This is a story about a girl who grew up poor and ended up managing billions of dollars. So here is how I got here.
I grew up poor. I mean, not like my mom’s family poor – as a middle child of 7 kids, she would tell me stories of growing up “back home” when sometimes dinner would be a bowl of watered down rice congee and exactly 7 peanuts for protein. Instead, I lived a pretty typical immigrant family story; my parents immigrated to North America wanting a better life for their kids. We didn’t have frills, my parents each had to work 2 jobs to give us shelter, enough food every meal and even piano lessons (not a frill!) We ate out 4 times a year, on each of our birthdays and our “regular” was Pizza Hut. I grew up on the fringes, looking into middle-class society.
My parents believed our ticket to a better life was education so I went to the best public school in town. There, I mixed with kids whose parents were doctors and other professionals. one day in grade 6 when one of my friends mentioned in passing something about their parent’s “portfolio”. I had no idea what that was exactly but I knew my restaurant working parents didn’t have one. I got the sense it was an important key that we were missing.
Fast forward a couple of decades and here I am, an investment portfolio manager for a multinational financial institution. My financial knowledge started with the basics of putting my money in a savings bond in high school. But since developed to build up a portfolio in the 6 figures after studying and earning 2 investment professional designations; the Chartered Financial Analyst designation (CFA) and the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst designation (CAIA). Both designations are rigorous and demanding; not only in required hundreds of hours of studying, the exhausting exams but also in the years of qualified experience required in order to apply for the right to use the designations.
I know not everyone wants that level of financial education. Yet personal finance knowledge and investing is something everyone can benefit from. Some of us feel confused as to where to start. Most are wary of “salespeople” because we don’t know who are they really helping. Maybe we embarrassed; about how much we do or don’t know and wondering if we even have enough money to have our portfolio taken seriously.
I started this blog because I want to make personal finance and investing approachable and accessible to everyone. Something as casual as a Sunday Brunch. I work in Finance which has long been known as an “old boys club” but most of us aren’t part of that club; we might not have been born into the middle or upper class or into families that had finances figured out. I look around the industry and don’t see any services or information geared towards us; we don’t have personal financial advisors nor are we considered ultra-high net worth. But thanks to the internet, we can take control of our finances ourselves. That’s what this blog is about.