Sneak Peak: A Discussion of the Paradise Papers, Taxes, and Millennials

I sat down with finance expert, management consultant, and lecturer, Fazley “Faz” Chowdhury, for a discussion of the Paradise Papers, GOP tax plans, money laundering, and the impact on the Millennial generation. Here are a few segments from the interview. We will be releasing the entire interview (55 minutes) later this week.

What Are the Paradise Papers?

Millennials, Corporations, and Globalizaiton

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Thinksgiving: Think Twice About Buying Organic

Organic, farm-to-table, free-range, locally sourced…there is a lot of new marketing language for food. Marketers are gonna market. What does “organic” really mean? Financially, we pay more for organic foods. Look at this little gem I received from Amazon/Washington Post/Whole Foods:

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Technically, anything living is organic. We can go a step further and say any carbon-based life form is “organic”. This isn’t the end of the discussion, though. We should probably refer to some impartial authority. Perhaps the United States Food and Drug Administration has made a ruling on what food can carry the label “organic”.

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Source: Google

What does the FDA have to say about labeling organic foods? Nothing. In fact, the FDA’s website explicitly states that “[t]he term organic is not defined by law or regulations enforced by the FDA.”

FDA-Orfganic

Whole Foods is charging 50% more per pound for organic turkeys. For example, you would end up paying an extra $10 for a 10 pound “organic” turkey. This “deal” doesn’t smell so good. This Thanksgiving, let’s be grateful and think first before we grab organic–we are very likely just paying more for a word.

10,000 Budgets

The Holiday are coming! A budget is a plan for your money. Spending typically increases during the holidays; yet, only 60% of people have a budget (plan). I usually save my “create a budget” marketing for the New Year but I’d rather people get the benefit now.

Thus, SpendCast is launching the 10,000 Budgets project. Our goal is to reduce prices on all of our budgeting apps during the holiday season until at least 10,000 budgets have been created. Tis’ the season to give! So–yes–there will be free downloads. Stay tuned! We will also have specials on Veteran’s Day and Black Friday. Yes, you just might spend a little more money for the holidays. SpendCast wants you to Know Before You Spend!

90% Off All SpendCast Apps in the Google Play Store

SALE-IG-10K

 

Interview with Tech Show TV about Rossella

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K. Alexander Ashe at Tech Show TV’s Studio

It’s a wrap! Finished taping a segment Saturday at the Tech Show TV’s studio in Alexandria, VA with amazing host Stacey Rusch.  The interview discussed on Rossella helps business owners save time tweeting, engage their audience, and fight fake news. Huge shout out goes to to @helpareporter. I used the service to get book the interview. Thanks @helpareporter! The segment will air on the Tech Show on AMGTV the week of 11/27/2017.

Rossella!

I snapped a photo with the amazing host, Stacey Rusch, after filming.

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What is Rossella?

I started a company that built personal finance apps and years later I found myself managing a few brands. I established a social media presence for the brands on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I had a team of bloggers, a graphic designer, and a developer but I wanted to expand SpendCast’s social media presence.

Social media planning for Twitter that engages and grows and audience focuses on sharing information and news that is relevant to your audience 80% of the time. Branding may be about 10–20% of what is shared with the audience. I spent hours a week looking for meaningful content to share.

First, I thought about hiring a person or firm to manage our social media accounts. Around that time, RSS was dying a quick death. Google Reader took a dirt nap in 2013…but I wondered if the technology could still prove useful. Many media companies still regularly publish new articles and media using RSS feeds. Some of the feeds are not super-dependable as they may get replaced. Yet, I figured that I could use RSS feeds to save a little time.

I developed an algorithm that parses RSS feeds to find fresh news and then schedule it as a tweet. Several companies have done this before in different ways. Hootsuite allows you to use RSS feeds and Twitter Lists to schedule tweets. However, I only to use tweets that fit the topic of my account. For @spendcast, news articles about Millennials, personal finance, and economics. For @blueapexdigital, articles about small business, design, social media, and marketing.

Rossella enabled me to curate topical twitter feeds that engaged and grew my audience. I started using Rossella for myself in late 2015 and got working on an alpha version. Lean startup FTW! The results were great. I save a lot of time and more than double my Twitter followers on multiple accounts. The number of account followers grew by 11%-50% month-over-month from December 2015 to December 2016.

 

The next phase was to test an alpha version so I reached out to entrepreneurs, created custom Rossella tools and asked for feedback. Chris Brock, our fantastic graphic designer, visualized the quotes of the feedback.

Rossella Alpha Testing Feedback

In short, Rossella turns fresh news into tweets. The name comes from the use of RSS technology (RoSSella) as well as the fact that a rossella is a parrot. Rossella Beta will be launching soon. However, the 2016 election showed me that Rossella could have value beyond social media curation.

The 2016 Election revealed a problem with fake news proliferated by trolls and bots. Fake news is a pipeline problem wherein bots and trolls pump misinformation into the system — creating a cesspool. Rossella will help fight fake news by empowering people to share timely news and information from trusted and verified sources. Sorry (not sorry)— Drudge Report, Redstate, Breitbart, and Fox News will have no place on the Rossella platform. Check out a free demo on the website → gorossella.com.

Op-Ed: Education system overhaul should include new emphasis on financial literacy

Published by Tribune News Service

As Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos sets out to reform America’s underperforming public schools, let’s hope she puts their appalling lack of personal finance instruction near the top of her priority list. Our nation’s high schools are flunking badly when it comes to imbuing their students with the key elements of financial literacy.

A 2016 study by the Council for Economic Education found that only 17 states require high school students to take courses in personal finance. That’s particularly distressing when you consider that the final year of high school is, for many young people, the last great opportunity to acquire financial literacy before entering today’s costly, complex and rapidly changing world.

Personal finance courses don’t require teachers with advanced degrees. Almost any teacher who can balance a checkbook can follow some already successful course guidelines to impart financial basics to graduating seniors.

“To be successful, most kids don’t need to learn about collateralized debt instruments, but they do need to know how to open a bank account, how much they need to save each month to reach their goals and, if they borrow this amount of money, how much money they will need to earn to pay it back,” said Nan J. Morrison, president and CEO of the Council for Economic Education, in an interview with CNBC following the report’s release.

She and other personal finance advocates are responsible for many of the recent gains made in the establishment of what some call “everyday economics” in high school classrooms. In 1998, only 14 states required that high schools give their seniors a rudimentary knowledge of personal finance. Now 37 states do, meaning more students are receiving finance lessons in their civics and math classes.

And over the last few years, populous states like New York and Illinois have toughened standards. Washington state has new legislation doing the same. But while more states are implementing personal finance standards, the number of states that require high school students to take an actual course in personal finance — 17 — has remained unchanged since 2014, according to the study. That’s truly unfortunate. The states with the most rigorous personal finance requirements send their students on to college and into the real world with a measureable head start.

Data recently released by the Investor Education Foundation show high school students who passed mandatory personal finance courses have better-than-average credit scores and lower debt delinquency rates as young adults. The IEF study found “notable improvements” in credit outcomes for young adults ages 18-22 in three states — Idaho, Georgia and Texas — where financial education mandates are considered rigorous by the Council for Economic Education.

Personal finance courses provide an important leg-up to students in low-income areas with lagging schools. A key driver of the perpetuation of poverty is that young people in economically challenged areas are often unemployed or underemployed and find themselves at the mercy of loan sharks and payday loans with stratospheric interest rates.

Hemmed in by poverty, recent graduates in these communities find themselves struggling to pay bills and manage what little money they have. As Morrison told CNBC: “Exposure is everything. When you learn good habits, you tend to have better outcomes.”

About The Writer

K. Alexander Ashe is the CEO and founder of Spendcast, a tech firm that develops finance-focused apps. Readers may email him at kashe@spendology.net.

2017 Tribune Content Agency, LLC

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Stretch Your Marketing Mind By People Watching

In environmental psychology, you learn people like to manipulate their surroundings.

From choosing how your dwelling looks, to moving chairs in a public space one inch before you sit down. People firmly believe they’re in control and make their own decisions.

Watching the behavior of humans, and how they interact and manipulate their environments – will help you expand your thinking on the complex layers of individuals, and widen your view on marketing to people. As a small business owner, you know marketing to the right people is crucial to your revenue. As you continue to educate yourself in marketing and understanding people, your approach towards illustrating advertisements, tailoring pain points, and how you frame stories for your customers will evolve.

Since you’re a small business owner, you’re probably a people watcher too, whether you realize it or not.

As a child, I was interested in people watching. At the…

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TrumpCare 2.0: May the Odds Be In Your Favor

TrumpCare / Republicare is back and it’s worse than ever. The “bill” or concept has not been scored by the Congressional Budget Office but the Conservative Tea Party/ Freedom Caucus is reveling in the fact that insurance companies could charge whatever they wanted for pre-existing conditions in addition to the following major changes:

Republican Health Proposal Would Undermine Coverage for Pre-existing Conditions

States would have the option to jettison two major parts of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance regulations. They could decide to opt out of provisions that require insurers to cover a standard, minimum package of benefits, known as the essential health benefits. And they could decide to do away with a rule that requires insurance companies to charge the same price to everyone who is the same age, a provision called community rating.

New York Times – The UpShot

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