce your expenses such as taking lunch to work instead of buying lunch.   You will be surprised how little steps like this can reduce your monthly expenses.

3. Now that you have established your financial goals and a budget, the third step is to develop a plan to pay down your debt.  According to marketwatch.com, the average US household credit card debt stands at approximately $6,802.  Reducing such debt can free up money that you can use toward your goals.  If you have multiple credit cards with balances, consider paying off the one with the smallest balance first.  Then take the money used to pay off that credit card and apply it to the card with the next highest balance.
4. Now that you have established your goals, established a budget, and paid down your debt, you are probably thinking “what’s next?”.  Well, it’s time to take all of the extra money you have from sticking to your budget and paying off your credit card debt to start a systematic savings plan or increase the amount of money you are saving.   The easiest way to start a systematic savings plan is to have the money deducted directly from your pay check or deducted from your checking account.  As a general rule of thumb, you should plan to save at least 10% of your income.  Part of the savings should go into an emergency fund that should eventually have 3-6 months of your monthly expenses saved in it.
Your money should be kept in a checking account, savings account, or money market account.  These funds should be easily available so you can be assess them with ease and you can access them with no penalties when you have an emergency.  If you are looking to save for retirement, you can invest the other part of the funds in your employer sponsored retirement account such as a 401k, 403b, or a thrift savings plan.  If your employer does not offer a retirement plan, you can set up an IRA account or some other savings account outside of your employer.

5.  Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help.  No one expects you to be a financial expert or to do this on your own.  If you do not have a financial advisor, you should consider hiring one.  If you are asking yourself “where do I find a financial advisor?” here are a couple of suggestions:   Ask your family, friends, and coworkers who their advisor is or if they know of an advisor they can recommend to you.  You can also search online for an advisor close to you at www.cfp.net or at www.fpanet.org. Remember, whatever you have planned for 2015 you can accomplish it.  It might not happen today, but with some non-frightening, hard work and patience it will happen.

Nicolas T. Abrams, CFP ®, Investment Advisor Representative.  Securities and investments advisory services offered solely through Ameritas Investment Corp. (AIC).  Member FINRA/SIPC.  AIC and AJW Financial Partners, LLC are not affiliated.  Additional products and services may be available through Nicolas T. Abrams, CFP® or AJW Financial Partners, LLC that are not offered through AIC.

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Free - End of the Year
Financial Check

 credit report
You may obtain a free copy of your credit report, which contains a report from the three nationwide credit agencies, at Annual Credit Report or by calling 877-322-8228. Under federal law, you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.  Your free annual credit report does not include credit scores.  

Reviewing your credit report can help you detect identity theft early. Regular checks also ensure that the information about you stays accurate. Credit reports may affect your mortgage rates, credit card approvals, apartment requests, or even your job application.


Library of Congress to Award
Poet Patricia Smith

patricia smith  
The Library of Congress will award the 2014 Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry to Patricia Smith for her book “Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah.” The Prize, a biennial $10,000 award, recognizes a book of poetry written by an American and published during the preceding two years, or the lifetime achievement of an American poet.  The prize is donated by Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt’s family. Bobbit was President Johnson’s sister.

The Chicago native will receive the award and read selections from her work Tuesday, February 17 at 7p in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave., S.E., Washington, D.C.  The reading is free and open to the public.

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Save Harlem's Historic Casino

Harlem Rens 
Three Caribbean immigrants commissioned Harry Creighton Ingalls to design the Renaissance Casino at 138th Street and Seventh Ave (Clayton Powell Blvd.) in 1920. Over its 60 year "lifespan," it played host to every mid-century manifestation of African American culture, most notably as the home of the Harlem Rens basketball team. A litany of Big Bands, other performers, and intellectuals of every stripe from Zora Neal Hurston to W.E.B. Dubois also hosted audiences at the Center.

The Center now stands poised for the wrecking ball.  A Change.org petition asks Mayor DeBlasio to help halt the building’s demolition.

NY Times:  A Harlem Landmark in All but Name
From our Archives:  Harlem Rens - Off Broadway

Advertising in Port of Harlem

facebook profile 2015 
You can reach our readers via e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter with an advertisement in Port of Harlem. We release new issues every other week on Thursdays at 11a. 

For yearly advertisement rates, see our Media Kit or call Wayne Young at 202-583-3438. With a yearly agreement, you get a rotating banner ad space in Snippets, and two Tower ads spaces and two Banner ads spaces on the website.

For short term rates, also call Wayne Young at 202-583-3438. With a short term agreement, you get a rotating ad space in Snippets.

Our 20th Year

After printing Port Of Harlem for 16 years (1995–2011), we went completely green in 2012.  Click here to read our history. Subscriptions are free.

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port of harlem gambian education partnership

Obama Remembers Bayard Rustin

 obama praises bayard rustin

President Obama provides the forward to “Time on Two Crosses: The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin” (Cleis Press, $19.95). Former Congressman Barney Frank provides the afterward.

Activist Rustin was openly gay at a time when it was easier to live in the closet. The activist worked alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. and organized the 1963 March on Washington.

POH Kay McPherson Transitions

 pat mcpherson

Port Of Harlem magazine (POH) mourns the passing of POH former contributor Pat McPherson. However, we also remember her wonderful efforts, contributions, and friendship.

For many years, McPherson combed through newly published cookbooks and selected a recipe from one of the books that we would feature in the magazine.

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 Landau Eugene Murphy Jr

Landau Eugene Murphy Jr

Socrates Club
“How are Media and the Internet
Impacting Society”
Gregory Library
3660 Alabama Ave, SE
Mon, Jan 12, 6:30p, free

Poetry Extravaganza 2015  
19th annual tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
MLK, Jr. Memorial Library
901 G St., NW
Sat, Jan, 17, 1p-4p, free

Bad Jews
Studio Theater
1501 14th Street, NW
extended again, through Sun, Jan  18, $

One Night in Miami
Center Stage
700 North Calvert Street
Thu, Jan 14–Sun, Feb 15, $

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade
Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and Eutaw Streets
Mon, Jan 19, noon-3p, free

Charlottesville, VA
Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.
(America’s Got Talent Winner)
Paramount Theater
215 East Main Street
Sat, Jan 10, 8p, $24.50

New York
3rd Annual Black Comic Book Festival
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
515 Malcolm X Boulevard
Sat, Jan 17, 10a-7p, free

Savannah, GA
Jubilee: Celebrating and Commemorating
the 150th Anniversary of Liberation from Slavery
in Savannah, Georgia
Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum
460 Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd.
Sun, Dec 21, 2p

cory booker 
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august wilson special on pbs

On PBS, Friday, February 20 at 9p.

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