Get a home equity line of credit against your mortgage. When I was laid off once, this money helped pay my bills.
As a part of our series about “Women Leading The Finance Industry”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Teri Ijeoma.
Teri is a successful day trader and online course creator. She has taught over 6,000 people how to trade in the stock market in her award-winning “Trade and Travel” course. Her ultimate goals are to teach more people how to reach financial freedom and to travel the world sharing her knowledge of the stock markets.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the finance field?
It started in high school when I was a member of LEAD, a program for minority students who excelled in academics. We took a field trip to the Chicago Stock Exchange, and I had no idea such a world existed. Then, a few years later, I earned a summer internship on Wall Street. After those two experiences, I was positively hooked on learning about the stock market.
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 takeaway you took out of that story?
When I was an Assistant Principal, I hid in my office, placing a big trade. Unexpectedly, my boss strolled in at the moment my computer announced, “your trade is successful.” That day, I made more in one trade than an entire month of my salary. At that moment, I knew trading was my exit strategy. A quick calculation confirmed that all I needed was300 dollars per day, five days per week, and it was game on!
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
There’s a new Docuseries about my life, which I am very excited about. It tells the unvarnished story of an African American female multimillionaire who trades in the stock markets and teaches a proven online course. It will show the glamorous part where I travel the world, meet amazing people, and build partnerships and the day-to-day management of what a successful business takes — the constant planning, hiring, meetings, and so forth. This project will be much work but fun because I am a media and production buff. Plus, the episodes will be sincere and authentic. By allowing people to see what my life looks like in detail, they’ll know they too can be successful entrepreneurs.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
My company debunks the common idea that the only way to make money in the stock market is through long-term investing. That’s an unfortunate myth. Instead, I teach students to invest weekly and daily income. We’re also different because our student body is 80% African American, of which 60% are women. The women are doing exceptionally well. I even hired six of my students to work with me and help us reach more people who need and want this.
Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. Wall Street and Finance used to be an “all-white boys club”. This has changed a lot recently. In your opinion, what caused this change?
The changes may have come because of the lower barrier of entry into the stock market made possible through various trading platforms. Many of the online brokers changed their commission structure to include no-cost trades. But, more importantly, in the past two years, stock market courses like mine — Trade and Travel — introduced a diverse wave of newly educated people into more traditional Wall Street and Finance environments.
Of course, despite the progress, we still have a lot more work to achieve parity. According to this report in CNBC, less than 17 per cent of senior positions in investment banks are held by women. In your opinion or experience, what three things can be done by a) individuals b) companies, and/or c) society to support this movement going forward?
I think the primary vehicle for change is intentionality. Companies must want the change and be purposeful about it. Society can support the movement by acknowledging disparities and then helping companies that hire and promote women.
My first suggestion is to ensure there’s always a woman at the table when interviewing and hiring for open positions. It’s has been proven that people tend to hire others that resemble themselves. So having women in the hiring process will help.
Companies could also have a women-only summer internship program, which would expand their applicant pool.
My first job out of college was consulting. I noticed there were not many people of color in management or even entry-level positions. I became intentional with wanting to make a change in the industry. I created COCO — Consultants of Color Organization. I increased the applicant pool by coordinating recruitment fairs at Historically Black Colleges & Universities and training students on how to best approach interview questions. I coordinated networking sessions with grads and consultants, as well as matched mentors with new hires. I was so proud of this effort to address disparities in the consultant environment; some of those same tactics could help with women on Wall Street as well.
Let’s now turn to a slightly new topic. According to this report in Fortune, 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? If you had the power to make a change, what 3 things would you recommend improving these numbers?
First, teach financial literacy curriculum at the elementary school level — at least the basics — budgeting, savings, and banking. Second, use social media apps and influencers to teach other financial literacy concepts. Many Americans are cutting their cords and turning to social media to learn, so supporting influencers on Instagram and social media could help. Finally, teach stock market investing to senior high school students to pay for college or start a business after graduation.
You are a “finance insider”. If you had to advise your adult child about 5 non-intuitive things one should do to become more financially literate, what would you say? Can you please give a story or example for each?
- Get a home equity line of credit against your mortgage. When I was laid off once, this money helped pay my bills.
- Start “good debt” early for your children. I had friends whose parents added their child’s names on their credit cards when they were young, and, at college graduation, they had FICO scores of over 800!
- Invest in an Exchange Traded Fund that follows the full market index like the S&P 500 or the DOW Jones and holds it for a long time; it will help with college expenses.
- Trade stocks for income to pay off debt, such as student loans, car payments, and mortgages. With active trading, I paid off my student loan in two months.
- Use retirement funds from past jobs to start trading in a self-directed IRA account. Many people leave their jobs and forget about their old 401K retirement accounts. After leaving my principal employment, I used my retirement funds to start trading, traveling, and creating my course. My teacher retirement plan only yielded 2% a year, and I knew I could do better than that by investing for myself.
None of us can 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?
My grandmother gave me her blessings to quit my job, trade, and travel. “If anyone can be successful at trading, it is you,” she said. In life, sometimes, you don’t need money to get started. You just need encouragement.
The other person who helped me in a big way was my trading mentor, who thought my original trading plan was authentic and robust. This is the same trading plan I now teach my students. He showed me invaluable techniques and tips on how to be successful in the stock market.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“You have not because you ask not.”
I am always willing to take risks and ask for what I want. We need to teach our girls to also take risks by standing up and asking for what they want in their lives, careers, relationships, and anything they genuinely desire.
You are a person of great 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.
I created a goal: “A Million Dollars in a Day.” This calculates to 1,000 students making 1K dollars in a day in the stock market. My Trade and Travel students strived to make 1K dollars in a day but also understood the social impact they could make together — “A Million Dollars in a Day.” This became their mantra and a call to collective action. We reached the goal earlier this year. The impact of this could be limitless. As a movement, I’d like to see us reduce pay inequality, healthcare inequality, and poverty, for starters! Thousands of people trading, with purpose, is a force to reckon with!
Thank you for the time you spent on this interview. We wish you only continued success.