Single and Ready : The Art of Dating

Single and Ready

 

In 2016, it’s almost rare to find a man that still asks a woman on a date, and actually follows through. It’s crazy to say that the times we live in have changed the dating game forever. Where a man used to ask a woman on dates then picked her up, opened the doors, enjoyed her out for a few hours and returned her home with a simple kiss of gratitude, they’re now asking ladies to “chill” in its place. It’s a “not wanting to waste money on someone who isn’t worthy” mentality, and the saddest part about it is seeing women lower their value and conform to the popular “Netflix & chill” phenomenon.
Many agree that dating in this era seems pointless because men are only looking for sex and women only want the money. If we go to the time before cell phones and social media, dating was one of the only forms to meet new people. It allowed friends to set their friends up on blind dates. It allowed men to step their game up and come correct for a woman he was interested in. It allowed men to wear the pants as their woman proudly wore the skirt. Roles were not confused or switched during these times. And this created more dating then courting then possibly marriage.

Fast forward to the emergence of the internet and cell phones, and all sensible, single folks turned to internet dating sites and social media to “meet new people”. While cell phones and social media do connect like minds with other like minds, it tore down the art of dating and evolved it into this “smoke and chill”, “drink and chill”, or “Netflix and chill” era. At this point, a man spending his money on a woman who might not bed him doesn’t sound as inviting as that same woman coming over for Popeyes and a DVD.
Chuck Henderson of Wallstreet Insanity agreed that “hanging out and hooking up seems to be way more prevalent. Sometimes, this evolves into a relationship before you’ve even gone to dinner and a movie.” So where does that leave courting? Exactly where it left dating….in the past. Men are complaining that some women serial date just for free meals and movie trips, while women argue that most men serial date just to see who they can bed the quickest with no intention on anything but sex. With so many sex filled song lyrics, TV shows and movies in the 21st century, it’s no wonder that everybody has an ulterior motive when they meet someone new. Whether good or bad intentions, dating was created to help find commonalities in folks and figure out if forever is even an option with that person.
So how do we get back to what worked in the 1930-60s when people still believed in families and marriage? Easy! The first thing that must happen is people need to raise your standards and quite conforming to a person who just wants to “chill”. Single people also need to stop looking for sex in the wrong places and wrong people. Not to mention, women are incapable of having emotionless sex unless she’s being paid for her services. Sex is still an emotional attachment for every woman, especially those with their hearts on their sleeves.
Dating helps you get to know someone, figure out if they’re worthy of your time, love and presence, discover the commonalities between each other, and possibly move forward into a union. A smoke session with Dante isn’t a date; he’s more than likely trying to feel you out to see how fast he could bed you. Chilling on the block with your crush isn’t a date. She’s probably casing every dude out there to see who makes the most money. Pay attention to the signs because in everything we do, there’s a fair warning prior. If we’re trying to reintegrate family values into our kids, we must unteach then reteach ourselves the art of dating!
By Co Kane

Www.KanePresents.com

Money Matters Monday: Make These Changes Now, New Tax Season Approaching 

By: CoKane 

  Make these changes now: new tax season approaching

Whew! This past tax season was a real joy working with Jackson Hewitt. It’s was my pleasure helping the customers of East Point, Ga and surrounding areas with preparing and e-filing both their federal and state income tax returns. I am always a strong advocate for tax clients and I’d help them in any way possible to avoid the devastating news of “Balance Due.”

Yes. I meant “BALANCE DUE”. This past season was the first tax season where I’ve encountered so many people, young and old, that owed federal and state balances after I concluded their estimate’s. I still found it difficult to explain to a customer that he/she has a balance that must be paid, and as a result, all preparation fees must be paid upfront. Their whole mood changes, and for those college kids who have always heard of big tax refund checks, their entire belief in the IRS fades to black. So much so that they don’t want to file anymore until they’re in their career. If only my tax kiosk could talk…

What are the real reasons behind these balances and low refund amounts, you ask? Sheer lack of tax education and understanding. The problem that I saw most, which tops the list, remained taxpayers not knowing how W4 exemptions tie into W2 federal withholding. 

  Secondly, human resource employees weren’t educating their new hires on the process of claiming exemptions on the W4 form. Another reason I picked up on was parents not educating their children on how to properly fill out the W4 during the hiring process. It could also happen when younger taxpayers don’t know that they won’t qualify for earned income tax credit until the’re 25 years old. Lastly, taxpayers simply weren’t updating their knowledge with new tax laws as well as the do’s and don’t’s.

To break it down, the absence of knowledge on how the W4 directly relates to federal withholding taxes hinders many young taxpayers between the ages of 18 and 24. No one sat them down and explaiend the difference between claiming exempt or claiming ‘0’ or ‘1’ exemption. For tax purposes, one can be exempt from income tax withholding if he or she had no income tax liability last year and expects none this year, income didn’t exceed a certain dollar threshold nor include more than a certain dollar amount of unearned income, and cannot be claimed on another person’s tax return. 

Legally, parents can claim their adult child until he or she reaches the age of 24. Because of that reason, young adults between 18yo and 24yo must claim the correct exemption amount, which is ‘0’ or ‘1’. This will allow the IRS to deduct the appropriate amount of federal witholding taxes throughout the year which helps to possibly increase the tax refund the following year.

 

 In addition to claiming correct exemptions, adults also claimed exempt the entire year and wasn’t properly taxed by their employers. Claiming exempt for the entire year created balance due notifications because taxpayers had too much money coming in and no taxes being paid out. All payroll checks should be taxed at least 15% to avoid penalties and balances. If one incorrectly claims exempt for the year, and has more exemptions on their tax form than what’s actual, the taxpayer will owe the IRS. While it’s not good practice to claim exempt, taxpayers do have six months of every year to claim exempt with no deductions on federal withholding. The biggest thing to remember is GOING BACK AT END OF SIX MONTHS AND CHANGING EXEMPTIONS TO MATCH ACTUAL HOUSEHOLD.

Thirdly, today’s human resource offices don’t bother eduating their new hires on the W4 and claiming exemptions process. I’ve asked many taxpayers if anoyone helped them file out their forms and they all said the same thing: someone from human resource gives them a pakcet of forms to fill out alone with no assistance. This, too, goes with parents not educating their children on how to properly fill out the W4 new hire form. The home is where many lessons are start. If parents fail to sit down with their children and walk through the W4 and W2 form, they’re subjecting their children to being taxed incorrectly, thereby procuring the balances that must be paid. 

During the new hire process explanation, parents should also inform their children that they won’t be able to qualify for earned income tax credit (or EITC) until they’re 25 years old or become a parent. Young adults automatically assume that they’re earned income eligible because that’s what they’ve been told their whole life. It saddens them when they find out that it’s not appliable until they reach age 25. This is the reason why parents can and should claim their children until they reach age 24 unless than child has made over $4,000 in earned income.

 

 To end, taxpayers simply do not update their knowledge on new tax rules and tax laws. Because of the scam that occured over a period of two years that caused the IRS to lose over a billion dollars from fraudulent returns, and with the ongoing attempt of hackers trying to access the IRS tax refund system, new ruels and laws have been established to prevent that type of loss from occuring again. Having your income taxes prepared by a non-tax professional or someone who isn’t a CPA or accountant can lead to refund amounts being inflated through incorrect means. Whether it’s intetnional or unintentuional, that incorrect inflation could cause longterm problems that result in penalties. taxpayers care the responsibility of updating their tax knowledge every year or having their taxes done by trained professionals who were taught the law and made aware of any significant changes.

Yes, that means taking your business to Jackson Hewitt, or one of our direct competitors, H&R Block or Liberty Taxes, to ensure that your taxes are completed correctly and you receive the maximum amount of whatever refund is owed to you. And one service that all three companies advertiser is reviewing previous submitted returns for mistakes or missed credits to see if it’s possible to obtain more money in the refund check. And who doesn’t want more money? It is better to get a refund rather than to owe money especially if you don’t have access to the funds necessary to pay off any balance. When properly filled out, the W4 withholds the correct tax to alleviate any amounts that may be owed. Be smart… ask a tax pro or human resource expert before you go from refund check to balance due.

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Bio:

Co Kane was born and raised in Miami, FL. She worked as a tax preparer for the last three years and a published author for the last year. She began writing poems and short stories while in middle school and continued writing throughout high school. In 1999, she was accepted to Florida A&M University (FAMU) where she obtained an Associate of Arts degree, a Bachelor of Social Work degree and a Bachelor of Criminal Justice degree. She received her Master of Human Services from Liberty University online in September 2014.

Co Kane was a contributing staff writer for the campus newspaper while in attendance at FAMU. She is an avid spoken word artist, hoping to one day publish her poetry to share with the world. She uses her writing skills in her free time, and while it may take some time for her to create her next story, she uses the downtime to try and update herself with the times that she lives in. In June 2015, she established her own publishing company called Co Kane Publications, and she is currently accepting submissions from new authors.

Today, Co Kane currently resides in Florida. All of her work can be found on her website, http://www.KanePresents.com and she can be contacted at CoKanepublications@gmail.com

monica crofton

Monica Crofton, CEO, Repairs Credit & Dreams

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Monica Crofton, CEO of Crofton Credit Consulting sits down to chat with Young Urban Voices Magazine. She dishes about what lead her to create the credit consulting business where it’s main goal is to assist members with poor credit and help them obtain creditworthiness,  allowing them to achieve their financial objective based on good re-established credit.

Young Urban Voices Magazine: How did you get involved with banking?

Monica Crofton: Actually banking is something I fell into. I actually was working in the police department. But me hearing about people getting shot and answering 911 calls, and me taking my work home or hear about people getting killed over the phone wasn’t something I could do for the rest of my life. So I just started seeking another job and I was interviewed and hired at Chase Bank in Texas an that’s how my journey started.

YUV: What inspired you to start your own business?

MC: What inspire me was when clients needed something dealing with credit loans , credit cards, home loans and naturally the first place you go to is the bank. I get a hold of their credit history and they’ve been working at their jobs  for a long time, paying bills on time and after we finish the application they get denied for credit. I started realizing that people were not getting ahead because they were getting denied the things that they need. I was thinking one day at work, well there was this client who came in and she had two kids but worked as a pastry chef and smelled of cakes and cookies. I asked why don’t you start a business with that? She stated that she couldn’t get approved for a loan. So I pulled her credit report and helped her to fix her credit and in about a month’s time she was able to come back and get a $6k loan from us so she could start her business. The joy that I felt to be able to help her. But it was just another regular day for me at the bank. That’s when I said I have to do this. I have to do this for the community for anybody who wants to get ahead in life and that’s basically how it started for me.

YUV:   Why do you think so many people are suffering from damaged credit?

MC:  Lack of education. We weren’t  taught about good credit. We don’t know what it’s  like when someone saves $5k under the bed. We simply don’t know what it looks like.

We don’t understand that if we’ve been working at a company for over a year, we don’t know about investing in a 401k. If you are an entrepreneur, the importance of having an IRA CD. The little things like that, people don’t have the knowledge to do it, or more importantly don’t know anyone who can help them do it to guide them in the direction they want to go in.

YUV: What advice would you give to people who really want to clean up their credit?

MC: The first thing I would do is make sure they’re ready to stop making the same mistakes they did in the past. Everybody has a past for a story to tell. But the matter of the fact is either you over extended yourself financially or you didn’t keep your end of the bargain or you were going through a rough time in life. So first thing first I need to know that my clients aren’t going to make these same mistakes. I still see some of them fall into the same mistakes even after I’ve fixed their credit. I want to explain to them that all of this has happened because of a habit. We need to write out a monthly spending plan because it shows us where’s your money going.

YUV: What can people do to get student loans under control?

MC: First thing people need to stop running from student loans. You owe your student loans. You knew that six months after you graduated that you had to pay it back. I need to make my clients aware that this is a Federal Loan. It’s as if you owe the IRS. They are going to get their money back one way or another. You ignoring them only makes the situation worse. The first thing you should do with anyone that you owe is communicate with them and get a deferment or forbearance. Just get it out of default so it can stop hitting your credit report.

YUV: When is it a good time to explain to teens the importance of good credit?

MC: I believe around 17 years of age, as soon as they go off to college on their own or they begin working. Those credit card offers are going to start coming in the mail. When they get it they’re going to think someone gave them $500 and not realize when they turn 23 , 24 years old, they need to buy a car it hits them again that the credit card they got at 18 is hindering them now as an adult.

YUV: How can people find out their credit score and what is a decent credit score?

MC: You want to make sure you’re pulling from all three credit bureaus which is Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Most clients just pull one like, credit karma. They only give you one and that’s not going to help you because when you go to get a car or a house they pull all three. So one place you can go to pull all three reports is https://www.annualcreditreport.com/.  It will allow you to view all three credit reports from all three bureaus. The scores are never free through. All bureaus may charge differently but maybe for $20, $25 you can get your credit score. You should at least see what’s on your report.

YUV: Does your get credit forgiven after 7 years?

MC: It’s called the statue of limitations, seven years of when you went delinquent. If you opened a credit card in 2008 and it went delinquent in 2012. It’s not going to come off this year in 2015. It’s going to come off of your report the year it went delinquent. But you still have to take steps to get the credit together, repair, rebuild and maintain the credit.

YUV: How can people get in touch with your company?

MC:  They can contact me at my office at area code (424) 702-5766. My website Crofton Credit Consulting which has information about my services and even testimonials.

YUV: Is there anything else you want to add?

MC: I want to thank all the people who have stepped up about their credit. There were so many people out there that once they got their credit repaired they were brand new people. I just want to acknowledge those who have stepped out of their comfort zone and allowed someone to help them. I want to encourage everyone to do that. Even as a parent who has bad credit they can’t help their children along the way to get their first car or even explain to them about credit. Because you made mistakes with your credit.

Empire Reigns

By Randall Rydell Russell

empire cast

Television shows come on and get cancelled faster than you can say boo. The network Fox is

notorious for cancelling promising shows either due to low ratings or lack of substance. But Wednesday,

January 7, 2015, a program entitled Empire premiered to stellar ratings, outshining American Idol, one

of the networks best shows.

 

Empire, loosely based on the 1966 play and 1968 film The Lion in Winter, the story of King Henry

ll of England, his imprisoned wife Eleanor of Aquitaine and their three sons Richard, Geoffrey and John,

during Christmas time in the year 1183. A power struggle brews as King Henry deciding on which son

should take the throne when he dies.

 

Empire, takes those same themes and brings them into the modern world. The King in this story

is Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), a former thug and drug dealer who is now a hip hop mogul and CEO

of his own record company Empire Entertainment. Andre (Trai Byers), Lucious’ oldest son is the CFO of

the company, influenced by his wife Rhonda (Katie Doubleday), and yearns to take over the company for

himself. Jamal (Jussie Smollett), is Lucious’ middle son who is gay but hides it from the world, in fear that

it’ll backfire on him, but he has a raw musical talent as singer/songwriter/record producer that Lucious

doesn’t see, due to him being disappointed in Jamal’s sexual orientation. Hakeem (Bryshere Gray), is

Lucious’ youngest and favorite son who is a rising hip hop star who is influenced by women, alcohol and

money. Lucious ex-wife, Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) who helped Lucious start the company seventeen

years prior, is released from prison after all the time, looking to get her half of the company back,

causing turmoil for Lucious, his partner and best friend Vernon (Malik Yoba) and Lucious’ new love

interest Anika (Grace Gealey). Lucious also discovers that he has ALS and must figure out who to leave in

charge of the company, Andre, Jamal or Hakeem, all while a friend from the past, opens up old wounds

that could jeopardize not only Lucious and his family, but the company Empire itself.

 

Empire, created by Lee Daniels (producer, director of Monster’s Ball, The Woodsman, Precious,

The Paperboy and The Butler) and Danny Strong, and original music by rapper/producer Timberland, this

program shows the highs and lows of the music industry, a traditional old school story brought to our

time, and the trials and tribulations of family while running a business. Gabourey Sidibe (Precious ) also

co stars with a large cast of upcoming performers including Cuba Gooding, Jr., Tasha Smith, Courtney

Love and Naomi Campbell are all set to appear.

 

For a black program on a major network, Empire is fighting to stay afloat on a network that

usually cancels if things don’t work. But from its series premiere opening to high numbers. Empire may

be here to stay.

Plight Of A Single Mother

In today’s society the family structure has shifted, almost twenty years ago the rate of single parents wasn’t as significant as it is now. There are plenty of factors that tie into the reasons of why several women are becoming single mothers at alarming rates. Sometimes, things happen, such as death, divorce, etc. Plenty of women are single mothers by choice. But there are those that exploit the view of the positive single mothers.

Photo courtesy of Huffington Post
Photo courtesy of Huffington Post

Society truly has a skewed view on the existence of single mothers. Most believe that single mothers are the result of whoring around and trapping men with babies to continue with a façade of a relationship. Or that these women want to just live off of the government welfare system forever. This has given a black eye to the truly undeserving individuals who need to rely on the help of the corporate government to feed their children as oppose to those who abuse the system or look at gaining child support funds from a guy.

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The media doesn’t make these women look any better especially with TV Shows such as with “Maury Povich,” where we usually 9x out of ten see young black women portrayed as loud, ghetto, ignorant and often clueless as to who fathered their babies while America gets to sit back and laugh at their shame. What satire this is? While on the other hand their are shows on MTV such as, “16 & Pregnant” and “Teen Mom,” that actually glorifies in my opinion the acceptance of white teen girls getting pregnant at young ages.  The racial double standard is kind of sad and disgusting.

How single mothers are viewed on this show
How single mothers are viewed on this show

Sometimes, single mothers must work two jobs to support the household. It is rough but it has to be done. Although, single black mothers are at risk for falling into poverty their are plenty of successful single mothers in the world that are holding it together without the father in the home. While all the blame is often put on the women for breeding with men they may not have known wouldn’t stick around what about the men who abandon their children? Child support doesn’t get issued to all single mothers. Their are plenty of fathers who just back out of the parenting role altogether. Some claim that it is too much responsibility for them to handle or just plain haven’t grown up yet. I believe, however, the biggest reason why single parenting may exist outside of death or divorce, etc. The black family structure has been broken down. Black men are leaving the home, or being incarcerated thus leaving the women to take care of things.  This leaves some boys to grow up without fathers and lack the knowledge of what it takes to be a real man in today’s society.

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The good gets mixed in with the bad often times. Most of the time when society thinks of black mothers they believe that we are ignorant, uneducated, extremely poor, inadequate parents, living off welfare with two or three kids by several different men. Nobody thinks that perhaps some mothers want more for their live and kids. Some mothers who not only work two jobs, are putting themselves in college, running their own businesses, or sending their successful kids off to college for the first time. The same could be said about single dads. But the media is so focused on devaluing the African American culture it’s ridiculous.

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Positive news in the black community goes unreported all of the time because no one cares to see positive images of the black family structure in media. But until people can decipher the difference between entertainment and reality things will probably never change within our society.