Make The Consumer Savvy Connection

Plug into these strategies to maximize your personal purchasing power in the 21st century.

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Gail Snowden, a 30-year banking veteran, oversees FleetBoston Financial Community Banking Group, which consists of the pioneering urban-based First Community Bank, as well as Fleet Development Ventures, the nation’s first bank-chartered urban investment bank. As an executive vice president, she oversees the corporation’s $14.6 billion community investment commitment, as well as the development and implementation of the bank’s Community Reinvestment Act strategy. Snowden is a national authority on issues related to urban banking, inner-city economic development, and retail marketing to diverse communities.

Charlie Ward, Point guard, new york knicks on saving your money
I was raised in
a middle-class home with four sisters and two brothers. Our parents, who are educators, made enough money to provide us with food and the necessary clothing. We didn’t wear name brands, and we shopped at Payless for shoes. We had very humble beginnings, but our parents always gave their tithes and offerings. They proved that when you give to the Lord first, he’ll supply the rest of your needs.

When you come from a background like mine, you learn not to be a foolish spender. I’ve been blessed with a wife who also likes to save money. She’s a bargain hunter, and shops at discount outlets. We have a three-bedroom home and two cars. We don’t have the top-of-the-line stuff because it’s not important to us. Our top priority is saving for our kids’ futures and saving toward a college fund for our niece and nephew. We are also going to set up a trust fund so others can go to school.

To whom much is given, much is required. Ten percent of my earnings go to the church and another portion goes to charity. I am required to share the blessings that are bestowed upon me to help the less fortunate. Giving isn’t just about finances. We’re all rich in love, and can give time to various efforts as well. I have basketball camps in New York, Connecticut, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, as well as a camp for neglected and abused children in Tallahassee, Florida. These settings expose inner-city kids to other ways of life and help them to learn how to communicate with different groups of people. That’s very important if they’re going to survive in the years to come.

As African Americans, we should invest our money and time to make this world a better place for our children. It’s not only about investing in our own communities. The Lord has given us the responsibility to help build a better human race.

Charlie Ward first burst on to the national scene not as a star point guard but rather as a football quarterback at Florida State University when he led the Seminoles to the NCAA national championship in 1993. His endeavors won him the prestigious Heisman Trophy, the Sullivan Award, and the Maxwell Award. He was also named College Football Player of the Year by The Sporting News. An avid tennis player, the frugal athlete earned a bachelor’s degree in therapeutic recreation from Florida State in 1994.

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