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Teens and Saving: The First Car

Wendy Estrada

Wendy Estrada

By Wendy Estrada, Branch Manager, MUFG Union Bank, N.A.

Learning to drive and buying a car can be an exciting time, especially for teenage drivers, and it’s an important step toward adulthood.  While it may offer a sense of freedom and pride, it can also provide valuable lessons in responsibility and financial planning.  The following tips may help teens become financially prepared for their first car purchase.

Create a budget

The first, and perhaps the most important step, is to establish a budget listing all sources of income and the expenses of car ownership.  Determine if your parents, guardians or other family members might be willing to contribute.  Perhaps they will match your savings toward a down payment, or they might decide to buy the vehicle and have you make the payments.  Make sure your expectations are reasonable and clear.  List the costs associated with owning a vehicle, such as gas, insurance and maintenance.  Print your budget to clearly see what is expected and how much must be earned and saved.

Save

If you don’t already have one, set up a savings account as soon as possible.  Ask your parents or another trusted adult to take you to a bank and introduce you to a banker who can explain how making regular deposits can help you reach your savings goals, and how interest can help you grow your savings faster.  Your banker can also help you determine which type of savings account will best suit your needs.

Earn income

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, as a general rule, to get a job with a company, you must be 14 years old, and certain limits apply to how many hours you can work until you turn 16.  Many teens also earn money by babysitting, tutoring, delivering newspapers, making and selling jewelry and other crafts online, or mowing lawns, for example.  Look for ways to put a skill or hobby to use to earn extra money, and with a little creativity and perseverance, you can make some extra cash doing things you enjoy.

Shop around

When your savings goal has been reached, it is smart to do a little research before shopping for a vehicle.  Whether you are able to buy a new or used vehicle will depend on your budget, and having realistic expectations before visiting the car lots will make the process a lot more fun. Read reviews such as Consumer Reports to find a make and model that is reliable and gets gas mileage that you can afford, and meets your needs.  Ask your parents to call their insurance agent and research insurance rates for the types of vehicles you are considering.

Manage costs

Keep track of your budget and make sure that you’re able to keep up with your bills, and look for ways to lower your expenses.  Keeping your car properly maintained can lower fuel and repair costs.  Regular oil changes and tire rotations can help keep your vehicle running smoothly and increase your gas mileage.  Consider asking for gas gift cards for birthday or holiday gifts.  And note that many insurance companies may offer you more favorable rates for maintaining a clean driving record and your grades.

Be a responsible driver

There are many responsibilities that come with owning a vehicle, but perhaps the most important is being a safe, responsible driver.  Obey the rules of the road to help avoid costly tickets and fines, or even worse, losing your license or hurting someone.               

The foregoing article is intended to provide general information about helping teens save for a car and is not considered financial or tax advice.  Please consult your financial or tax advisor.

 

ABOUT WENDY ESTRADA

Wendy Estrada is the branch manager of the Lincoln High School student-run branch for MUFG Union Bank, N.A.  MUFG Union Bank, N.A., is a full-service bank with offices across the United States.  We provide a wide spectrum of corporate, commercial, retail banking and wealth management solutions to meet the needs of customers.  The bank also offers an extensive portfolio of value-added solutions for customers, including investment banking, personal trust, capital markets, global treasury management, transaction banking and other services.  With assets of $108.8 billion (USD), as of June 30, 2014, the bank has strong capital reserves, credit ratings and capital ratios relative to peer banks.  MUFG Union Bank is a proud member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (NYSE: MTU), one of the world’s largest financial organizations with total assets of approximately ¥259 trillion (JPY) or $2.5 trillion (USD)1, as of June 30, 2014.  MUFG Americas Holdings Corporation, the financial holding company and MUFG Union Bank, N.A. have corporate headquarters in New York City.

 

1 Exchange rate of USD=¥101.36 (J-GAAP) as of June 30, 2014

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: JOBS, LABOR TRADE, AND UNIONS

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By Audrey Thompson

During this election season I have heard the Democratic Party telling African American voters why we have to get out the vote and vote for the Democrats, but here’s what I have to say about that.

Jobs, jobs, jobs! The unemployment rate for African Americans in the Inland Empire has always been the highest of all races and voting for some of the local Democrats have not changed that fact. Labor Unions and Trades certainly do not employ African Americans to the extent they can and they give the  most money to Democrats running for office. Yet, Democrats come to our community and expect us to vote for them, no questions asked. Democrats are owned by the Unions and will not speak out against the Unions and Labor on our behalf. For Democrats Union money is more important than our vote. Well let’s show them this election how powerful our vote is!

How many times have we had the conversation about driving down the freeway under construction and we see no African American working on that project? How many times have we drove by building and housing construction projects and did not see any African American working on that project?

Why is it that Labor Unions and Trades have Black Labor Unions and Trades divisions? No brainer, if the Unions and Trades were fair to our workers and black leadership representation, we certainly would not need a black division. It is almost impossible for Blacks to get apprenticeship positions in Labor and Trades. Yet again, Labor Union and Trades give the most money to Democrats locally, statewide and nationally. They are so bad out here in the Inland Empire that when it comes time for the Riverside/San Bernardino Central Labor Council Secretary/Treasurer, Laurie Stalnaker,  to interview candidates running for election, they don’t even invite African American candidates who have half a chance. She invites African American candidates who she knows will lose the race or have no competition in a race. CLC, Laurie Stalnaker, will not interview a viable black candidate in a significant powerful elected position. She has to be called on the carpet to interview certain African American candidates for the Union to interview for their endorsement.

And to add insult to injury, Miss Laurie is also a Delegate for the California Democratic party and a Delegate for Pete Aguilar. There have been several complaints against Laurie Stalnaker to the California State Democratic party for her racism and supporting the Republican candidate over the  Democrat candidate. The Democratic party has taken no action against her. Laurie Stalnaker has financed  Republican candidates that helped put the City of San Bernardino into Bankruptcy. However, if an African American Democratic candidate supports a Republican the same Democratic party will use their by-laws to not endorse the African American candidate.  I am telling you what God loves and that is the truth.

Black folk, please be informed. Let’s take a closer look at the candidates coming to our churches and community centers asking for our vote. Democrats know that 80% of African Americans who actually go to the polls and vote will vote for a Democrat no matter who the Democrat is and no questions asked! That is not the case with all other populations of voters. Be informed, hear what both parties have to say. Don’t just take for granted that the Democrat has your best interest at heart. Be informed!

What we need most are jobs and if the Unions Labor and Trades have the most invested in the Democrats who are asking for our vote maybe we should consider the other candidate. The only thing we have is our vote, and the only way to make the Democratic party understand we mean business is to vote for the other guy. How many times are we going to be hoodwinked, bamboozled and duped by our Democratic party?

Ferguson: A Painful Reminder of Black Angst and Anger

Hakim Hazim

Hakim Hazim

By Hakim Hazim  

People call us loud and rightfully so. History teaches us that we must seize the opportunity to channel national attention toward the injustices we face. We are a loud people with voices that carry and at times we get caught in the emotion and don’t demonstrate proper restraint (I’m not talking about looting and the destruction of property. I’ll never give the criminal opportunists in our community the same standing as our sages and upstanding folks.). Wisdom provides restraint. This essay is an attempt to bring clarity to the events in Ferguson, Mo. It is an attempt to wrest the narrative away from all of the negative things perpetuated about our community and shine a light on how codified social stereotypes continue to be used against us in the media. The Black victim or the Black victimizer seems to be the only choice offered.  I believe Black Angst and anger and how these cousins are handled by us and law enforcement should be given equal time.

Angst is essentially the feeling of being told you are free to choose, but it’s accompanied by a perpetual anxiety about the outcomes of your choices. You believe your options are restricted to limited, insignificant rewards or heavy consequences. Anger at the injustice limited access to the American dream is the internal response. Authority is external imposition; leadership is internal elicitation. Authority is the art and science of imposing limits upon people and their actions, whereas leadership is the art and science of eliciting or drawing out the best in people’s decisions. Ferguson’s initial reaction was authority and the militarization of the city after the event. Its second response was leadership—drawing out the internal elements of trust, justice and responsible advocacy from the citizenry through the appointment of Captain Ronald Brown.

Society has progressed for us as a people, but for many financially struggling or impoverished Blacks, they don’t see it and are stuck. Ferguson has its own economic setting events.Alex Tabarrok is an internationally recognized economist and he has taken Ferguson to task based on his own research and a white paper by the ArchCity Defenders. What we are seeing is how cash-strapped local criminal justice systems in need of money use the law to secure resources. Citations of all types spiked. There are some glaring statistics.

Here’s the data:  Ferguson has 21,203 residents living in 8,192 homes. It’s 67% black and has violent crime rates consistent with the national average. However, its second largest source of revenue is court fines and fees: $2,635,400. That averages to three warrants and 1.5 case loads per home. Approximately 22% of the people are in poverty. If that’s not a powder keg, I’m not sure what is.

Now for us to continue to be proactive we must remember there are four things you can do with Angst and Anger as a Black person when it comes to dealing with our government:

  1. Stay passive and submit to injustice and grow bitter.
  2. Fight for reform,constructively,to better your situation and others.
  3. Seek an occupation with the government apparatus and fight for change.
  4. Become a token and profit from a system entrenched in ostensible narratives.

We really only have two legitimate options and I have done both: number (3) as an educator and correction specialist, and (2) now as a consultant. I’m most concerned about the narratives taking place on both sides. People use ostensible language narratives and theories that appear to be true, but in reality simply act as a cover for furthering misinformation—to create plausibility and then push their agenda ahead. As Black folks, we still need to hear the facts before making up our minds. And as far as the people perpetually against us, they will continue to recruit and place their mouthpieces in our community. I’ll also say this: we need to seek out new voices to address these crises that emerge in our community. We need nuanced, dexterous leaders who are focused on the future and securing the promises still afforded to us by a Creator who has not forgotten His covenant. Deal with the government, but put your faith in God folks. We know the epidemic of death among Black men through Black on Black crime and law enforcement sends the message that our lives have no value. I utterly reject this. Let’s love them before and after tragedy.