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.