We live in a world where finance is overly saturated by white, old men who shame you into thinking the reason you’ll never be able to buy a house is that you buy your favorite iced latte with oat milk every morning. This toxic narrative can make the idea of setting yourself up for financial wellness easy to put off. Plus, if you’re still a student, it can feel difficult to save money when you’re barely making enough to cover your necessities.
Your Rich BFF, aka Vivian Tu, is a powerhouse, ex-Wall Street Trader committed to sharing lessons on financial literacy. She saw the misinformation of personal finance tactics soar to new heights during the pandemic when people were struggling to make ends meet. She used this opportunity to spread her knowledge for free on TikTok, and things have taken off since then. Your Rich BFF started as a passion project but has now morphed into a community of over 3 million besties. The goal is to lift up young women to become rich and stay rich.
I had the privilege of talking with Tu at Her Conference 2023, and I left the conversation feeling empowered and ready to open a Roth IRA. Read below to find out more about Your Rich BFF and how young women can set themselves up for financial abundance.
Get rich, start S.T.R.I.P-pin’.
According to Tu, there’s a secret formula for getting rich: Strip, of course! Now I know what you’re thinking — but I’m talking about a different kind of strip. S.T.R.I.P. stands for savings, total debt, retirement, investment, and plan.
“You know how it’s easier to make $5k? Not by scraping the coffee that brings you an ounce of joy in the morning. It’s by asking your boss for more money,” Tu tells Her Campus. “There is a secret I in S.T.R.I.P. that most people forget about, and it stands for income. You have to ensure you’re asking for what you’re worth.” Amen.
All of this is easier said than done, besties. But, by starting out small with feasible financial goals, you’ll be on your way to laying a strong foundation for financial wellness in no time.
Use your income to buy the life you want.
With Your Rich BFF’s panel being called “Achieving Abundance,” it only makes sense to dive deeper into her definition of abundance.
“Abundance is using money to buy freedom,” Vivan tells Her Campus. She explained that her perspective of abundance has shifted as she’s moved further in her career. “When I started my career, abundance meant being able to walk into the Chanel store and buy any bag I wanted, drive a Lambo, all the stuff you would traditionally associate with wealth.”
But what exactly does it mean for money to buy freedom? Well, it’s simple. “Money is never going to hold you back,” Tu says. “It could be as silly as you just got off the train with a fresh new blowout, and it’s raining. If you want, you have the ability to buy an Uber so your blowout doesn’t get messed up. Or, it could be as serious as leaving an unhealthy situation such as work or a relationship. Money is used as a tool to have the life you want.”
Tu is over money shaming.
“I want my platform to be an educator for the next generation. There is no shame and no judgment,” she tells Her Campus.
A lot of financial advice is rooted in shame, and Your Rich BFF wants that to end. There are ways to have a sustainable relationship with money while not making a lot of it. “I really value my platform as a way to bridge that gap of being responsible with your money but also [showing people] you can still have a wonderful life,” she says.
Tu emphasizes that just because people are lower class or in debt doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to have nice things. There is a common idea that if you are in debt, you shouldn’t step foot in a restaurant unless you’re working there and frankly this concept is outdated and disrespectful.
Finances are about balance and making small changes that will have a big impact in the long run. One of the easiest ways to make a small change in your finances is budgeting… every shopaholic’s (me) worst nightmare.
Get your $5 coffee every morning, bestie.
ICYMI, the 50/30/20 method, is where 50% of your take-home pay goes to your needs, things like rent and groceries. 30% goes towards wants, which could be anything from drinks with friends, shopping at Urban, getting your nails done, whatever it may be. And 20% goes towards savings, debt paydown, and investing.
“I actually love this method,” Tu tells Her Campus. “Any budget that says you can’t spend x on x is no good for me.” The 50/30/20 method is more of a holistic way of budgeting. “If you want to get coffee every day and it fits in your 30%, go for it!”
It’s important to think about opportunity costs, though, and no, I’m not saying the finance bros were right, but hear her out. “If you get a $5 coffee every day for a year, it works out to roughly $1,800.” Yikes, I need to lay off the sweet cream cold foam. “You know what $1,800 could buy? A vacation, a designer bag you’ve been eyeing, whatever you’ve been saving for,” she says.
Tu highlights it’s not about going without; it’s about understanding your own priorities. If that coffee every morning brings you joy and means more than a new purse, then buy your coffee bestie. Your Rich BFF supports you!