Understanding Your Finances

By: Karl Nelson, NYC Correspondent/Social Media Exec.

Another special live edition of The Armstrong Williams Show, “Understanding Your Finances,” aired on NewsChannel 8 over the weekend.

Understanding your finances is one of the smartest things that you could possibly do in today’s world. That’s why The Armstrong Williams Show dedicated a full show to this topic over the weekend. Whether it’s following a budget, managing your credit score, saving and investing money, or knowing the difference between an asset and a liability, it’s imperative that you “understand your finances.”

I sat down with MJ Oridami, a senior hedge fund accountant based in New York, to get an expert opinion on how the average person can better understand their finances. During the interview, we talked about…

·      A good starting point for people who are new to managing finances

·      Basic finance tips for those currently struggling to manage their finances

·      Some of the typical questions the common person asks MJ about finances

·      The importance of financial literacy in school curriculums across the country

·      How to better understand your credit score

·      How to save and invest your money

Financial freedom is nearly impossible to achieve today if money management is foreign to you.

Unfortunately, we live in a country where most young people graduate from high school and college not knowing the basics about their finances.  

Financial literacy is arguably one of the most important subjects that a school could add to its curriculum. That’s a sentiment that MJ echoed during our interview. His commentary was evidence of how beneficial it can be if one takes the time to learn more about finance, the correct way. | KMN

Below is a snippet from my interview with MJ. Stay tuned for more snippets of our conversation about understanding your finances.

My Friends First Trip Back To Her Native Land, South Korea

Devon and Friend.jpg

By: Dr. Devon Smith

Few things in my life have humbled me or honored me as much as being invited to join one of my oldest friends on her first trip back to her native land, South Korea. Adopted by a lovely American family, she moved to the United States as an infant, and until this trip she had never been back.

We met during our first semester of college and have been close friends ever since. Throughout the years, I watched her struggle with her adoption and as a result, her identity. As such, I knew how pivotal and groundbreaking her first trip home in 30 years would be to her life. Being invited to join her on what was bound to be an emotional journey was simply an honor.

We started our trip in Seoul, South Korea, where she spent a few months in a foster home until she was brought to America. Seoul was an incredible city, with water views and mountains surrounding the city. It also has the most marvelous subway system — something New York City could learn a thing or two from! In Seoul, we visited traditional Korean marketplaces where live octopus is a delicacy and blood sausage is a must try! We also spent a morning hiking around the old city, which dates back to 1396 AD. 

After spending the first few days exploring, I accompanied her to the adoption agency. Here she saw, unexpectedly and for the first time, a photo of the woman who fostered her until her move to America. To say that the moment was powerful is an understatement and to have been there to support her is one memory that I will forever hold near to my heart.

The next hurdle of the journey was a visit to the city where she was born and ultimately relinquished by her birth mother and father. Daejeon is the 5th largest city in Korea and takes about an hour to reach from Seoul via The KTX (bullet train), another public transport system that makes the Acela look like a steam engine! I don’t think either of us knew what to expect in Daejeon, but we were both blown away and pleasantly surprised. Much smaller than Seoul, Daejeon is a beautiful city with river running through it. On the banks of the river, families stroll and men gather to watch friends play an Asian board game. Perhaps the best part about Daejeon is its famous bakery Sungsimdang from which we indulged after spending a few hours exploring her hometown. We left Daejeon with full bellies and with my friend clearly having a level of acceptance and connection to her home than ever before. 

We started our trip off with the “hardest” (her words not mine) part first so that some of the emotional burden of returning home might be relieved for the rest of the trip. And so, today, after spending four days in Seoul, we are heading to Busan, a beachfront city in South Korea!

Reality TV Culture in 2018

By: Karl Nelson, NYC Correspondent/Social Media Executive 

The first reality television show aired back in 1973. Since then there’s been MTV’s Real WorldBasketball WivesLove & Hip Hop, and the list goes on. But the question remains: Is the culture of reality television good or bad for today’s society?

Being here in New York City, I spoke with New Yorkers to get their opinions on the current culture of reality television.

Their answers reflected this idea that reality television does more harm than good to the average viewer mainly due to the gossip, drama, and scripted format of today’s most popular reality television shows -- shows like Keeping Up with the KardashiansThe BacheloretteBasketball Wives, and The Real Housewives of Atlanta.

When I asked New Yorkers how much reality television they consume on a weekly basis, some said they tune in regularly despite their gripes while others said they’ve stepped away from those types of shows due to the negative notation attached to reality television culture.

I was curious as to what it would take for those particular individuals to start watching shows based off of “reality” again. Their responses seemed to focus on the need for more unscripted shows as well as more shows that place a focus on prominent individuals and the crafts they’ve worked so hard to master over the years.

After hitting the pavement with this topic, I was convinced that it’s not so much reality television that is harmful to our society today, but, instead, it's the format. The fact of the matter is this. America has moved far away from the days when sitcoms on cable television made the world go round. We live in a society today where reality television trumps the majority of the other content that airs across different television networks.

That said, perhaps reality television would be more of a positive addition to American households if it was to hone in on more authentic, substance-based content.

What do you think? | KMN

Family is Everything, Just Ask Armstrong Williams

By: Karl Nelson, New York Correspondent/Social Media Manager

You’ve heard the phrase, “Family Over Everything.” You’ve seen it on social media. It’s a phrase that has become popular in today’s society, and for good reason. For millions of Americans today, family means everything. It’s more important than anything money can buy. Family is that thing that can’t be erased.

I don’t know many American families that understand the importance of family better than the Williams family. Armstrong Williams, the largest minority media owner in the country, would be one of the first people to tell you that family is everything. It’s a part of Armstrong that’s brought him to this point in his life and career – a place where he finds himself in a position to help many people and influence their perspectives in a major way.

It was under the guidance of his parents, James and Thelma Williams, where Armstrong learned everything he needed to know about the importance of family and how it has the ability to shape you for the better.

For many Americans today, true family is whom they lean on in the good times and in the bad. They’re the people who want to see you find happiness and success in life. They’re your security, providing a sense of comfort and acceptance.

In other words, when it comes to Armstrong’s family in particular, they don’t see a media mogul with over 30 years in the business, they see a man who they’ve loved before, love today, and will love forever.

Why?

Because family is everything to them. Armstrong has been known to mention his family both on and off the airwaves at the drop of a dime. It was good to finally see for myself why family means so much to him. That’s something I observed firsthand in July when Armstrong and a few members of the Howard Stirk Holdings staff, including myself, traveled to South Carolina.

Armstrong returned home to Marion, SC to not only receive his Lifetime Achievement Award from the SC Republican Party, but to also spend quality time with the people he loves the most, his family.

During the visit, we traveled to quite a few cities in SC, but it was in Marion, SC on the Williams family farm that I witnessed the unbreakable bond and unconditional love among the family. What I saw was a family that has made it their mission in life to keep the Williams legacy alive and thriving. After spending a considerable amount of time with them, there was no doubt in my mind that Armstrong’s parents had a profound and everlasting impact on their children and their children’s families while they were here on this earth with us.

Throughout this country’s history, the average African American family has been criticized for being broken, for not sticking together through thick and thin, and for failing to strive for financial freedom collectively. However, a family like the Williams family gives you a different impression of the average black American family. In fact, a family like the Williams family causes you to question in its entirety the notion that blacks aren’t capable of independence and ownership.

As I alluded to before, family is about a bond that cannot be broken. It’s about banning together and taking care of one another. It’s about building a legacy together. It’s something that’s extremely important to millions of Americans today. It’s everything.

Knowing how important family is to me and after observing how important family is to the Williams family, I wanted to take this topic to the streets of New York City to hear directly from New Yorkers about what family means to them.

I spoke with parents and adult children, and the recurring theme in their remarks about family was that “family is everything.” | KMN