Magazine article Black Enterprise

From Green to Greenbacks

Magazine article Black Enterprise

From Green to Greenbacks

Article excerpt

Amateur learns the ropes to invest like the pros

It wasn't long ago that Debra Mangrum of South Holland, Illinois, found herself a widow at age 32 and the single mother of an 18-month-old daughter, Dominique. Before her husband's untimely death in a drowning accident in August 1993, Mangrum had no investments to speak off she assumed retirement was too far away to start planning in her 30s.

"I never gave it a second thought," admits Mangrum, now 39, and a registered nurse in the cardiac catheterization lab at Trinity Hospital in Chicago. But, when her husband passed away, she realized the importance of planning ahead for herself and her daughter's future.

Green to investing, Mangrum sought the advice of Gwendolyn Kirkland Brown, a senior vice president at American Investment Services in Matteson, Illinois. Mangrum had received $100,000 in insurance benefits. Brown encourages individuals who receive lump sums of cash to first create a budget and then decide how much they want to allocate to expenses vs. savings and investments.

She recommended that Magnum purchase a tax-deferred variable annuity from Hartford Advisors because of its balanced growth--the foundation of her retirement program. She opened the account with $5,000 and today--without any additional contributions--it has grown to $13,935.

Brown also suggested Mangrum start contributing to her 401(k) plan at work. Right now, she allocates 5% per paycheck to her 401(k) account, which is worth a little more than $5,300. …

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