Vivian Tu, the 28-year-old TikToker behind Your Rich BFF, is aware of tips on how to clarify personal fairness to her 2.2 million followers by a lens they will perceive: Kim Kardashian.
“Kim Ok’s foray into personal fairness goes to make her a multi-billionaire all whereas utilizing different individuals’s cash,” Tu kicks off the video in her typical front-facing, fast-talking fashion. “Kim received common wealthy by sponsorships, TV, et cetera. She then leveled up by constructing her personal model, and now she’s hitting boss degree by investing in different individuals’s manufacturers.”
Tu then launches into a fast and soiled crash course on personal fairness—common companions, restricted companions, commissions, carried curiosity. The video clocks in at 59 seconds.
“I clearly can not cowl the dearth of knowledge obtainable on personal fairness in 60 seconds,” Tu tells Fortune in an interview. “But individuals can now digest the information higher—learn headlines higher—as a result of I’m in a position to assist them.” It goes hand in hand along with her larger mission: serving to individuals make good monetary selections by opening their eyes to options they might by no means have considered in any other case.
It’s this mix of popular culture and studying that makes Tu so well-liked on TikTok, the place her humor and unpretentious authenticity creates an approachable rapport that reeled in lots of of hundreds of viewers inside every week of her first video. Less than two years later, she runs the account full-time with a group of two different individuals and publishes a e-newsletter.
When I advised her we’d be recording our Zoom, she requested for 10 seconds to alter and was again in entrance of the digicam a minute and a half later with a recent shirt and a pair of earrings, laughing about how she have to be unrecognizable.
But she’s greater than recognizable to her hundreds of thousands of principally younger, feminine followers tuning in to her monetary recommendation movies, which she releases practically each day for an viewers she has lovingly dubbed “the leftovers.”
The complete monetary companies industry, till now, “has been male, pale, and off,” Tu says. She would know, having kicked off her profession on Wall Street. In an industry the place the whole addressable market is everybody, she says, younger ladies, the LGBTQ neighborhood, and low-income individuals have usually been unnoticed.
With that in thoughts, she devised the BFF moniker. “Suddenly, you’ve somebody who doesn’t appear to be your dad’s monetary advisor. You have any person who seems to be like I may very well be anyone’s faculty greatest pal,” she explains. “I need to entertain my viewers and switch finance into funance and simply make speaking about cash extra accessible for the subsequent era of wealthy BFFs.”
The huge enterprise of finfluencing
As with many influencers who rose to prominence throughout the pandemic, Tu by no means anticipated content material creation may very well be profitable sufficient to turn into greater than a facet hustle. “I need to inform you that I had this evil mastermind plan to construct this all out, however I didn’t,” she says. Instead, she says she began her profession humbly—buying and selling equities at JPMorgan.
She left Wall Street for “the greener pastures” of BuzzFeed in 2018, the place new mates and colleagues, understanding her background, started asking for monetary recommendation.
But Tu felt that monetary conditions are too personal to supply rule-of-thumb suggestions. “I’m like, ‘You guys, like, we’re all very completely different.’ Like you’ve a husband and two children, you reside in the suburbs, and at the time, I used to be this fool 24-year-old swinging from the chandeliers on the weekends and undoubtedly was not dwelling the similar way of life.”
But she acquired so lots of the similar questions, starting from medical health insurance plans to investments, that she determined to lean into her monetary guru identification and posted her first TikTok on New Year’s Day 2021.
“Welcome to #RichTok. It’s the first day of 2021, and I, your new wealthy BFF, am gonna educate you new methods to develop your wealth with my greatest monetary literacy ideas and methods,” she says to the digicam by the use of introduction. She then launches into her raison d’être: Her personal TikTok feed is startlingly stuffed with dangerous and deceptive monetary recommendation, and she or he’s able to right the report.
“I don’t have any get-rich-quick schemes right here, however I’ll assist you to with sensible ideas and information on tips on how to degree up your monetary literacy,” she goes on, referencing her time on Wall Street. She was desirous to share her greatest practices on budgeting, retirement, investing, and saving, “as a result of being wealthy actually ought to be for all of us.”
What started as a ardour venture for her coworkers to look at so she didn’t have to clarify issues “again and again” shortly became one thing a lot larger: Her first video went viral the day it was revealed, she says, garnering her 100,000 followers by the finish of the week.
It was clear to Tu that it wasn’t simply her coworkers in want of monetary recommendation, and so she started to construct out her model throughout TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, creating monetary content material that folks really need to watch.
A ‘gateway drug’ to understanding personal finance
Tu acknowledges that it may be near-impossible to dole out monetary knowledge—which varies extensively—to the lots. “I’m not going to know whether or not a Roth IRA is smart for everybody,” she says.
That’s why she goals to empower her “leftover” viewers to search out the solutions for themselves. She considers her content material a “gateway drug” into personal finance that lets individuals dip a toe into the realm—only for 60 seconds at a time—with out getting overwhelmed.
She’s impressed by her first supervisor at JPMorgan, one other Asian girl who occurred to be the solely different non-white man on her ground. Tu thought-about her supervisor a “blueprint” in her path towards monetary literacy, serving to her work out all the pieces from 401(okay)s to utilizing the company resort catalog to economize. She says she’s now making an attempt to be that particular person for thus many individuals.
Tu’s final objective is to open up the dialogue about cash and finance. “We’ve been advised our complete lives that speaking about cash is taboo. It’s impolite, it’s cheesy, it’s gauche, no matter,” she says. “But wealthy individuals do all of it the time and so they like to do it. They do it on the sprawling greens of nation golf equipment. They do it at personal seashore golf equipment in Ibiza. They do it at their fancy dinners…They’ve been giving one another ideas since the daybreak of time.”
If “common individuals” can speak about cash with much less disgrace and judgment and extra acceptance and optimism, she continues, we’ll have higher tips about tips on how to save, funds, and make investments. “Talking about cash is the best free factor you are able to do to be higher together with your cash,” she says.
She believes that considered one of the surest methods of combating inequality is by sharing info, which she is dedicated to doing for the lengthy haul.
“By serving to individuals who weren’t anticipated to be wealthy, turn into wealthy. It’s preventing again in opposition to a damaged monetary system,” she says. “It’s like, listed below are the guidelines of the recreation. I’m going to show you tips on how to play.”