Vivian Tu, the founder of Your Rich BFF, was a millionaire before the age of 30. Specifically, it was at the age of 27 that she became a part of the club. The Instagram and TikTok personal finance influencer looks to have a seemingly perfect life as she doles out viral advice quips day after day to her engaged followers, but she will be the first to tell you her journey was not easy. Yes, she had the fancy Wall Street and tech jobs, but she dealt with some toxic bosses a long the way. She had a beautiful downtown apartment, which turned out to be infested with cockroaches, so she had to break her lease, costing her $8,000. She has fancy designer outfits, but she also budgeted and lived below her means throughout her 20s to do that.

She talked about her journey in a panel at the CNBC Women & Wealth 2024 conference this week. “What I focused on is elevating how much money I was bringing home and then making sure to spend as little as possible and investing the difference. So when I was working on Wall Street, I wasn’t making as much money as people like to believe, but I started to develop those healthy money habits. So that when I elevated my career to the next phase and started working in tech, and I was taking home you know, much, much larger chunks, I was still living below my means, and then investing that larger portion of difference.”

The author of the best-seller Rich AF: The Winning Money Mindset That Will Change Your Life left her job on Wall Street for a tech marketing role with BuzzFeed. When her coworkers got wind of her financial background they turned to her for money advice. Cue the COVID pandemic and Tu starts seeing some bad financial advice circulating on social media. She decided to take matters into her own hands with money tips that have worked for her. Now as the CEO and founder of Your Rich BFF Media she has 2.2 million Instagram followers and 672,000 YouTube subscribers.

We have put a list of her best tips, which you probably haven’t heard before and that she shared at the conference (as well as a few bonus ones) for you to start using now to build wealth.

1. Consistent raises and investments: Tu advocates for regularly negotiating for higher pay, aiming for a 10 to 15% raise annually. She stresses the significance of investing any additional income to build wealth over time. “I continue to ask for more and more money every single year,” she said at the conference.

2. Learn from mistakes: Tu acknowledges her past financial missteps, such as overspending to impress others. “I was spending money that I didn’t have on things I didn’t need to impress people I didn’t like. But ultimately, as I was able to get my finances in check, I realized that I was going to be better off putting that money away.”

3. Mentorship matters: Tu credits her first manager on Wall Street as a significant influence on her financial journey. She learned valuable lessons about wealth-building, including the importance of emergency funds.

“She was the first time I ever saw another Asian woman who was not only successful, strong, passionate, but also frankly, wealthy. And I wanted to be just like her I wanted to wear cute designer clothes like her I wanted to have a nice apartment like her and I certainly wanted to be like her for very shallow reasons at the beginning. But I was very lucky that over time she took me under her wing, and really showed me how to build wealth for things that you can’t necessarily see, such as making sure that I had a very chock-full emergency fund, being able to treat my parents to nice things, and really building the life that I wanted. So shout out Jean, thank you so much for everything.”

4. Generational mindset shift: Tu contrasts her parents’ scarcity mindset with her manager’s wealth-building approach. She highlights the shift in attitudes towards money, emphasizing the need for women, especially first-generation immigrants, to embrace strategies for wealth creation rather than just saving.

“My parents were very, very big savers. They would keep money hidden around the house. But there was never a conversation around actually building that nest egg or building my wealth. So I learned very early on how to budget how to save always been a big saver. But when it comes to actually investing and making the most of my money, I was very much of the camp of scrimping and saving versus just creating more wealth by asking for more money every single year and actually putting that money into hard work.”

5. Democratizing Financial Education: Tu encourages open conversations about money, advocating for the democratization of financial knowledge through social media. She said at CNBC, “We’ve been told for so long that it is rude and tacky and tagging to do so. But we forget that people who have money love talking about it. They’re on the golf course teeing off talking about their portfolio or what real estate investments they’re making, how much they’re setting aside for their kids college fund. They love talking about money. So what makes it rude for two young women of color who don’t have any to be talking about it?”

A recent survey from Wells Fargo found that women would rather talk about sex than money because they consider it to be a personal topic. Tu also said, “I also think talking about money helps to set a much more realistic expectation of what is feasible. I always like to call the summer you know, how can my friends afford this vacation season? And it’s a lot easier when you ask them. What are they making? How are they negotiating? How much they’re rented if they’re getting any help, and frankly, how they’re reporting that vacation or they travel hacking.”

6. Travel Hack to save money: And speaking of travel hacking, Tu has some incredible and verified tips to save money on all your travels. In January she shared a hack for cardholders of American Express Delta SkyMiles credit cards. Cardholders accumulate SkyMiles through regular spending on their credit cards. These miles can be earned not only through Delta purchases but also through everyday spending on the card. Instead of redeeming miles directly for flights through Delta’s traditional redemption process, cardholders can opt to use their miles to offset the cost of flights through the Pay with Miles program. This program allows cardholders to redeem miles for statement credits toward eligible Delta purchases, including flights. When booking a Delta flight through the airline’s website or mobile app, cardholders can choose to apply their miles to the purchase. The miles are then converted into statement credits, which reduce the total cost of the flight.

@yourrichbff @Vivian Your Rich BFF wants to help you save HUNDREDS on your flight plans this year! ✈️ #money #finance #travel #traveltips #traveler #travelling #flight #delta #jetblue #americanairlines #southwest #budget #budgeting #savemoney #vpn #instatravel #moneymaker #moneymindset ♬ original sound – Vivian | Your Rich BFF

7. Smart Credit Card Management:Tu advises on leveraging credit cards wisely to maximize benefits while avoiding debt traps. She emphasizes the importance of understanding interest rates, rewards programs, and responsible spending habits to avoid accumulating high-interest debt.

She recently told Pure Wow that the best thing you can do is select a credit card that suits your lifestyle and spending habits to maximize rewards. Also focus on using credit cards for everyday purchases, especially in categories that offer the highest rewards or cash back. This approach can help you accumulate points or cash back faster. For example, utilizing cards like the Wells Fargo Active Cash card or the Wells Fargo Reflect card for everyday purchases in high-reward categories can expedite the accumulation of points or cash back.

8. Don’t just rely on social media for financial advice: Even though she is giving financial advice on social media and a lot of people are listening, she wants people to also do their research. “I always say anything you see online, make sure that you can then go back and find other reputable sources that corroborate that statement. And on top of that, anything anyone said makes you feel kind of weird in the pit of your stomach, then, it’s not for you. Don’t worry about it. I just think that there is a lot of good information out there and it would be a shame to not be accessing.”

This is supported by a recent Credello survey of 1000 people who use TikTok found that 66% of respondents conduct additional research when encountering personal finance advice on social media.

9. Confidence in financial management: Despite societal narratives suggesting otherwise, Tu emphasizes that women are just as capable as men in managing their finances. “I think it is such a shame that women are no less confident with their money, because the actual stats tell a completely different story. First and foremost, women have less debt across every single category except for student loan debt. Then, on top of that more single women in all the key states on homes than single men and finality even there’s a study that showed that women’s portfolios typically outperform men.”