TikTok’s @YourRichBFF Wants To Make Financial Literacy Easy

TikTok’s @YourRichBFF Wants To Make Financial Literacy Easy

“It’s super boring,” Vivian Tu, the social media maven behind TikTok’s uber-well known @YourRichBFF admits when we speak about the traditional framework of fiscal advising. “Historically, economical services and monetary education has been so male, so pale, and honestly, very stale. And these are not lessons that we’re taught in the classroom. This is details that wealthy dads pass on to their abundant sons.”

Tu is intimately acquainted with the gatekeeping that goes on in the earth of finance. She migrated from Wall Street to the tech sector just before starting off to dispense advice on TikTok at the regular insistence of friends and coworkers who clearly observed the value of her particular brand name of economic direction — ideas that were quick to have an understanding of, available to marginalized communities, and rooted in the uncomplicated yet highly effective thought that information is the best variety of currency when it will come to closing the wealth hole.

Her social media how-tos worked. Rapid. She went from 100,000 subscribers in her initially 7 days to 1 million followers this calendar year. Her web page has above 10 million likes and every single of her videos persistently nabs hundreds of hundreds of views. So why is Tu’s brand name of fiscal literacy so well known? She’s not presenting some kind of magic trick. Component of the appeal is that, among all the noise, hoopla, and get-abundant schemes, Tu offers sensible and implementable advice that feels groundbreaking. Suggestions she was willing to share with us for this swift primer.

The STRIP Strategy

Tu says that when most people today come to her hoping for money information their first concern is, “Where do I start?” So substantially goes into boosting our financial institution accounts that it can be daunting for youthful men and women (or those people like me who just cannot do simple math) to get going. To assistance, Tu came up with a clever acronym to empower finance newbies.

“When people request, ‘What can I do to make my funds better?’ I’m like, ‘You should really STRIP.’”

Let’s crack it down. “S” stands for financial savings, “T” is for complete financial debt, “R” is for retirement, “I” for investing, and “P” signifies organizing. When it will come to price savings, Tu endorses having a 3-six thirty day period emergency fund at the completely ready ought to the worst happen.

After you have secured a little nest egg, it’s time to tackle your financial debt — that’s everything from credit rating card charges to college student bank loan repayments. Tu has a trick for handling your debt system. She calls it the “avalanche method” and it involves rating your particular person debts on a scale. The better the fascination amount, the more you need to prioritize them. “You want to shell out off any debt with an curiosity fee of 7{ac23b82de22bd478cde2a3afa9e55fd5f696f5668b46466ac4c8be2ee1b69550} or bigger,” Tu recommends. “And then you can begin having to pay down your decrease interest level personal debt a tiny little bit far more little by little although moving on to the relaxation of STRIP.”

Up future is “R” for “retirement.” The sooner you start off spending into some kind of retirement fund — these as an IRA, Roth IRA, or a 401k – the far better. That’s revenue that cannot be taxed, accrues price, and will be there when you want it down the street. Retirement is a kind of investing and after you have established up that account, Tu states it’s time to diversify your portfolio. We’ll get into the “how” in a bit but the why is very straightforward: investing is a way of allowing your dollars perform for you.

The closing phase of planning is also a straightforward a single. “You are saving, budgeting, investing this income for what?” Tu asks when describing why having a prepare for your long run financial institution account is so crucial. “Everybody’s ambitions are diverse, and dependent on your goals, you will want to build your financial foundation a specified way. So it is critical to strategy. And I find that if you put pen to paper, you’re far more probable to essentially adhere to those people plans.”

So now that we’ve received a method, let us dig into some of the pillars of building wealth.


Aren’t you exhausted by the narrative that we will need to devalue our possess needs in get to conserve, pinning the blame for our generational money insecurity (and angst) on avocado toast and day-to-day lattes? Tu is too.

“You cannot conserve a lot more dollars than what you just take house,” she says. “Yes, you’re heading to be in a position to come across added revenue by slicing again on these discretionary costs, and these very little luxuries in your lifetime, but you’re also heading to be miserable. I feel it’s far more important to be advocating for individuals to go and check with for raises at the close of the 12 months.” Why? For the reason that it is less difficult to save dollars from a even bigger paycheck than it is to squeeze a couple thousand dollars a year from your Starbucks trips. Tu has shared tips by her TikTok account on how to negotiate a pay raise and advocate for a better beginning wage when applying for a career but, if that would seem fully unrealistic in your present-day situation, picking up a facet hustle could be the response.

A different good way to include some extra dollars to your discounts account is by budgeting, but toss any ideas of sticking to rigid spreadsheets in the trash. Tu claims a monthly finances doesn’t have to be “painful” to basically do the job. Rather, attempt the 50/30/20 method, a different straightforward-to-keep in mind design that keeps your spending in line without having forcing you to count pennies. Take 50{ac23b82de22bd478cde2a3afa9e55fd5f696f5668b46466ac4c8be2ee1b69550} of your every month paycheck and put it toward necessities – feel hire, utilities, groceries, and fuel funds. The 30{ac23b82de22bd478cde2a3afa9e55fd5f696f5668b46466ac4c8be2ee1b69550} goes to your wants. That may well be acquiring beverages with buddies, searching outings, or a day to the films. The ultimate 20{ac23b82de22bd478cde2a3afa9e55fd5f696f5668b46466ac4c8be2ee1b69550} goes to investing, which covers everything from having to pay off credit card debt to placing money into accounts where the curiosity will eventually help you get paid a lot more.

Expenditure Starter Pack

Tu claims the largest secret that the prosperous are in on that the rest of us must know is this: if you’re only saving your wealth, you will never ever construct it. Which is where investing comes in. She implies going with a Robo-Advisor — a plan that does the tricky function for you — or carrying out exploration on index cash and goal-date retirement resources. They are quick to realize and supply the most bang for your buck.

Tu understands that investing can come to feel a little bit like the Wild West. Regardless of her many years on Wall Road she nevertheless experienced to conquer some of her attitudes to revenue that were instilled in her given that childhood. “I occur from a Chinese immigrant dwelling,” she points out. “So saving has been woven into my DNA. Frugality is anything that I have recognized forever. I suggest, we ended up washing Ziploc bags.”

But, staying about a bunch of Wall Street execs who had been regularly divvying up their funds throughout multiple investments taught her that being frugal probably wasn’t heading to help her financial institution account in the very long operate.

“Nobody else was focused on washing their Ziploc bags,” Tu remembers. “Everybody was centered on the up coming expense that they could deploy funds into. ‘How I can expand my dollars, permit my funds function for me so I can retire previously so I do not have to do the job as difficult?’ It was eye-opening.”

University student Loans

The last topic Tu gets quizzed on usually by her social media platforms is anything we’re all wrestling with, personal debt. That can indicate credit card personal debt, pupil loan payments, professional medical payments, and other types of income owed to a organization or institution. If it is any form of academic personal debt, Tu indicates searching into publish-graduate scholarships – they exist – and examining with your point out to see if there are forgiveness strategies in location for persons operating in health care, local government, or the schooling sector. If none of these utilize, prioritize non-public pupil loans to start with. These are kinds with greater interest prices and the govt simply cannot stall payment plans on them.

And, though there’s nonetheless a moratorium on federal scholar loans (with the hope getting that possibly a portion of them could be forgiven a single working day) Tu states if you have acquired the dollars it is a fantastic thought to keep to your normal payment timetable no matter. “Right now you are not spending any fascination, you are just paying principle,” Tu points out. “The lessen you can get that basic principle, the greater off you’ll be.”

Credit history Card Financial debt

When it will come to credit score card personal debt, Tu suggests we get started thinking about it the way wealthy individuals do.

“When lousy persons take on credit card debt, we phone it debt. But when prosperous people today acquire on debt, they get in touch with it leverage,” Tu shares. “We villainize borrowing other people’s revenue, but wealthy persons do it all the time.”

Tu clarifies that credit score is just yet another device to use to create your money portfolio and even though it, in itself is not a rip-off, the way credit history scores are calculated is. To avoid finding the small close of the adhere, it is finest to understand how money institutions establish your credit history score. The major aspects are your payment background – are you paying out more than enough on time each and every thirty day period? – and your credit score utilization – how substantially of your credit history line are you using regular? A great rule of thumb is to use about 30{ac23b82de22bd478cde2a3afa9e55fd5f696f5668b46466ac4c8be2ee1b69550} of what ever your limit is. Other things like your credit history and your credit history combine – how very long and how a lot of distinct forms of personal debt you have – finally appear into enjoy but if you can regulate the initially two, you’ll be in a lot far better shape when it arrives to your general rating.

A person error Tu admits to making when she was more youthful is some thing that is been touted as a “good practice” for individuals with credit rating card debt. She closed out her starter credit card and opened a new one particular. The difficulty? Closing out a credit line, specially if it is one particular you have had for decades as Tu did, can hurt your credit score rating.

“When I clipped it my credit rating heritage shortened by four several years and that was seriously poor,” she explains. Instead, Tu advises individuals to decide credit score playing cards dependent on the items they value (besides income). “If you fork out on time, if you expend responsibly, credit cards are a terrific way to get journey details, to get cashback, to get rewards for becoming a liable consumer.”

In the long run, the biggest aim Tu has with her substantial TikTok subsequent is just to make the subject matter of money less taboo, specially amongst gals, minorities, and more youthful generations.

“We as a culture just really don’t feel snug conversing about revenue,” she states. “But not having all those conversations functions to our detriment and to the advantage of businesses and massive monetary establishments. When we really do not speak and we really do not review, we don’t know what other people are undertaking, and we do not know what other people today are getting.”

And retaining ourselves in the darkish is not going to support us close the prosperity gap.