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Sunday
Oct092011

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Wednesday
Oct052011

Financial literacy, the Maori, and … rugby 

Annamaria Lusardi I am just back from Australia and New Zealand and will write first about my trip to New Zealand. I was invited to attend a meeting at the University of Otago with representatives of the Maori population, who have become interested in financial literacy. If you do not know the Maori, they are the indigenous people of New Zealand and represent about 15% of the population today. Their name is derived from “Ma-Uri,” which means “children of Heaven.” Maori comprise many “iwi” (tribes), “hapu” (subtribes), and “whānau” (extended family units). Having originated in Polynesia, they brought with them the rich culture of the region, where song, dance, art, and oratorical skills were significant, especially as there was no written language at that time. On my visit to New Zealand a couple of years ago, I went to Rotorua, a town settled by the Maori on the North Island. This time, I was in Dunedin, on the South Island of New Zealand, home of the Ngāi Tahu.

In one of the papers that is part of an international comparison of financial literacy across countries, which I have edited for a special volume of the Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, a research group in New Zealand headed by Pension Commissioner Diana Crossan documented differences in financial literacy among the new Zealanders of European descent and the Maori population; the Maori tend to know less. However, this is not the case for the Ngāi Tahu, and one explanation offered for this finding is the fact that Ngāi Tahu have promoted a series of programs aimed to increase financial literacy and saving. A description of Whai Rawa, their matched saving initiative, is provided on the web page noted at the end of this post. The meeting at the University of Otago was about trying to measure the effectiveness of the new initiatives and changes in the well-being of this population over time.

It felt special to sit among this group. The meeting opened with the traditional Maori greetings, and much of the discussion and questions were led by one of the Ngāi Tahu representatives. He was just as one would expect a chief to be: charismatic, wise, and pragmatic. His questions to me were remarkably similar to the ones I often hear when I travel around the world: What is the business case for financial education? What works? and How do we know that it works? But there were major differences, too. The Ngāi Tahu’s planning horizon is very long. Their vision is “For us and our children after us” (Mō tātou,ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei). They feel strongly about their community and about sustainability of resources over time. I came away with not only a deeply felt respect for such foresight but also admiration for this capacity to lead and look ahead.

You may know about the Maori from the “haka,” or war dance, that the New Zealand rugby team performs before each game (if you have not seen it, you have got to watch the video posted below). And this brings me to my next topic: rugby! New Zealand is currently hosting the Rugby World Cup. Their national team is the All Blacks, and I spent a good part of my time in New Zealand watching rugby. This is a hell of a game, and the All Blacks are amazing players. I was glued to the TV for hours! On Sunday, I went to the stadium in Dunedin to watch Italy against Ireland. We (Italy) did not win, but we put up a good fight against the Irish; it was a good game. On the first leg of my trip back to the U.S. on Air New Zealand from Dunedin to Auckland, the flight safety video was done by the captain and the coach of the All Blacks and everything on the plane was about the All Blacks, including pictures of the players on the coffee cups. Believe me, they are irresistible! One advertisement said: “we are crazy about rugby.” Well, for a week I was too.

Wednesday
Oct052011

Celebrating Integration

Living Our Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion

South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race - speech by Robert A. Marchman

 

Robert Marchman Executive Vice President, Legal Section FINRAWANT TO SAY THANK YOU (TOO OFTEN WE FAIL TO DO SO) AND NOTE WHY TONIGHT IS IMPORTANT.

THANK YOU MARC MORIAL FOR TAKING TIME FROM YOUR BUSY SCHEDULE TO BE HERE AND CONTRIBUTIONS YOU MAKE TO OUR NATION.

MARC IS ONE OF THE PREEMINENT CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS IN OUR NATION - OUR FRIENDSHIP GOES BACK OVER 25 YEARS AND I PRIVILEGED TO KNOW HIM BEHIND THE SCENES AND KNOW THE NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE AND OUR NATION IS FORTUNATE TO HAVE YOU DO THE THINGSYOU DO.

THANK ALL OF YOU IN ATTENDANCE, FORTAKING TIME FROM YOUR BUSY SCHEDULES TO SUPPORT THE COMMUNITY COALITION ON RACEAND CELEBRATE THE ORGANIZATION’S 15 YEAR MISSION OF ADVOCATING FOR EQUALITY. TONIGHT IS TRULY ABOUT THE CCR.

THANK THE COALITION TRUSTEES FOR BESTOWING THIS HONOR UPON ME TONIGHT. I AM HUMBLED.

THANK THE MANY UNKNOWN INDIVIDUALS OFALL BACKGROUNDS WHO'S SACRIFICES PROVIDED ME WITH THE OPPORTUNITY TO ACHIEVE SUCCESS.

A LITTLE OVER 60 YEARS AGO IN OUR NATION BUT FOR THOSE SACRIFICES MY SUCCESSES WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE. -IT MAKES ME UNDERSTAND THAT TO WHOM MUCHIS GIVEN MUCH SHOULD BE EXPECTED.

I KNOW I AM BLESSED AND MUST GIVE BACK.

THANK MY FAMILY (EXTENDED AND MY OWN) FOR BEING HERE. MY SONS (I AM A VERY PROUD DAD) AND MY WIFE, MY HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEART AND WIFE OF 28 YEARS, WHO SUPPORTS ME AND ENABLES ME TO DO THE THINGS I DO.

WHEN CHIP AND ANTHONY INFORMED ME OF THE NEWS, THAT I WAS TO BE THIS YEAR’S COALITION HONOREE I WAS HONORED TO BE CONSIDERED, BUT ASKED TO MEET WITH THEM TO DISCUSS THE WORK OF THE COALITION.

BEFORE I ACCEPTED, I WANTED TO KNOW WHETHER THE COALITION WAS STILL COMMITTED TO BEING AN AGENT FOR CHANGE IN OUR SOCIETY AND WAS PLEASED TOLERANT IT WAS A CORE MISSION.

WHY WAS THIS IMPORTANT TO ME? WHY SHOULD IT BE IMPORTANT TO YOU?

I BELIEVE OUR NATION IS AT A CRITICAL CROSSROADS AND DEPENDING ON WHAT PATH WE TAKE, WILL DETERMINE WHETHER WE AS ANATION MEET OUR FULL POTENTIAL FOR GREATNESS OR LANGUISH IN DESPAIR.

THE TWO PATHS I SEE ARE ONE DRIVEN BY FEAR AND THE OTHER HOPE.

THE PATH OF FEAR ON WHICH TOO MANY ON TRAVELING TODAY - AND I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT ECONOMIC WELL- BEING ALTHOUGH ITIS RELATED - IS A FEAR OF THE OTHER - WHETHER IT BE RACE, GENDER, SEXUAL PREFERENCE, RELIGION OR ECONOMIC STATUS.

A FEAR BEING LEFT OUT, IF THE STATUS QUO DOES NOT REMAIN INTACT. IT IS A FEAR THAT CAUSES PEOPLE TO ACT IRRATIONALLY AND AGAINST THEIR OWN BEST INTERESTS AND NOT FOR THE GREATER GOOD.

SUCH ACTIONS LEAD TO DIVERSENESS AND AN INABILITY TO MEET THE TREMENDOUS CHALLENGES THAT WE FACE TODAY.

JUST IMAGINE IF INDIVIDUALS CHOOSE TO WORK TOGETHER AND TAP INTO THE STRENGTHS WE ALL BRING TO THE TABLE AND ACTING AS ARE SISTERS AND BROTHERS KEEPER.

FOR THOSE OF US WHO LIVE IN SOUTH ORANGE AND MAPLEWOOD WE DON’T HAVE TO IMAGINE THIS BECAUSE WE LIVE IT EVERYDAY.

WE HAVE CHOSEN THE OTHER PATH - THE PATH OF HOPE - A HOPE THAT BY WORKING FOR EACH OTHER AND NOT AGAINST EACH OTHER THAT WE CAN SOLVE THE PROBLEMS THAT CONFRONT US.

JUST 15 YEARS AGO SOME WERE SAYING THAT OUR TOWNS WERE IN AN AND I QUOTE ‘IRREVISIBLEDOWNWARD SPIRAL”. THE COLLECTIVE EFFORTS OF PEOPLE FROM ALL DIFFERENT RACES AND BACKGROUNDS HAVE PROVEN THE NAY SAYERS WRONG. THAT EFFORT HAS SHOWN THE VALUE-ADD FROM AN ECONOMIC, EDUCATIONAL AND SOCIAL PERSPECTIVE OF TRULY EMBRACING THE MANTRA OF EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION.

TOO MANY OUR FELLOW CITIZENS SEE SUCH EFFORTS AS YOU WIN - I LOSE PROPOSITION.

-WE HAVE PROVEN IT CAN BE A WIN-WIN. WE ARE FAR FROM PERFECT BUT SHOULD NOT TAKE FOR GRANTED WHAT WE HAVE.

WE HAVE SOMETHING SPECIAL HERE AND IN THE NATION.

THAT IS WHY I PASSIONATELY BELIEVE IN THE WORK OF THE COALITION AND BELIEVE THAT IT'S WORK IS MORE CRITICAL TODAY GIVEN THE COMPLEX PROBLEMS FACING OUR STATE - WHICH IS ONE OF THE MOST SEGREGATED IN THE U.S.- AND OUR NATION AND WHY THE MESSAGE OF THE COALITION MUST BE HEARD BEYOND THE BORDERS OF OUR TOWNS.

THE CCR MUST BE A BEACON FOR CHANGE.

WE MUST ALL PRESS ON IN THE STRUGGLE FOR TRUE EQUALITY SO THAT IN THE FUTURE THERE WILL NOT BE A NEED FOR A COMMUNITY COALITION ON RACE.

MY CHALLENGE TO US TONIGHT - IS TO NOT JUST COMPLAIN ABOUT PROBLEMS, BUT ACTIVELY DO SOMETHING ABOUT THEM. I CHALLENGE US TO: MAKE CHANGE HAPPEN TO IMPROVE RACE RELATIONS; TO MAKE CHANGE HAPPEN TO IMPROVE EQUALITY IN EDUCATION; TO MAKE CHANGE HAPPEN TO AFFORDABLE EQUAL HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES AND TO MAKE CHANGE HAPPEN FOR A BETTER TOMORROW FOR OUR CHILDREN.

FOR ME I HOPE THAT MY LEGACY WILL BE THAT IN SOME SMALL WAY I MADE I DIFFERENCE. I HOPE YOU WILL BE ABLE TO SAY THE SAME.

THANK YOU ALL AGAIN - I AM HONORED.

Marc Morial, CEO, National Urban League & Robert Marchman, EVP, FINRA

Monday
Oct032011

What is "Get Golf Ready"

MaryAnne Howland Owner and President of IBIS CommunicationsUAF “Get Golf Ready” – Atlanta, October 22, 2011  Get Golf Ready is a program under Play Golf America and provides a fun and family friendly way to introduce the game of golf.
 
 The event to be held in October is a series of golf clinics at John A. White Golf Course, 1053 Cascade Circle SW, Atlanta, GA 30311 Get Golf Ready Clinics include putting, chipping, golf swing, etc. and are open to the first 500 registrants at http://tinyurl.com/6cfwcz8 and is free of charge.
 
 The messages that will be amplified throughout the day are community, environmental awareness, and golf is fun and a great way to network and/or spend time with friends and family.
 
 Partners and sponsors will be included in promotions leading up to, during and after the event. Non-profit partners will also have the opportunity to fundraise during the event or bring in their own sponsors who may benefit from co-branding with them in communities in which they live, work and play.
 
 In addition to traditional media coverage, the event will feature a social media contest using Twitter and Facebook. The social media push will create buzz and awareness for hosts and participating partners and sponsors. Participants will be encouraged to tweet and send messages to their fans and followers throughout the day with fun images and anecdotes about their day. Best or most tweets of the  days will be awarded prizes.