The 25-Year-Old Real Estate Agent Who Makes $30K A Month In Supplemental Income

Ariel talks having a blessed financial support system, advocating for financial literacy and the importance of paying yourself first.

Money Talks

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 get it.

When I was first introduced to Ariel Adams, it was in a small cafe in Brooklyn, New York when she was interviewing me for an intern position at The Lotus Agency, the entertainment management company she incorporated shortly after graduating from the University of Miami in 2016. Though she was no more than a year and a half my senior, I knew that Ariel was more than just her blonde hair and vivacious energy. Even working as her social media intern for her artists in the brief time that I did, I always knew that Ariel had an ambition and spirit that would catapult her into success.

Adams successfully navigated through the music industry as an artist manager for three artists and generated millions of streams on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube for her clients. Now as a Deputy Director at an engineering and technology company by day and entrepreneur after hours, the Maryland-bred bag securer is the dynamic 25-year-old social media guru who uses her online presence to encourage financial literacy. Known as 'The Money Realtor', this Virginia-based licensed real estate agent created "From Instagram to Instant Money", an e-book that outlines how to optimize Instagram and monetize your social media following to leverage any product or service.

Courtesy of Ariel Adams

In her e-book, Ariel treats readers to an in-depth explanation and breakdown of her tested strategies to build and monetize one's social media brand. In no more than 30 days, the 37-paged guidebook generated $40,000 in revenue through social media sales alone. Her business-related Instagram account, which focuses on real estate, investing, and personal finance tips, was the catalyst of success of "From Instagram to Instant Money".

In this installment of "Money Talks", xoNecole spoke with Ariel about having a blessed financial support system, advocating for financial literacy and the importance of paying yourself first.

On how much she makes in a year and how much she saves:

"I make six figures at my 9-5 and supplemental income with my digital products business. I average $30,000 a month from my digital product sales alone. I save 25% of my income each month. I invest 15% of that into the stock market and 10% between a high-yield savings account and 401(k)."

Courtesy of Ariel Adams

"I average $30,000 a month from my digital product sales alone. I save 25% of my income each month. I invest 15% of that into the stock market and 10% between a high-yield savings account and 401(k)."

On her definitions of wealth and success:

"I define wealth as financial freedom. To me, when you are no longer stressed over money and are living comfortably, you are wealthy. You more than likely have multiple sources of income, you don't rely on one paycheck, and own cash flowing assets. Your money makes money.

"I define success as being proud of oneself. Are you happy with your career? Are you proud of your inner circle? Do you have a well-rounded life full of joy? Do you have time for yourself and do you get to do what you want? If you answered yes, you're successful. It's not about notoriety, it's about self-validation."

On the lowest she’s ever felt when it came to her finances and how she overcame it:

"There was a point I was completely dependent on my parents after my first business didn't make enough cash for me to have a living. I studied entrepreneurship in college, so the first thing I did upon graduation was incorporate a business. I was entrenched in the music industry where I managed three independent artists. It had its moments of success, but the pay was inconsistent. There was a point it couldn't run itself and therefore I had to reevaluate myself financially. I didn't feel low per se, but I felt like I failed. I decided to apply for a career that offered consistent pay. My current job is flexible, so I am still able to work on my own businesses while being employed. Now I have multiple sources of income; it was a great decision."

On her biggest splurge to date:

"I bought a BMW X6 for my birthday! I hit $45,000 in digital product sales and used some of that money for the down payment. I bought it because my other car was seven years old, it was time for something new and current. I also felt like I deserved it!"

On whether she’s a spender or a saver:

"I am both. I make sure to follow the 50/30/20 rule. This rule says to allocate 50% of your income to needs (bills, food, rent, etc.), 30% to wants (dining out, clothes, entertainment, etc.), and 20% to savings. I tweaked it a bit as I allocate 25% of my income into savings and more than half of that gets invested. So, as I make sure to stack my stock market portfolio and 401(k), I also make sure to have fun and spend my money because I budget for it!"

Courtesy of Ariel Adams

"I make sure to follow the 50/30/20 rule. This rule says to allocate 50% of your income to needs (bills, food, rent, etc.), 30% to wants (dining out, clothes, entertainment, etc.), and 20% to savings. I tweaked it a bit as I allocate 25% of my income into savings and more than half of that gets invested."

On her savings goals and what retirement looks like to her:

"I'm currently saving up for my first home. I'm aiming to have a 10% down payment. I am also contributing to my retirement. I'd like to have an early retirement. Retirement to me looks like having the ability to travel whenever and wherever I please in luxury!"

On the importance of investing:

"Investing is extremely important to me. I advocate for financial literacy and investing is something I always preach. According to Forbes, only 36% of African-Americans participated in the stock market, and this includes retirement accounts. I think it's so important that we educate our community and learn how to multiply our money! I currently invest through Robinhood in blue-chip companies (Microsoft, Apple, Nike, etc.)."

On her budgeting must-haves:

"As mentioned, I follow the 50/30/20 rule. It's been a lifesaver. I budget my income accordingly and make sure I pay myself first. Paying myself first just means putting money into my savings and investing the instant I get a paycheck."

On her intentions behind multiple streams of revenue:

"I'm involved with multiple businesses, so I have multiple streams of income. I have my 9-5 salary, digital product sales, real estate commission, freelance income (graphic design, content creation, and consulting), affiliate marketing money (where I get a percentage of other people's products I sell), stock market dividends, and royalties (from musicians I still help out). I read somewhere that the average millionaire has 7 streams of income. At the beginning of 2020, I wrote down my goal of having more streams. I started off with just my job and royalties. I became a real estate agent to earn extra cash, invested more into the stock market, and launched my digital products."

On unhealthy money habits and mindsets:

"One unhealthy habit I had was not tracking where my money was. I didn't budget, I barely checked my bank account, I didn't have automatic deposits into my savings – I had to establish all of those things. Once I came up with a system and studied different financial rules of thumb, I calculated what I needed to do in order to multiply my money. I set up automatic transfers into my high yield savings account and Robinhood investment account. Making it automatic made it easy. My money grew tremendously. I've never been as financially responsible as I am now."

Courtesy of Ariel Adams

"I didn't budget, I barely checked my bank account, I didn't have automatic deposits into my savings – I had to establish all of those things. Once I came up with a system and studied different financial rules of thumb, I calculated what I needed to do in order to multiply my money. I set up automatic transfers into my high yield savings account and Robinhood investment account. Making it automatic made it easy."

On her money mantra:

"Pay yourself first. If you change your mindset from 'I can't afford this' to 'How can I afford this?', it'll motivate you to find the possibilities of earning and obtaining what you want. There is an abundance of money in this world and you can get your piece."

On the worst money-related decision she’s ever made:

"When I was a music manager, I paid for an artists' opening slot for a tour. It was $10,000, everything I had. The headlining artist canceled the 23-city tour two days before the start. I never got my money back and I've been in the litigation process for the past two years since the incident. I learned to 1) only invest my own money into myself, 2) don't bank your entire net worth on one thing (that's just gambling), and 3) establish contracts that a lawyer should draft."

On her budget breakdown:

Courtesy of Ariel Adams

How much do you spend on rent? "$3,150."

Eating out/ordering in? "$70/week."

Gas/car note? "$1150 for my car note. I haven't filled up the tank yet since it's a new car! 23 MPG and it takes premium, so I'd estimate $50-$60. I work from home a lot so my gas doesn't need to be filled up so often."

Personal expenses? "Monthly massages, $80 per month. Nails, $70 every two to three weeks. $10 eyebrow threading every two weeks, and $50-$150 every so often for clothes shopping."

For more of Ariel, follow her on Instagram/@themoneyrealtor.

Featured image by Instagram/@themoneyrealtor.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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