Vivan Tu on the biggest money mistake people make, and how to fix it

Vivian Tu, founder and CEO of Your Rich BFF, is on a mission to make the financial industry “less male, pale and stale.” 

She spoke with Scripps News about building a career in financial advice.

“Historically financial services has so heavily catered to older White male populations and they’ve always had resources,” Tu said. “But suddenly now with the rise of social media and what I like to call ‘finfluencing’ and people talking more about their money and their personal finances on the internet, suddenly communities of color, women, the LGBTQ+ population, minorities, immigrants — any population that hasn’t had that access before is now able to get it. And as it turns out, these populations are just as eager and hungry to learn about investing and saving and budgeting as are traditional Caucasian communities. “

Tu started her career on Wall Street right after college, but soon made the jump to content creation.

“I ended up leaving Wall Street because I felt like I wanted to make more money and wear ripped jeans at work,” Tu said. “And when I pivoted over to the media and tech space, all of my new colleagues were saying things like, ‘Hey, if you’ve worked in finance, if you’re coming from Wall Street, can you help me rebalance my 401k? Can you help me pick a health insurance plan? Should I even be investing in our company stock options? What does that even mean?’ And so I started creating content for them, frankly, just for my seven friends. And as it turns out, the very first video on TikTok ended up going viral and a lot more people than just my friends turned out needing that information.”

According to Tu, some of the most important financial advice is also some of the simplest.

“I always just say the earlier you can get started, the better you are,” Tu said. “People think you have to pick the perfect investment or time the market. As someone who worked on Wall Street and saw lots of incredibly prolific hedge funds blow up because a couple people made bad investment decisions: No. No one knows the perfect investment, but it’s really time in the market versus timing the market, and picking the perfect investment that’s going to help you get rich over time.”