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AARP, NAACP hold financial freedom summit

AARPAARP, NAACP hold financial freedom summit

Participants at summit

Steven Williams, Wells Fargo Home Mrtg. Sales Mgr. (r) and Robert J. Gordon, Sr. financial advisor, Investor Solutions

By Derek Joy

The NAACP State Conference, NAACP Miami Dade Branch and AARP Florida jointly held its 2014 Florida Economic Summit in the NFL Youth Center at Gwen Cherry Park.

A very inquiring audience attended the summit to gather information on such topics as credit repair, budgeting/cost cutting, preparing for retirement, addressing debt and more.

“This is our second event this year, the first with AARP,” said Facilitator Torey Alston, NAACP state economic development chair.  “Our focus is on securing financial development and future.”

Florida is but one of five states in which AARP and the NAACP have a partnership to help educate senior citizens in financial matters.  Alabama, Georgia, Missouri and New York are the others.

“I can guarantee you’re going to walk away today knowing some things you didn’t know before,” said Victoria Funes, associate state director of AARP Florida.

On hand to fulfill Funes’ guarantee were three presenters:  Juan L. Cosio, investment professional, Investment Financial Services, Inc., Robert J. Gordon, senior financial adviser, Investor Solutions, and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Sales Man-ager Steven Williams.

Brad Brown, Miami Dade NAACP first vice president, filled in for State President Adora obi Nweeze, who was absent because of the death of her brother.

“While we’re more often recognized for civil injustices and police brutality matters, we are active in economic development.  We are working very hard to increase senior participation,” said Brown.

Cosio presented an informative and inspiring session on retirement options, including traditional IRA’s, ROTH IRA’s, 401(K), CD’s and social security.

“Did you know that people born between 1957 and 64 will hold 11 different jobs from age 18 to 44?” Cosio asked, taking figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Gordon presented the session on credit, credit repair and credit options. He told the audience that from 1992 to 2007 the average family whose head was over 55 more than doubled its debt.

“But I can tell you it’s higher for Blacks and Hispanics.  When you take on debt all you’re doing is spending for tomorrow to-day,” said Gordon.

Williams, according to Alston, participated in the event held at the Mizell Center in Fort Lauderdale earlier this year, brought a heightened level of interest when he made a presentation on home mortgages.

“I’m here to get some know-ledge, more information because I work with veterans,” said Jenette Puzey, a teacher with Miami Dade Public Schools and volunteers with several veterans’ organizations.  “We try to help homeless veterans find suitable housing through the HUD/VASH program.”

As the audience learned from Williams, Wells Fargo is very active in the South Florida housing market through various grant programs for first time home buyers, senior citizens and with home renovation grants.

“Don’t let the fear factor consume you when it comes to applying for a mortgage,” said Williams. “There are many options. You VA, FHA and conventional mortgages. Your union may give certain incentives to go through us (Wells Fargo) for your mortgage.”

Williams also informed the audience of a variety of the grant programs, including LIFT that will have new money come January.

“Wells Fargo is the number one renovation lender.  We pay the contractor and make the loan base on the future value of the home,” explained Williams, in discussing buying a house in need of renovations.

And when the questions and answers completed the sessions, the audience left with confirmation of what Funes guaranteed at the beginning.  They walked away knowing many things that they did not know when the summit began.


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