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Interview With ModernBlkGirl Founder Tiffany James

Meet Tiffany James, the 26-Year-Old Teaching Women of Color the Secrets of the Stock Market

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The stock market has become much more accessible over the years as apps like Robinhood allow the everyday person to invest with just a tap on their smartphone. And with investing becoming even more mainstream during the pandemic, more people have put money into the stock market in the last five months than in the last 12 years combined, according to CNBC. It's not unusual to see various tickers trending on Twitter as budding investors discuss sending their stocks "to the moon." But amid the trending hashtags, another very important conversation was being held on the Clubhouse app among Black women also wanting to get into the market.

At the head of this discussion was 26-year-old Tiffany James from Brooklyn, who started her company ModernBlkGirl for women just like her who want to build their wealth through investing in the stock market. What began as a club within the app has now expanded to a community with more than 100,000 Black women. The brand has also recently launched the inaugural Teen University, a month-long program to help teens start their stock market portfolio. POPSUGAR caught up with Tiffany to get some insight into her brand, advice on investing, and what she wants Black women to know.

POPSUGAR: How did you get your personal start in the stock market?
Tiffany James: Funny enough, I've always had an introduction to it. I remember going to stock option seminars in New York back in 2015-2016, but it wasn't really until 2019 that I decided to take it seriously. The thing about the market is once you find a technique or strategy that works, you can really live off of it. And I was able to do that.

PS: What inspired you to take the knowledge you had learned about the market and share it with women like you?
TJ: After being on Clubhouse and hearing me speak in some of the rooms relating to investing, women reached out to me and said, "We love your teaching style, you need to make this a thing, like, now." Typically people that are into the stock market have been into it for like 10, 20 years, and I'm only 26! Why would anyone listen to me? But, I was able to find strategies that worked and people love that I'm able to break down the market in a way that people can understand and enjoy.

PS: A 2019 study showed that only 33 percent of Black households are investors, whereas about 60 percent of white households are. Why do you think this gap exists?
TJ: Our families weren't really taught how to invest. Coming from my background as a Caribbean-American, we were taught to save, put your money in a bank account, and maybe get a 401(k). Investing was looked at as something that was "risky business." Now we're seeing this Black renaissance of people in the community getting more involved in the market because we have that information. Once we educate people and expose them more to something, they'll do what needs to be done to be successful in that field. I definitely can see the gap shortening in the next couple of years, and I know that I'm going to be a part of that responsibility to help it.

PS: Like you said, the stock market is a risk that our ancestors didn't want to take. What advice do you have for young women who are scared to get started?
TJ: I would tell them that there are riskier things we do every day and enjoy. For women, dating a new guy is more risky in today's dating scene than investing. Finding a new hairstyle is more risky than investing. Even spending money to go on a vacation is more risky. I use these examples because these are, believe it or not, ways many women can spend a couple hundred dollars. I just try to [stress] that you don't need $20,000 or more to invest in the market — you can start as small as $500. Summer is coming up, and in a month we can spend hundreds on brunch with the girls going out weekly! You can use that same money that you use for fun to invest.

PS: What's next for for ModernBlkGirl, or even for yourself? Where do you see the brand in one year or five years from now?
TJ: A year from now you'll see ModernBlkGirl UK or ModernBlkGirl Canada. You'll also see us work with different brands and artists. Our goal is to get 500,000 women of color into the market and normalize it. We hope that next year we'll be able to work with different industries like fashion, music, and art. We want to collaborate with them to show that investing is in all fields. We may even launch an app. Regardless of how we expand, we're going to continue to invest in sisterhood!

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