V Interesting

V in D.C., Christmas Creeps Closer, Our Rich BFF

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That’s right — the White House invited V back! They recap their experience in D.C., where it was made clear that TikTokers continue to be central to education and engagement. V also breaks down the business of Girl Scouts, plus why retailers are embracing the holidays even earlier this year. Then, they chat with a guest who’s right on the money: TikTok’s “Rich BFF” Vivian Tu! Boasting credentials like owning a $2M NYC apartment, Vivian comes armed with tons of tips for making money work for you.

Follow Vivian at @yourrichbff on TikTok and @your.richbff on Instagram.

Keep up with V on TikTok at @underthedesknews and on Twitter at @VitusSpehar. And stay up to date with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @LemonadaMedia.

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V Spehar, Vivian Tu

V Spehar  00:00

Hey friends, it’s Tuesday, November 1st 2021, welcome to be interesting, where we break down the viral and very interesting news you might have missed. I’m V Spehar and today I’m back in DC baby. I have all the details and takeaways from my second trip to the White House. I’ll fill you in on what went down and why it should be top of mind for you and legacy news publications. Plus, where’s all the money going in youth sports and in the Girl Scouts and speaking of money will then be joined by Vivian Tu the Wizard of Wall Street who wants to help you get your money in order all that more on today’s be interesting from Lemonada Media. Let’s be smart together You guys remember that once in a lifetime trip to meet the President that I took a couple of weeks ago? Well, that has since turned into V. We need you back in DC right now. This time Pheidon invited me and seven other creators directly to the Oval Office where Yes, I did get to check out under the desk vibes of the resolute desk. pics are coming to my Instagram if you want to see me do my best JFK Jr. impersonation. It was quite the experience. I was joined by creators Maddie Westbrook cat Wellington, Australian Popstar turned newly minted US citizen Indiana Massara. Sports Illustrated rookie Model of the Year Olivia Ponton singer, Mona Swain, former Dance Moms star and top of the pyramid […] and Dr. Jennifer Lincoln an OBGYN and author who was recently reposted by the Vice President and we’re actually going to have Jen on the show on Friday to talk more about her experience as a frontline OBGYN activist. Now the trip is all playing out on TikTok so you can watch it there. I was there to watch Biden get his updated COVID vaccine, which the Surgeon General and Dr. Fauci told me it will be an annual thing. So you can start to think of it like a flu shot. Also note this winter is going to be brutal. The current strain is a real nasty one. Natalie just got over it. And it was 11 days of hell truly. Now, I didn’t get COVID. But I maybe had a little touch of the flu, which is why the news is so delightfully raspy today. So please take care of yourself. Be cautious. And if you can get the updated COVID vaccine, I did. And again, I never got COVID. So I recommend it. But again, talk to your doctor, do what’s right for you. Okay. What I do want to know about this visit was the way that legacy media responded to the DNC D Triple C and Biden himself taking time out to meet with, quote, influencers, which unsurprisingly, they were not that kind about. We were met with skepticism and a bit of an upturned nose from legacy media. And that’s fine. You know, the thing I keep hearing from them, and even some out of the loop politicians is yeah, okay, you’ve got a big audience, but they’re all children, how many can actually vote? My guy. Listen to this. Tik Tok has about 80 million monthly active users in the United States. Okay, that’s like a little shy of a third of the country. Name one other media outlet with that kind of reach. 80% of those people are between the ages of 16 and 34. These are voting age people. Okay? The fastest growing demographic of people joining the app is users over 40. So if you still think this is a children’s dancing app, you are just embarrassingly wrong. At this point, we got to quit thinking of it like that. The average TikToker spends a whopping 95 minutes a day on tick tock more than any other app, the app is opened eight times a day by users on average, and 83% of users have made a tick tock themself. That’s because this is a community space, not just a social media place. It is a place of conversation and participation. 1/3 of TikTok users say they regularly get their news from the app. This is according to New Pew Research. So this is some legit statistics here. And this statistic has been met with us enough from those not on the app. But if you’re listening to me here, I’m going to go ahead and assume that you already know why folks would go to tick tock for their news, right. Washington Post’s themselves has an account. The LA Times has an account that I started. There’s good morning bad news. There’s man news. There’s the fish from SpongeBob that does the news. There’s the pocket report that today’s show is on Tik Tok.

V Spehar  04:31

Rachel Maddow WBZ Boston, hundreds of local newspapers, student run magazines for universities and other political TikTokers are getting leaks directly from candidates. They are breaking stories and holding livestream debates. TikTok is the moment and that’s why it makes sense that Biden would have invited the most in touch and influential people on the app to a conversation about voting vaccines and civility, right?. Between the seven influencers. Biden invited to the Oval Office we have 67 million total followers racking up hundreds of millions of likes and views per day. There isn’t a media outlet in the world that has that kind of eyeballs on them. And these kids, if you want to call them that, they really do feel the weight and responsibility of the platform they command. There were several discussions about how to make sure that they were giving the most up to date and accurate information and the content that they were creating. There was a deep and profound respect for learning about the history of government and how democracy works. When we were on the Capitol tour even. The Washington Post asked me for a quote, and then they didn’t use it. So here it is for you guys. The question was, what do you think about TikTok as a credible platform? And why do you use this platform? Here’s what I said. I greatly appreciate the time I spent in legacy media as a contributor and it was an honor to be trusted as the face of the LA Times TikTok. But from what I’ve come to learn about media, it is undeniable that the path to building a more informed welcomed and politically educated public can be done well via a personalized channel on TikTok. My editors, fact checkers, critics, collaborators and supporters are my followers. Social media is a place where we can welcome people back to the conversation. As far as Biden inviting us to the White House. To me, it’s clear that this administration is finally embracing, quote, meeting people where they are at the average person, not just young Americans is spending more time on their four year pages than on the front pages. To deny that fact is to give up on the principles of democracy we claim to protect and promote as journalists. So that’s why I do this. It’s making a difference. It is helping people. And if that means having to endure being called an influencer to keep doing it. Well slay.

V Spehar  06:35

On the topic of civic engagement with the youths, my old pals, the Girl Scouts were in the news recently, the 110 year old organization just got a huge gift from MacKenzie Scott. You’ll know her as the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, and she donated a total of $84.5 million to the national organization and a bunch of its local outposts as well. Now you might be thinking, do the Girl Scouts really need that much money? Haven’t Girl Scouts been out there every spring raking in big bucks with their cookie sales? All right, slow down pal. First of all, customers can only buy cookies from Girl Scouts themselves. They aren’t sold in stores or on third party sites. And we’ve been living through a pandemic. So those in person sales have been harder to come by. And even if all of those scouts were out there girl Boston to get cookies to customers, they’d still be at a disadvantage. There haven’t been as many scouts to support the effort. The Associated Press reports that nationwide Girl Scout membership dropped by about 30% from 2019 to 2022. Now get this, all of the revenue from Girl Scout Cookies stays in the areas that made the sales. And for some troops. Those sales alone make up more than 60% of their annual budget, which is used for things like trainings and the upkeep of wilderness camps. So for troop hasn’t been doing so hot because of the reasons I mentioned, that directly results in less money for programming going forward, which means fewer kids might sign up the next year. It is all cyclical. Like I said, cookie sales are a significant portion of the local budget for Girl Scouts, but it’s just a portion. They need donors that fill in the rest. And some troops have trouble getting that funding because of misconceptions about that cookie sale. I mean, I don’t blame you. If you thought at $5 a box the Girl Scouts would be sitting on a not so thin mint of cash you would be wrong they are not. And that is why the work they do is so important. At its core Girl Scouts is a leadership organization. It aims to help scouts develop a strong sense of self positive values a desire to seek challenges, healthy relationships, and community problem solving skills. In surveys girl scouts report measurably higher amounts of these skills. And success isn’t specific to one demographic.

V Spehar  08:49

They found that all scouts are equally likely to reach these outcomes regardless of socioeconomic status, race or zip code. And that is very cool. Cookie sales address a few goals beyond these core ones like money management and developing people skills. And when your old pal V was in the Girl Scouts as a kid, I crushed the cookie selling game. I’m pretty sure it set me up to be the legendary Bath and Bodyworks employee that I became like I mentioned in last Friday’s episode about malls. I’m sure being a girl scout had something to do with the success of other alums to leaders like Serena and Venus Williams were scouts and even Taylor Swift donned the infamous green sash. Okay, all of this is great, but as I mentioned, the Girl Scouts have some logistical challenges. For example, the Girl Scouts Council of southern Arizona serves seven counties in their troops. The Council of central and western Massachusetts serves six but Arizona’s counties covers so much more square mileage that makes the act of reaching recruiting and retaining members a whole different beast than in a smaller state. That’s why it’s so impactful that MacKenzie Scott gave nearly 30 local branches a share of her donation including that Southern Arizona branch they’ve plan to use the money specifically for outreach and transportation so that kids can get more involved. Those kids will probably end up selling cookies, which will bring in more money, and then the programs can continue to grow. So yeah, it all comes back to cookies, but not in the way you might have thought. So come this spring, consider what it would mean to buy some cookies from a local troop. Or if you can’t find a local girl scout or they’re not like walking around your neighborhood. You can go to the Girl Scouts app. Yes, each local troop sort of matriculates up into this big girl scouts app so that you can buy your cookies globally, but have them delivered locally. I don’t know they got it figured out. In the meantime, here’s hoping you’ve got a box a thin mints in the freezer to keep you satisfied till then.

V Spehar  10:42

Sometimes when youth and leadership are in the same sentence, it is not a good thing. A story has been unfolding in Bend Oregon about an executive director allegedly stealing from the kids soccer club that she oversaw. This story was first circulated by local reporters. The big accusation is that terrible Lansky pocketed over $80,000 in unapproved pay from the organization. But she’s also accused of taking internal documents and private information to help her create a rival soccer club. Whether or not any of the charges are true, she did indeed start that new club and now they are both up and running in Bend, Oregon. This is an ongoing case. The reason it’s making waves right now is because the story was just picked up by the Washington Post. And they were able to connect some dots. And this is not an isolated incident. This year alone. Founders treasures and board members of youth sports groups have been accused of stealing money. It happened in Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan and Virginia. And in the past few years that we know of cases in Washington, Pennsylvania and New Jersey to do you remember this happening in your youth group? I mean, I do I remember back in the 90s there was a huge scandal in my tiny town because somebody had like stolen all the money from Pop Warner cheerleading, which if it was happening that long ago, and it’s still happening today, can you imagine how many people have been affected. As the post story points out right now there is no centralized way to track these specific crimes. So we don’t actually know if fraud and embezzlement happens more in youth organizations than elsewhere. What we can say though, is that lack of oversight is par for the course in youth sports. Internally, lots of these organizations are not set up to track things the way that a long standing business would be. Youth Sports in the US really only became big business in the last few decades. And as you might expect, their financial systems and leadership have not fully caught up. Yet. They continue to pull in money because they offer something that standard school affiliated teams don’t. offseason games and special camps give kids professional training, and more practice time. In addition to paying for their kids to join these teams, families might book private lessons or buy at Home equipment as well. So it’s pulling in a lot of money. Youth sports are estimated to be a $19.2 billion industry. In recent years, tons of sources have offered tips about protecting this industry. They’re hoping to prevent the next case of fraud. Directors, coaches and parents can do trainings to become certified treasurer’s, they can implement strategies from other fields too, think moving away from the PTO model where one person handles all the money because there’s a lot of money to handle and structuring youth sports leagues like many LLCs. This is especially important if folks are volunteers. Even though youth sports make a ton of money and an individual organization might only have a couple of employees. The rest are all volunteers. We’re going to talk a whole lot more about money later in this episode with our friend Vivian Tu. She’s got some juicy tips as a former Wall Street trader and as a former youth, so you’ll definitely want to stick around for that. And just like that, it’s November 1st.

V Spehar  13:50

Which means it’s Christmas, at least in many retail stores. And here in my house where we’ve already started watching Hallmark movies, and I’m telling you friends it’s even more intense this year than usual. Even if you don’t want to enter a time warp every time you shop. This is how it goes. As soon as Halloween is over Christmas begins. Displays are converted overnight, usually skipping the less marketable Thanksgiving wares. And all this might even go down before Halloween actually happens. This phenomenon is called Christmas creep, a term that was coined in the 1980s, reporter used it to describe how Santa had shown up a little too early for some people’s liking. Despite that, the trend has stuck around and for good reason. It’s apparently bad business to do it any differently. Sure, twinkle lights will enrage some customers if they see them in September, but there’ll be the first thing that other customers grab. But doesn’t it feel like it’s happening even earlier this year? Well, that’s because it is, the pandemic serves a whole slew of complications to retail and the result is an even earlier holiday season for stores. This year, Amazon, Walmart and Target all started their holiday deals in early October. What a generous offer you might have thought, but it’s never that simple. In this case, tons of stores have surplus products that they ordered just in case there were more COVID related delays, then supply chain started unclogging in recent weeks, so retailers were suddenly stuck with a ton of stuff, and they just want it gone. So they’re offering big discounts. You might also notice that some of this inventory isn’t exactly new products are a little older, graphic tees might be slightly behind the times, because in addition to the products that retailers ordered for this holiday season, there are all the products that actually got stuck in the supply chain over the last couple of years. They finally arrived, and retailers are swimming in it. So they’re just putting it out on the shelves. So yes, Christmas starts now. Just submit put up your tree and have yourself a merry little two months of cookies, twinkle lights and holiday movie nights. All right, we’re gonna take a quick break to get started on that letter to Santa. But after the break, I’m going to chat with Vivian Tu, your rich BFF about all things money, you’ll want to stay tuned.

V Spehar  16:23

Welcome back friends, I am joined today by Vivian Tu aka your rich BFF and your favorite Wall Street girly. Vivian is a powerhouse of financial advice and money hacks on TikTok, and I am glad to have been able to have met her in person when we were at the White House the first time to learn about the impact of the inflation Reduction Act. What I love about Vivian is her ability to make money less scary, and financial literacy suck less. And that’s what we do here at Lemonada. So let’s get into it. Vivian, welcome to the show, friend.

Vivian Tu  16:52

Thank you so much for having me.

V Spehar  16:54

Sometimes we’ll ask like what makes you an expert here, but you just bought a $2.4 million apartment in New York City and I saw the home tour on your channel. So I’m thinking that should like qualify enough buying a house in this economy? How did you do it?

Vivian Tu  17:10

Yeah, I mean, I think I started my career trading equities, aka stocks on Wall Street, I pivoted into the tech and media space, I actually worked as a digital media sales strategist. And what people find to be really funny is that I didn’t actually make a lot of my money on Wall Street, I made most of my money through sales. And with that money, I was able to work with my partner, and we bought our home in New York City. I feel very, very lucky. We definitely got one of the last COVID deals we bought at the end of 2021. When mortgage rates had a two handle on them, we got a COVID deal. And you know, the housing market has truly just changed drastically in a year’s time.

V Spehar  17:55

Yes, because where are we at now with buying a house, it’s cuckoo bananas out there.

Vivian Tu  18:00

It is absolutely cuckoo bananas. So as the Fed has been raising rates, which is just a fancy way of them saying like they’re making it more expensive for banks to borrow money from each other. That changes interest rates across the board, whether that’s mortgages, car loans, your credit card interest rates, and mortgages now are sitting somewhere between six and 7% for a 30 year fixed, which is scary. That is three times what mortgages were about a year ago. And because of that, home prices are starting to taper. So while homes are actually becoming more quote unquote, affordable in price, your monthly payment is actually higher because of the mortgage interest rate and the terms on those mortgages being very different.

V Spehar  18:51

So for folks who are looking to buy a home, like what would kind of be your advice to them right now wait a little bit or just they need to think more bigger picture just because the price went down? Does it mean that the overall price went down?

Vivian Tu  19:04

Yeah, so I think the price of a home and the mortgage rate that you’re likely going to get are always going to be two levers that change in turn with each other. Right now, I think the phrase that people in the industry love is that you’re dating your braid, but you are marrying your home. So truly find a home that you love, that you can see yourself in for at least five to seven years because that’s what’s going to make those closing costs and those one-time friction costs worth it. And once you find that place right now, buyers are going to have more negotiating power than they did last year. Don’t be shy about putting in an offer that is below ask, you know make a plea be like hey like caveat if you like I recognize that this is a beautiful home. This is a little bit above our budget at the top end of our budget. However, we did want to put an offer because we love the place so much such, caveat it, don’t offend anybody, but put in an offer that is competitive. And then what you’re going to do when you’re shopping for your mortgage, even regardless of where mortgage rates are at, you need to be shopping around in multiple different places. I love calling this like the bachelor of mortgage, you know, lending, you’re gonna be like, Oh, hey, Wells Fargo, I would love to get a mortgage with you, hey, Chase, I would love to get a mortgage with you, hey, Citibank, I would love to get a mortgage with you, and then make them battle to the death. Make them battle out to win your business. Because I think what we often as consumers in America forget is that like, our business is valuable, we are valuable. I don’t care if you’re buying a $200,000 home, or a $2 million home, your business is valuable to these banks, your business is valuable to these financial institutions, you should act as such, and they should treat you as such.

V Spehar  20:57

Absolutely. And this is why I love following just the way you explain things. It’s so empowering. And another thing I saw you do recently, that was such a taboo to me prior to watching your video on this was asking your friends about their salary. When did you start asking your friends about their salary?

Vivian Tu  21:16

You know, I think it’s something that started when I moved to New York, it started actually from asking people what their rent was. In New York, I feel like it’s not taboo. Because everybody can joke about how insane the rental market is here. We can be like, well, how much are you paying? Do you like your landlord? Do you like, you know, that piece of financial conversation is so natural to New Yorkers. And as I became more comfortable with that, I got a little bold and I got a little nosy. And I was like, you know, how much how much are you making? Like, tell me, we should be able to talk about our money freely. It gives us more bargaining power; it gives us more leverage. And you know, this con, this whole thing of money being a topic we shouldn’t have conversations about is rooted in oppression, rich people love talking about money.

V Spehar  22:06

And you’re so good at just sorting out these things that we’re told versus what is true. And something that I watched you talked about recently, the biggest debate that I’m seeing on finances lately is are we or are we not in a recession? And is it good or a bad thing? And I and you had such great perspective, I hope you can share with us here like how rich people versus poor people treat recession?

Vivian Tu  22:28

Yeah. So I truly want to say, nobody knows, not the world’s best economists, nobody knows if somebody knew for a fact, they would be a bazillionaire. Because they would just lever up and then take that bet, right? But that’s what it is. Nobody knows. However, in terms of how a recession is treated by different segments of the population. It’s very stark. Rich people love recessions. I’m gonna put that out there. Because there is no better time to buy than a recession. What other sale have you ever seen people run from? Like, when Nordstrom has their half like semiannual sale, I run towards the sale right? When Sephora does their VIB sale, I run towards the sale. But when the stock market sees a downturn and things are on sale, people run the opposite direction, because they get scared because it’s normal human behavior. However, when you are rich and you have income, and you know you’re going to be okay, you’re never going to be hand to mouth, you’re never going to be worried about putting food on the table or covering the payment for your shelter over your head. You got optionality. And rich people use recessions as an opportunity to buy, buy, you call them NSYNC. They are buying stocks, they are buying real estate, business people are buying companies they are trying to, you know, do mergers they’re trying to acquire, they’re doing all these things to buy, buy, buy, buy buy, because there has been no recession in our history that we haven’t recovered from to your point, recessions are an opportunity. And this is the crazy part, right? When we recover from recessions. All of these rich people who’ve bought all of these things get to ride that wave back up. It’s literally an elevator to the penthouse of wealth, because they bought at these dirt cheap prices, and all of that’s appreciating and then they get to buy low and sell high. What I think is troubling is like the others are then categorized into two segments, I would say one being true paycheck to paycheck hand to mouth folks, who unfortunately, are probably not going to be able to participate in wealth building during this time, the recession is going to hit them and it’s going to hit them hard. Inflation is going to make their lives really, really expensive and it is truly disastrous how we treat that segment of our population. The other segment of the population is one that I am truly yelling at from the mountaintops. begging them to listen to me. If you are working, as you mentioned, you know, not a crazy job, but a good job, you have some disposable income, you are starting to see that there is an opportunity. Take that money, set yourself up, prepare yourself make an emergency fund, but any additional dollars other than that, invest, invest at these lows, because you will also be able to benefit from that wave backup, maybe not as much as the ultra-rich people who have a ton of money to dump right now. But what money you can, will truly help set you up for the next 5-10 years. And that might be the difference between whether or not you get to be upper middle class, or you’re still at your current station of like your entry level job. This is the time to build and the time to make money.

V Spehar  25:49

So what do I do Vivian? I just hop on Robin Hood and start picking out some stocks.

Vivian Tu  25:54

No, no, no, no. Oh, my gosh,

V Spehar  25:57

Where do we go? What do we do?

Vivian Tu  25:59

I think right now, the smartest way to invest is the slow and steady. You want to be investing in index funds that track the broader markets that track the S&P 500 that track, you know, global stock markets. These are going to essentially be baskets of hundreds 1000s of different stocks. And instead of buying every single one, you can buy one thing, and it’ll have exposure to all of this. And it’s a really easy way for people to diversify their portfolio. So they’re not overexposed to any one thing. Without meeting 1000s of dollars.

V Spehar  26:39

You know, another thing that folks talk a ton about is retirement, right? And when we’re in these sort of like, is it a recession, isn’t it the pandemic is happening, student loans is happening, like, there’s just so many places that are demanding of our money and demanding of our attention. And then we you know, maybe we do want to like, once in our lifetime, go on a little vacation or do something else. My plan for retirement is death at this point honestly, I’m like, and I know a lot of you I’m telling you, I know a lot of folks at home are probably thinking the same thing. They’re like, I’m going to end up doing the news from under my desk until I’m 98 years old. That’s just the way it’s going to be and it’s so frustrating. But what is your take on how people can kind of maybe change their mentality towards saving for retirement?

Vivian Tu  27:20

Yeah, I think the easiest way to think about it, for me at least is current me taking care of future me, this isn’t money, you’re throwing into some black pit that somebody else gets to use like this is for you. You just are delaying your gratification for like a hot second. I also don’t believe in like the super austere budgeting strategy, because it doesn’t work. In the same way that super austere dieting strategies or crash diets don’t work. It truly needs to be a part of your lifestyle. So when it comes to saving for retirement, what I recommend is that folks who do work desk jobs and likely have an employer who are you know, their W2 employees, at least contribute up to the maximum match if your employer offers matching, because that is free money on the table. This is all to say, you know, I personally still think that like you should go on vacation, use you should treat yourself there are things there’s room in your budget, any budget to treat yourself, because if you are living this horrible, terrible life that you hate, you’re not gonna be able to do it for long term. And it’s so important to think about longevity, because investing and because financial wellness is like a long con like you can’t, you’re not going to get rich overnight. And like I wish I could tell you that there was some magic secret that you could get rich overnight, you can’t not for most people, at least unless you will go and win the lottery, in which case don’t tell anybody.

V Spehar  28:54

Sometimes that the secret though, right is you know what you can’t do is equally as important as what you can do. So you don’t waste your time on those kinds of get rich quick schemes.

Vivian Tu  29:05

Yeah. And then when you’re saving for retirement, you know, add it as a line item on your expenses, the same way that you pay your electric bill the same way you pay your mortgage. And when you pay your rent, or the same way you pay your grocery bill, allocate budget for retirement, then it becomes less painful when you’re pulling that money out of your checking account or out of your savings account. And allocate budget towards going to see a movie, allocate budget to buying your dog or pet toy like there is room in your budget for whatever you need, as long as you can plan for it. And truly, I think you know, one of the smartest things that I’ve ever been told this, you can afford anything. You just can’t afford everything.

V Spehar  29:44

So we are going to reflect as we take this little commercial break on the things that we enjoy and the things that we’ve learned so far. When we get back we’re going to talk about the cost of elections. And Vivian is going to give us some of her hot takes on some of your most asked questions like how do I find me isn’t money online? And how do I get a raise at my job. If you followed her, you would already know but we’re gonna be hearing repeat it all. So we’ll have that right when we get back. Okay, we are back with our favorite Wall Street girly Vivian to who has been just giving us some, like best friendly advice. It is exactly your brand is dead on, I’m telling you, it’s like, what would you wish that your kindest friend would tell you that was just honest about money. And you and I have been in this workgroup together, talking about the cost of elections and politics, and just the amount of money that goes into them. And like, what are the consequences of elections on our money? So what have you been thinking about? Just the crazy billions of dollars that go into running for office and stuff? Like, how did we get here?

Vivian Tu  31:05

How did we get here is just, you know, every year running for office got more and more expensive. And, you know, to state the obvious, it costs a ton of money to run for office like of any sort. In fact, during the last midterm election back in 2018, winning senators, these are some hot tips I have or hot facts that I have for you, winning senators spent an average of $15 million each.

V Spehar  31:31

Wow. So that means even if you were running, and we’re not talking about just like the New York senators, we’re talking about, like Arkansas, like everybody.

Vivian Tu  31:38

Winning senators, on average spent 15 million and House members, you know, there’s obviously quite a few more of them. They spent 2 million apiece, that’s crazy. That’s still an insane amount of money. And this is the worst part. If you’re a newbie it was your first rodeo, successful non-incumbent senators spent an average ticket gaspee.

V Spehar  32:02

I can’t even imagine like half a million more?

Vivian Tu  32:05

$28 million apiece. Yes. And it’s actually not even the states that you would expect. Folks in battleground states actually are the ones who spend more versus like, places you would think of like a California or New York with very high cost of living like, you know, historically have just been very one sided. So like those representatives, and those senators are actually able to spend less. But I think the average person, we only see like the brochure that gets slipped under your door, or maybe like an ad before you watch a YouTube video, but like political campaigns are spending millions on all different types of media advertising PR to win these elections. And to your point, I think that ties back to a bigger issue of like, are these representatives, both Democrats and Republicans alike are they even fit to represent the everyday person, because the majority of congress people in the 116th Congress, were millionaires, you know, who’s not a millionaire, the average American, the majority of Americans are not. And it’s a little bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because if you need tons of money to run for office, and only people with tons of money will run for office. Unfortunately, as it stands, the majority of wealth is concentrated in old white male hands. And that is who you’re going to end up getting, as all of these quote unquote, public servants.

V Spehar  33:34

And when they do get in there, who are they going to be influenced by, right? Because if I hear one more time about inflation, so many people are talking about inflation, it’s obviously affecting all of us. And it’s just chaotic. And there’s so many different factors going into it. And nobody wants to hear about the other factor, right? The people who are saying if the government just stopped spending money, inflation will go down. Vivienne, please tell them that is not true. The government has to spend money on their people, that is the promise of government.

Vivian Tu  34:01

That’s literally the point. I also, I also hate that inflation is being used as like a buzzword, so many people can barely define what it means. So first and foremost, inflation is just broadly speaking, how things change in price over time, likely making your life more expensive, down the road. AKA the way your dollar is devaluing. So you can buy less tomorrow than you could today. And we have both sides of the aisle pointing to each other be like you did this I it’s almost like that spider man it is. It’s like you did this. But you know, truly inflation is impacted by so many different factors. It’s not going to be as easy as saying like, oh, like this is why it’s like, unless we are going to suddenly be able to control you know, a war that we are not currently physically fighting in unless we are able to control relationships with oil producing nations in a way that, you know, historically has been challenging, are we going to be able to support the people in our country that need it? Are we, you know, when is the student loan debt moratorium going to end when those repayments come back, that’s going to increase the budget, but also, you know, us forgiving that student loan is going to, you know, make that budget a little bit worse, like, there’s so many different factors that are going to play into inflation. And I do think there is no one thing that we can point out and be like, if we fix this, everything will be magically better. And I think it’s important for people at home to realize that.

V Spehar  35:44

Getting out of politics and getting out of some of the like bummer stuff that we’ve had to talk about so far with like recession and inflation, your account is a great place to come for inspiration as well. And when I need to give myself a little confidence boost, like before I have to talk to a brand or someone, I will come back and I will listen to some of your videos on like, how to negotiate your salary or how to get a raise. And I’m hoping that you’ll share some of that with our listeners now. So folks out there are looking to get new jobs. So many people are in the interview phase right now trying to maybe get a new job before the holiday or changeover. Pretty soon, there’s that big like, rush to get a new job for January. For folks who are in the interview phase, what’s your advice so that they get the maximum amount of compensation possible?

Vivian Tu  36:29

I think this is gonna sound so cheesy and so simple. But ask, yeah, ask at every point. Do not be shy, you know, when they ask you like, what budget do you expect? Or like, what do you expect to be paid in this role? If you’re at the beginning of the interview process, it’s totally fine to be like, hi, you know, like, I would actually need to learn a little bit more about the scope and the role to adequately, you know, price myself for this seat that said, would you be willing to share your budget, that gives you a little bit of an upper hand, and then that HR representative likely will have to tell you what that budget is. And then many states, they are legally obligated to tell you what it is. Up next, if you are actually like further down the line, in your interview, you don’t want to ask for their budget, because at that point, it’s it feels a little […] and it feels like you don’t know what you want. So as always, I really do recommend talking to your friends in similar seats, I recommend going on a fishbowl or a glass door, doing your best to suss out what someone in that seat would make. And I always say, shoot for the moon, like definitely err on the side of high and let them tell you and bring you back down to reality. Ask for what that job pays and a high cost of living area like a New York even if you don’t live there and see what they say. I think when you get your offer, it is so imperative to ask to see it in writing, not just over the phone, because I know people get so excited. They’re like, Oh my god, I got a job like yes, I am. I want to take it like okay, don’t do that. You immediately want to say like, Hey, will you send this offer to me in writing. And then once you get it in writing, review it and say something along the lines of thank you so much for this opportunity. I am so excited about this offer. I would love to work with this team, would you be able to you know, increase it by XYZ based on my skills and experiences and what I’d be able to bring for this seat.

V Spehar  38:36

And then once you get the job, you’ve been there for a while you had some good tips on how to get a raise. Talk to me about what’s a brag book?

Vivian Tu  38:46

Okay, so this is I love this so much. And I’ve done this every single job I’ve ever had in your email, whether you use Outlook, whether you use Gmail, whatever you have, you can make a new folder. And every time something good happens forward that email or that you know paper trail of some sort into that folder, you can name it your brag book, you can name it your raised receipts, you know, your promotion, proof, whatever, just come up with a fun name. That way at the end of the year or mid-year, anytime you have to do a self-review anytime that you have to basically brag about yourself, you have an entire folder of every cool thing you’ve done for the past what six months 12 months, it makes it so much easier one to write that review because I know writing yourself reviews like brutal, but to when your boss is like why should I promote you versus the person sitting directly next to you Why should I give you more money versus the person sitting directly next to you. You have these proof points. You have quantitative and qualitative examples of how you are the best and you deserve to be compensated and treated as such.

V Spehar  39:54

You had a great piece the other day on splitting finances with your significant other I have a young audience, you know, folks who are getting into cohabitating, they have roommates, any tips on how to make that finance fair and not awkward?

Vivian Tu  40:11

Yeah, I think the way to make it not awkward is to literally sit down and communicate about it. I personally find and listen, personal finances personal, every couple is going to be different. However, in my experience, and the experience of my friends, I’ve found that we are not looking for equality, when it comes to finances, we are looking for equity. So what that really means is, you know, V, you and I were dating, we move into a wonderful New York City apartment, obviously, to save money, right? We should not split rent 50/50, we should split rent as a percentage of what we make. So, if you are making $50,000, and I am making $100,000, I should pay two thirds of the rent, and you should pay 1/3 of the rent. Because as a percentage of our income, that is what is fair. And aside from like the lovey dovey stuff, it actually is really beneficial practically to do this. Because for other things that you would split 50/50 like dates, or groceries, or like you know, you’d have the food, it becomes less of a pain point. Because if your partner is spending, you know, an equitable amount of their income on rent, they are able to then budget for these costs that may be a little bit more fixed, or I guess, in, you know, fixed in terms of like what they need to put up. So I think, if you want your partner to be helpful and contribute to things like groceries, and both of you are making income, splitting biggest costs in a proportionate way versus just down the middle, will actually help save you arguments and conversations later down the line for small stuff that like, are you guys really fighting over? Who’s picking up? You know, the $30? Pizza and sodas dinner? Or are you just mad about the actual like financial environment you and your partner in right, maybe set it up to be a little bit smarter overall. And you don’t have to have that argument.

V Spehar  42:26

And another thing you were talking about was eye bonds, this is the new hot thing to buy?

Vivian Tu  42:32

So this is a series I bond. And these are bonds. Bonds are essentially like debt; you are loaning the US government money. And what is so cool about these bonds is that the interest rate that they pay out tracks inflation. So this is a really wonderful way, if you are very nervous about investing or you want to invest, but you’re like, I might need this money in two years, this is a really virtually risk free way to put your money into an asset that is going to return a pretty hefty interest rate, they do re-up the interest rate every six months. In May in November, there’s whispers that the next interest rate for I bonds will have a six handle on it. So a little bit less because inflation has come in a little bit, quote unquote. But still 6% is a very, very solid return, especially knowing that it is virtually risk free. There are some caveats around when you can take your money out. But it you know; I think if it’s a mid-term saving strategy that helps you keep up with inflation. I think it’s a good one.

V Spehar  43:53

This I could ask you questions all day; we could be here all day. But we do have to wrap up. So I just want to ask, Do you have any book recommendations for folks who want to like kind of follow what they’ve learned so far?

Vivian Tu  44:03

Yeah. So I actually have a whole section on my website, your rich bff.com. That is your rich BFF reads. And there are tons of books and resources and also just like good websites where you can save money or learn more about money. And you can find all of those linked.

V Spehar  44:21

Perfect and where can we find you on TikTok and Instagram.

Vivian Tu  44:25

You can find me as your @richBFF across all social media.

V Spehar  44:29

I have had such a blast chatting with you. And I’m sure we will have you back on the show soon to talk more about finances especially like holiday season is coming up kids. We have to get ready for the spend and for the recovery on that. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us and I hope that we get to see you again soon. Thanks, V. All right, friends, it has been a pleasure to spend this Tuesday with you. I hope you tune into this Friday’s episode where we get to chat with Dr. Jennifer Lincoln about her book let’s talk about down there an OBGYN answers all of your burning questions without making you feel embarrassed for asking. I am so excited for that interview such great information. Please leave me a voicemail if you’ve got something to say share your good news with me. 612-293-8550 Follow me at under the desk news on TikTok and Instagram. And be sure to check out some be interesting extras by subscribing to Lemonada Premium only on Apple podcasts. Thanks and I will see you on Friday.

CREDITS  45:33

V INTERESTING is a Lemonada Media Original. Our producers are Rachel Neel, Xorje Olivares, Martín Macías, Jr. And Dani Matias. Executive Producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs and Jessica Cordova Kramer. Mixing and Scoring is by Brian Castillo, Johnny Evans and Ivan Kuraev. music is by Seth Applebaum. Please help others find the show by rating and reviewing wherever you listen and follow us across all social platforms at @VitusSpehar and @UnderTheDeskNews, also, @LemonadaMedia. If you want more be interesting, subscribe to Lemonada premium only on Apple podcasts.

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