Our new series “Voices” dives into the different relationships we all have around money. How fascinating that every person spends money differently and is motivated to save for their own goals. We’re kicking off our new “Voices” series by chatting with Emily!
Emily recently joined the Young Money team and is Community & Growth Lead at KrASIA with past experience at OmniSci and Google. This year, she counted her savings and left her San Francisco life behind to travel Asia. She is currently based in Singapore for her COVID-19 quarantine.
Anna: Emily, I’m excited to have you! What does your quarantine set-up look like?
Emily: Hi Anna, glad to be joining Young Money! At the moment, I live with three others in an apartment during lockdown. My “office” moves between the kitchen table and my table in my room. I also use a big plastic container to prop my laptop higher. What about you?
A: Sounds like you’re making the most of your space. I’m at my parents’ home in suburban NJ. It actually feels like a healthier version of high school, where I’m less bratty and my parents have chilled.
I love the path you’ve taken this year (taking a break to live and work in Asia), because it’s an option that I sometimes consider even today. What was your relationship with money like at that decision point?
E: Laughs*. It’s definitely nicer when your parents aren’t chastising you to study for SATs.
Thanks! I’ve noticed more and more friends take a “gap” year after working a couple of years, particularly to burnout. It’s common to travel for a year in Europe, but not so much in the US. I wanted to quit my startup tech job back in early October 2019, but made the safer decision to wait until March 2020 and save up as much as possible. I was still saving and investing at that point, but really doubled down because I planned to be jobless while I traveled in Asia.
A: I appreciate that you waited and saved up, because it’s a lot easier said than done. In my prior job, I felt jaded and wanted to rage quit. I remember those frantic moments of calculating my life’s savings and realizing the weight of money in my choices. It motivated me to negotiate hard for my next job’s salary.
That said, I’m really looking forward to adding your voice to the site, because we have similar values but such different life paths. I can tell from our talks that we both value the freedom of savings, rather than buying fancy objects or status with our money.
E: Likewise, I’m so happy we connected. As Asian American millennials both growing up in the US but on separate coasts, I’m excited for us to share our personal learnings and approaches with money. Also, you being a professional investor on Wall Street and me being a Silicon Valley techie will make for some great content.
A: I agree. Most of my friends barely talked about money until I started on @youngmoneyplans. But the longer I’ve done this, the more I’ve realized that it’s such an important topic and sometimes a barrier for us twentysomethings. I grew up talking about money with my parents, who grew up in a country where no one invested in stocks or even practiced capitalism. So once I started studying finance, I realized quickly that my parents didn’t have all the answers either. It’s been eye opening to expand beyond the lens my parents gave me.
How did you learn about money?
E: Money is not commonly discussed among peers, and that’s why I can see Young Money as an empowering and resource-centric platform for people like us. My parents didn’t invest either – they were just frugal and didn’t spend lavishly.
I learned about money a few years ago when I started a new job, and our 401K provider came to speak to us. There were only 3 attendees in a company of 60 at that time–no one seemed to care that much about retirement savings. But it was eye opening, and I decided to look more into it. I stumbled into this rabbit hole on Reddit, found the FIRE (financial independent, retire early) community, and read a bunch of finance-related books.
A: I agree, I’d like for our site to focus on empowering people our age. Everyone comes from different economic backgrounds and sees their parents handle money differently. Engaging in that conversation and seeing other relationships with money can only make us more informed.
Beyond that, I love that we’re two women of color, de-stigmatizing women who make money and care about it. But we still approach that ambition in a healthy, thoughtful way (I hope).
E: Definitely, especially since finance can be so…personal. I can’t wait to see this community of readers grow and for us to share narratives. I feel like I’m always learning new things from people that I talk to within this space.
And agreed! Caring about money isn’t a bad thing at all–it’s all about having a good balance.
A: Can’t wait to show everyone the new voices and investing content we have in the works!