- Tonya Rapley is an author and speaker on personal finance, with a long wealth-building story of her own.
- 10 years ago, Rapley had a credit score in the low 500 range, consumer debt, and little savings.
- She focused on financial stability, pivoted careers, and began investing to get where she is today.
- Read more from Personal Finance Insider.
Tonya Rapley is the founder and CEO of My Fab Finance, a financial education company and lifestyle blog that she’s been building for the last eight years.
Rapley, dubbed a “millennial money expert,” often appears on stages and TV screens speaking about financial literacy. But her current success didn’t come without challenges.
After leaving a physically, emotionally, and financially abusive relationship a decade ago, Rapley was resolved to improve her credit score and get out of debt.
Her first goal was to increase her credit from the low 500 range to the high 600 range, and within six months she was able to improve her credit score by 180 points, and start on other wealth-building goals. Rapley shared five strategies she used to transform her finances over the past decade.
1. She set actual goals and approached her finances with a plan
Rapley researched and learned about effective wealth-building strategies that made sense for her current situation at the time.
“You have to decide which vehicles you’re going to use to build wealth and create a plan,” Rapley said. “Set the intention and give it everything you got.”
2. She focused on stability before anything else
The first things Rapley sought was total financial stability, which for her included raising her credit score, eliminating consumer debt, and building an emergency fund worth six months of her living expenses.
Rapley said that this boosted her confidence, because now she would be able to weather any future financial storms — no matter what happens.
3. She picked up side hustles to supplement her income
At the time that Rapley first launched My Fab Finance, she was working for a nonprofit in New York.
She said that once she decided that she wanted to improve her finances, she quickly realized that her salary alone wouldn’t get her where she wanted to be.
“So, I picked up a side hustle operating photo booths at events,” said Rapley. “I was making pretty decent money doing that, which helped me start paying off some of my debt and build savings.”
That would only be Rapley’s first side hustle. After she began blogging about her wealth-building journey, she began to notice a lack of minority and millennial …….