Destiny's Child exploded onto the scene in 1997 with the release of their hit single "No, No, No." But by the time the ladies were singing, "Can you pay my bills?" they had many of them awaiting them in their mailboxes. Three Grammy awards, numerous coordinated outfits, and a Super Bowl performance later, Kelly Rowland reflects on her experiences as a young millionaire. She recently spoke with InStyle Magazine about what she did with her first big paycheck, how she navigated being rich at an early age, and how success has taught her better spending habits and the importance of being financially independent.
One of the hardest things to do when you're young is to actually listen to sound advice. The 36-year-old singer was once a young woman eager to bask in her newfound fame and money bags. Like many of us, when you finally have your own money, you want to spend it on all the things you were once told were too expensive instead of using that first check as an investment. Rowland reveals that this is exactly what she did. She says:
"I remember so many people telling me that I needed to save my money and invest — but I didn't listen. When I got one of my first paychecks, I went to the grocery store and bought almost everything that my mom used to tell me was too expensive. I bought all of that shit, had a party at my house, and everybody ate up everything. I'll never forget it, because it was fun and it was something I was able to fund myself."
But the fun didn't outweigh the fact that at just 20 years old, she didn't have the financial knowledge and restraint that she does now. Rowland may have had a lot in the bank, but she didn't always know exactly what to do with it. When she inevitably bought a 5,000-square foot mansion, she quickly realized that it was more than she really needed.
"I was a millionaire by the age of 20...It's insane when you think about a 20-year-old having all this money and not knowing what the eff do do with it. When it was time for the big purchase, I bought myself a house that was way too big. I was, like, 21 years old with five bedrooms and 5,000-square feet to myself. I was way too young to buy a home like that."
The Writings on the Wall dropped 19 years ago, and was the catalyst for making Rowland richer than her wildest dreams. Now that she's older, however, she practices the same advice she was given when she was younger and says, "I've also learned that you need to save, but also to invest." But in the beginning, she was admittedly an overspender.
The Voice: Australia judge admits that before she put a spending limit on her AmEx, she would rack up charges that would have any financial advisor shaking their head. She says:
"I lost my mind—when it came to extra hair, fashion, I had to have everything. I remember just going completely nuts on trips to Paris and Italy, blowing like 30 grand in 30 minutes at Bergdorf Goodman. It was ridiculous. Eventually, I started to realize that my AmEx bill was really, really high and I needed to chill out."
Over the years, she has become much more frugal and conscious of how she is spending her coins. But financial freedom includes more than just more money and more problem. As women, our financial independence is increasingly crucial and necessary. Learning the ins and outs of money management, credit, and investment isn't always a simple process, but the resources are available if you want to ensure your independence remains intact. "Ladies, it ain't easy being independent," but it sure is empowering. Rowland says:
"As a woman, I think it's the most empowering thing when you're actually able to take care of yourself."
There's no better feeling than being able to provide for yourself and those around you without the help of a man. We are creating more businesses than any other demographic, are more educated, AND remain humble enough to share our success with a man, if we so choose. The songstress reminds us of all just how far we've come and, for that, we should be proud. She tells InStyle:
"In the past, women were made to feel like they could only make things work if they had a man. Now, we're CEOs and start our own companies. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs right now are women. You can put your hand over your chest with pride because we've come such a long way. To be able to take care of yourself and be proud of that is a reward for all the hard work you put in."
Since black women are still only earning $.79 per dollar compared to some of our counterparts, pay equality is still an uphill battle. The more we speak up about this inequality and demand our worth, the more likely the next generation of women will benefit.
This all starts with actually knowing what you're worth. Rowland says that you need to come to the negotiation table armed with facts, figures, and confidence in your market value. She says don't be shy about asking for more:
"Know your worth. When it comes down to it, if you have a number and you've done your research on whatever field that you're in, and you feel like you're worth this much, you very much so need to make your worth and your presence known—and then stick by it. Don't be shy about it, and stand firm and believe it. Stay true to who you are and your gift, and make sure it's something you're passionate about because that's when you're going to be absolutely amazing at it."
Many fall victim to the pitfalls of an extravagant lifestyle once them make a lot of money, especially if that windfall comes at a young age. We've seen it everywhere from lottery winners, to artists, entertainers and athletes alike: a financial education is the key to financial longevity.
That's why Kelly Rowland is a good example of someone who started early by emboldening herself with the proper tools to have more discernment with her spending and make sound investments while continuing to work and increase the bag. Good decisions can now lead to long-term financial comfort. Choose wisely.
Read her interview in full here.
Featured image via Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com
Michelle Schmitz is a writer and editor based in Washington, DC originally from Ft Lauderdale, FL. A self-described ambivert, you can find her figuring out ways to read more than her monthly limit of The New York Times, attending concerts, and being a badass, multi-tasking supermom. She also runs her own blog MichelleSasha.com. Keep up with her latest moves on IG: @michellesashawrites and Twitter: @michellesashas
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Victoria Monét has had an incredible year. Thanks to the success of the widely popular “On My Mama” that went viral, the singer/ songwriter’s Jaguar II album debuted in the top 10 of Billboard’s Top R&B Albums chart. She also went on to headline her own sold-out tour. So, when the MTV VMAs happened in September, everyone was surprised to learn that Victoria’s team was told that it was “too early” for the “Smoke” artist to perform at the award show. However, a couple of months later, the mom of one received seven Grammy nominations, including “Best R&B Album” and “Record Of The Year.”
Victoria is currently in London and stopped by The Dotty Show on Apple Music and shared how she feels “validated” after being dismissed by the VMAs.
“It really does feel nice and validating because, in my head, the reason why I wanted to be a performer at the VMAs or award ceremonies like that is because I felt like I am at the place where I should. I would work really hard to put on the best show that I could, and I was excited to do so,” she said.
“And I guess the best way to describe it for me is like when you're like on a sports team, and the coach is like, ‘No, you gotta sit this one out.’ When they finally put you in, and then you score all these points, and it feels like that feeling. You're like, yes, I knew it wasn't tripping, but I knew I worked hard for this, and so it's been super validating to just have these accolades come after a moment like that, and I know the fans feel vindicated for me.
While her fans called the VMAs out on their decision, the “Moment” singer kept it cute and is still open to performing at the iconic award show. “I feel no ill towards them because it's just maybe that's just truly how they felt at the time, but I hope their mind has changed,” she admitted.
Feature image by Amy Sussman/WireImage for Parkwood