#SWAAYthenarrative

Here's How I Went From Modeling To Major Money Management

The Conversation (1)
Kelly Yu31 Mar, 2020

Hi Victoria - what other resources like books and stuff that you recommend for getting things started? And what do you like about Thinkorswim in particular?

Fresh Voices
Finance

When I first started out modeling, I was 20, driving a 1996 Honda Accord, and had $400 to my name.

I moved to Vegas and in between shoots I picked up odd jobs. I started off at a Mexican cantina, later moved on to bartending at a nightclub, and then moved my way to bottle service there (which pays significantly more). I learned a lot watching women just like me aspire towards modeling. There are thousands of beautiful girls that come from literally all over the world to chase the same dream, and I saw the same story play out over and over again.

Every year I would see young models throw away their money on living a luxurious life. You'd be surprised how many women don't think about their future or have no plan for life after modeling. The reality is that you only have a set timeframe to live this way. This job is a means to an end. I ended up using my earnings to put myself through school for economics to achieve longterm stability. Being an Economics major, I've learned so much about how our economy and market work, and it's helped me understand the concept and usage of money all the better.

I've reflected on my time working as a young model and how I saw others spend their money. There is the importance of setting aside and investing early in life. If you invest in your 20s, you can make substantially more than someone say in their 30s or 40s. A $1000 investment at the age of 20, and contributing about $50 a month into it with 4% interest would yield almost $62,000 by the time that person is 60 years old. If the same investment is made at 30 years old, that person would have made around $37,000. Ten years can make a huge difference, even with a modest investment. That sounds complicated but the long and short of it is always save earlier. Never assume you can make more money later because oftentimes that never bears out.

Ten years can make a huge difference, even with a modest investment.

Shortly after I started working as a bottle waitress and paid off my debt, I wanted to do something with some of the money I had saved. My first ever stock I bought was BRK Class B (non-voting stock, it's cheaper). In the last 2 years, I really wanted to take trading more seriously, so I read a lot of materials and watched a lot of videos. I downloaded a trading platform called Thinkorswim, practicing with fake stock trades just to better my understanding of the market. Once I felt more comfortable with what I was doing, I decided to do live trading with my own money. Much like modeling, you have to practice to get the feel of things. Learn everything you can before you start, and afterward you can learn from experience. But go in prepared. Once you're ready, you can go for the real thing. And I was ready.

Much like modeling, I would never consider trading a career path. It should be something you do on the side. The money and lifestyle can be enticing, but you can only do it for so long. You should have other goals in mind. This is another means to another end. There's a lot of risk in trading. That's why I suggest to others that they invest long term — bonds, IRAs, CDs, mutual funds, properties. Trading can be extremely rewarding, sure, much like modeling. You have these amazing experiences, and a good job can provide a good chunk of livable wages. Use your time to focus on endeavors that will help you in the future.

To sum it all up, here are the takeaways:

  1. Never think good money is forever. It comes and goes, so it's best to have a plan in place.
  2. When you're working in one area, learn more about your other interests.
  3. Always put some kind of money aside. Even 50 dollars a month goes a long way towards financial security.
  4. Look into investing your earnings somehow. Learn to trade, look into long-term investments, or as a last resort pay someone to help you, like a financial advisor/fiduciary.
  5. Learn everything you can and never stop the learning process.
5 Min Read
Career

How Fitness Saved My Life and Became My Career

Sometimes it takes falling to rock bottom in order to be built back up again. I learned this many years ago when the life I'd carefully built for myself and my family suddenly changed. But in those times, you learn to lean on those who love you – a friend, family member or someone who can relate to what you've been through. I was lucky enough to have two incredible women help me through one of my lowest moments. They taught me to love myself and inspired me to pass on their lessons each da

If it weren't for the empowering women who stepped up and brought fitness back into my life, I wouldn't be standing – in the door of my own business – today.

In 2010, I was a wife, a mother of three, and had filtered in and out of jobs depending on what my family needed from me. At different points in my career, I've worked in the corporate world, been a stay-at-home mom, and even started my own daycare center. Fitness has always been a part of my life, but at that point being a mom was my main priority. Then, life threw a curveball. My husband and I separated, leading to a very difficult divorce.

These were difficult times. I lost myself in the uncertainty of my future and the stress that comes with a divorce and found myself battling anorexia. Over a matter of months, I lost 40 lbs. and felt surrounded by darkness. I was no longer participating in my health and all efforts to stay active came to a halt. I didn't want to leave my home, I didn't' want to talk to people, and I really did not want to see men. Seeing my struggles, first my sister and then a friend, approached me and invited me to visit the gym.

After months of avoiding it, my sister started taking me to the gym right before closing when it wasn't too busy. We started slow, on the elliptical or the treadmill. This routine got me out of the house and slowly we worked to regain my strength and my self-esteem. When my sister moved away, my good friend and personal trainer started working out with me one-on-one early in the morning, taking time out of her busy schedule to keep me on track toward living a healthy life once again. Even when I didn't want to leave the house, she would encourage me to push myself and I knew I didn't want to let her down. She helped me every step of the way. My sister and my friend brought fitness back into my everyday routine. They saved my life.

I began to rely on fitness, as well as faith, to help me feel like myself again. My friend has since moved away, but, these two women made me feel loved, confident and strong with their empowerment and commitment to me. They made such an incredible impact on me; I knew I needed to pay it forward. I wanted to have the same impact on women in my community. I started by doing little things, like running with a woman who just had a baby to keep her inspired and let her know she's not alone. I made sure not to skip my regular runs, just in case there was a woman watching who needed the inspiration to keep going. These small steps of paying it forward helped me find purpose and belonging. This gave me a new mentality that put me on a path to the opportunity of a lifetime – opening a women's only kickboxing gym, 30 Minute Hit.

About four years ago, I was officially an empty nester. It was time to get myself out of the house too and find what I was truly passionate about, which is easier said than done. Sitting behind a desk, in a cubicle, simply didn't cut it. It was hard to go from an active and chaotic schedule to a very slow paced, uneventful work week. I felt sluggish. Even when I moved to another company where I got to plan events and travel, it was enjoyable, but not fulfilling. I wanted to be a source of comfort to those struggling, as my sister and dear friend had been to me. I wanted to impact others in a way that couldn't be done from behind a desk.

I began to rely on fitness, as well as faith, to help me feel like myself again.

When I heard about 30 Minute Hit, I was nervous to take the leap. But the more I learned about the concept, the more I knew it was the perfect fit for me. Opening my own gym where women can come to let go of their struggles, rely on one another and meet new people is the best way for me to pass on the lessons I learned during my darkest times.

Kickboxing is empowering in itself. Add to it a high energy, female-only environment, and you have yourself a powerhouse! The 30 Minute Hit concept is franchised all over North America, acting as a source of release for women who are just trying to get through their day. I see women of all ages come into my gym, kick the heck out of a punching bag and leave with a smile on their face, often times alongside a new friend. 30 Minute Hit offers a convenient schedule for all women, from busy moms to working women, to students and senior citizens. A schedule-free model allows members to come in whenever they have a free half hour to dedicate to themselves. Offering certified training in kickboxing and a safe environment to let go, 30 Minute Hit is the place for women empowerment and personal growth.

Through my journey, I have learned that everyone is going through something – everyone is on their own path. My motivating factor is knowing that I can touch people's lives everyday just by creating the space for encouragement and community. It's so easy to show people you care. That's the type of environment my team, clients and myself have worked hard to create at our 30 Minute Hit location.

Fitness saved my life. If it weren't for the empowering women who stepped up and brought fitness back into my life, I wouldn't be standing – in the door of my own business – today. The perfect example of women empowering women – the foundation to invincibility.

This article was originally published September 12, 2019.