Financially Secure

How long have you been married?

We have been married for an awesome 5 and a half years.

On a scale of 1-10, how important are finances in a marriage? (1 being of little importance, and 10 being extremely important.)

We would say it is a 10. Financial issues can act as a negative catalyst to magnify other issues that can weigh heavily on a relationship. When you are in financial agreement with your partner, it can be a gateway to increased intimacy and strengthen marital bonds.

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What are some common obstacles that hinder couples financially? (In general, and personally.)

Debt and poor credit are usually the biggest obstacles. Setting financial goals can help with getting out of debt. Overspending is another obstacle that impacts a lot of relationships. Having a monthly budget can help control spending behaviors and help with getting bills paid on time. Over time, reducing your debt to income ratio and paying your bills on time will have a positive impact on your credit score.

It is important to remember that having poor credit causes everything to be more expensive. Car payments are higher. Car, Home, and Rental insurance cost more. Getting a mortgage for a home is more costly from higher interest rates. Improving your credit score can save you thousands of dollars a year, that you can be redirected and put to work for you and your household.

Share how you make financial matters a priority?

For many, personal finance is something that is not discussed. It is not talked about between husband and wife. It’s not shared with children. It is not discussed in social circles with family and friends or coworkers. Financial Matters are taboo. We make financial matters a priority by taking the taboo out of talking about money. We have open honest and regular discussions about our money, financial goals, and monthly budget. And whenever possible we socialize behaviors and best practices for managing our personal finances. Everything we do plays a role, directly or indirectly, in us achieving our financial goals. Having financial goals helps make financial matters a priority.

What is your favorite financial resource?

Of course, The Wealth Culture Academy and our flagship e-course Budgeting is BAE. The Wealth Culture Academy is an online resource we created to help grow financial literacy in the African American Community and beyond. Budgeting is BAE is an e-course we designed to help African American women learn how to master their money by budgeting. We wanted to share the things that we have learned during our journey to financial freedom. We have uncovered a lot of nuggets along the way that we wish we learned years ago. We feel obligated to share as much as we can with as many people as we can. Financial success is possible for everyone, as long as they know the behaviors to foster it.

For us, our financial enlightenment began as we read the book, The Richest Man in Babylon. We also follow other personal finance educators like His and Her Money and Tiffany The Budgetnista.

What is the greatest financial advice you ever received?

One of the most impactful pieces of financial advice we have received was to start an emergency savings account. Once we set aside money for emergencies, we found that the emergencies seemed to stop happening. And it wasn’t so much that emergencies didn’t happen to us anymore. We were just more prepared when they occurred. The panic and the need to rush and make a financial decision was removed. And we began to see that often, things that became emergencies because we were unprepared weren’t really emergencies. They were just unexpected situations. We then decided that we needed to give our emergency saving a more defined purpose so it is to only be used in a real emergency. We created a separate savings for unexpected situations. We want our emergency savings to stand alone and be available to cover things like loss of income and the need to cover household expenses for a designated amount of time.

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Share something you wished every couple knew about finances before getting married.

We wish every couple understood the power of bringing their money together as one. Far too often we hear couple share about keeping their money separate. And when they get into the reason for keeping their money separate it usually is more of a trust issue than an actual money issue. And when that is the case. The couple really needs to work to resolve the trust issue. Once that is done, concerns about bringing money together are pretty much all but eliminated. There are some behaviors that all couples should practice so that bringing money together becomes fruitful. Being open and honest about all financial situations with one another is key. You can create a safe place discussion with your partner to ensure the other person is comfortable putting it all out there on the table. The only way to fix things that are broken is to know it is broken. This will also allow both people to know the financial strengths and weaknesses of the other. And bringing money together doesn’t mean you lose the ability to spend money individually. This is one of the biggest fears many couples have about bringing money together. Once the money is placed in the same pot, it can be planfully distributed. Each person can have an “allowance” to cover their personal spending needs. By first bringing all of the money together, the couple can ensure that their financial goals have priority over individual spending.

Do you believe couples should have joint accounts?

YES! Two is always better than one. Marriage isn’t 50/50. It’s 100/100. More importantly, every couple should have financial goals and budget to meet those goals. Having financial goals along with a budget naturally puts in place a money management system or process that evolves over time.    

What advice would you like to give couples concerning the importance of estate planning?

Make it a priority! Every now and then we see someone share gofundme accounts on social media to help cover expenses related to an unexpected death. Estate planning can help prevent the need for that. Also, a lot of wealth is lost to taxes when you are forced to go through probate because there is no legal will to express the sentiments of the deceased party.

We also need to look more at creating trusts. Some benefits of having a trust: You can put conditions on how and when your assets are distributed after you die; You reduce estate and gift taxes; You can distribute assets to heirs efficiently without the cost, delay, and publicity of probate court. A trust also allows you to better protect your assets from creditors and lawsuits.

When you go from one spouse working to both working should the spouse who just started working pick up bills, pay off debt or invest?

This goes back to having financial goals and a budget. Anytime there is a sustained change to income you will need to revisit your financial goals and monthly budget. If paying off debt is already a financial goal, it’s natural for the new income to be directed towards debt repayment. If investing is a priority, then the new income is directed towards investments.

It is also good to have a plan for unexpected money. Every now and then we all get unexpected money. For instance, let’s say you are meeting a friend for lunch and they pick up the tab. You were expecting to pay for the meal but your friend paid. The cost of the meal is unexpected money. You can use the money you would have spent on lunch to go towards emergency savings or an investment. Having a plan allows that money to be put to work.

What does being “Beautifully Bound: Financially Secure” look like to you?

It means that your money looks good on the outside and inside. You never want to be the couple with a nice house who can’t afford to put furniture in it. It means you have a financial plan in place, with a budget acting as a roadmap to help you follow your plan. It means you have savings to cover emergencies and unexpected situations as well as savings to help secure your future. It means you have money directed towards investments to grow your legacy and wealth as well as create security for future generations. It means you are working well financially as a couple. With financial security, you foster a bond that strengthens your love for one another and your marriage.

Photography by Keynon Jones of K Love Jones Photography
Bound - Sepia
Graced Lettering Co.

Connect with the Myhands on social media.


If you enjoyed this blog and would like to build your marriage on a solid foundation, nurture lasting love, and connect with other couples stay in touch with Mr. and Mrs. Poplar via our Solid Marriage Support Facebook Page.

Beauty & Brains

Writing a book is a beautiful feeling, but not being able to market your book is a bit of a brain drain. Chasity Bromley, an owner of a boutique, was one of the first people to retail my book. I wandered into her shop on the second day after she opened, and I was amazed by what I saw. The clothes fit my comfy and cute style so much that I wanted to click my heels together and say, “There’s no place like home.”

Stacey Geohagan, Toya Poplar, Chasity Bromley

The name of the boutique is “She’s So Jade.” Both Stacey and Chasity are ridiculously creative and contiguously kind. They felt like my long-lost sisters. The boutique is a reflection of them; whimsical, eclectic, fun, fragrant, colorful, and it is as inviting as they are. The boutique is located so close to my home that it is like having a walk-in closet within walking distance. Whenever I am in a fashion pinch or just not feeling like myself, I can drop in and see my favorite fashionistas. They have been such a blessing to me that I started asking God to give me creative ways to show them some love.

One day I was turning into my neighborhood and I heard a voice whisper, “Beauty & Brains.” I called Chasity and said, “Hey Chica, God just gave me a crazy idea!” We all know that God is not crazy. But often when He drops an idea in your mind it can sound completely insane. However, if you don’t act on that idea then it can drive you out of your mind. After a week of being rejected by out-of-state retailers, God’s idea of partnering with local boutiques did not sound crazy at all.

Most people who are courageous enough to act on crazy ideas are probably already viewed as insane. I knew enough of Chasity’s business story to feel safe to pitch my idea. She is a self-proclaimed, “crazy Mary Kay Lady.” She drives a pink Cadillac that alone conveys her work ethic and zeal for helping women. Prior to She’s So Jade she owned a mobile boutique. As an entrepreneur whose passion is to help women feel good about themselves, I knew she would hear my heart. Out of our brief brain storm Beauty & Brains was birthed.

Do you have a passion for fashion? Are you a lover of literature? If your answer is YES then you will love Beauty & Brains. It is an effort to empower women and young girls to increase their self-worth and confidence. It is a time of support and a safe circle of sisterhood. Strangers walk in alone and leave feeling like they have been friends for life. Because the dialogue is surrounding books you leave feeling smart.

For years, as a mom and wife walking into a book store to purchase a book was something I denied myself. It seemed indulgent, and yet the few times I did, the information I received highlighted a change in my life. A new book often marked a shift in mindset. I have found that the same holds true for fashion. Those times I have given myself permission to purchase something that is a creative expression of me I gain a confidence to go new places and meet new people. In the same way that a new look can boost one’s confidence so can knowledge from a juicy new book.

Literacy and fashion have more in common than you would imagine. They are both therapeutic ways to decompress. However, they can be equally time-consuming. Would you believe that the average American spends about the same time reading each day as they do selecting what they are going to wear?

According to The Telegraph, a recent study found that the average woman, in the course of her lifetime, spends almost one year standing in front of her closet deciding what to wear. The study–which polled 2,491 women and was based on an adult lifetime from age 16 to 60–found that women spend an average of 16 minutes deciding what to wear on weekday mornings and 14 minutes on Saturdays and Sundays, for a whopping 287 days spread out over their lives.

Lester, Tracey. How Much Time Do You Spend Deciding What To Wear? (You’ll Never Believe What’s Average!) Glamour Magazine. web. 13. July.2009. 6.December. 2016.

A recent study from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that the average American spends only 19 minutes a day reading; young people read less than ever, apparently, with people ages 25 to 34 reading eight minutes a day on weekends and holidays, while those 20 to 24 average around 10. This, of course, is a decline: a report from Common Sense Media found that 45% of 17-year-olds admit only reading for pleasure a few times a year — up from 19% in 1984.

Bijan. Stephen. “You Won’t Believe How Little Americans Read.” Time Magazine. 22. June. 2014. web. 6. December. 2016.


At first glance at those two quotes one might deduce that American women are all beauty and not brains. But I see a growing trend among my peers of women publishing, writing, working and walking in wisdom. My goal for Beauty and Brains is to create an environment for local authors to promote their books, while at the same time highlight local boutiques. Both have similar dilemmas, they need exposure. Why not create an environment that is the best of both worlds? Beauty & Brains is a safe place for women to connect, admire beauty and celebrate their brilliance. It is a special time to celebrate sisterhood and gain beauty allies who can help them spend less time selecting what to wear and more time enjoying the beauty of reading a good book.

To order Stop Write There click photo

Last night’s Beauty & Brains featured local Author Jenny Erlingsson, the title of her new book is “Becoming His.” Her words left our hearts filled with wonder and our eyes filled with tears. Becoming His is both beautifully and brilliantly written. It is a behind-the-scenes look at some of the key women in the Bible. Her examples are not archaic. She makes each woman relevant to her readers. The struggles of these biblical women supplies the modern reader with wisdom and strength.

To order Becoming His click photo


We began our evening with food and a little bit of fun by playing a game called, “Perfectly Imperfect,” in which prizes were awarded to people who are perpetually late, have wardrobe malfunctions (like socks that slip into your boots,) or occasionally lose their cool… Beauty generally focuses on perfection, so we celebrated our imperfections and promoted sisterhood in the process. If you could benefit from a unique girl’s night that benefits you body, mind and soul please join us for an upcoming Beauty & Brains. Try on clothes. Shop or look. Meet the author. Buy the book.

She’s So Jade Boutique 

Upcoming Beauty & Brains Dates


  • February 6th, 2017 – Nurturing a Grateful Heart with Beverly Jones-Durr 
  • April 3rd, 2017 – The Millennial Movement with Rashida Wilson

Watch  Beauty & Brains with Jenny Erlingsson, Author of Becoming His

Watch Beauty & Brains with Toya Poplar, Author of Stop Write There Press Release for Beauty & Brains Launch



The Power of Vision


I recently hosted a Vision Book Party for some of my Dream Mates. Soup, Salad and Sight to your Vision was our theme. It felt like an Oprah moment. Oprah moments to me are moments in which you get to share your favorite things with your favorite people. I am not at the stage where I can yell, “You get a new car!!! You get a new car!!! Everybody gets a new car!!!” But I can gently whisper, “You can give sight to your vision. You can dream big. You can give yourself permission to grow beyond where you are.” Seeing, doing, dreaming, growing and forgiving are more valuable to me than new cars. Cars depreciate the moment you drive them to your destination. Dreams enrich your life and increase in worth as you drive towards your destiny.

You are your own success story!


In 2015, I gave myself permission to dream. Many of the goals on my Vision Board were internal. I remember sitting in my bathroom floor thinking and saying, (YES, it’s OK to talk to yourself) “Don’t you dare fill this board with things that will make you look like a visionary from the outside in. Dreams start from the inside out.” Practically every measurable goal on my board I achieved, (with the exception of a few books I hope to write). But the greatest sense of accomplishment came from those immeasurable milestones that no one could see but God and me.

Change starts within.


2015 was an awesome year! I traveled to Honduras. My Español increased about 20%. I wrote my first book and reached my fitness goals. Those things were great but they paled in comparison to the hidden things like, “maintaining grace, finding peace, having courage, fueling my faith and conquering fear.” If I had not taken the time to place those things on my board, I would not be able to credit God for causing me to triumph over the things that troubled me for most of my life. Procrastination and people pleasing had imprisoned me for too long. 2015 was the year in which vision empowered me to be free!

What are your Personal Power Plays?

Personal Power Plays/Self Care Tips

1.  To effectively “love my neighbor” I  choose to love myself. Be kind to your mind!

2. Fitness increases happiness hormones like serotonin and dopamine. Get moving!

3. Rest effects thinking, emotions, digestion and immune health. Go to bed!

4. Decompress from stress by doing all of the above consistently. Be kind. Work out. Rest.

At my recent Vision Party before the Oprah moment started I shared with my Dream Mates that our time together was not intended to turn into a Mompetition. I did not wish for everyone to start one up-ing each other. Wouldn’t it be a tragedy to attend a party that was designed to enhance your vision either blinded by jealousy or blurred by comparison? I shared that throughout Womanhood I have found myself in 3 stages.

Give yourself permission to Recover, Retreat or Advance!

Recover-after illness or the birth of a baby, a major life change like adoption, loss of a job/career change, overcoming offense, loss of a loved one.

Retreat-during seasons of intense focus, when changing church homes, when life gets overwhelming, to strengthen your marriage or bond with your children.

Advance-when God gives you clear vision, when starting a new business, while re-branding an old business, when enough is enough and you’ve grown sick and tired of being broke, brokedown or broken.


It is important to know what stage we are in and not to allow anyone to pull us in to their stage. If we do, we will forfeit what God has in store for us in our season. None of these stages are better than another, they are needed for growth and invaluable towards being healthy and maintaining balance in relationships. No one knows what you are in need of like you and until you acknowledge that you are in need of recovery, retreat or advancement people will assume that you are in the exact season as them.

Healing starts within.


As I learn to embrace “My Best Self” I am most thankful for times in which I have been mishandled in friendships or by leadership. I don’t have “haters.” I feel like those that most would consider to be “haters” loved me well because they taught me how to love well. Letting go of unhealthy relationships is healthy but only if we forgive and release those who have wounded us. It is hard to focus on seeing your future clearly when you are trying to point out the speck in someone else’s eye.

Have you ever had Conjunctivitis AKA Pink Eye? Did you wonder how you caught it? I feel like if I look in the direction of someone who has Pink Eye, I will wake up the next morning with crud oozing from my eye or my eyes will be plastered shut with crusty mucous. It is said that the natural remedy for Pink Eye is already on the inside of you? (Urine or Breast milk). I’m not a medical professional so don’t quote me on that but I have friends who are missionaries that have told me, if you are on the mission field and you get pink eye that you are to use what is already on the inside. Someone else’s urine is not sterile to your body so it won’t work. It has to be your own. GROSS, RIGHT?!!

Hardship, heartaches and headaches feel gross when you are going through them but in the end bring clarity to your vision. As you cast your vision for 2017 don’t just focus on those external goals, remember the true key to success, health and emotional wellness is within. Have fun dreaming up big dreams for 2017!!! Your tomorrow starts today!

It is never too soon or too late to DREAM!

Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others. -Jonathan Swift