Money Talks is an xoNecole series where we talk candidly to real women about how they spend money, their relationship with money, and how they spend it.
As the co-owner and Marketing-Logistics Director of Atlanta's own Transformations Beauty Studio with her twin sister Derricka, Erricka Traylor is sure to know a thing or two about money management and financial wellness. After losing nearly everything after an engagement gone wrong, the Atlanta native had to learn the hard way through experience that having everything tied to someone you aren't bonded to by marriage is not always the ideal route to take.
Following financial hardship and the ultimate heartbreak, Transformations Beauty Studio was born and thus a monthly six-figure income followed. "I save 35 percent of my income each month. In order to save this, I set a weekly budget for spending. Use my calendar to view any travel and about my spending as needed so that I hit my goal," Traylor shared with xoNecole. Though she saves with a high-yield savings account, she told xoNecole that she opts to use CapitalOne. "They are known for taking care of their existing customers. Most banks give you a great rate coming in but it drops after six months."
Courtesy of UMGMT Strategic Communications & Public Relations
In this installment of "Money Talks", xoNecole spoke with Traylor about purchasing a brand new car on a random Tuesday without consulting anyone, the simplicity of her savings goals and the importance of her multiple income streams.
On her definitions of wealth and success:
"Wealth, to me, is defined as having balance in my life. What I mean by that is having excellent health, freedom when it comes to spending, using my time wisely, and most importantly, leaving a legacy for my family. I define success as facing your biggest challenge or fear and overcoming it. Success is going after your goals and never giving up, no matter how hard things get. Success is also about making a better choice in life and leading by example."
On the lowest she’s ever felt when it came to her finances and how she overcame it:
"The lowest I ever felt about my finances was after a breakup. I was in a long-term relationship, and we had tied a lot of finances up together. After the breakup, I lost out on a lot of my savings and assets. I felt low because I didn't make sure that I would be financially OK if we decided to split. It made me feel low and upset with myself because I knew better. Unfortunately, at that time, I didn't do the right thing to secure myself. I overcame it by going back to the basics. Watching my spending, saving money and investing money in a business that will help me increase my revenue. The most critical component was I changed my mindset. I no longer felt upset and low. I felt empowered to do it right this time around for myself."
On her biggest splurge to date:
"My biggest splurge was purchasing a new car. It was the first car I purchased without anyone's money or input. I purchased my car on a random Tuesday. I was over my current car and just ready for a change. My previous car was goldfish tan and it wasn't a car that I really wanted. I was so determined to get me a new car that day. I literally pulled up to the dealership with no appointment two hours before they closed. I already knew which car I wanted and color. When I spent the $32,000 on my car, I was nervous but I also felt good at the same time. It was my mark of financial growth and independence. I was able to see that I can and will accomplish goals if I stay focused on the goal and plan. I was so happy."
Courtesy of Milan Mobley
"When I spent the $32,000 on my car, I was nervous but I also felt good at the same time. It was my mark of financial growth and independence. I was able to see that I can and will accomplish goals if I stay focused on the goal and plan. I was so happy."
On whether she’s a spender or a saver:
"I consider myself a saver nowadays. When I was younger, I was a spender! I trained my mind to start to think of my future, [to] think of my family and what I can provide them with. I gave myself small goals and advanced over time. Now it's just routine."
On the importance of investing:
"To me, investment is essential. I invest conservatively in stock. I have restricted stock, preferred stock, brokerage CD. I also invest in the business to help grow my income and savings. My business investments are hiring the right people. For each new person added, we spend money on training, payroll, marketing etc. Investing in my company marketing and advertising is also a strategic investment that I use to gain more revenue."
On her savings goals and what retirement looks like to her:
"My saving goal is simple. Save enough money to have financial freedom before and after retirement. Retirement for me is on track and closely watched."
On her budgeting must-haves:
"My must-haves are housing, utilities, entertainment, groceries, transportation, self-pampering. I use Mint to help guide me with my personal finances. The system is easy and it keeps me on track with my goals and budget. I also write things down the old fashioned way. The first thing I do is take my savings percentage and put it towards my savings. Then I write out my essential bills for the month and subtract it from my monthly income. I then write out my other finances like entertainment, etc and go from there. I also add to an emergency account for small emergencies. I do this every month to keep things right and tight."
On unhealthy money habits and mindsets:
"Some unhealthy mindsets that I had to let go of were shopping all the time for clothing [and] not sticking to my savings goal. Also cutting down on eating out so much. My mindset changed and then my bank account grew and my will power got healthy."
On the worst money-related decision she’s ever made:
"The worst money-related decision I made was tying all my money and assets with someone just because I was in a relationship with them. This was a very bad decision that I made at the time. I didn't do the right thing with my money. It's like I just gave it away in a sense. I made costly business decisions and didn't think about the consequences that I may face. I learned a valuable lesson to read over every contract, review the pros and cons, and think about the what ifs. If I had done this, it would have saved my 10s of thousands of dollars."
On her intentions behind multiple streams of revenue:
"My streams of revenue are product revenue, salon revenue, [and] spa revenue. I started each one at different times during my career. One reason why was because I had to build up my income. Each one of my new business revenue helps start the next one. It was important to me to start another stream because, number one, I wanted to grow my business as much as possible and, number two, I wanted to grow my income. Having these different streams of income taught me to be more flexible, organized and it gives me a sense of security In finances."
Courtesy of Milan Mobley
"My streams of revenue are product revenue, salon revenue, and spa revenue. Having these different streams of income taught me to be more flexible, organized and it gives me a sense of security In finances."
On her money mantra:
"I am worthy of all the richness I desire."
On her budget breakdown:
Eating out/ordering in?
"No car note, but gas is probably $150 a month."
"Maybe $200 per month."
For more information on Erica, follow her on Instagram and The Body Transformer's Studio official Instagram account.
Featured photos courtesy of UMGMT Strategic Communications & Public Relations
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Jada Pinkett Smith is speaking her piece on the status of her marriage with longtime love Will Smith. On the heels of releasing her highly anticipated memoir, Worthy, Jada is gracing the cover of PEOPLE and sharing the truth about her mental health struggles throughout the years, the infamous Oscars slap, and her marriage.
According to the 52-year-old author, though she seemed to "have it all" in life - the riches, the fame, the love, the family, there was a part of her that couldn't escape her past traumas and depression that plagued her early on in her career. "While I was really living the dream, I hit a huge wall — a massive amount of depression. I think that I looked at having outside sources to supplement for the voids that I was feeling inside," she told PEOPLE.
By the time she turned 40, she had encountered her breaking point and spiraled so deeply that she saw no way out for herself aside from death. She went on to say that she heard voices in her head telling her to end her life and that told her of her unworthiness, pulling her deeper into her depression. "I started looking for places, cliffs where I could have an accident because I didn't want my kids to think that their mother had committed suicide.”
Jada credited friends of her son Jaden for putting her on to ayahuasca, a powerful and traditional plant-based brew used for shamanic and healing rituals known for its psychoactive properties. She said partaking in ayahuasca changed her profoundly and "the suicidal thoughts completely went away."
"Ayahuasca helped me, it gave me a new intimate relationship with myself that I had never had before," she told the outlet about her first time taking the psychedelic. Keep reading for more key takeaways from Jada's PEOPLE exclusive.
Jada Pinkett Smith on the status of her marriage to Will Smith:
In what might have been a shocking revelation to most, Jada revealed to the world that she and Will have actually been separated for the past six years, going on seven years. She explained the status of their 26-year marriage to PEOPLE:
“We’re still figuring it out. We’ve been doing some really heavy-duty work together. We just got deep love for each other and we are going to figure out what that looks like for us.”
Jada on how her relationship with Will Smith caused her to abandon her mental health:
As her star in Hollywood was rising thanks to starring roles in projects like A Different World, Jason's Lyric, and Set It Off, Jada revealed that she was taking Prozac and being treated for depression and suicidal ideation. Meeting Will would cause her to develop a false sense of not needing to take care of her mental health.
"Once I met Will, I completely abandoned my mental health. I was so intoxicated by him and our dynamic. I really felt like I'm cured," she said to PEOPLE. "He became the drug."
Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images
Jada Pinkett Smith on the self-acceptance her kids have taught her:
“They love every part of me. The level of love, unconditional love that they have for me and their dad. And it's one thing to want to be the person that gives that unconditional love. And then there's, to be the recipient of that.”
For the full cover story and photos, head over to PEOPLE here.
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Featured image by Amy Sussman/WireImage