[00:00:00] Maggie Chui: Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Asian Hustle podcast. Today, we have an exceptional guest with us. Her name is Vivian Tu. Vivian, a.k.a Your Rich BFF, is the CEO and founder of Your Rich BFF media. She is a former wall street trader, and strategy sales partner at Buzzfeed turned full-time financial literacy creator.
[00:00:20] Maggie Chui: In less than a year, Vivian has grown her audience to over one million on TikTok and three hundred thirty thousand on Instagram as a side project. Her mission is to bring financial tips, tricks, and knowledge to under-served individuals, such as women, LGBTQ plus youth, and BIPOC communities. Vivian is exploring opportunities in the podcast publishing and TV space.
[00:00:42] Maggie Chui: Vivian, welcome to the show.
[00:00:44] Vivian Tu: Thank you so much for having me.
[00:00:46] Bryan Pham: Of course, Vivian. I can’t say how much we love you, and we’re so excited about having this podcast, right? Random thoughts, too. I was thinking about how your first video came to my attention. I believe you only posted one video on TikTok and then with a banana.
[00:00:59] Vivian Tu: It was nuts.
[00:01:00] Bryan Pham: That’s Yes, I remember that. It’s like a year ago.
[00:01:03] Vivian Tu: I posted my first video on January 1st, 2021. Not as a joke per se, but definitely as a little bit of a personal passion project. I made Your Rich BFF because my coworkers wouldn’t stop harassing me about what they should put into their 401ks, whether or not they should have them, and which health insurance plan they should be picking.
[00:01:22] Vivian Tu: And I told them all, I was, yes, you guys are all asking me the same questions. I’m just going to put it on social media.
[00:01:27] Vivian Tu: My seven friends would watch those videos, and two and a half million people would see my makeup list face. By the end of the week, I had a hundred thousand followers, and I had no idea what to do.
[00:01:41] Bryan Pham: I remember you mentioning, “oh no, my video blew up. I have to make more content now.” You just freaked out about it. That was crazy.
[00:01:49] Vivian Tu: Yes. I didn’t know how to make content. I wasn’t a content creator. I was like; I guess I should make another video.
[00:01:54] Vivian Tu: And then, I did that, and I just kept going, piece by piece. I put out a piece of content every single day.
[00:02:01] Vivian Tu: Guys, every single day.
[00:02:03] Maggie Chui: Oh my goodness.
[00:02:04] Bryan Pham: That’s amazing.
[00:02:04] Maggie Chui: I know. Like starting, it’s hard to know when you’re first starting on social media. You should post daily because you know what people say on social media. You should be posting every single day, and it’s true.
[00:02:15] Maggie Chui: It does help with the algorithm, but for you to have that level of commitment after the first one came out, that is some commitment there. So what’s so unique?
[00:02:26] Vivian Tu: There were days when I didn’t feel like doing this, but I did it anyway. I think I had this vision that this channel was going to be able to help so many people.
[00:02:37] Vivian Tu: I think that was the underlying reason for me doing all of it. I thought it was so silly and crazy that we don’t teach this in public schools. I wish I didn’t have to have this channel. I want that we just learn this the same way that we learn about algebra, the same way that we learn about physics or English in our schools.
[00:02:55] Vivian Tu: I had an hour less each lesson, but I learned how to do my taxes correctly. I would be a more functional adult than a bunch of those classes. I think it’s silly that the most helpful tool for a functioning member of society is not taught in the one place we’re supposed to learn—everything else.
[00:03:15] Bryan Pham: Yes, I agree with that statement too. You don’t know many things, especially going to our first job and looking at our 401k for the first time. Being like, wow, half our 401k is garbage. What am I investing in? Who makes the decisions for me?
[00:03:27] Bryan Pham: I’m glad you can create that platform for us. But I want to take a step back and learn more about myself, right?
[00:03:33] Vivian Tu: Sure.
[00:03:34] Bryan Pham: Would you grow up, Vivian? What was your upbringing like? And I just want to hear about the type of kid you were, too, because I just seemed so curious.
[00:03:41] Vivian Tu: Yes, I grew up in the suburbs of Maryland.
[00:03:44] Vivian Tu: I’m an only child. My parents are Chinese immigrants. They came over to the US in their early twenties, and I was always just like such a troublemaker, so rambunctious, endlessly curious, loved to learn, and a big nerd, but it also would get me in trouble. I think my most vivid memory is one day I was sick.
[00:04:06] Vivian Tu: When you take children’s Tylenol, Advil, or whatever, it helps reduce your fever, and you feel better for a few hours. My dad had stayed home with me that day, and he would give me this children’s medication, and I was feeling better. He let me play a little bit to entertain myself.
[00:04:21] Vivian Tu: I don’t know what the computer game was called. It was like some sort of reading rabbit. I loved these little computer games that secretly taught me things while playing. And after I played for a little bit, my dad said, “Hey, you need to chill out. You need to lie down and nap because you’re sick. Give it another two hours; you’re not going to feel as good as you do now. ”
[00:04:39] Vivian Tu: He happened to go out onto our deck on the second floor, and I was like, oh, I know what I should do. I’m going to lock my dad outside. On the second-floor deck where he can’t come inside, and he can’t go downstairs. He can’t escape.
[00:04:56] Vivian Tu: And I’m going back to playing my computer game. I had him locked out there for 90 minutes. I got, oh my gosh. I honestly got the worst spanking of my life when he got back inside. I was, like, worth it. I was just like that kid. I was always in trouble.
[00:05:11] Maggie Chui: Oh, my gosh. That is so funny, such trouble. I’m like, were you even scared at all? Just like thinking about what your dad would’ve been doing outside. I am just stuck out.
[00:05:21] Vivian Tu: No, I was just like, he’ll be fine. Oh, he’ll be fine. He tried to take like a screwdriver to the deck door to let himself back. It didn’t work.
[00:05:28] Vivian Tu: He was so mad, but we all laugh about it now. Now that I’m an adult, like my family and me, I will just tell that story anytime that I do something stupid. My dad would be like, do you remember when you did this?
[00:05:38] Maggie Chui: I love it. As Brian mentioned, I feel you are just such an outgoing person and very creative person.
[00:05:46] Maggie Chui: You’re not afraid to just be who you are. I’m curious to know when you were growing up, did your parents have this set plan for you? Oh, when Vivian grows up, she’s going to be this or that, go into this profession, or were they more lenient on you and just allowed you to use your own free space and explore things you wanted to do?
[00:06:05] Vivian Tu: Yes, so I think my parents had a particular idea of a dutiful Chinese daughter in their mind, and I did not. They hoped to have a lovely, docile, soft-spoken, very intellectual daughter.
[00:06:24] Vivian Tu: Instead, they got an obnoxious, loud, gregarious, stubborn, headstrong daughter. They realized very young that they would not be able to control my decision-making. I think they had always tried to implant in my mind that I wanted to be a doctor, lawyer, or engineer. I wanted to be in one of the approved jobs, but I didn’t. I think they knew the whole time that it wouldn’t happen.
[00:06:53] Vivian Tu: When I did get my first job, I became a financier and went into the financial services space. They were stoked. They were like, it’s not a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, but it’s pretty much the next best thing. There’s money. This is a job that’s exciting for us to be able to brag to our friends about. This is a good quote-unquote. Good job.
[00:07:12] Vivian Tu: But watching my career progression from then is hilarious. Today, my parents could not be more prominent supporters of Your Rich BFF. They manage my content on a mobile browser. They don’t have the apps. They just search for me and watch. It’s funny because they want to support me, even though they don’t have social media.
[00:07:30] Bryan Pham: Yes, it’s fantastic. I think I love it when Asian parents do that. They don’t support you at the very beginning until they see that it’s possible. This is like a brand-new way of succeeding. And then, they’re like your big supporters.
[00:07:41] Vivian Tu: Yes, I didn’t tell my parents about Your Rich BFF for eight months.
[00:07:44] Bryan Pham: That’s insane; so much has happened to you over the past year. Congratulations on everything. I love it because I see all the news happening to you. I see everything’s happening to you, and oh yes, congratulations on being engaged too.
[00:07:55] Vivian Tu: Oh, thank you so much.
[00:07:57] Bryan Pham: I want to talk about your time on wall street too.
[00:08:00] Vivian Tu: Yes.
[00:08:00] Bryan Pham: I want to hear what your experience was on Wall Street because I don’t think that every day we get a guest that used to be on Wall Street that I can talk about. It’s just because we hear so many mixed stories, right?
[00:08:11] Bryan Pham: Whenever you think of wall street, we think of this White FRA pro working hard. Making money and all these things, but I want to hear from an Asian American woman’s perspective. What was it like for you?
[00:08:21] Vivian Tu: When I got to the desk, I looked around, and I think probably somewhere between 30 to 40 traders and salespeople, salespeople, and every single one of them except one person, was a white man.
[00:08:35] Vivian Tu: So I was like, oh good. I’m glad everybody here looks just like me. I’m joking. But the one who was the outlier who did that wasn’t a white man, but an Asian woman. She was a half-Chinese, half-Taiwanese woman. She ended up becoming my manager and my mentor. And as I like to say, my unofficial rich BFF because she was the first person.
[00:09:01] Vivian Tu: Whoever bothered to ask me anything, any question about money, she pulled me aside one day and was like, are you investing in your 401k? I was like, my, what? I was busy trying to say, do I have enough money to go to the bar this weekend? I did not care about my 401k. She was the one who forced me to put money into it.
[00:09:19] Vivian Tu: I would be traveling, and she would say, hey, did you use a corporate company, like a hotel catalog, to save money? I was like, What is that? And I just didn’t know everything she was asking me about. But for once, I felt like I was getting brighter. I also think it was inspiring to see someone who looked like me, an Asian woman from a modest background who didn’t have that type of crazy generational, five generations of millionaires in their family.
[00:09:48] Vivian Tu: Be as wealthy and affluent as she was. Because I remember wanting to be like her at first for a shallow reason: she had a new pair of Gucci shoes and a new Chanel bag every day, and I wanted a new pair of Gucci shoes and a new Chanel bag every day, just like so many young people do.
[00:10:04] Vivian Tu: I think she was the first person to introduce me to wealth over time, just pinching pennies to try and make it all work. It was more like, how do you make your money grow? I had an exciting experience on Wall street. It is probably representative of many young people of color and young women’s knowledge of wall street.
[00:10:27] Vivian Tu: Would I trade it? No, I had a great time working for her and working for another manager. It wasn’t until I was moved over to a different team that I did not feel like my old white man manager supported me and my goals. He wouldn’t respectfully speak to me. He would make weird, racist, sexist comments.
[00:10:47] Vivian Tu: I’d be like, this is not it. I am too bright. I work too hard. I’m coming in at five, forty-five in the morning, leaving at seven-thirty at night. This job is just too straining for me to be mistreated and not even be making the type of money people expect to make.
[00:11:04] Vivian Tu: When you watch a movie like Wolf of Wall Street, like talking about wall street in the eighties, but like I wasn’t making crazy money.
[00:11:12] Maggie Chui: Wow. I’m sorry that you had that experience. I feel like, especially on wall street, you see that happen a lot. People say that a lot of industries are male-dominated, white male-dominated.
[00:11:23] Maggie Chui: I feel that’s even more prevalent on Wall Street, and for you to experience that, it’s so heartbreaking because I think that happens a lot. For you to be in a situation and environment where you’re like spending so much of your time and effort, clocking in early in the morning and late at night, you’re just putting all your effort into this job where you’re not even respected or well treated.
[00:11:45] Maggie Chui: It’s dehumanizing. But I’m glad that there was someone who was like out there who was looking out for you. That first person is really who makes all the difference. As a young child who just got out of college, for example, doesn’t know anything about money, it’s really easy to follow in the wrong footsteps and listen to the bad people. Just think like, all I have is all I need.
[00:12:09] Maggie Chui: That person who opened your mind is a lifesaver.
[00:12:13] Bryan Pham: Yeah, absolutely. . I just want to hear more about this original, Your Rich BFF that created our rich BFF. I want to hear about, like, how did you learn about the concept of growing your money since this is the Asian Hustle Network podcast?
[00:12:26] Bryan Pham: Obviously, we have a lot of hustlers inside our community. And then, I remember watching a video where you talk about a few. How do you calculate F-You money, and how do you do all those things? And that, to my surprise, a lot of people don’t know what F-You money even means.
[00:12:41] Bryan Pham: I feel like that’s a term thrown around a lot by wall street, people F-You money, a few money. Let’s talk about that real quick, right?
[00:12:48] Vivian Tu: Yes.
[00:12:48] Bryan Pham: How, what is it? How do you calculate it, and what does it mean for your financial freedom?
[00:12:54] Vivian Tu: Yes, F-You money is essentially the number you would need to get to for you to kick over your desk, flip your boss, the bird, and be like, screw you.
[00:13:05] Vivian Tu: I’m done. You would be able to walk away from anything. No, like no contingencies, like you are good to go forever. The way that you would calculate it is what I like to do. I think the easiest method is to close your eyes and consider how much money you would need to live comfortably for one year.
[00:13:32] Vivian Tu: Once you have that number, divide it by 0.04.
[00:13:39] Vivian Tu: What you get is your F-You number. That works right because you’re essentially dividing that number by 4%. So you’re getting the number that you would be able to have invested, and 4% is a very modest return on your investment. You would essentially be able to live off the interest of the amount of money you have invested without ever digging into the principle. That would be an autonomous investment so that you could continue making money while living your life, doing whatever you want.
[00:14:13] Vivian Tu: I think many people are surprised that the number is smaller than they think it is because we hear about these very rich people on TV and in magazines. It’s 25 million, a hundred million dollars billionaire. And it’s okay, but like true for you, your happiness with what you want to do with your life? How much money do you need?
[00:14:34] Vivian Tu: My idea of financial freedom is very different from Maggie’s. It is very different from Bryan’s. Some people are like, I want to retire. I want to live in an Airstream. I’m going to backpack across the US. I’m never going to work. I just want to live very much. Sleep on a hammock, but I never have to clock in.
[00:14:51] Vivian Tu: That freedom is worth something to me. There are people out there who are like, I need to have a minimum of three homes, One for my current residence, one in the mountains, and one on the beach. I also want to have two children. I want to put them both through college. I want to have two cars in my family.
[00:15:08] Vivian Tu: I want to have a golden retriever dog. People have these ideas of what they want as their happily ever after. Your number will be very significant depending on what you’re happily ever after. It’s excellent for people to do this exercise to know their number because it is personal finance, not everybody’s finance.
[00:15:28] Maggie Chui: Love how you broke that down because I feel like what Brian said, how like F-You money, how everyone throws that term around. I see many people on social media answering that question and giving out a random number. Some people will say it’s going to be a million. Some people will say it’s going to be 10 million.
[00:15:45] Maggie Chui: It’s all relative. Your idea of happiness and financial freedom will not be the same as someone else’s because someone else might be happy with something straightforward. That’s okay, and that’s perfectly fine. Yes, so I love that you broke that down very clearly because it doesn’t just fall onto one single number.
[00:16:04] Vivian Tu: Exactly.
[00:16:06] Bryan Pham: Absolutely. And I want to talk a little more about your time at Buzzfeed. I remember Buzzfeed was like the thing that all of us. I was glued to like back in like 2012-2013 was at the peak, watching all these famous dudes end up leaving Buzzfeed a couple of years later. I want to hear about your time at Buzzfeed. What did you learn during your time there?
[00:16:26] Bryan Pham: Especially your story. I find it’s still compelling because you’re like a classic example of learning in your twenties, building your thirties, and enjoying your forties. That’s a concept that many younger people can’t grasp nowadays. Oh, why am I not achieving these successes?
[00:16:42] Bryan Pham: Why am I getting paid so little? Why am I getting responsibilities? I felt like you did pay your due, Vivian. And I want to hear about your time there. What did you learn and apply to your life, right?
[00:16:51] Vivian Tu: Yes, I always joke, so I have seen the YouTube videos that are like, why I left Buzzfeed, but I don’t have anything wrong to say.
[00:17:02] Vivian Tu: I know that’s not a sexy, fun, dramatic answer. But when I left JP Morgan to go to Buzzfeed, I was there because my first Asian female manager on Wall Street had a girlfriend. Who became my first manager at Buzzfeed, as I worked for two best friends. It was so funny. I had three managers while I was at Buzzfeed.
[00:17:24] Vivian Tu: I was there for almost four years. All of them were good. Everybody treated me with respect and kindness. I also felt fortunate. I was given many opportunities to succeed and raise myself to the next level. I was promoted. I was compensated fairly. I just really loved it there.
[00:17:42] Vivian Tu: I had such great friends at work. I wasn’t obligated to hang out with them outside of our work hours. I would be like, do you guys want to come over? Can we do something like, should we go to dinner? I think that’s a testament to the culture they are building there in terms of what I learned, like EV everything.
[00:17:59] Vivian Tu: I didn’t know anything about media, about tech, about social, like social, digital, anything. I joke about Your Rich BFF because it is a blending of my two children. I learned about personal finance and I learned about money and wealth. I learned about rich people when I was working on Wall street.
[00:18:18] Vivian Tu: That was a great education when I got to Buzzfeed. I learned about how social media works. How do people make money on the internet? What makes something a good piece of content? What are partners looking for when they sign brand deals? All of that knowledge put together was what helped me develop my brand.
[00:18:42] Vivian Tu: I do think that. Your rich BFF was like, I hate to be like, quoting slumdog millionaire, but like it’s destiny. I feel like I was destined to do this with the life experiences I came across because my career path is not traditional because of my terrible second manager on the wall. Because he said those nasty things to me, I left.
[00:19:09] Vivian Tu: And then, I had a great experience in tech and media, which made me want to go into that space on my own. So it was everything that happens for a reason. And I’m thankful for all of it.
[00:19:21] Maggie Chui: That’s incredible. I think Brian and I talk about this all the time. Many content creators who become successful put out one video, and it blows up.
[00:19:30] Maggie Chui: A lot of the time, it’s stuff that they learned from the past. Let’s say they had a YouTube channel, so they picked up on all those skills in the past that made them successful on TikTok right from the start. But we always see the first video, and we’re like, that just blew up.
[00:19:44] Maggie Chui: They got so successful so fast, but how did it happen? You picked up on so many things from Buzzfeed. You learned what makes content suitable and were able to apply it to something like your TikTok and your Instagram. I want to know that you were still working full-time when you first started.
[00:19:59] Maggie Chui: How did you manage your time? And you mentioned, like, you had to put out a piece of content, or you wanted to make it a goal to put out a piece of content every day. What was that like? How were you managing your time, and did you experience burnout?
[00:20:15] Bryan Pham: Yes. That’s why I want to ask you. I want to hear about how that affects your mental health. Put out content every single day.
[00:20:21] Vivian Tu: My mental health was terrible. I was burning the candle at both ends. I was exhausted. So I had my weekly nine-to-five at Buzzfeed. I’m also someone who is very much like a Pavlov dog. Like when I get a treat, I’m excited. Buzzfeed had a great system where I felt recognized and rewarded every time I did good work.
[00:20:40] Vivian Tu: So I never wanted to let my day job slip. I always ensured I was giving 110%, but I wasn’t doing any Your Rich BFF work Mondays through Fridays. I did all of my work on Saturdays. I would script out seven videos. And then, on Sundays, I would shoot all of them in a row. I would change my shirt to make it look like it was a different day.
[00:21:02] Vivian Tu: That was exhausting. It was truly exhausting to the point where I quit my job at the end of March this year by the end of it. I was like, I don’t like social media anymore. I don’t like Your Rich BFF. I don’t like working at Buzzfeed. I don’t like any of this. And in fact, I wanted all of it.
[00:21:23] Vivian Tu: That was the problem. I liked all of it too much. I think if I didn’t have Your Rich BFF, I would still be working at Buzzfeed. I had a great gig, a great manager, and a great team. But I chose to leave because I was getting emails for opportunities, podcasts, books, and a thousand different options that genuinely are once-in-a-lifetime people who only dream of getting these kinds of inbounds.
[00:21:50] Vivian Tu: I had to say no because I did not have an extra hour in the day to do it. I took a long, hard look at my life. And I was, in 30 years, when I’m sixty-ish, a little shy of 60. Am I going to look back on this moment and regret it? I felt like if I didn’t leave, the answer would be yes.
[00:22:12] Vivian Tu: I did a little thought, and I was like, digital media strategy, sales, add sales, brand partnership, sales, whatever you want to call it, is going to be hot forever. If, in a year or two, I flame out. Your Rich BFF goes crashing down. I could go back. I could try and find a similar job again; maybe even Busby would take me back.
[00:22:36] Vivian Tu: So that kind of gave me a little comfort knowing I was choosing the riskier route. I could potentially go back and get a regular job and have a great life, even if it didn’t work out. That is why I decided to.
[00:22:51] Bryan Pham: Yes. That is a compelling perspective. And again, the decision to leave is never easy.
[00:22:56] Bryan Pham: I feel it’s more emotional and financial, correct?
[00:22:59] Vivian Tu: No, it’s a sense of security. It was more emotional than financial. I’ll be totally honest with you. I had made a great living at Buzzfeed, truly a great living. I had been fortunate to set aside a lot of money and more cash than the average person should have on hand.
[00:23:17] Vivian Tu: It was like a savings goal. I said, when I have a hundred thousand dollars in this separate bank account, that’s not my regular checking or high-yield savings or anything like that. This is my yogurt BFF fund. When I have it, I’ll go. I had that when I left. So I knew that, even if I didn’t make any money, I wasn’t going to starve.
[00:23:36] Vivian Tu: I wasn’t going to be able to make rent. I wasn’t not going to be able to buy groceries, but it was more sudden. In our society, so much of our worth is tied to what we do for a living. Suddenly, my job was my face. If I do something wrong at work and have a terrible day, I can go home and be myself.
[00:23:57] Vivian Tu: But when I put out a piece of content, and it is 60 seconds of my mug, it’s a lot more personal.
[00:24:04] Bryan Pham: Let’s talk about that real quick. Sorry, Maggie.
[00:24:06] Maggie Chui: No, go ahead.
[00:24:07] Bryan Pham: Let’s talk about that real quick. That statement that in society, so much of your identity is tied to your job. Let’s dive deep into that for a bit because I think that’s how Maggie and I felt when we left our Johnson. For reference, I was a sophomore engineer for about ten years.
[00:24:22] Bryan Pham: It took a lot of pride and made a lot of money.
[00:24:23] Maggie Chui: Our parents were so happy.
[00:24:25] Bryan Pham: I took for granted the enormous amount of money during negotiation, like half a million, ah, try and call me, try to lowball me or what you know.
[00:24:33] Vivian Tu: Yes, exactly.
[00:24:34] Bryan Pham: Yes, and let’s talk about that real quick because I feel like, in life, we’re so much more than our job title.
[00:24:41] Bryan Pham: We’re so much more in the company we work for. We’re so much more than we’re as human beings. We’re primarily faceted. We’re good at a lot of different things. And I feel like you covered this topic for us because you first left this year, so it’s recent. That’s the challenge where many people want to be their child, especially with the great resignation.
[00:24:57] Bryan Pham: The thought of, oh no, I have a lot of friends that quit recently and keep texting me like, I’m worthless. Blah. I’m like, you’re not useless. I’m still saying that. I want to hear about your experience too. Like, how did you overcome the identity crisis that you had? Vivian, the superstar employee at Buzzfeed, and now Vivian, the content creator.
[00:25:15] Bryan Pham: How did you make that transition internally?
[00:25:18] Vivian Tu: Yes, so there’s a lot to unpack here. I’ll make some big statements here in our community regarding broad society. We equate someone’s net worth with how morally good they are. So if you have more money, we look at these people as better, smarter, faster, stronger, better. People with less money consider them worse like we’re less ethical and less trustworthy.
[00:25:50] Vivian Tu: They’re all these horrible things that we think about people who don’t have money. In reality, they are all people who don’t have money. I believe that is also why we tie so much value to what we do because it’s straightforward to lean on.
[00:26:05] Vivian Tu: Oh, I’m a software engineer, that means, you know what that means, I’m living well. I’m making multiple six figures, and I drive a nice car. I think we tie so much of our identities with that also because in the US, at least like, you spend most of your waking hours working.
[00:26:24] Vivian Tu: I think that’s problematic in multiple respects because we tie our entire lives to it versus it being like, this is what I do for money. And then, outside of that, I’m a person who has interests, hobbies, and things that I love. When I left Buzzfeed, it was a tough adjustment because unlike young, teeny BS, who has never had a corporate job before, they’re excited to tell people I’m an influencer.
[00:26:53] Vivian Tu: I was embarrassed to tell people that. Because I am, when I left, I was 27. Now I’m 28, and all of my friends have real jobs like they’re all finance people. They’re lawyers, and they’re doctors. They are engineers. They are people who, quote-unquote, have regular jobs.
[00:27:19] Vivian Tu: When we visit friends, there would be a third-degree connection, and they would be like, oh, what do you do? I would be like, oh, okay, how much time have you got? Because I didn’t want to say, hey, I’m an influencer, mainly because that word comes with a lot of negative connotations of people mistreating service workers or being disruptive in public.
[00:27:37] Vivian Tu: That’s not the type of creator that I am, but I was embarrassed that was my job title instead by, oh, I’m like a big-time partner, a significant time client partner at Buzzfeed, or oh, I’m a trader like, there’s just so much more Pana to those things. I’ve come to embrace it because I think about what I do and the type of life.
[00:27:59] Vivian Tu: It affords me one, but two. What my impact is like when I was trading on wall street, I was making very rich people richer. And when I was working in brand partnerships at Buzzfeed, I was making brands richer. And suddenly, in my current job, I get to help make everyday regular Joe Schmoes richer.
[00:28:22] Vivian Tu: That’s awesome. One, first and foremost. I think about it, and I’m like, I get to wake up casually at 9:00 AM. I put on a pair of leggings, and I work by being on social media. Some people would kill to have that job, and I make great money doing that. And so, it’s a triple threat.
[00:28:45] Vivian Tu: I get to help people. I get to pay to do what I love, and I get to control. What my brand becomes is no ceiling, no roof. I decided I would be the person making all the calls.
[00:29:00] Maggie Chui: Yes, I think that’s a great point you make because I feel like many gen Zs do grow up in a generation where it’s normal to be an influencer.
[00:29:11] Maggie Chui: Everyone wants to be an influencer these days, and it’s normal. They grew up in a generation that was filled with so much text and so much social media. So for them to say, I’m an influencer, I’m a social media content creator, like everyone is, oh, that’s so amazing, especially in that age group. But we grew up in a generation where our parents always told us we have to get a regular job or else we would not succeed.
[00:29:36] Maggie Chui: That’s what they tell us because that’s all they know. And so, we grow up with that mindset. I feel like Brian, and I also go through the same things. When we quit our jobs to do AHN, our parents didn’t know what that was, so they worried about us. Brian mentioned that his parents weren’t talking to him for a couple of months, and my parents did the same thing.
[00:29:56] Maggie Chui: They had no idea how to make money on social media. It’s interesting to see that dynamic and the difference between the different generations. But, indeed, it’s just the mindset that you have to get over, right? Like the triple threat that you mentioned, there are so many benefits to being a content creator.
[00:30:15] Maggie Chui: It’s not just being a content creator; you’re helping so many people and changing lives for so many people. Not only for wealthy people but especially for regular people who need access to that information the most and wouldn’t otherwise get it. I do want to know if you mentioned your face being the brand. In those cases, your accomplishments, failures, and struggles can affect you much more when your face is the brand, right? Yes, because, especially with a large following, you get direct comments saying you’re good at this.
[00:30:48] Maggie Chui: You’re not good at this. That can affect us so much worse than, let’s say, if you’re in a role at your nine to five, only your manager will tell you, you’re not doing good at something, right? And so, for you to have that sort of exposure, did you experience a lot of discrimination being a woman? Especially a woman of color in this industry that is so male-dominated, talking about personal finance, a topic that can also be a very touchy subject for many.
[00:31:17] Maggie Chui: I want to know, what were some of the comments you don’t have to discuss? Did you go and experience some discrimination?
[00:31:23] Vivian Tu: Yes. At 100%, and at first, it bothered me. But what was so funny is I always joke that if we’re fighting on the internet, we are losers, but only one of us is getting paid to do it.
[00:31:39] Vivian Tu: I’m the one making money when people leave me nasty comments because that ups my engagement. And you know what it does? It pushes it out to more people. I have gotten comments saying, oh, look at this girl who just discovered trading yesterday and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
[00:31:53] Vivian Tu: And it’s awkward for you because I traded for a living, and you have no idea what you’re talking about. I love those moments to be a clap back because not only is that a way to remind weenies that they cannot come for your girl. They can’t make these statements without consequences, but also it helps me find my audience because when young women, LGBTQ youth, and people of color see me as not afraid, see me not backing down from these losers, they want to follow me.
[00:32:24] Vivian Tu: They want to watch my content because they’re like, this girl will come for you if you do not get in line. It’s a fantastic opportunity. I think the funniest, meanest, not meanest, but most amusing insult I’ve ever called was some guy who was like, yeah, look at this little rice bowl. I was like, is that supposed to be an insult?
[00:32:43] Vivian Tu: The funniest part is my audience is so awesome, and the BFFs are so protective of me. I, the people in my comments, cyberbullied this person until he deleted his comment. It was so embarrassing for him to show that he was just a blatant racist, and my audience was not going to put up with that.
[00:33:04] Vivian Tu: So I feel fortunate to have such a strong, thoughtful, caring community behind me. But yes, it did impact me. Of course, I’m a human being. I still read comments, and I’m like, that’s not nice, as you are making content for longer and longer, you see this, you see it.
[00:33:22] Vivian Tu: You’re like, oh, that’s a good one. I haven’t seen that one before. Just kidding, I’ve seen it 800 times. This doesn’t bother me. The first time STS was the worst. But then, every time after that, it gets a little easier, and you’re like engagement’s engagement. I am very lucky. My content does resonate with a lot of people across a lot of different demographics.
[00:33:39] Vivian Tu: For the most part, I would say 90% of the comments I get are overwhelmingly positive. Most of the time, often just wow, thank you. Also, I have a question, and I love that because those questions are how I develop more content.
[00:33:53] Bryan Pham: I’m glad you have a strong community that backs you up, right? That is important as you’re all human. As much as people give you advice, ignore the haters. It’s all about algorithms. It does drag you down a bit. It just drags down the mood.
[00:34:05] Vivian Tu: I hate when people are like this. But I hate when people just ignore the haters, and I’m like, oh wow.
[00:34:10] Vivian Tu: I’m cured. Oh, okay. I didn’t think of that. I’m trying it. I’m an average person. My feelings are hurt.
[00:34:16] Bryan Pham: Well, we’re part of the community in the back studio. So next time someone comments, you’ll be darned when the blue check mark says something about it. What are you doing to my Rich BFF?
[00:34:25] Vivian Tu: Yes, exactly.
[00:34:27] Bryan Pham: The next part, I want to ask a few fun questions, right? I want to ask about how your life has changed over the last few months and being exposed to so much fame that you can’t even walk down the street or eat anywhere while people recognize you.
[00:34:41] Vivian Tu: That is quite a generous life.
[00:34:42] Vivian Tu: That’s very generous of you. But I do think it’s humbling and flattering when someone stops me on the street and is, oh my God, are you my Rich BFF? I’m like, I am, and it’s so lovely. I love it. I love when people stop me. I love taking photos with BFFs because it is so funny.
[00:35:02] Vivian Tu: I went to a wedding dress shopping with my childhood best friend. As we were walking out of the bridal boutique, someone was there. A girl was there with her mom and asked, ” Are you Your Rich BFF? And her mom has tried to work up the courage to say something for the past 10 minutes.
[00:35:20] Vivian Tu: And I was like, oh my gosh. Just say hi, like I’m an average regular person. Hug me, and that is so awesome. There are some drawbacks. I can no longer publicly pick wedges because I don’t want people to say, wow, you’re Your Rich BFF. That’s awkward. But for the most part, it’s completely awesome.
[00:35:37] Vivian Tu: I love that. I love how they come up to you and say are you Your Rich BFF?
[00:35:42] Vivian Tu: Yes, I don’t go by my username, but Your Rich BFF, I love that. I love it.
[00:35:48] Maggie Chui: I do have one question that I want to know, what has been the most touching story from one of your followers? Is there one story that you particularly remember where they were just like, you changed my life, and I am like, I’m so grateful for you? Is there one story that you can think of?
[00:36:03] Vivian Tu: Yes, so I made a post about missing money.com, and it’s essentially a website, a governmental site that likes to get money if people forget about it.
[00:36:14] Vivian Tu: So that’s like rental security deposits, like insurance payouts, anything that, if that company couldn’t find you, will contact you and give you your money. They are legally obligated to hand it over to the government. The government tries to have this database so that you can find your money.
[00:36:28] Vivian Tu: I had someone DM me and say that she went onto this website because she looked up her name and found that her late partner, who had passed away, unfortunately, had a life insurance policy that she didn’t know about. And when she went to the site, she entered her information. They said here’s the money you’re owed. I can’t remember what she said, but it was close to almost a million dollars and a life-changing sum of money for her.
[00:37:03] Vivian Tu: And she DM’d me, and she was like. You changed my life. I started crying. I couldn’t contain myself. I was like, wow if there was ever a purpose for Your Rich BFF, this is it. This person already suffered this tragedy, but now that she has a lot more financial security may be able to put a down payment for a home to pay off debt.
[00:37:30] Vivian Tu: Invest. Save it. It made me happy.
[00:37:34] Maggie Chui: Wow. That’s very touching. I got almost teary-eyed, and you are changing so many people’s lives, Vivian. It’s just incredible what you’ve been doing. So I just wanted to commend you for that and thank you so much for sharing that story.
[00:37:50] Vivian Tu: Of course.
[00:37:51] Maggie Chui: Thank you. So, Vivian, we want to ask. We’re nearing the end of the podcast, so we want to know what is next for you for the next five years. What do you see in the future for Your Rich BFF?
[00:38:04] Vivian Tu: Yes, I think this is just the beginning. I’ve only been at this full-time for four or five months.
[00:38:11] Vivian Tu: But I would love to be able to delve into other mediums. Some people are just not social media people. I want to write a book. There are people out there who want longer content. I’m trying to create some. I would love to come to Netflix, HBO, Max, Hulu, Amazon, and your TV. I want people to be able to be good with money, and I think it shouldn’t be as hard as it is today.
[00:38:38] Maggie Chui: We’re so excited about your upcoming plans, Vivian. I guess we’ll end it with one final question, but that would be, if you could give one piece of advice to someone who’s just trying to get started in financial literacy, trying to dive into learning more about personal finance, what would that one advice?
[00:38:58] Vivian Tu: The easiest thing to do to be better with money is to talk to other people about money. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I think one thing that we all struggle with is the taboo around talking about finances. We’ve been told it’s rude. It’s tacky. It’s gross. It’s not what we need to be talking to each other about. How much are we making? What are we spending?
[00:39:27] Vivian Tu: What kind of rates, quotes, or costs are we getting from financial institutions like banks? We need to talk about these things because we joke that every friend I know is currently in Italy. Why don’t you ask one of your friends? How did they pay for it? Did they fly first class?
[00:39:46] Vivian Tu: They had credit card points and got a great deal because that helps you frame what that means. It enables you to realize that your money goals are much more accessible than you previously thought.
[00:39:59] Maggie Chui: That’s excellent advice, Vivian. Many people don’t realize that there are many opportunities to save money because they just don’t have one. The knowledge or access to it, otherwise, if they were able to get access to it we would all be saving a lot more money because we just probably don’t know about those opportunities and those options.
[00:40:17] Maggie Chui: And so, talking about that with your friends, with your peers, just to get started in those conversations is a really good starting point. Many people are afraid to start those conversations because we always hear money is the root of all evil, but that’s not true. And so, we have to start those conversations.
[00:40:35] Maggie Chui: So Vivian, thank you so much for being on our podcast. Where can our listeners find out more about you and Your Rich BFF?
[00:40:44] Vivian Tu: You can find me as Your Rich BFF across all social media and at www.yourrichbff.com.
[00:40:51] Maggie Chui: Awesome. We’ll leave all of that in the show notes. Vivian, thank you so much for being on the podcast.
[00:40:56] Maggie Chui: We had a fantastic time learning about your story today.
[00:40:59] Vivian Tu: Thank you so much for having me.
[00:41:01] Bryan Pham: Awesome. Thank you so much.