Tonya Rapley on Becoming The Millennial Money Expert
An in-depth interview with the nationally recognized financial advisor on key financial tips for black millennials.
If you’re looking to to create a financial lifestyle that is as fabulous as yourself, then nationally recognized financial advisor and founder of My Fab Finance Tonya Rapley is the right person to help you.
“My Fab Finance actually started as kind of my place to explore what I was learning about personal finance,” Rapley said. “I felt like I couldn’t identify with a lot of the financial experts out there because I felt like they didn't understand my demographic and I felt like they weren’t fabulous.”
Rapley began building My Fab Finance while working two full time jobs and attending graduate school at Brooklyn College in New York. During that time, it came to a point where My Fab Finance was generating enough revenue to allow her to resign from her nine to five job and pursue her business full time.
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“I’m a champion of black women,” Rapley said. “I’m a champion of us because I know what our experience is. I know how it feels to be overlooked and to feel like an afterthought. I know how it feels to feel invisible as a black woman and I want them to know, like, ‘No I see you and I’m doing things specifically for you, with you in mind. Like I got you girl’ and that’s really important to me because I feel like we don’t always have that.”
“I lived in New York City and I went to apply for an apartment and I was denied because of my credit score and I needed to get a cosigner,” Rapley said. “It was just ridiculous. I think they wanted my parents to pay like $18,000 or something like that in order to sign on for a place for me. I was like, ‘No I’m an adult.’ I went to college and I felt like I did everything I was supposed to do, but yet I still can’t make adult decisions without my parents.”
“The good thing about money is that it takes on the habits of its holder,” Rapley said. “If you’re using it responsibly and making smart decisions with it then it will work in your favor. But, if you’re making bad decisions, it won’t work in your favor. I think it's just the matter of when you decide to. Even someone in retirement can make a decision to be smarter with their money.”
The biggest mistakes Rapley said she’s witnessed millennials make is living above their means and allowing social media to influence them to do that. Also, using credit cards and forms of debt to bridge the gap between their actual life and their ideal life. She sees the problem of millennials becoming detached from their money because of technology and apps as well.
Rapley suggests millennials to take advantage of workplace investment opportunities, invest in a company’s stock sharing program and know their numbers, such as how much debt they have, their credit score and their monthly overhead.
“There’s so many great resources on YouTube,” Rapley said. “Seek and you will find, and I think a lot of people don’t. Just the way we research plane tickets, the way we research finding good deals, or getting the best seats at an upcoming Jay-Z or Beyonce’ concert, you can do the same thing and research investment strategies.”
Rapley stated she made a post not too long ago about how 85 percent of our purchases are on goods that are unusable within three years. She said it is best to start making smarter purchases and buying things that we can pass down to our kids and delay instant gratification for long-term satisfaction.
“It fuels me inspiring other people to pursue their dreams and to realize that just because you didn't go to an Ivy league institution or you don't have access to these networks or you’re not the typical success story, it doesn’t mean that you can’t become that,” Rapley said.
If you’re looking for a resource to help you through your financial journey this year, My Fab Finance has the proper resources to help you become well equipped. Resources include online courses, a free E-book and Fab Finance TV.