Want to have financial freedom? Think you may need some advice on how to eliminate debt and start investing in your future? Let us introduce you to nationally recognized millennial Money Expert, Tonya Rapley. Tonya, is the creator of the award winning site, My Fab Finance, host of the web series Fab Finance, creator of the #BanishTheBalance challenge, and co-founder and CFO of the FOAM app. TV One has selected this financially-savvy entrepreneur as a modern day history maker and in 2014 Black Enterprise Magazine deemed her the “New Face of Wealth Building”. Tonya is on a mission to help Millennials achieve financial freedom by providing workshops across the country for clients. She has also spoken at numerous events such as Bloomberg, Essence Fest and Millennial Week. You can find Tonya’s financial advice in US NEW, NY Daily New, Buzz Feed and Refinery 29. Tonya’s passion for money serves as great inspiration for everyone on a journey to be financially fit! In the spirit of Financial Literacy Month, I sat down with Tonya to gain insight on her Fab Finance tips.
Q1: Why are you so passionate about helping others become fabulously financial fit?
Because finance is so important. I’ve seen so many people, including myself, compromise their power because of finances. Money touches every aspect of our lives. What I’ve found since I started My Fab Finance nearly five years ago is that Millennials want to do and be better with their money, they’re just not sure of the best way to get from where they are to where they want to be. I’m passionate about helping people through that process and empowering them to become more confident with managing their own money.
Q2: There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to Millennials and investing. What are the most common Myths you would like to debunk and set the record straight?
That Millennials don’t want to invest and that those who do automatically understand how to use technology to do so. In my opinion, millennials are hyper focused on investing because we can’t rely on social security. Even if the program is still around, it isn’t rising to meet the costs of inflation and the quality of life many of us are becoming accustomed to. So they want to plan for that. But there is so much noise in the fintech space. Many don’t know what app or solution is best for them, and some of the solutions available to help Millennials invest easily aren’t as user friendly as they intend to be.
Q3: Many Millennials believe that their Student Loan Debt is holding them back from being able to invest and save? How can those with debt still save and invest in their future.
Student loans are a concern for a lot of Millennials. For some of us, it’s a cloud looming over their head that they can’t see above or around. It’s important to get on an affordable payment plan so that you can focus on building other areas of your life. As we know the younger you are the harder and longer your money can work for you when it is invested. If you spend 10-15 years focusing on aggressively paying off your student loans rather than building your savings and investments, you’re going to find yourself significantly behind. So great! Your debt free, but you also don’t have any money in savings and your playing catch up when it comes to investing.
Student loan debt is different from consumer debt such as credit cards because it typically has lower interest rates and more flexible repayment terms.
- Get on a student loan payment plan that’s affordable and allows you to pursue your other financial goals.
- If you’re on the most affordable plan and still can’t save and invest consider taking steps to downsize your life such as getting a roommate or moving in with friends.
- Find ways to bring in additional income. I have a friend that has a full-time job and managed to make $10,000 driving UBER in 2 months (he’s writing a book on it). Sometimes we must do things that make us uncomfortable so that we can live how we want in the future.
Q4: For those of us who have NEVER invested yet, where do we even begin?
I’m not necessarily a fan of look around you and what you use and start there. If you’re uncomfortable, start small with training wheels so that you can get a feel for investing. That’s one of the reasons I love STASH, it makes Investing accessible for everyone. If you’re a risk taker and ready to get in the game then you might want to start with a financial advisor or enroll in an investing course offered by local non-profits or online educators. Ask for help because there are people there to help you regardless of your budget.
What is YOUR Money Mantra?
*This post is sponsored by Stash. All thoughts and opinions of talent interviewed is their own*