North Carolina Newspapers

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tKIje Cljarlotte
THURSDAY, May 15, 1997
6A
STRICTLY BUSINESS
Living
single
life
CHARLES ROSS
Your
Personal
Finance
It’s a fact of single life: com
pared to each member of a dual
income household, single per
sons spend more. Singles don’t
have anyone to split expenses
with, or to help them save for
retirement. To make matters
worse, singles can be extremely
free-spending, which can build
up debt dangerously fast.
If you’re single, budgeting
should be your highest priority.
If your income is stretched to the
limit, cut back where you can.
Cancel your cable, your cell
phone, your call-waiting and
message services, and you could
save as much as $100 a month.
Pay off your debts, even if you
only pay a little each month, and
start saving consistently. Sound
budgeting is the best way for
singles to get into good financial
shape.
Housing
Lower income, higher spend
ing, and the difficulty of scraping
together a down payment on one
salary can keep single persons
from becoming home owners.
One option is to buy with a
fnend or partner, doubling the
available income and increasing
the price you can afford. But
there’s a major drawback. With
two names on the mortgage,
what happens if one of you
decides to move? You could lose
the house, or the fnend.
Singles may qualify for a mort
gage with no money down, but
theyll pay a higher-than-market
interest rate. If you decide to buy
on your own, decide what price
you can afford and what you’re
willing io sacrifice in order to
buy a house.
Here’s a tip: don't stop putting
money in a saving account in
order to make house payments.
Investing
’The financial question singles
ask most often is, “How do I
afford everything I want now
and stUl take care of my future?”
Part of the answer is in smart,
well-plaimed investing.
Identify your goal: A down
payment on a house by age thir
ty, or financial security at age
60. Having a specific goal helps
you determine what kind of
investing will work best for you.
For a goal that’s only a few
years away, don’t be tempted by
high-yield funds. ’They’re also
high risk, and you won’t have
time to recover from losses.
Choose something less risky,
such as a bond fund, and add to
it regularly.
For a longer term goal like
retirement, a higher yield/higher
risk stock mutual fund is fine,
and should yield better over the
long haul.
Insurance
Statistics suggest that one in
foiu- adults will be disabled for at
least a three month stretch
before age 65. For a single per
son, this can mean losing every
thing, property, savings, and
financial security. You should
have disability insurance to
replace at least sixty percent of
your income. Check what your
employer offers. Only 40 percent
of workers have adequate cover
age through their employers.
If you are not covered, or don’t
have enough coverage, you can
buy disability insurance on your
own. Figure on paying a premi
um equal to about two percent of
your income.
1st in tourism
By Herbert L. White
THE CHARLOTTE POST
Charlotte is still the state’s top
tourist magnet.
According to the N.C. Division
of Travel and Tourism, travel
and tourism brought in $2.2 bil
lion in revenue to the city and
Mecklenburg County last year,
up from $1.9 billion in 1995. The
industry also brought in more
jobs in *96, with over 40,000 peo
ple employed in hospitality. In
1995, 35,850 people were work
ing in the industry.
Travel and tourism is expected
to be North Carolina’s No. 1
industry by the turn of the cen-
tur5% surpassing agriculture.
Charlotte is already the state’s
top tourist attraction, with more
than $95 million in state tax
receipts and $46 million in local
tax receipts.
Charlotte, the largest city in
North Carolina, has some of the
state’s most popular attractions:
the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets,
NFL’s Carolina Panthers and
Carowinds theme park.
““It’s apparent that the bene
fits of the travel and tourism
industry in Mecklenburg Coimty
is an integral part of the eco
nomic, social and cultural well
being of our city, said Melvin
Tennant, president and CEO of
the Charlotte Convention &
Visitors Bureau.
PHOTO/PAUL WILLIAMS III
Charlotte, North Carolina’s largest city, is also the state’s top tourist attraction. The N.C. Division
of Travel and Tourism reports that $2.2 billion was spent on tourism and travel in Charlotte last
year, an increase over 1995’s $1.9 billion.
Driven to succeed
PHOTO/tALVIN FERGUSON
Reggie Hubbard’s Metrolina Dodge is a state-of-the-art auto dealership. Metrolina is the crown
Jewel in Hubbard Automotive Group.
Hubbard leads Metrolina
By Winfred B. Cross
THE CHARLOTTE POST
Call Metrolina Dodge and
owner Reggie Hubbard greets
you and directs you to the
proper extension.
OK, OK, so it’s a recording.
But it is Hubbard’s voice and
he does want customers to feel
welcome at his new 65,900
square-foot Metrolina Dodge
dealership at 9131 South
Blvd., a few blocks below the
old dealership. It opened Jan.
13, Martin Luther King Jr.’s
birthday.
“Actually we didn’t plan it
that way,” Hubbard said. “But
it was the way things fell with
the installation of the shop
equipment and floor being
installed on that day. Is there
any significance? Well, since
the dream which (King) had
was for all to pursue their
dreams, I think the opening of
this dealership is a fitting trib
ute to living the dream.”
Metrolina Dodge’s new digs
are nearly a dream house. ’The
See HUBBARD on page 9A
Social Security
will use taxes
for survival
OMAR DILLARD
In part one of this series, we dis
cussed that, while healthy today.
Social Securify faces possible bank-
s ruptcy in 2030. What steps should
our lawmakers take to ensure a
^ secure retirement for our children
\ and grandchildren?
'That’s a question the presidential
advisory council on Social Security
attempted to answer when it recently issued three proposals designed
to improve the long-term health of Social Security. While one proposal
would essentially maintain the current benefit structure, two new
ideas were set forth in the recommendations: allow the government to
invest part of the fund's surplus dollars in the stock market, or “priva
tize” the system by allowing workers to invest part of their payroll
taxes into individual accounts and choose their own investments.
Currently, the fund's surplus dollars are invested in U.S. Treasury
bonds. This is a safe investment, but stocks have historically provided
better returns. Over the years the stock market has averaged a 10
percent return vs. 5 percent on government bonds. Experts believe
that the increased return on the fimd’s assets would help postpone the
projected date of Social Security bankruptcy beyond 2030.
It’s an intriguing idea; however, there are those who question the
prudence of handing the government power to make investment deci
sions. Investing Social Securify funds in equities would allow govern
ment officials or their political appointees to control a huge portion of
the investment capital in our stock market. In an era when other
countries are fighting to remove government influence from their
stock markets, is this the direction we want to go?
Privatizing Social Security would keep government entities out of
the market, but this idea raises a lot of questions as well. Social
Security is a pay-as you-go system that takes money from workers
and gives it to people who are already retired or disabled. ’The system
does not set aside your tax dollars in an account with your Social
Security number on it and then give those dollars back to you when
you retire. If workers are able to invest their own payroll taxes into
individual accounts earmarked for their retirement, the current tax
revenue stream dries up. Where will the government get the funds to
pay benefits to the 43 million who already are drawing Social Security
checks? Who will foot the bill if people make poor investment choices
and lose all or some of their personally invested money? And, what
happens if the stock market collapses 10 to 15 years finm now, wiping
out the majority of savings just when the baby boomers are ready to
enter retirement?
’The answer to these questions should sound familiar: the money will
come finm workers in the form of increased taxes. Unfortimately, it’s
unlikely that more taxes alone would be enough. If the worker-to-
retiree ratio drops to 2-to-1 in 2030 as expected, it would take almost
all of one worker’s remaining wages (after state and federal taxes) to
support one retiree.
Another issue surrounding privatization involves a more fundamen
tal question about the role the government should play in our lives.
Should it be in the business of mandating that everyone save for his or
her own retirement? Or should the federal government stick to its
original mandate of providing a social safety net that will keep retirees
and the disabled above the poverty level?
Other ideas need to be explored in conjunction with the advisory
council's proposals. In order to cut down on the number of years the
fund pays out benefits, the retirement age should be raised to 70 -
sooner, not later. This is a logical first step.
OMAR DILLARD is an investment representative at Edward Jones
investments in Charlotte.
Walker, McCullough honored by U.S. business agency
By John Minter
THE CHARLOTTE POST
Charlotte business consultant
Bill McCullough and First
Citizens Bank executive Lynne
Walker have won federal Small
Business Administration hon
ors.
McCullough, of McHenry
Associates, is the national 1997
Minority Small Business
Advocate of the Year. McHeniy
Associates is a business manage
ment and financial consulting
firm.
The award is given annually to
the business people who
“embody the best of the entre
preneurial spirit” and “demon
strate the capacity of small busi
nesses to cre
ate jobs, be
innovative
and make our
communities
and country a
better place to
live.”
“I was cer
tainly shocked
and honored,”
McCullough
said. “For me
it was a culmination of long
years of effort to make sure
McCullough
these folks have what they need
to grow.”
Such extraordinary effort is
“absolutely necessary,”
McCullough said. “I was quite
aware of the issues...as a former
banker, I knew both sides.”
McCullough, who founded
McHeniy Associates in his home
in 1986, resigned a West Point
commission after the death of
his mother and illness of his
father.
The 1969 Second Ward High
School graduate has worked in
marketing at Southern Bell
(now BellSouth) and banking at
First Federal Savings and Loan
and First Union National Bank.
He is involved in numerous
local community and business
efforts, includ
ing Central
Piedmont
Community
College’s Small
Business
Advisory
Committee
and the West
Charlotte
Business
Incubator.
McCullough
is a past member of the
Mecklenburg County Citizens
Walker
Capital Budget Advisory
Committee and has worked with
the N.C. Institute-Minority
Economic Development and
small business task forces for
First Citizens and Southern
National banks.
First Citizens Bank’s Walker
was selected N.C. Financial
Services Advocate of the Year.
Walker is First Citizens senior
vice president and manager of
commercial banking for
Mecklenburg. She joined the
company four years ago, moving
over from Wachovia Bank.
Walker said her award was for
See SBA on page 9A
    

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