On Purpose

Building a Community Around Your Story and Lessons You’ve Learned

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We talked with Jully about:
  • Her story and how she got into investing
  • The spark that launched her Investing Latina brand 
  • How she built the community behind Investing Latina
  • How listening to her audience has been the key to her success 

About Jully-Alma Taveras:

Jully-Alma Taveras, aka Investing Latina, is an award-winning financial expert who gained popularity through Instagram by sharing her personal story. Born in the Dominican Republic and raised by immigrant entrepreneur parents in New York City, she lacked knowledge about investing until her father’s illness sparked a change that started her transformation from shopaholic to savvy investor. On a mission to help first-time investors and empower those who have had similar life challenges, she teaches financial literacy through three pillars: overcoming credit card debt, stock market investing, and real estate investing. Boasting over 41,000 Instagram followers and millions of social impressions, Jully has become a trusted guide for her followers, teaching them to live minimally, spend intentionally, and build wealth through her authentic and relatable content. 

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Full Audio Transcript

Lauren (00:04):
Jully, welcome. Thank you for joining us. 

Jully (00:08):
Thank you so much for having me, Lauren.

Lauren (00:16):
So I was sharing with you earlier, I was popping around on Instagram as we do, and stumbled onto your profile—not surprising us being in financial services; we get into all that—and I was like, holy smokes. I was like, you have a huge following for Investing Latina, to put the Instagram handle out there, and have such an awesome way of connecting with so many followers around personal finance. In fact, you're an award-winning personal finance expert. So I'd love to hear more, like how did you get into this space? Why Instagram? We can get into a lot of things but why don't you tell us a little bit more about you and how you got here.

Jully (00:51):
Yes, absolutely. I mean, a lot of my platform really is rooted in my personal story. And so a really quick recap of my story is I was born in the Dominican Republic and we moved here to New York when I was four years old, and my parents really didn't know the language. We were all first-time immigrants and they had to learn things as they went. And I remember they started a business a little bit after coming here.

I grew up in my dad's business. He had a grocery store, a bodega. And so from the age of 12, I was exposed to money in a sense. I started collecting tips from packing bags, and as I got older, I got more and more responsibility within the business. It was really interesting to have that exposure to a small business because there are so many here in the U.S. and even across the world and mom and pops, and it can be very challenging. And I saw my parents face a lot of challenges. There were good times, there were bad times, and in between and a lot of what they did and learned as they went.

We didn't really necessarily have a family or history of people who taught money lessons and they didn't know anything about investing. All they knew really, and all they really tried to figure out was how to earn money to support their families. So when I started working in the corporate world, I got a job that gave me access to a 403(b). So at that point, I remember signing up and I was excited about it. I didn't know anything about it. I didn't know the details or what it really truly meant but I knew I was getting free money.

Lauren (03:06):
It's a good start, right? 

Jully (03:10):
Yes. So the HR lady was like, you'll get free money if you put money in. And I said, that sounds really good. So it's so funny because that simple way of her putting that really was what persuaded me to do it. Because when I went to my parents and told them I was so excited about it, Mom was like, don't do that. It's a scam. You're going to lose money. It's best that you just save your money under the mattress. And so it really stemmed from their fear in a sense, and not knowing and also being immigrants in this country, just really not having that access and that knowledge. And so I had already signed up and I know my mom was telling me not to do it.

Lauren (03:58):
Trying to watch out for you.

Jully (03:59):
Yeah, she was trying to protect me but at that point I had already signed up and I was like, it's only $25 per paycheck. It was so minimal and to undo it, forget it. And so I just let it be, and I kept investing. And at that time I didn't know, I didn't use the term investing for retirement. Now I am very proud to say that and I make sure I tell people when they're signing up for their company-sponsored accounts that they're investing, what we're doing. You have a lot of options within that but that's what you're doing. You're not just saving for retirement, you're literally participating in the markets. So that was the origin story of Investing Latina; I started investing when I was 19 years old, and I didn't know what I was doing but I learned as I went along.

Lauren (04:53):
And you started young. That’s key. You were 19 years old. I feel like a lot of folks missed that opportunity, right? That's great.

Jully (05:02):
I almost couldn't have planned it better, right?

Lauren (05:05):
Innocently even, yeah.

Jully (05:07):
I had no idea. I didn't have support. So I was lacking all of these things you would think you would need to get started and to start to build wealth. I didn't have any of that. And I somehow was able to do it simply because I started out young and I started out not knowing and being okay with not knowing.

As I went, because like I mentioned, I kind of learned that from my parents. You have to kind of learn as you go. You have to take risks, put yourself out there and keep going and keep learning. And so I worked in the fashion industry for a long time, 15 years. And so I was investing, and I went through a period where even though I was investing, I was overspending. So I was a shopaholic. I bought shoes every single Friday. I was just wanting to be the best in my industry and look the best but I had no control because I really didn't have the foundation of knowing how to budget, of really controlling emotions so I could stick to a budget.

And ultimately I didn't have a plan. I knew I was putting money away here. I knew I kind of wanted to save for a house in the future. So I had these loose ideas and goals but I didn't make them concrete enough to the point where I was motivated and propelled to keep going and to stick to them. And so I had many hiccups in my financial journey, so much debt I had to take myself out of. And then unfortunately, my father got sick and I mentioned they had a business, so they had to sell the business. Finances completely changed for them, and I'm his oldest daughter of three so the responsibility fell to me.

Lauren (07:25):

Jully (07:27):
If my dad is no longer here with us, I’m the one who will be taking care of my mom and my two sisters, who were still very young at the time. And so that really flipped a switch. So that was pure motivation to get it together. And it took me a while. It took me about three years to get out of all the debt and put together that strategy because it's important. If you don't have that strategy, if you don't have that plan, it’s hard to decide which way to go. It's hard to make daily choices. 

Lauren (08:06):
You just keep in those cycles.

Jully (08:09):
It becomes very difficult to make daily choices when you don't have an overall plan. And so I had a plan and I knew I just needed to get really financially stable. I hustled and excelled in my career in terms of getting new opportunities, working multiple jobs, doing consulting. So I just really kind of put my head down and got to work when my father got very sick. And then once I felt like I had this really great control, luckily he was stable and doing well and kind of on treatments and just in a good place. So we were no longer in sort of the survival mode that we were in for the first year and a half.

Lauren (09:05):
With so many unknowns, I'm sure. 

Jully (09:08):
It was a little bit more stable, and I was financially in a good place. I took a break from my full-time work, from my career in fashion.I said I've been doing this since I was literally 13 years old. Oh my God. Because I've always loved fashion. It was inspiration for my mother. And I just literally said, I'm going to take a break and I want to kind of rethink what I want to do with my life. And I had that entrepreneurial energy I got from my parents. And when I took that break, about a year into that break from my old life and my first career, out came Investing Latina, and I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do with it but I just felt like the story was interesting. My story was interesting, and I also started to realize it wasn't a unique story. It wasn't just me. 

Lauren (10:13):
Other people share parallels or still share pieces of your story that are relatable, I'm sure.

Jully (10:20):
Yes, it wasn't just me who hadn’t had any access to the stock market and not known about investing but had responsibilities and had a desire to improve and to build wealth. And so that's really how it started. And I just  opened up an Instagram account. That was the channel. 

Like, I'm going to go for this. And then, okay, so how did you start? Was it videos? Or quick tips? How did you start to see there was traction here and other people had some sort of relatability to it? I’d love to hear more about where you saw that, oh, there's something here, other people need this. When did you start to notice that?

Jully (11:15):
Yeah. Well, I started, funny enough, as an anonymous account.

Lauren (11:22):
Oh, interesting. On Instagram.

Jully (11:24):
And I shared a lot of personal information.

Lauren (11:27):
Being super vulnerable.

Jully (11:28):
Yeah, super vulnerable in the sense that I shared all my details. I shared all of my budget, I shared all of my accounts. And I think that sort of vulnerability and that sort of openness definitely attracts people who are in a similar situation, looking to learn and perhaps struggling.

And that was really my audience. The people who were like, oh my God, I want to do better. And I relate to you because I see your post about how you spent thousands and thousands of dollars on frivolous things, and you don't have any money in a savings account, or you're not thinking about retirement or building for the future. It wasn’t like there's only one and you're putting it all out there. So it wasn't video or anything. It was literally a static post having details of, this is what my budget is this week, this is how I'm doing. And then people really wanted to come along on the journey. So I would make templates where there would be no-spend days, and on the first day of the month, I would say, everyone, here's a template for the month. Screenshot it. Let me know how the month goes for you. And I posted updates every day, and people posted their updates every day and were tagging. Oh, cool. So this is two-way interaction too. It's not just preaching or what have you. People were tagging me, and that kind of helped spread the word.

And before I knew it, the audience had grown, and I was like, oh my God, this is so cool. But I was also getting a little bit inundated with questions, and it was PM questions or comments or the whole thing, everything, comments, questions, and they're like, oh, this is my situation. What should I do? Okay. And the number one question was, I am starting to budget and now I want to start investing. And it was in my title, Investing Latina. So when people searched investing on Instagram, I would pop up. So it was that. And then the element of being Spanish speaking, being Latina, was also something that kind of helped niche me down in terms of the audience I was reaching. So I really got a lot of people who live in the U.S. but come from Latin American backgrounds. And it was really, really cool to just connect with people in that way, because again, my story wasn't unique. It was just a matter of I was in a position where I had already gone through a lot of things, learned a lot of lessons, and my goal was to pass those lessons down to anybody who would listen, anybody who needed it. And ultimately, that constant question of how do I get started with investing led to me creating my first paid program, which was the investing workshop. And when I launched it, the response was unbelievable. I had 300 people sign up.

Lauren (15:06):
So you had built your base, and you didn't only build the base but it was authentic. So it was like, wait, okay. Just to back up, when did you go from private, not showing your face, to making the turning point? Assuming when you launched that course you had kind of introduced yourself, is that the case or can you tell us when you actually said I want to flip the switch and then put myself out there so people can actually see you. You do so many videos now. So I'd love to hear about that transition and the why too, and then take it to the course. 

Jully (15:42):
Really the timeline on it was probably a year, I would say maybe less honestly, because I got so much traction that I had a lot of media and reporters reaching out to me saying, I see that you teach this online. We have questions about this. Can you help talk a little bit about budgeting? Can you talk about credit? Oh, and I will say that from the beginning, even though I didn't have a true perfect plan for my business and the platform, I did choose three pillars. I wanted to talk about how to get out of credit card debt, I wanted to talk about investing in the stock market, and I wanted to talk about investing into real estate because that was what I had the most exposure and experience in. And it was also what I was most interested in.

Lauren (16:42):
Super authentic, passionate experience. And it all themed around this idea of investing, which goes back to your handle. So to swing back, there’s private reporters reaching out. 

Jully (16:58):
At that point, when I saw all that traction, I said, oh my God, okay, so now they're asking for my name. And it became this sort of place where it was like, a little awkward, but ultimately I said, you know what? Oh, that's also when the type of content changed a little bit as well because I said I could make these posts, but they take so long. It would be so much faster if I just made a video. And so I started making videos and I would put them on Instagram, and I would also put them on YouTube. And so that was kind of a big motivator in terms of coming out or leaving that anonymous stage and moving on to showing myself. But that also came with its own challenges because I could no longer share as much detail as I did before.

Lauren (17:56):
That's fair.

Jully (17:57):
I wasn't really sharing the types of accounts I had and who I was banking with because it exposes you and you have to be very careful.

Lauren (18:03):
Yep, that's fair.

Jully (18:06):
So very shortly after I was publicly showing my face, I was part of an article on 10 people you should be following. And the people that were on that list were Suze Orman, Tiffany Aliche “The Budgetnista”. 

Lauren (18:31):
Oh my goodness. And you're like, I'm here. That was really cool.

Jully (18:37):
And it really actually propelled my brand even further. So I think ultimately it was because my voice was maybe a little bit different, and my background was a little bit different from everybody else who was on that list. And so that's ultimately kind of what really pushed me forward. And then shortly after that the awards came and the platform just continued to grow. I signed with an agent to start doing brand partnerships. So in the past, I've worked with so many brands. I've worked with Chase, I've worked with SoFi, I've worked with many brands, and it's just been really cool to share my perspective, the things I've learned and also learn from my audience because they're the ones who trigger the content I create because they're the ones who are asking me money questions, and my job is to answer them to the best of my ability and give them as many resources as possible. And I never shy away from questions. Even when I was getting tons and tons of questions every single day in DMs, I would sit down and answer all of them. I had very little sleep in the beginning. I love helping in general.

Lauren (20:10):
Right. So powerful. And before we started chatting, one of the things I really appreciate about what you've done is you've created a real platform. And like you said, you're helping people and you're helping to also—I mean, money affects all of us—but also just make it so much more approachable. And I love that you're also willing to take your time to be able to reach out and be able to support folks. So tell us a little bit more about your program. So you've got the investing piece you had rolled out some time ago, and that was the one that was an overnight success. Do you have other programs and things like that that folks can get involved with? Or how do you cultivate that ongoing training outside of the platform?

Jully (20:47):
So the investing workshop has been the one and only thing I've ever sold. I have a lot of free freebies. I have a lot of templates I create that people can just download. But the investing workshop was what I really wanted; it took me about a year to develop it before I launched it. People were asking for it for so long, and I kept delaying it, which I think as creators, we sometimes get into our own heads and we're like, oh, will people like this? Will it resonate? Is it something they're interested in? But I really just try my best to listen as much as possible so I can incorporate all the things they really need. So once I launched that, I've upgraded it and have different versions of it.

So from the first version, right now we're probably at version 10; you just keep listening, tweaking, pouring into it, and making it stronger. Same concept with the same goal. And it's for a person who really is starting from zero, wants to learn terminology, wants to get a grasp of the market, wants to understand the types of accounts, and ultimately get to the place where they're investing and they have at least the fundamentals to start putting together a plan for themselves. So an important part of it all is that it's not financial advice, not this is what you should be investing in. I really think first of all, it requires that you're accredited within the industry. It also can’t ever be done as a one-size-fits-all for people. And aside from that, I also think it never feels very great to get preached to.

So that's always been an important part of my content. I never want my audience to feel like I'm telling you to do this. If you're not doing this, you're dumb. You should feel, be ashamed, or duh, obviously you should be doing this. This is the best. I never want to have that energy because I feel like it turns people off and that doesn't allow anybody to grow. And so, yeah, I've had different versions of the same exact program. I've upgraded here and there, added more things, and I've done it in Spanish, which people loved. And so that was really successful as well. I don't currently have it in Spanish because it’s kind of double work in a sense. I have 10 versions at this point. To create the Spanish one, I would also have to have that same sort of cadence. And so you make choices as a creator and as an entrepreneur. And so right now, it's not something I’ve focused on but I'm really excited to create the next version in the future that can be available. And again, like I said, listening to the audience and making sure they're getting what they want, and looking at those demographics, you have to pay attention to those things. Who's following? How old are they? What's their language? I ask a lot of questions. I do surveys and things like that. So it really helped me get to know them. And so yeah, that's kind of how it's gone.

Lauren (24:58):
So many secrets to success I feel like you've just naturally leaned into.  I feel like I've said passion 10 times, right? Just this idea of really listening and not trying to push, like you were saying earlier, but really to be able to add value and know who you're talking with. So I know we're wrapping up here but I’d love to hear what's next. Is there anything particular you want to highlight when you look ahead? Or is it really just ears to the ground listening to what's going on and letting that drive the future of the platform? I'd love to hear if there's anything in particular you see in the space that you want to highlight.

Jully (25:41):
Well, I still think my sort of program is really the bread and butter program in terms of my business. It's something that even as new generations come about, they're going to need. So it really is nice and important, I think, for me to just really hone in on that and focus. There's so many benefits to just sticking to a niche and not trying to do too much. Do I have ideas? Oh my God, I keep a huge list of ideas I've tried to organize, and every time I go through them, I organize it by month. So it says by year and then every month. And then every so often I'll go back to that list and I'll review the last couple and move some ideas up to a separate folder of really top ideas. So I do have tons of ideas for the brand but I also, again, want to make sure I'm accomplishing the mission of helping that first-time investor. So there's things I want to do. For example, I'll just give you one example. I have office hours. I did have office hours. I don't right now because I have a baby right now. 

Lauren (27:18):
There's a lot going on.

Jully (27:19):
But I had office hours, and every single week we would go over a new company. We would review their financial reports, we would take a look at how their stock has performed. We would do competitive research. So these are all things I did for my audience. And they would come in, they would join, they would ask questions. So it was just kind of like a little class every single week. And so that is something that definitely will relaunch in the future. And also other versions of investing, for example, dividend investing, that was actually a workshop I did have that I will bring back again in the future. So there's just, I think the next level, once you've gotten past getting started, with your basic accounts, having good strategy, how do you deepen your relationship with investing and how do you grow it? And of course, the real estate arm, which is something that because there was so much demand for stock lessons, I didn't really create things for the real estate arm. And that's something I still work on and continue to do myself that I hope to help others and teach others the way I've done it, again, with the experience I've had and just pushing that forward.

Lauren (28:45):
So exciting. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to share your story and also your journey and that timeline, as you kind of alluded to earlier, of just this platform, where it's gotten to today. And I think just importantly too, like you said, really leaning into the mission and being a voice that helps cut through the clutter in this space. So what we'll do too is I'll make sure we link to your Instagram as well, and in the blog post and the video below, and then we'll make sure to also link to the investing class or any other resources that might be helpful. So thank you again for your time.

Jully (29:19):
Absolutely. Thank you so much. This was great.

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