By Danni Levy
“It’s not what you make, it’s what you keep,” says celebrity financial advisor Eszylfie Taylor.
Eszylfie (pronounced almost like “selfie”) has worked with the likes of David Hasselhoff and Jordin Sparks. With his own docuseries Mind, Body, Money on the horizon. Eszylfie is fast becoming the country’s leading African American financial advisor.
“I’m what I call a ‘relationship seller,’” Eszylfie tells me. “I build relationships with people to understand where they are today and moreover, where they want to be moving forward.”
Having encountered athletes who’ve thrown away millions in months and movie stars who budget frugally, Eszylfie explains the method behind a healthy monetary mindset.
“It’s not what you make, it’s what you keep,” he says. “You can’t confuse someone being a high earner with being a good planner. Just because you make a lot of money, doesn’t mean that you’re a good planner. If you won the lottery tomorrow, would you suddenly be a different person? Nope. As a matter of fact, any deficiencies in your spending habits or character are going to be accentuated.
“You must start with the end in mind. What life do you want to live? What number will it take to get there? If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it with amazing accuracy.
“A lot of my clients have short-lived careers. A 30-year-old athlete has a shorter window of opportunity than a 40-year-old doctor for example. I try to help people get to a point at which they’re able to live off interest. Decide what you need to live on comfortably each month and do the math!
“Just because you make a lot of money, doesn’t mean that you’re a good planner”
“If you make $500,000 a year and you spend $500,000 a year, you are as broke as anybody else. Calculate your core expenses, then take that gap between your income and your core expenses as your discretionary income. The more of that discretionary income you put away for the future, the faster you’re going to reach your goals.
“I’m not saying, ‘Never go on vacation’, or ‘Are those new clothes? Take those back!’ Enjoy the fruits of your labor, but make sure you find that balance.”
IDENTIFY YOUR RETIREMENT NUMBER
“You can call it retirement number or financial security number, whatever you want to call it, but you need a number to aim at.”
PAY YOURSELF FIRST
“Do the exercise: income and expenses. The number you pay yourself before savings needs to be comfortable yet meaningful.”
CONTINUE TO REVISIT YOUR PLANS
“We have this mentality of ‘set it and forget it.’ I can’t tell you how many times clients will tell me, ‘Oh, I’ve got a retirement account, but I don’t open the statements.’ The only certainty in life is uncertainty. You need to revisit these things and make sure your plan today matches what you thought ten years ago. And if it doesn’t, you must adapt.”
“If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it with amazing accuracy”
Eszylfie stresses the importance of mind, body, and money in obtaining optimal levels of happiness. He practices yoga as an escapism that enables him to maintain the mindset of a mentor.
“If your mindset’s not right and you’re not healthy enough to put in the work, you’re never going to make the money”
“No one was ever on their deathbed wishing they had more money,” he says. “Mind, body, and money should be attended to in that order. If your mindset’s not right and you’re not healthy enough to put in the work, you’re never going to make the money.
“My escape is yoga. I’ve been practicing it for 15 years and I also teach. It’s important to move your body every single day, because in this life, we’re either getting better or we’re getting worse. There’s no staying the same. We must continue to keep the juices flowing.
“Yoga has been a life-changing practice for me because it’s something I can never finish. It’s a continuous journey and I’m reaping the benefits of both mental and physical strengthening without the risk of injury.”