Sunday, April 29, 2007

African American Baby Boomers and Money

I was doing a search online recently and came across a rather interesting site. A company called NextMark ( had released some statistical information on African-American baby boomers. It included the number of black women in each state; the number of black women with children per state; the number of magazine buyers; book readers, etc.

But what really caught my eye was the number of African-American baby boomers making $75,000 or more and what states they were concentrated in. The study was actually broken down into baby boomers making $75,000 and those making $100,000. Much to my surprise, the big states like California and New York were NOT number one in either category, which makes me question how the numbers were gathered.

What was even more surprising is the state that claims the number one spot for black baby boomers making $75,000 or more. Do you think you could guess? I couldn’t. It’s Maryland. According to NextMark, there are approximately 59,000 black baby boomers making $75,000. Maryland, meanwhile, has a population of nearly 5,300,000 (according to the 2000 Census) in comparison to California which has a population of nearly 34,000,000 but just 21,069 black baby boomers making $75,000. And California didn’t even make the top five. How could that be with all of the black celebrities there? Is their income being reported? Or are they just not included in this list?

Here are the top five states where black baby boomers are making $75,000 or more:


What I found startling about the top five states is Texas has four times the population of Maryland but has only around 27,000 black baby boomers making at least $75,000.

The bottom five states that show black baby boomers making $75,000 or more:

Rhode Island
North Dakota
South Dakota

First of all, I didn’t even know these bottom five states had a recognizable black population so maybe that means that if you’re black living in one of these states, the chances are greater that you can make a decent wage. According to NextMark, South Dakota has 166 black baby boomers making at least $75,000; North Dakota has 141, Rhode Island 103, Wyoming, 93 and Vermont has 58.

Keep in mind the overall population statistics are based on the 2000 census so there may be significant changes in some states---but I kind of doubt it. What is sad is the fact that there are 36 million blacks in the US according to a March 2002 report by the Census Bureau. Talk about disproportionate wealth.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Two-Time Super Bowl Champion will Judge Mother's Day Contest

Two-time Super Bowl champion (from the San Francisco 49ers) and Hollywood actor Dwight Hicks will be one of the judges for the "Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This" contest.

Hicks, who is best known for being a part of one of the best defensive backfields of all-time, is now making his mark in Hollywood with an acting career. But he still managed to find time by helping this fellow baby boomer by judging the Mother's Day contest.

Will YOUR ESSAY be the one he likes the best? You won't know if you don't enter. The other judges are:

In 800 words or LESS, write an essay about one warning in particular your mother gave you when you were younger but you failed to heed her advice and found out later that she was RIGHT all along. For example, she may have told you not to date a certain person but you did anyway and after a while you realized it was a mistake and you could hear your mother saying "I told you so!" Tell your story. It can be humorous or very serious. How you tell it will be more important than what the actual warning was. Entry deadline is May 9.

For a list of prizes, visit my website:

Other judes are:
Best Selling Author Linda Alexander
Gospel Recording Artist Jennifer Evans

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Cruisin' with a Baby Boomer Grandma Diva

It was such a beautiful day here in North Carolina on Friday so this baby boomer diva decided to go cruisin’. First I had to wash the car because you can't style and profile in a 2006 Sebring LXI if it's dirty. It just isn't cool. The sports car belongs to my baby boomer hunk of a husband. Since we're in a commuter marriage, he decided to leave HIS CAR with me and take my little reliable, good on gas mileage, Ford Focus back with him to Maryland for the week.

I was going to take it to the car wash but I figured I needed to burn off some calories since I didn't go to the gym or the trail all this week. I sat my grandson in his stroller while I washed the car. He was actually enjoying watching me spray the car with the hose. I was thinking one day he'll be doing this and I'll be sitting in his stroller :)

When I finished it was spotless! The tires needed a good touch up but I figured I'd leave that to the professionals at another time. I then buckled up my grandson in his car seat in the back, dropped the top, put on my shades and put the pedal to the metal. All the while I kept thinking of that opening clip on "Full House" where the guys are driving in a convertible with little Michelle in the back seat.

I wonder how my seven-month-old grandson felt to be crusin' around town with his baby boomer diva grandma? I just know it felt good to be cruisin’ with the top down and being in the company of my second favorite (little) man!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Divine Ms. Nikki G

Once again, the Divine Ms. Nikki Giovanni has proven that she knows how to woo a crowd! She's been doing it for nearly 40 years with her poetry and other writings but on Tuesday, she showed her true compassion in such a way that turned a completely sad moment in time into a time of jublilation.

Her Hokie Pride speech brought tears to my eyes because I know how much love she has for Virginia Tech. I also know how much she is personally hurting because of her genuine care and concern for each and every student there. Just a few months ago, I had the privilege of interviewing her about going back to teach. It was inspiring to hear this internationally renowned poet and author express her desire to create a new generation of talented writers---which I have no doubt she is doing.

I became a fan of Nikki G years ago when she burst onto the poetry scene. I became an even bigger fan when she reviewed and endorsed my book, "Whatever! A Baby Boomer's Journey Into Middle Age." Today, I hold her in the highest esteem for who she truly is on the inside.

Here is her speech:

“We are Virginia Tech. We are sad today and we will be sad for quite awhile. WE are not moving on, we are embracing our mourning. We are Virginia Tech. We are strong enough to know when to cry and sad enough to know we must laugh again. We are Virginia Tech. We do not understand this tragedy. We know we did not deserve it but neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS, but neither do the invisible children walking the night to avoid being captured by a rogue army. Neither does the baby elephant watching his community be devastated for ivory; neither does the Appalachian infant in the middle of the night in his crib in the home his father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was destabilized. No one deserves a tragedy. We are Virginia Tech. The Hokier Nation embraces our own with open heart and hands to those who offer their hearts and minds. We are strong and brave and innocent and unafraid. We are better than we think, not quite what we want to be. We are alive to the imagination and the possibility we will continue to invent the future through our blood and tears, through all this sadness. We are the Hokies. We will prevail, we will prevail. We are Virginia Tech. "

Sunday, April 15, 2007

I am the "NEW" Face of Menopause: Get used to it

I am the NEW face of menopause. In a few months I’ll be fifty years old. I’m also just a month or two shy of being in full-blown menopause. That’s provided my menstrual cycle doesn’t surprise me again like it did last year. For the past couple of years, I’ve been keeping company with the seven dwarfs of menopause. Maybe you know them: Sweaty, Bloated, Itchy, Bitchy, Forgetful, Sleepy and All Dried Up. I have also been visited by their cousins---and I believe there are more than two dozen of those little rascals out here running around creating havoc. Yes, the hot flashes get pretty intense at times and, lord knows, the mood swings can get out of control. I've gain some weight and there are intimate moments that can be a struggle (due to vaginal dryness) BUT---despite this, I am a woman who is welcoming my new journey.

I am not living in my mother's shadow. I am not afraid to say I'm depressed when I really am. I will seek treatment when I need it but I will always seek a SECOND OPINION when I don’t agree with the first one. If I'm having a hot flash AND a mood swing at the same time and I ask you to leave me alone--you need to do just that.

I am an African-American woman eager to engage in dialogue about the changes I’m going through. But all I tend to see are white women doing all of the talking. Menopause does not discriminate. It is an equal opportunity annoyer! It is time for all of my sisters to come out of the closet and join the journey. You will find, just as I have, that there is plenty of support out there. I’ve even written a book about it called: Whatever! A Baby Boomer’s Journey Into Middle Age.

I am a baby boomer diva who is steadily preparing for the next phase of my life. I'm still classy, sassy and taking care of business both professional and personal. Now you can choose to moan, groan and complain all you want to about what ails you. And then, why don't you just go hide under a rock until your menopause is over.

As for me, "I'm steppin' out. I want the world to to let it show!"

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

What a Week for News!

What a week for news and it’s only Wednesday! After weeks and weeks and weeks of Anna Nicole Smith news, the announcement of the baby daddy news took a back seat to the drama that unfolded over the “nappy headed ho’s” comment that Shock Jock Don Imus made in reference to the Rutgers Women’s Basketball Players. I wonder if their coach had been white if he would’ve made those same remarks. Tennessee Women’s Basketball coach traditionally has a majority of black females on her teams and this year was no exception. Why weren’t they singled out as “nappy headed ho’s” as well? What else is surprising for me is why I haven’t heard from any other Women’s Basketball coaches on the subject. Have they all been told to keep their distance on the subject? Why not rally around one of your own?

And then today came the announcement that ALL charges would be DROPPED against the three Duke University Lacrosse players who were accused last year of allegedly raping and kidnapping a stripper they hired for the party. I was working in television news when that story broke. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I didn’t quite believe it the way it had been presented. Why did the victim drive to a Kroger parking lot without notifying police immediately? Why did the victim lie about being enrolled as a college student at North Carolina central University? Why was the young lady who was with her so eager to get an agent?

Now I do believe those Duke players made some derogatory statements about her and about black people in general---but the extent of the assault didn’t register on my Richter scale.

I had the opportunity to speak to one of the attorneys involved in the case and I invite you to listen to his interview. He’s my Baby Boomer on the Move for this week! Check out my podcast on thetop right side.

Can I Afford to Live after Retirement?

An interesting study released today by Scottsrade has me thinking very seriously about my future as a member of the "retirement community." The study makes me question whether or not I can afford to retire or will I have to keep working well into my 70s--maybe even 80s--just to be able to survive from paycheck to paycheck.

According to the study: Forty-two percent of American Baby Boomers (1), those between the ages of 45 and 64, say they will not have enough money to do the things they want to do when they retire and nearly one-third (31 percent) say they will have to cut back on their current lifestyle in retirement, according to the 2007 American Retirement Study by Scottrade, the leading branch-supported online investment firm. With over 78.2 million Baby Boomers, this aging population may soon find itself in dire straits.

According to Scottrade’s 2007 American Retirement Study: * 65 percent believe they have not saved enough for retirement * 29 percent have saved less than $25,000 for retirement * 23 percent of Boomers say they will never be able to retire and not need to earn an income * 41 percent will have to keep working during retirement “There’s a disparity here in that while most Boomers feel very unprepared financially for retirement, this demographic remains keenly aware of the problem but is not addressing it properly,” said Chris X. Moloney, Scottrade’s chief marketing officer. “This may be a case of doing too little, too late. Three in ten have saved under $25,000, which is concerning.”

According to the study, the biggest financial concern among Boomers (62 percent) was having enough money for retirement. Boomers also expressed other general financial concerns, including: * Having enough money to cover healthcare related costs (50 percent) * Paying for unexpected, major expenses (50 percent) * Protecting family in case of premature death/disability (43 percent) * Getting a good return on investment (44 percent) * Protecting wealth (38 percent) * Having too much debt (36 percent) * Caring for elderly parents/relatives (35 percent) With 51 percent of Boomers relying on 401(k) plans to provide the necessary resources in retirement, 37 percent also have IRAs, SEPs or similar retirement plans, according to Scottrade.

Aren't we supposed to be the generation who's making enough money to be able to save for a rainy day? Or are we the ones who have the attitude, "Since I can't take it with me I might as well spend it!"

If this study is accurate, I'd say there's going to be a whole lot of baby boomers living on welfare in the not too distant future.

What a mess, huh?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Thank God Imus isn't a Baby Boomer!

As someone who grew up in Ohio, I remember listening to "Imus in the Morning" on a radio station in Cleveland. I recall that he was funny and he played good music. The Don Imus we are hearing about today is definitely not the shock jock I remember from "back in the day."

His age has started to show in his behavior. He is cantankerous, obnoxious and no longer funny. Isn't this what we say about old people? The 68 year old Talk Show Host should've known better. But maybe he figured if Rush Limbaugh can get away with some of the comments he makes, then why can't he. Imus' reference to the Rutgers girls basketball team as "nappy-headed ho's" isn't all that shocking to me because it's something I'd expect to hear from a white man who was born and raised during part of the Jim Crow era--before the Civil Rights Laws of 1964 were passed. It's a statement that doesn't surprise me coming from a white man who is a part of the good ol' boy network. His comments are a part of the way white men think of black women---dating back to slavery days.

What Imus said aloud is what is in the hearts of many "white shirts" in America who make decisions daily in Corporate America. I was one of those black women who was talked down to by white bosses who wanted to "keep me in my place." As I documented in my book, "Whatever! A Baby Boomer's Journey Into Middle Age," I had one manager tell me he thought I wanted him to show me favoritism because of my race. This was in response to a question I raised about not being included in the discussion of assignments for reporters because as an Assignment Editor it was my business to know who was doing what. My response to him in the heated exchange was, "No I want you to show me favoritism because I'm GOOD at my job!"

What Imus said is another wake up call about race relations in America---but sadly, many people never hear the alarm going off.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Menopause & Black Women

Last week I read a study online that said doctors are having a problem communicating with black women about menopause. l must admit the article surprised me because I, personally, have a wonderful relationship with my gynecologist. As a matter of fact I think she gives me more information than I want to know. She also provides lots of options for treatment of my menopausal symptoms. Is it because my gynecologist is a female? Or is it because she's black like me?

The doctors who conducted the study said women in their focus groups expressed a lack of confidence in their treating physicians. The doctors were quoted as saying "The women in our study put great stock in how their mothers or other older women in their communities had managed menopause symptoms." WHAT? I want to know who these women are because most of the women I've interacted with about this issue say it was NEVER DISCUSSED with their mothers. In my own mother's case, I thought she was experiencing some type of mental breakdown because of her erratic behavior. She never once identified her symptoms as "menopause" and I certainly don't remember her seeking any type of medical treatment.

It seems as though just like everything else in life, race plays a factor. But menopause is not a black, white, asian or latino issue. Menopause crosses all racial lines. It is a true Equal Opportunity Annoyer! Physicians need to recognize this fact and treat accordingly.

To read the entire article, please visit my website.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Baby Boomers are Getting the Shaft

Corporate America is responsible for pitting the younger workers against the older, more experienced employees. We are being shoved aside for younger, but not necessarily brighter, employees. It’s a disturbing trend that is bound to make matters worse as businesses look for cheaper way to run their operations.

Corporate America must take some of the responsibility for pitting the young against the old. Many companies don't want to pay for experience. They would rather hire someone with the ability to do the job for less money than pay top dollar to a more experienced older employee. Some businesses aren't as interested in quality as they are in the bottom line: PROFIT.

Young people, eager to get a foot in the door, often times will accept less money and learn just enough to move on. What some businesses fail to realize is knowledge and years of experience go a long way in keeping them from making the same mistakes over and over again.

According to a researcher from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, potential employers are more likely to discriminate against older workers. Johanna Lahey sent out 4,000 resumes, of people between the ages of 35 and 62, to firms in Boston, MA and St. Petersburg, FL. Her findings indicated younger workers were 40 percent more likely to be called back for an interview than an older worker, defined as 50 years and older. Furthermore, she cited the top ten reasons why employers said OTHER employers might be reluctant to hire older workers:

1) Shorter career potential
2) Lack of energy
3) Cost of health and life insurance and pensions
4) Less flexible/adaptable
5) Higher salary expectations
6) Health risks/absences
7) Knowledge and skills obsolescence
8) Block career path of younger workers
9) Suspicion about competence
10) Fear of discrimination lawsuit

The truth of the matter is baby boomers are living longer and need to make ends meet just like their younger counterparts. Corporate America must be willing to recognize the pool of talented applicants no matter how old they are.

Beverly Mahone is an author who writes about issues affecting baby boomers in her book, "Whatever! A Baby Boomer's Journey Into Middle Age."