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Taking a scientific approach to building wealth + a ton of money tips with Dr Maria James



Have you ever looked at your finances from a scientific perspective? Well, My guest today is Dr Maria James and she is founder of

Not only is she a real life scientist (you’ll hear us talk about her amazing career on this episode) but she is also a money scientist who provides financial advice for professionals and entrepreneurs.

In this episode, we dig into how to look at your finances objectively from a scientific perspective and Maria also shares her personal money story with us too.

We also talk about emotions and money, overcoming financial challenges and key things that we as women need to be doing for our long term financial success and you’ll also learn about one of my very odd money tendencies lol.

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Ilen & Lauren Bell are the husband and wife team behind Black Fitness Today, born, in 2011, out of their motivation to change culture, build a platform and lead the charge. Their purpose is to help change the culture towards health and fitness in the African-American community, showcase those who are making an impact, and promote healthier living. They also aim to serve as a platform for African-American fitness and health professionals and enthusiasts who are otherwise overlooked in traditional fitness media.

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Money Moves

Why Was Essence Magazine Sold to TIME Inc. in the First Place?



Time Inc. is selling Essence Communications Inc. to Essence Ventures LLC, a company launched in 2017 by Shea Moisture founder Richelieu Dennis. As a result, the Essence brand has returned to a 100% black-owned independent company, after 12 years of being owned by Time. via Black Enterprise

In 2015, my wife, Lauren and I served as media for an event chaired by Edward Lewis, Publisher and Co-Founder of Essence Magazine. The event was packed; black excellence and black affluence everywhere. It was the Association of Black Cardiologists’ 6th annual “Spirit of the Heart” Awards held at the famous Cipriani 42nd Street in NYC; I personally, had never seen anything like it.

My wife and I navigated through the crowd and walked up to Mr. Lewis, the last co-founder standing at the time Essence was sold to Time Inc., and introduced ourselves as Black Fitness Today. After the interview, he gave us his business card and asked to send him a copy of our magazine. He also suggested that we read his book, ‘The Man from Essence: Creating a Magazine for Black Women’ and take some of the lessons he learned over the years of running Essence Magazine and apply those same lessons during our journey with Black Fitness Today.

The book was a rollercoaster detailing how Essence almost didn’t get off  the ground, to running out of money, to having to pull more investors in like Hugh Hefner (Founder of Playboy), to the mag failing to make a profit for the first seven years, to now serving tens of millions of readers across the globe and creating a community of loyal supporters who show up every year at the Essence Festival. That book provided the insight as to why Lewis sold Essence in the first place.

Why Edward Lewis Sold Essence – In His Words

In the chapter titled “selling in,” Lewis talks “selling in” – a play on “selling out,” something many accused him of doing when agreeing to sell Essence to Time Inc.

I wasn’t worried about the ‘soul’ of Essence. I was worried about its staying power. I wanted to ensure the longevity of Essence Communications as an institution serving the needs of black women. That would preserve its soul. It was becoming clear to me that independent, one- or two-magazine-titled companies were going to have a harder time surviving in the new millennium…The Internet was threatening to turn print on its ear. And there were the ever-escalating production costs that simply made it more expensive for smaller publishing companies.

To ensure the continued existence and growth of Essence it made sense to join with a mighty company that not only desired us, but promised to share with us its considerable resources.

What Time Inc. brought to the table was beyond anything we could ever do alone. [savings in production costs, syndicated research, opinion-poll capabilities, and advertising opportunities]

Excerpts from The Man from Essence: Creating a Magazine for Black Women

The Essence – Time relationship was supposed to be a five-year courtship when Time Inc. purchased 49 percent of Essence in 2000. But in 2005, the courtship turned into a marriage when Time purchased the remaining 51 percent to gain full control.

Much of the beef with Lewis’ move back in 2000 was his failure to bring potential black buyers to the table. But, almost two decades later, the tables have turned and ownership of Essence is back where it belongs in – in black hands.

Black media and black positive representation matters. So learning Essence Magazine is 100% black-owned once again is a breath of fresh air, especially given the sociopolitical climate. The power of ownership has become something even more important in our community, which is yet another reason to celebrate the reclaiming of Essence Magazine.


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Bless Up! DJ Khaled Dropping Pounds With Weight Watchers And Boosting Stocks



DJ Khaled

DJ Khaled has officially made Oprah Winfrey $26 million dollars richer after joining forces with Weight Watchers. He has begun documenting his weight loss journey on the new Weight Watchers Freestyle Program, via his social media platforms. Through DJ Khaled’s influence, we are likely to see (as Weight Watchers hopes) to see a growing millenial and male customer base.

“DJ Khaled has an incredibly authentic drive and passion to inspire others through his wellness journey and experiences on WW Freestyle,” Weight Watcher’s president and chief executive Mindy Grossman said in a statement. “Being healthier is not just about weight anymore. It’s about overall health and wellness — being your best self. By capturing and sharing his process, he will enliven and inspire his community, showing that it’s possible to integrate healthy habits into your life.”

Read more from Fortune.

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Saving & Investing

10 Ways To Reduce Monthly Expenses Without Much Effort



my fab finance

Millenial money expert Tonya Rapley of MyFabFinance offers 10 ways you can cut costs, that will add up big in your quest to long-term financial stability! Not only that, Rapley’s tips are simple enough for you to start implementing now!

1. Unplug electronic devices that aren’t being used.
Without thinking about it, our devices are driving up our monthly electric bills by being plugged in all of the time. To help reduce your monthly electric bill simply unplug any devices that aren’t being used, and unplug the cords once the device is fully charged. There’s not a lot of upfront effort, but you’ll definitely see a reduction over time.

2. Use a water filter pitcher and reusable water bottles
This is a small change that can help reduce your monthly grocery expenses. Use a water filter pitcher like Brita and reusable water bottles instead of buying bottled water from the store. There’s a small upfront cost to get the filter and bottles, but you’ll get your money back almost immediately from the savings you’ll see in groceries.

3. Replace light bulbs to energy efficient and keep air filters clean.
Using energy efficient bulbs is a very quick, inexpensive way to save money on your electric bill each month. You can buy them inexpensively on Amazon or at your local Walmart. On that same note, you’ll also want to make sure your air filters are clean. This allows your heating and air systems to work smarter instead of harder; saving you money each month.

4. Use a programmable thermostat to keep temperatures steady.
Keeping your thermostat set at a certain temperature will allow your home to stay cool or warm without much effort from your heating and cooling systems. Use fans to keep cool in the summer months, and blankets to keep warm when it’s cold.

Click here to get the full list on

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Karen Civil, Live Civil, Black Fitness Today





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