A personal finance expert who launched her career as a trader on Wall Street is spilling the secrets of amassing wealth while not scrimping on life’s little luxuries.
Vivan Tu, who goes by the moniker Your Rich BFF across social media, appeared on the podcast Leveling Up with Eric Siu to promote her upcoming book, Rich AF: The Winning Money Mindset That Will Change Your Life.
She shared with the host that her ideal net worth would be in the range of $25 million and revealed her strategies to achieve such a figure – including everything from ‘being selfish’ to legally dodging taxes as means to bump up your bank-account balance.
Vivian, 28, kicked off her post-grad career as an analyst at JP Morgan, where she earned $80,000 annually plus bonuses, before moving into a sales position at Buzzfeed, bringing in closer to a mid-six-figure salary through her commissions.
Vivan Tu, 28, known as Your Rich BFF on social media, came on the podcast Leveling Up with Eric Su to promote her new book
She shared with the host that her ideal net worth would be in the range of $25 million and revealed her strategies to achieve such a figure
Since early 2021, Vivian has thrown her energy into building up her brand as Your Rich BFF, using her platform to dole out tips and tricks for everyday people to amass personal wealth.
‘What do people get wrong with their money?’ asked host Eric.
‘You know, I think a lot of us really focus on the scrimping and the saving,’ answered Vivian.
‘I’m not buying that avocado toast. I’m not buying that Starbucks. That’s hard! You’re giving up a lot of things you really enjoy.
‘How easy is it to ask for a $10,000 raise? That is absolutely heard of. As in happens all the time, happens to so many people.
‘A $10,000 raise is really not that strange, and you can get one just by being responsible, making sure you come to the table with quantifiable facts and a good excuse for your boss as to why you deserve one,’ she laid out.
‘It’s easier to make more money than it is to cut out all the things that bring you joy. So my advice is, hey, focus less on the coupon clipping and the little tiny things. Focus on the big stuff.
‘Because if you’re not asking for a raise every single year, it doesn’t matter if you’re trying to scrimp and save. You’re still not going to get ahead,’ she concluded.
Since early 2021, Vivian has thrown her energy into building up her brand as Your Rich BFF, using her platform to dole out tips and tricks for everyday people to amass personal wealth
Eric then pressed Vivian on ‘practical advice’ for people to increase ‘their earning power.’
One of her tips was to ‘be selfish’ when it come to career moves.
‘Any job you either need to be learning or earning, ideally both. And I think it’s about being really, really selfish,’ emphasized Vivian.
Back in the day, she explained, employees were ‘incentivized’ to stay at the same company for most of their careers, because they’d be promised pensions on their retirement.
‘Now, most of us have something called a 401k, which is just a pension, but it’s worse, in literally every way,’ she continued. ‘Because instead of your company contributing to it, you have to contribute to it.
‘And instead of your company selecting investments, you have to select investments.’
She also brought up a Forbes study from 2014 that found employees who don’t switch companies tend to get paid 50 per cent less over their professional lifetimes.
So, when it comes to being ‘selfish,’ she emphasized that every two years employees need to be ‘up or out.’
‘Every two years, you need to be getting a 10 to 15 per cent promotion at a minimum… otherwise, you need to leave. You need to go somewhere that’s going to pay you.
‘Because if you’re not doing that, you’re going to be making less.’
Extending from that point, she stressed: ‘Don’t be afraid to job hop.’
She emphasized elsewhere: ‘I want people to have healthier budgets. I want people to have more in savings’
Another major point Vivian made was how to ‘avoid paying taxes legally.’
One way to do this is to open up retirement and investment accounts, whether a 401k, or IRA, or Roth 401K, or Roth IRA – all ‘are a really easy way to avoid taxes legally,’ she explained.
Money deposited into a 401k or an IRA is ‘tax free’ this year, though taxed when its withdrawn – while money put into a Roth 401k or Roth IRA is not taxed when its withdrawn.
Either way, ‘you’re only paying taxes one way or the other,’ the expert urged.
She also recommended claiming your mortgage interest as a tax write-up, while staying on the lookout for various tax credits, such as a $7,500 write off you can claim for an electric vehicle.
‘People need to remember that the tax code is written in a way that incentivizes you to do certain things. Our country wants us to be more green. It wants us to save for retirement and invest for retirement. Because guess what if you don’t, who has to take care of you? The government, they don’t want to do that. They want you to have your own money,’ Vivian said.
‘They want people to be homeowners, that’s why you can have [some of your mortgage interest] written off.
‘If you are a small business owner, you can write off, and essentially get a tax break, on expenses, because they want people to start businesses and write off things, like office space or travel or business meals.’
She concluded: ‘These are all ways to avoid taxes legally. But it allows you to also do something that Uncle Sam wants you to do.’
As for treating oneself to actual luxury goods – rather than just small luxuries – Vivian actually recommended skimping where possible.
She cited an article from New York Magazine’s The Cut that delved into how very wealthy women are buying high-end, very realistic fake bags, rather than shelling out tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for the real thing.
‘Women who are self-made, who make millions of dollars every year, who have supported themselves, who built that nest egg on their own, they’re saying: “Why do I need the real thing? I got it like that, people think it’s the real thing. And if I’m buying a really, really well-made fake, nobody knows the difference.”
‘So what’s the point? Why should I spend $25,000 on a bag when I can spend $1,000 on the bag, have the exact same results? And it almost to them felt like cheating the system.’
Vivian, whose business cleared $3.2 million last year, said that, after all her expenses including salaries for full-time employees and on-retainer support staff, she had enough left to pay herself about $300,000.
The hustle, she emphasized, has been beyond worth it.
‘My very first job was great. I helped make rich people and ultra-wealthy institutions that managed rich people’s money richer. Great, cool, great.
‘My second job, I was helping major corporations get richer. They were putting ads on the website, they were launching joint business ventures, they were doing in-person marketing,’ she stated.
‘Now I help regular people get richer. And how awesome is that?’
She emphasized elsewhere: ‘I want people to have healthier budgets. I want people to have more in savings.
‘I want people to demand – not ask – demand raises. I want them to be investing for their futures.’