As protests continue across the country, many Americans are looking for ways to help support the Black Lives Matter movement any way they can.
While protesting and calling your local officials are valid approaches to fighting racial inequality, it's equally as important to put your money where your mouth is. Are you even aware of the black owned businesses in your area? Have you supported them recently? It's more important than ever to support black entrepreneurs, so to aid in your search, we've compiled a list of apps that make it easier than ever to discover local, black-owned businesses.
Launched in 2018 by Rameish Budhoo, Black Nation is a thorough database that lists black-owned businesses free of charge. The app makes it easy to find a company that matches your needs as a consumer to create both local and national visibility for POC entrepreneurs. Log on and search for whatever you need, and it will link you to dozens of businesses in your area that meet your guidelines.
Black-owned restaurants have been hit especially hard thanks to the current pandemic, but eatOkra aims to help. Founded in 2016 by Anthony Edwards and Janique Bradley, eatOkra is the go-to directory for black-owned restaurants. It features over 2,500 restaurants across the U.S. Just put in your location and search your desired cuisine, and the app will match you with dozens of results. You can even order delivery, and the app includes GPS directions in case you need to hop in a car. Personal recommendations for additions to eatOkra are also encouraged.
Official Black Wall Street
Official Black Wall Street offers over 5,000 black-owned businesses across 10 different countries, making it the most extensive directory app for businesses by people of color. Black business owners create a listing through the app, and consumers can leave reviews, and access photos and exclusive offers through Official Black Wall Street. Started in 2014, the app was developed to help consumers invest more in black-owned businesses, as it says on their website: "only 2% of [Black Americans] $1.1 trillion buying power is invested into black businesses."
Explicitly curated for Brooklyn, Black-Owned Brooklyn is exactly what it sounds like. It's a digital publication that offers great resources for New Yorkers wishing to support black businesses. The publication includes write-ups for featured companies in food and drink, home and design, style and beauty, health and wellness, and even history and culture. It also updates regularly with new additions, and seeks to focus on businesses not part of the gentrified suburb, but rather businesses that have been in place for years.
WhereU Came From
Using crowd-sourced listings and referrals, 2016's WhereU Came From is an app designed to help you discover local black-owned businesses. Both an app and a website, WhereU Came From offers in-depth search functionalities that project real-time leaderboards of companies across categories and are ranked by customers and peers who have used the services.
Whether you are looking for a new job or trying to grow in your current one, getting a certification can be a great way to improve your skills.
Anyone can put that they are proficient in a computer program on their resume but having a certificate can help you stand out amongst the competition and give credence to the strength of your skills.
But what's the best way to invest in yourself without breaking the bank? Some certification programs can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. We are going to walk through six of the best certifications you can get for $100 or less.
Who is it best for: Those who work with analyzing and presenting data.
Cost: $100 for Tableau Desktop Specialist; additional certifications are available for a larger fee.
More companies than ever see themselves as data companies. Being able to understand data and use it to guide decisions at your company is often critical to taking on a leadership role. Not to mention, being able to present the data in a clean, attractive, and compelling way can help get buy-in from others in your organization or clients. That's why Tableau is a great tool to have in your toolbox.
Tableau allows you to create interactive visual analytics dashboards. In layman's terms, you can take data; create graphs, maps, or charts; and then allow end-users to interact with these graphics to better understand the information. It's a fantastic tool allowing non-technical users to gain insights for data-driven decision-making.
Tableau Desktop Specialist certification starts at $100 and has no expiration date. There are many videos on Tableau's site to prepare for your exam as well as Tableau Starter Kits allowing you to play around and learn the different capabilities of the program. Tableau offers a 14-day free trial as well as free license for one year for students.
Additional certifications after Desktop Specialist are Desktop Associate and Desktop Professional. Those working with a Tableau server may also be interested in a separate certification as a Server Associate or Server Professional.
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When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.
A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.
One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.
The Federal Reserve
The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.
This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.
The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.
Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.