All posts by Roshell


Think & Grow RichIn the first post of this two-part series, I wrote about the influence of Suze Orman’s The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke in helping me build an emergency fund. After reading this book as well as Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, I took aggressive actions to increase my savings so that I could meet my eight month emergency fund goals.

As I wrote this post, I reached out to a few of my financially savvy peers who all have at least  a twelve month emergency fund so that readers can have a diverse view point on creating the right foundation for your financial life. 

  1. Get an Advisor/Mentor

A common theme emerged from the multiple interviews I conducted. Seek outside counsel. A few of my peers reached out to financial advisors to help with their financial plans, while others sought advice on how to reach their financial goals from mentors. One of my interviewees specifically said, “I try to listen more than I try to advise.” Why commit the same financial suicide as those that came before you? For example, one of the main investment tools that my mentor encouraged me to do was to own Real Estate. Not just to own a piece of property, but allow it to become passive income. So, with the guidance of my mentor I was able to purchase at a low cost, a REO (Real Estate Owned) property. Out of this passive income I was able to save up to 40% of my earnings.”

  1. Monitor your Large Expenses

One of the biggest expenses items in your budget is typically housing. I remember getting a lot of slack from my peers when I decided to rent out my home and rent a house in downtown Cincinnati with two friends. During this time I was able to reduce my housing expenses by half while leveraging the tax advantages of being a landlord. I’ve also heard of people renting out rooms in their home or their entire house with companies such as

The second largest expense is typically transportation. I haven’t had a car payment in almost ten years. Upon graduation from college, I bought a 10-year old car for $3,500. That car “lived” for five great no-car payment years and when it was time purchase my next car I had enough liquid cash to buy the car with cash. Avoid car payments and reinvest the cash in paying down debts i.e. mortgage, unsecured loans i.e. credit card, and increasing your savings. 



Throughout the year there will be different opportunities where additional income, unexpected or expected, may present itself. For instance, income tax refund, bonuses, inheritance, and/or salary increases. In these instances, use the funds to help accelerate your emergency fund growth and pay down debt. Think of your savings plan as a way to pay yourself first and a requirement similar to a monthly bill used to help meet your goal of increasing your emergency fund. Adding yourself as a line item to your budget sends a message that

1. You are important enough to invest in yourself

2. If it’s in your budget month after month you can track how much of your money is going to you vs. things.




Cash is KING….5 ways to build your emergency fund: Part 1

 Suze Orman’s The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke is one of the most impactful books I’ve read to date.  A few days after graduating from Florida A & M University (go Rattlers), I ordered my credit report, realized it was below 500 and quickly grabbed a copy of the book. For nearly a decade, Suze’s advice guided me along my financial journey. I can now proudly say that now my credit score is over 800. Suze advises everyone to have an emergency fund. An emergency fund allows you to maintain your current way of life even in the event of a financial catastrophe.

But how do you build your emergency fund? I’ve drawn on my own experiences and reached out to a few colleagues with varying salary ranges to help provide insight on the subject. Here are five ways to build your emergency fund.

  1. Develop a New Year & Mid Year Financial Resolution

Every New Year, many people are reflecting on their financial goals. Think of yourself as a company. Use these tips to create the financial strategy for YOU, LLC:

Write down your current cash liquidity at the beginning of the year

  • Write down the cash amount you would like to have by the end of the year. Remember to be reasonable and realistic. For example, you can’t have a goal of saving $50,000 when you only bring in 40K each year.
  • Create an action plan, which includes goal setting and budgeting. We will cover more on this in point #2.
  • Perform a mid-year status check to course correct any issues and update your action plan if your strategy and/or tactics are not working
  • Once you reach your goal, celebrate with a small reward i.e. small purchase, mini-vacation, etc. For me it was my first Luis Vuitton bag.



Once you are clear on your desired yearly savings goal set a monthly savings target. Leverage budgeting tools to help you track and trace how you are performing versus the goal. For example, at the beginning of each pay cycle I know exactly where I want my money to go. I know what my savings target is for every pay period. And, I give myself a grade on how well I saved versus the expectations I set. Through this tactic I learned that you can’t measure what you don’t track. For an example of a budget template please subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

You can look forward to the next three tips on Monday August 4.

Valuable Lessons Learned in the “Rat Race”: Corporate America Revealed; Part 2

I’m revealing a few more of my corporate confessions:

6. Healthy is the new Sexy: Health Matters

I’ve gained nearly 50 pounds since I entered corporate America in 2005. I have attributed this to limited physical activity at work (sitting behind a desk for hours at a time) and low energy following 10+ hour days. Only recently did I begin to take my health seriously after learning of the impact that weight could have on fertility.

While I view my contributions as significant to my organization, they will not make or break a Fortune 100 company. If I can invest in my job, I can invest in myself by taking an hour each day to exercise. Make time to workout either before work or leave a bit early to workout in the evening. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle should be your #1 priority.

7.  Host with the most/Hostess with the Mostess

It is important to create connections with your organization beyond the cube and water cooler. Consider hosting an annual event that both your professional and personal networks can enjoy. For example, one prior work colleague hosted an annual masquerade ball and another colleague had an “Ugly sweater” party. Most business deals are done outside of the office, so why not create an event to foster relationships and great networking on your own terms?

I hope this not only helps those in the proverbial rat race but aspiring entrepreneurs.


Valuable Lessons Learned in the “Rat Race”: Corporate America Revealed

I’ve been blessed to work for a few multi-national Fortune 100 companies including Procter & Gamble, Microsoft, and Goldman Sachs & Co. During my nearly ten years at some of the nation’s most elite firms, I learned great lessons and insights about life, business, and everything in between. In my pursuit of success in corporate America, I found that the game-changers were well versed in a different code: one that was unwritten. I made it my business to glean the lessons along the way and found these invaluable few to be most essential in the proverbial rat race. Here are my first five corporate confessions revealed:

1. Strategically target companies/roles based on a personal ROI

I can’t lie to you. After college, my goal was to land a job at a reputable company with the most competitive salary. Gaining needed skills and experiences to help me achieve my long-term career goals was the furthest thing from my mind. I didn’t operate with a destination mindset. Yes, total compensation is definitely a factor when selecting the right employer, but challenge yourself to think beyond the now.  Ask yourself, ‘Will this position or the next role help me develop a vital skill set and/or network?’ ‘How will my time investment in this industry yield a return that benefits my bigger personal plan?’  

2. Project P.I.E. (Performance, Image, and Exposure)

Immediately following my first promotion at my first full time job, I quickly realized that though results were important, your personal brand equity and exposure could carry more weight in determining career trajectory.  Delivering exceptional business results is a baseline expectation after a certain point in your career. Physical appearance or image can also be a distinguishing factor for managers in differentiating equally talented high potential candidates. Senior executives can ‘hold your weight’ in the Big Boy club. For example, at one company, it would be a feat to find anyone overweight past the Director level. Additionally, I learned that exposure to key decision makers and influencers across the organization were imperative in the ‘natural selection’ process. Without the right exposure, you could easily be overlooked for crucible roles, promotions, expatriate assignments, etc.

3. A Toast to the Sky: Take Flight

The extent of my travel prior to joining Corporate America was restricted to family trips to Haiti and a few US domestic excursions. I’ve been able to travel to Switzerland, Germany, Mexico, and Colombia, just to name a few, all sponsored by my employers. Take advantage of every chance to experience something new. Balance the business with personal cultural experiences. You have a unique opportunity to see the global community up close and personal. Why miss out on a sponsored culturally enriching experience?  To be clear, a business need must exist to support your international travel. However, if international travel is important to you, be strategic in seeking out roles and opportunities that help scratch that itch.

4. Be a TALENT Scout

I’ve had several mentors and sponsors throughout my career but never considered leveraging those relationships for outside counsel on non-work related projects. I was in the process of starting a business and wanted to create a board of advisors. My initial list of prospective advisors excluded my corporate America relationships. Seek out mentors & sponsors that not only help advance your professional career, but also have valuable insight and networks to help advance your personal mission. Be sure to target only those you can trust. A gentleman’s handshake will not suffice. Everyone with whom I engage on a personal project must sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement. This sets the tone for future discussions, clearly articulates that all information shared is confidential, and expresses the legal repercussions for breach.

5. Single ladies/Single men: Get a work husband or wife

I was single (no serious relationships) the majority of my professional career. I consider myself an extrovert and can pretty much connect with all people regardless of sex, age, background, or ethnic group. Now, imagine my surprise when Suzie at the water cooler gave me the cold truth: I wasn’t getting invited to the non-work/personal dinners with the tastemakers from the company. The truth hurts. I learned the unspoken rule over dinner with one of my sponsors. Few are successful at shattering the corporate America glass ceiling while flying solo. In her words, “No wife will ever invite a single, full figured BLACK woman with tons of personality to spend time with her and her husband—EVER. However, since marriage was one area of my life that I couldn’t control, I secured a work husband. A work husband or wife is someone who attends professional gatherings with you. There is no personal attraction between the two of you, and most importantly, he or she makes you look good. I was never dishonest about my relationship with my work husband and never introduced him as a boyfriend. However, the wives were more comfortable and no longer viewed me as a ‘threat’ and the invitations began rolling in for non-work related social gatherings.

I hope the advice shared above helps you through your Corporate America journey.