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“Wesley learns’ Series Author Wins Financial Literacy Book of the Year by Writers life Magazine!

Prince Dykes

October 1,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, our friend Prince Dykes of the Investor show has once again made news himself . Prince is and 4x Award Winning Author, Talk Show Host, YouTube, Podcaster, International Speaker and Veteran. Prince has devoted himself to combating financial illiteracy and has now won the financial literacy book of the year by writers life magazine!

In the Forbes article “Financial Illiteracy Is Killing Us”, author Brett Nelson reported ,”Consider the atrocious findings in a 2008 report  by the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy (underwritten, ironically enough, by Merrill Lynch). Begun in the 1997-1998 school year, the nationwide biennial survey of 12th graders aimed to determine “the ability of our young people to survive in today’s complex economy.” The 31-question exam touched on topics ranging from credit cards and car insurance to the stock market and home ownership. The results were bad, and are getting worse.

The average grade on the first exam was 57.3%. (You need a score of 60% to pass.) In 2008, it had dipped to 48.3%, with nearly three quarters of the 6,856 students failing. Fewer than 5 out of every 100 earned a “C” (75% or better). While college seniors scored higher on the same exam in 2008, averaging 64.8%, the Jump$tart report points out: “The good news is that most college graduates are financially literate. The bad news is that only 28% of Americans graduate from college, leaving nearly three quarters ill-equipped to make critical financial decisions.”

Recognizing this problem  and after providing the internet via Youtube, newspapers, web articles, blogs and vidoes with financial education over the years Royal Financial Investment Group published its first book “Wesley learns to Invest”. Available worldwide through Amazon, Barnes&Nobles, Kindle, Ibook, Books-A-Million.

In the series of books Wesley learns though life’s lessons the value of hard work, saving and investing:

Wesley is about to turn eleven years old, and he really wants a new GS4 gaming system. But money …doesn’t grow on trees, so Wesley will have to work hard and save his money to be able to make that purchase. Wesley’s dad helps him out by teaching him the importance of investing and how stocks work.

Wesley Learns to Invest follows Wesley and his dad as they walk through a financial journey—from discovering what the stock market is, to choosing the right stocks, making a purchase, and receiving a dividend check. With his dad’s advice, Wesley is able to set goals and work toward them.

Offering a gentle introduction to stocks and long-term goals, Wesley Learns to Invest offers a fun and engaging way for adults to demonstrate to children the value of making smart decisions and spending money in a way that will yield the best benefit rather than simply seeking instant gratification.

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Why the Post Office Gives Amazon Special Delivery

Ridgewood-_Post_office_theridgewoodblog

A Citigroup analysis finds each box gets a $1.46 subsidy. It’s like a gift card from Uncle Sam.

By
Josh Sandbulte
July 13, 2017 7:12 p.m. ET

In my neighborhood, I frequently walk past “shop local” signs in the windows of struggling stores. Yet I don’t feel guilty ordering most of my family’s household goods on Amazon. In a world of fair competition, there will be winners and losers.

But when a mail truck pulls up filled to the top with Amazon boxes for my neighbors and me, I do feel some guilt. Like many close observers of the shipping business, I know a secret about the federal government’s relationship with Amazon: The U.S. Postal Service delivers the company’s boxes well below its own costs. Like an accelerant added to a fire, this subsidy is speeding up the collapse of traditional retailers in the U.S. and providing an unfair advantage for Amazon.

This arrangement is an underappreciated accident of history. The post office has long had a legal monopoly to deliver first-class mail, or nonurgent letters. The exclusivity comes with a universal-service obligation—to provide for all Americans at uniform price and quality. This communication service helps knit this vast country together, and it’s the why the Postal Service exists.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-the-post-office-gives-amazon-special-delivery-1499987531

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How Fyre Festival Organizer Billy McFarland Became the Madoff of Music Festivals

Fyre Festival

Vanity Fair explores how millennial marketing mess of a music festival happened.

Of late, all of the reports on the doomed-before-it-started Fyre Festival have been about its aftermath—the onsite chaos, subsequent lawsuits, and eventual, arrest of co-creator Billy McFarland.

But Vanity Fair has taken a little extra time to weave a soup-to-nuts tale of the buildup to the event—through the eyes of “serial entrepreneur” McFarland.

It appears that this wasn’t McFarland’s first big failure. He got his first bite of success in 2010 via a startup called Spling, which led him to drop out of college. But it was rendered obsolete when Google+ launched with a similar theme.

He then started the Magnises business, which was a members-only club that were given exclusive access to a Manhattan townhouse and bar—later adding high-end, celebrity-hosted parties around town. But after bringing in a supposed marketing whiz, who tried to scale the company up, McFarland ended up cutting costs to the business’ detriment. “They began trying to do things bigger and cheaper. The original kids, these rich kids, got disillusioned and began to leave. It was a mess,” says photographer Patrick McMullan, who McFarland burned on a proposed website project.

http://www.realclearlife.com/crime/billy-mcfarland-fyre-festival-fraud/

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Cannabis Industry Legitimized Through Digital Currency

marijuana

June 19,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, There is an old saying that “cash is king.” But when it comes to forming a legitimate business or industry in the United States, digital currency has dethroned cash.

Those in the cannabis industry, which operates mainly in cash, know this all too well, as their industry is having trouble legitimizing itself, raising money laundering and monitoring fears from the U.S. government. Banks, which are federally regulated, are hesitant to work with cannabis companies because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and that’s why it’s forced to be a cash-only business.

But Steve Janjic, CEO of Amercanex (www.amercanex.com), the first fully electronic cannabis marketplace, is changing that through an electronic wallet known as ACE Pay.

“The only legal way for the industry to do what it is doing is because of our system,” Janjic says. “We had to build a real payment system for it to survive. Without a regulatory system, we would never get the buy-in of the federal government, which now has everything it needs to regulate the industry, collect taxes, etc.”

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, nearly 20 percent of Americans do not have access to electronic banking, a bank card or a credit card. Because of this, they deal in cash.

ACE Pay provides a bank account for those who utilize the system, forcing money to change hands electronically, much like PayPal.

Janjic says that those on the system can obtain a physical card if they desire, and that the ACE Pay system is fully automated so banks do not have to add extra staff. Thanks to a proprietary algorithm, those who are on the system will only be allowed to purchase cannabis once a day and minors will not be allowed to make purchases.

Currently, 37 states and the District of Columbia have either legalized some form of marijuana use or possession, or are in the process of doing so. Colorado has been the most successful, fully legalizing marijuana in 2012. Despite its success, Janjic says that 30-35 percent of the state’s marijuana is still purchased on the black market because of its cash-based nature.

“There are many states that could gain from fully legalizing marijuana,” Janjic says. “Struggling states could start growing cannabis, which could help turn their economies around.”

If other states in the union choose to follow Colorado’s model, it could be a windfall in new revenue for those states. According to Fortune, Colorado collected more than $150 million in taxes from the legal sale of marijuana in 2016. The first $40 million annually collected from taxes on marijuana sales is earmarked for public school projects. Not only is the cannabis market in Colorado generating tax revenue for the state, it is also creating more than 18,000 jobs annually.

About Steve Janjic

Steve Janjic is CEO of Amercanex (www.amercanex.com), founded to provide a transparent, neutral and non-manipulated marketplace for institutional cannabis-industry participants, including growers and retailers. The company, a commodities exchange for the rapidly growing industry, strictly adheres to the centralizing regulatory and reporting requirements to local and regional regulatory authorities. Janjic is also the former global head of eFX Sales and Distribution at Tullett Prebon, one of the world’s largest institutional brokerage firms, with 168 years in the marketplace. While with Tullett Prebon, he has established a global sales force focusing on institutional e-commerce and prime brokerage sales/distribution teams.

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House Approves Financial CHOICE Act In Major Step to Repealing Dodd-Frank

bank-of-america_theridgewoodblog

June 9,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Washington DC, The House on Thursday passed the Financial CHOICE Act, legislation to overhaul and replace the failed Dodd-Frank Act that has contributed to the worst economic recovery of the last 70 years.“Every promise of Dodd-Frank has been broken,” said Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), as he read letters from Americans about how they were declined home, automobile and small business loans due to Dodd-Frank’s burdensome regulations.  “Fortunately there is a better, smarter way.  It’s called the Financial CHOICE Act.  It stands for economic growth for all, but bank bailouts for none.  We will end bank bailouts once and for all.  We will replace bailouts with bankruptcy.  We will replace economic stagnation with a growing, healthy economy,” he said.

“We will make sure there is needed regulatory relief for our small banks and credit unions, because it’s our small banks and credit unions that lend to our small businesses that are the jobs engine of our economy and make sure the American dream is not a pipe dream,” said Chairman Hensarling.

CHOICE, which stands for Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs, has received strong support from community banks and credit unions.  Large financial institutions did not offer their support for the Financial CHOICE Act.  Instead, Wall Street CEOs have publicly said they do not support repealing Dodd-Frank.

The Congressional Budget Office reports the Financial CHOICE Act would reduce the deficit by $33.6 billion over 10 years and that the bill’s regulatory relief would benefit community banks and credit unions.  The nation’s largest banks would be unlikely to raise enough capital to meet the bill’s requirement for substantial regulatory relief, the CBO reported.

FINANCIAL CHOICE ACT AT A GLANCE:

BANKRUPTCY, NOT BAILOUTS

No more bailouts:  that’s at the core of the Financial CHOICE Act. With changes to the bankruptcy code, large financial firms can fail without disrupting the entire economy or forcing hardworking taxpayers to pay for more bailouts.

ACCOUNTABILITY FOR WALL STREET AND WASHINGTON

The Financial CHOICE Act includes the toughest penalties in history for those who commit financial fraud and insider trading.  Holding Wall Street accountable with the toughest penalties in history will deter corporate wrongdoing and better protect consumers. At the same time the Financial CHOICE Act holds Wall Street accountable, it also holds Washington accountable. Tougher accountability for Wall Street and Washington will protect the integrity of our markets so they benefit ordinary Americans who are working, saving and investing.

STRONGLY CAPITALIZED BANKS

Dodd-Frank’s one-size-fits-all regulations treat all financial institutions the same, regardless of their size.  That makes no sense and hurts smaller, hometown banks and credit unions that did nothing to cause the last financial crisis.

The Financial CHOICE Act is based on two important principles:  First, all banks need to be well-capitalized and, second, community banks and credit unions deserve relief from the crushing burden of over-regulation. Under the Financial CHOICE Act, banks and credit unions will qualify for regulatory relief if they elect to maintain enough capital to ensure that if they get in trouble, taxpayers won’t be forced to bail them out. Ninety-eight percent of the financial institutions that met the Financial CHOICE Act’s requirements for being well-capitalized did not fail during the financial crisis.  Of the miniscule percentage that did fail, none posed a systemic risk.

EMPOWER AMERICANS

The Financial CHOICE Act grows our economy from Main Street up.  Dodd-Frank tries to control the economy from Washington down.  The Financial CHOICE Act will help get credit and capital into the hands of working men and women to fuel their economic growth.

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MAKING MANUFACTURING A MATTER OF PUBLIC POLICY FOR NEW JERSEY

Paterson Falls

JOHN REITMEYER | MAY 8, 2017

A new ‘manufacturing caucus’ looks to explore what companies need in terms of employees, education, training, and business opportunities — and help make sure they get it

Although not as dominant an industry as it was several decades ago, manufacturing is still a major part of the New Jersey economy, and a sector where a majority of employers have indicated they’re still looking to hire.

To help foster what could be a manufacturing renaissance in New Jersey — a state with a rich industrial history that dates to colonial days — state lawmakers are launching a new “manufacturing caucus” that will focus specifically on figuring out ways to craft policies that lead to increased productivity and growth for manufacturing.

The formation of the new caucus, which will involve lawmakers from both the Assembly and Senate, and from both political parties, was announced last week by Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester). The panel will hold a series of hearings this summer to help inform a legislative agenda that will be pursued in the fall as lawmakers return to the State House following this year’s legislative elections. The effort will be led by state Sen. Robert Gordon, whose own background includes working in his family’s yarn mill in Paterson.

“I think (manufacturing) is critically important to the state,” said Gordon (D-Bergen) in an interview with NJ Spotlight. “Manufacturing is still a very important component of our economy.”

 

http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/17/05/07/making-manufacturing-a-matter-of-policy-for-new-jersey/

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How Amazon’s ‘invisible’ hand can shape your city

amazon_theridgewoodblog

The Seattle e-commerce company’s influence goes well beyond shopping

BY PATRICK SISSON  MAY 2, 2017, 11:43AM EDT

It begins with boxes. For most people who order goods from Amazon—with nearly half of U.S. householdsenrolled in the company’s Prime program, that’s quite a few of us—interactions with the Seattle e-commerce giant start with a search and a click, and end with a delivery.

While the ubiquitous company—a retail and shopping juggernaut worth roughly $430 billion that personifies the rapid growth in e-commerce—has an extensive footprint, a growing warehouse network, and a nascent brick-and-mortar retail presence, most of us just see piles of boxes on stoops, on doorsteps, and in apartment lobbies.

But that passing perspective would be a gross underestimation of the way e-commerce in general, and Amazon specifically, has and will reshape cities and communities around the country.

A growing web of Amazon warehouses is poised to further speed up and reshape commerce, putting more pressure on retail. Increasing deliveries, a result of this bigger and better logistics network and consumer demand, is leading to increased freight traffic on city streets. And an expansion into physical retail, including brick-and-mortar Amazon grocery stores, predicted by many analysts, could make an even bigger dent in urban landscapes and commercial strips. Curbed reached out to Amazon for this story, but they declined to comment on the record.

https://www.curbed.com/2017/5/2/15509316/amazon-prime-retail-urban-planning

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Is It Time to Break Up Google?

google-dr-evil-and-mini-me_theridgewoodblog

By JONATHAN TAPLINAPRIL 22, 2017

In just 10 years, the world’s five largest companies by market capitalization have all changed, save for one: Microsoft. Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Citigroup and Shell Oil are out and Apple, Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Amazon and Facebook have taken their place.

They’re all tech companies, and each dominates its corner of the industry: Google has an 88 percent market share in search advertising, Facebook (and its subsidiaries Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger) owns 77 percent of mobile social traffic and Amazon has a 74 percent share in the e-book market. In classic economic terms, all three are monopolies.

We have been transported back to the early 20th century, when arguments about “the curse of bigness” were advanced by President Woodrow Wilson’s counselor, Louis Brandeis, before Wilson appointed him to the Supreme Court. Brandeis wanted to eliminate monopolies, because (in the words of his biographer Melvin Urofsky) “in a democratic society the existence of large centers of private power is dangerous to the continuing vitality of a free people.” We need look no further than the conduct of the largest banks in the 2008 financial crisis or the role that Facebook and Google play in the “fake news” business to know that Brandeis was right.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/22/opinion/sunday/is-it-time-to-break-up-google.html?_r=0

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Brick-and-Mortar Stores Are Shuttering at a Record Pace

closing

Years of overbuilding and the rise of online shopping have come to a head; malls as ‘energy suckers’

By Suzanne Kapner
April 21, 2017 7:53 p.m. ET

American retailers are closing stores at a record pace this year as they feel the fallout from decades of overbuilding and the rise of online shopping.

Just this past week, women’s apparel chain Bebe Stores Inc. said it would close its remaining 170 shops and sell only online, while teen retailer Rue21 Inc. announced plans to close about 400 of its 1,100 locations.

“There is no reason to believe that this will abate at any point in the foreseeable future,” said Mark Cohen, the director of retail studies for Columbia Business School and a former executive at Sears Canada Inc. and other department stores.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/brick-and-mortar-stores-are-shuttering-at-a-record-pace-1492818818

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The Financial Planning Association of New Jersey Spring Conference will feature nationally-recognized business journalist Ron Insana

Ron Insana

file photo

How has a Trump Presidency affected the markets, financial planning and your bottom line?

April 21,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

East Rutherford NJ, The Financial Planning Association of New Jersey (FPANJ) will host it’s Spring Conference, on Thursday, May 4. the theme is “Navigating the Winds of Change: The DOL, the Fed, and Washington,” and it will be a day of education on what’s happening beyond the headlines, and its impact on advising clients effectively.

Spring Conference will feature nationally-recognized business journalist Ron Insana, who appears on CNBC and MSNBC as well as a nationally-syndicated radio show. He’ll be discussing “Trump 2017: From Washington to Wall Street,” covering the Trump Presidency and the “Trumponomics” order of the day.

It all takes place at the Hilton Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ, with check-in and pre-conference with Ben Lewis, FPA PR Director beginning at 7 a.m.; programs following from 8:30  a.m. – 5 p.m.

Additional keynote speakers featured throughout the day include:

Attorney Joan M. Neri, who’ll be discussing the Fiduciary Status and how those rules impact services provided to investors with IRAs and 401(k)s

Douglas Peebles, CIO of AllianceBernstein, talking about the Current State of Fixed Income

Kenneth Haman of the Advisor Institute with AllianceBernstein, who’ll cover Designing a Practice Standard of Care to help advisers design a model that addresses the Fiduciary Standard with their clients

In between, we’re including excellent breakout sessions to cover marketing, social media, and PR Director Ben Lewis who will be talking about best practices in working with the media, and much more.

The Financial Planning Association of New Jersey is part of The Financial Planning Association® (FPA®). FPA connects those who need, support and deliver professional financial planning. FPA believes that everyone is entitled to objective advice from a competent, ethical financial planner to make smart financial decisions. FPA members demonstrate and support a professional commitment to education and a client-centered financial planning process. Working in alliance with academic leaders, legislative and regulatory bodies, financial services firms and consumer interest organizations, FPA is the community that fosters the value of financial planning, and advances the practice and profession of financial planning.