Jo Lambert: “The key thing is to really understand what you’re investing in and do your research”

…The key thing is to really understand what you’re investing in and do your research. Make sure that you are not simply investing because you saw a 30 second speculative clip on social media or your friends said they are doing it. Make sure you can afford it as the market is very volatile and […]

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…The key thing is to really understand what you’re investing in and do your research. Make sure that you are not simply investing because you saw a 30 second speculative clip on social media or your friends said they are doing it. Make sure you can afford it as the market is very volatile and you may make money along the way, but chances are you may lose it too! Only invest in reputable companies and use trading apps that are verified and can offer support.

As a part of our series about the The 5 Essentials of Smart Investing, we had the pleasure of interviewing Jo Lambert, President & GM, Consumer, Yahoo.

Jo is responsible for driving business strategy and growth priorities across Yahoo’s portfolio of consumer properties including Yahoo Mail, Commerce, Sports and Finance Products, engaging its 900 million unique global viewers per month. Jo has been with the business since 2018 when she joined as General Manager, overseeing strategy and operations of various brands including Yahoo Finance, TechCrunch, Engadget, and Autoblog as well as leading the Member Services organization focused on subscriptions and customer care. She has over 20 years of experience across consumer facing digital products, financial services, media, and business development.

Prior to Yahoo, she was Vice President of Consumer Financial Services at PayPal, where she led efforts to democratize financial services and make the management and movement of money more effective and affordable for millions of financially underserved people worldwide. Before PayPal, Jo was the Senior Vice President of Product Development and Operations at American Express, where she developed and managed Product, User Experience, and Operational Excellence for the business unit focused on building next-generation banking solutions.

Jo holds a Bachelor of Business from the Queensland University of Technology in Australia and resides in New York City.

Thank you for doing this with us Jo! Our readers would like to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the finance industry?

Thanks for having me join the interview today! I have the great fortune to lead the company’s portfolio of consumer properties, including our flagship, Yahoo, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Sports, Yahoo News, TechCrunch, to name a few. We reach 900 million consumers globally every month and strive to provide them engaging experiences, whether that be news, entertainment, retail investing, sports gaming and betting, subscriptions or shopping.

I grew up and went to school and university in Queensland, Australia. I started out in corporate communications in Brisbane and then moved to Sydney. I love Australia, but when an opportunity came along to move to New York City with American Express, I jumped at it. Over more than a decade at American Express I was able to gain different experiences across corporate communications and financial relations, and moved into the business to focus on strategy, product development and design. That move had me pivot my career as I focused on developing alternative financial services and developed a passion and interest to help make financial solutions more affordable and more accessible to people. I then moved to a role leading consumer financial solutions at Paypal.

My move into the media business was not linear, but I knew I had the experience to bring a new perspective and was passionate about informing, educating and inspiring people.

What drew me to Yahoo was the ability to help lead one of the world’s largest trusted sources of content and product on the internet, and in turn serve a huge global audience of around 900 million users. Yahoo’s Finance’s audience, as an example, is a diverse combination of consumers, investors, and CEOs, and we reach both global companies and small businesses around the world. Especially after the pandemic, there couldn’t be a better time to be that trusted source of information for people from all backgrounds.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?

One that comes to mind was more a fearless moment and happened when I was working in Sydney. I had been working at American Express for a few years and at the time was pregnant with my daughter and my husband was in the Navy and was at sea, so we had been living separately for a while. My department’s leader was visiting Sydney from New York and I worked up the courage to discuss with him my desire to expand scope and take on more opportunities. During that conversation, I shared that I’d be happy to move anywhere in the world for the right opportunity. Six months later I got a call saying there were two opportunities open in New York, and could I be in New York to meet the teams and experience New York the following week.

In hindsight, that skip level meeting was one of the biggest change moments for my family and my career. There are many other examples, but I think the key thing I want to highlight is that it pays to be transparent and clear about what you want and what you don’t want as you move through your career and different life stages.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

This is a very exciting time for Yahoo, with so much going on across our portfolio of brands and products including Sports, Finance and Mail. This month though, we are really excited to present Yahoo Finance’s largest ever virtual event, “All Markets Summit: The Path Forward” across two days from October 25–26. The All Markets Summit is Yahoo Finance’s flagship event series, and this year we are expanding into Asia and hosting an event in Hong Kong. The event will be broadcast for the first time in a number of Asian markets including Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore via Yahoo TV.

This is a pivotal time as businesses look to rebound after huge societal and economic disruption, so Yahoo Finance is more dedicated than ever at providing informative and trusted content to its audiences around the world on the issues that matter most to them. With Asia being the fastest-growing economic region globally and home to 60% of the world’s population, we wanted to bring dedicated insight and information from some of the biggest global business leaders.

The team has lined up a fantastic agenda that we think will appeal to all people interested in finance including Gary Gensler, Securities and Exchange Commission Chair, Isaiah Jackson, ‘Bitcoin & Black America’ Author, Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser, Calvin McDonald, Lululemon CEO, Gina McCarthy, White House Climate Advisor and Asia Financial Holdings Ltd President, Bernard Charnwut Chan.

Ok. Thanks for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. According to this report in Yahoo Finance, nearly two-thirds of Americans can’t pass a basic test of financial literacy. In your opinion or experience what is the cause of these unfortunate numbers?

This figure highlights that there is a real need for change. Now more than ever, people need to manage their finances and think about the future, especially younger generations who have lived through two recessions in their life, which really is unprecedented.

As much as those figures highlight the need for change, we’ve actually seen a huge spike in audiences from all backgrounds coming to Yahoo Finance this year, with significant growth in both female and Gen Z audiences. Over the past year we have seen +43% growth in Gen Z audiences, we are now the most visited financial news platform for 18–24 year olds, and we have seen growth of +28% more female audiences. Yahoo Finance is also the most widely read Financial News Platform by African American, Hispanic and and Asian audiences in the US.

So although numbers do highlight the need for change, we are also seeing a growth in consumers seeking out information and news about finance and we are therefore focused on being that leading trusted source.

If you had the power to make a change, what 3 things would you recommend to improve these numbers?

I think Yahoo Finance’s growth highlights what is key: Providing trusted information with diverse perspectives that resonates for all ages and backgrounds. We have editorial experts that produce content to serve the retail investor audience, as well as the general population looking for personal finance content. We also have tools to help people manage their money and make good investment decisions. And, we have premium content partners that help make us the largest financial content aggregator in the world.

Ok, thank you! Now to the main question of our interview: You are a “finance insider”. If you had to advise your adult child about 5 non intuitive essentials for smart investing what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each.

I have been fortunate to work with some of the best financial experts in the world. That said, I’m not a financial advisor, so please seek reputable advice from an accountant, financial advisor or other professional. As a mother, though, here are 5 things I want my daughter to consider that I learned from the experts over the years.

  1. It is never too early to start budgeting and saving money, and investing in your future. Michelle Singletary, author of “Spend Well, Live Rich: How to Live Well With the Money You Have” joined Yahoo for a Book Club recently and I loved her advice to set aside 10% of your paycheck or income as soon as you get a job. You can set up automatic deductions to help you save money without thinking about it.
  2. Build a budget to know where your money is coming from and where it is going. I do really like the 50/30/20 budget plan which allocates 50% of income for needs, 30% for wants and 20% for savings, debt repayments and investments. But, there are other systems and free tools to help you set a budget and track your progress.
  3. Set aside money now, in a 401(k) or an IRA. With a long time horizon, even modest contributions to a Roth IRA when you are younger can become a sizable nest egg over time, thanks to the power of tax-free compound growth. Reach out to your HR team to learn about employee benefits and 401(k) Savings Plans. This article is a helpful explainer about the magic of compound interest.
  4. Avoid lifestyle inflation. As you make more money over time, make sure to ask yourself whether you actually need a nicer car or a bigger apartment. Increasing the cost of your lifestyle over time can make it harder to build up savings.
  5. There is so much information out there to help you make good money and investment decisions. That is something we have been really focused on with Yahoo Finance. If you are thinking about starting to invest your money, there are great resources, like this great article on Yahoo Finance that highlights the top tips on how to enter into the market.

What are your thoughts about investing in cryptocurrency? Can you explain what you mean?

One of the biggest upticks Yahoo Finance has seen this year is a strong interest in Cryptocurrency specifically.

Earlier this year we conducted internal research and saw that five of the top 10 most visited Yahoo Finance stock ticker pages were Crypto and meme related, and interest in our Bitcoin ticker page surged by 3,000% for our female audiences.

Given the growing interest around investing in Cryptocurrency, we are focused on providing information and facts to help both new investors and those a little more clued in understand the market. This will be covered in the All Markets Summit and also something that we are focused on TikTok. We have seen video explainers specifically focused on Crypto have resonated really well with our audience.

The key thing is to really understand what you’re investing in and do your research. Make sure that you are not simply investing because you saw a 30 second speculative clip on social media or your friends said they are doing it. Make sure you can afford it as the market is very volatile and you may make money along the way, but chances are you may lose it too! Only invest in reputable companies and use trading apps that are verified and can offer support.

What are your thoughts about day trading, using apps like Robinhood? Can you explain what you mean?

The key thing is that people really need to understand the market and what they are getting into. At Yahoo Finance we have been focused on how we can help our users understand day trading apps to help them make good investing choices. As part of making a choice, it’s important to understand the costs and fees associated with the product and also make sure you will have access to timely support if and when you need it.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I have been very fortunate to have had many leaders who have championed and supported me as well as challenge my thinking. This gave me the push and confidence to try things outside of my comfort zone and to realize that it is normal for a career path to not be linear. It is this support that encouraged my move to the United States, the expansion of various roles, the shift from corporate communications to building digital products at scale, the move from financial service to media technology, and they are part of my network of core strength still today.

Also, sometimes the catalyst for opportunities comes by chance. The team at Yahoo who recruited me looked at my background and figured my financial service background and history of transforming products and businesses was interesting to what they needed to grow the business. They were okay to overlook that I did not come from a media background. The opportunity to move into media and technology has been amazing and I am so glad I was open minded at the time to have the discussions and realize why it made sense.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

When I first moved to New York I was at a women’s leadership breakfast meeting, which was hosted by a woman more senior than me. Her piece of advice really resonated with me. She said, “As you are going through your career, don’t just manage up and don’t just manage your team, make sure you really build your network and relationships with your colleagues and that’s the most important thing.”

At the time I didn’t really understand it, but now I think it was really fantastic advice and think about it all the time. You move up and down and around all the time in your career, sometimes you end up reporting to your peers and sometimes they end up reporting to you, and departments and organization structures move constantly. I think staying focused on driving the best outcome, helping colleagues and peers in and outside your immediate organization will always ensure the best work environment and results.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

With Yahoo Finance’s incredible scale and the consumer engagement we have across our Yahoo properties, we have an incredible opportunity to deliver content and tools to help people to manage their money more effectively and start to invest for the future. Still today, 8 in 10 Americans live paycheck to paycheck and 58% of Americans have less than 1000 dollars in savings. With our incredible global scale, our trusted brand and our highly accessible platform, we can make the world a better place for hundreds of millions of people by connecting them to insights, education and tools that democratize financial services.

Thank you for the interview. We wish you continued success!

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