Erin helps millennials get their financial life together (#GYFLT) through her blog, book, lectures, and workshops. She is a millennial personal finance expert, speaker, and author of the book, “BROKE MILLENNIAL: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together.” Based on the successful blog, the book is a choose your own adventure guide to personal finance that uses wry humor and real-life examples to demystify the basics of money for millennials.
Her work has been featured by CBS Sunday Morning, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, NBC News, New York Magazine, MarketplaceMoney, U.S. News and World Report, and Refinery29.
She spent most of her childhood living in Asia, but now settled in Queens, New York where she shares an apartment with her spunky rescue dog Mosby.
What inspired you to write this book?
Broke Millennial started when I first realized most of my millennial friends didn’t have the same relationship to money that I did. It seems so naive upon reflection, but I grew up in a home where money was discussed openly and often, with no tension or fighting. That was norm to me and how I assumed most others related to finances. Even when I wasn’t earning much (we’re talking less than $25,000 living in New York City) – I still didn’t feel stressed about money because I knew how to handle it.
Once I noticed that even my friends who’d grown up without financial stress, didn’t have debt or dependents and were still stressing about money, I knew I wanted to help make a shift in how people understood and related to money. I elected to use storytelling instead of listicles or preaching at people as a means to get readers hooked and then “tricked” into learning about money.
What is your book about?
Broke Millennial shows step-by-step how to go from flat-broke to financial badass. But it’s also got plenty of content for the person who has the basics handled, but wants to level-up. I take the reader from the beginning such as budgeting, learning how to use a credit card and build a credit score to then some of the more emotion-driven topics like talking money with your friends and partner and negotiating and then the heavier hitters like investing, saving for retirement, hiring a financial planner and buying a home.
What one key takeaway you hope someone gets by reading your book?
That you have two options in life: you control your money or your money controls you. My goals is to enable everyone, no matter how much or little they make, to feel in control.
Who should read this book?
Everyone! But more specifically, it does target millennial issues, like student loan debt, that are often left out of personal finance books. The fact that each chapter stands on its own enables readers to be able to find the help they needed and then put Broke Millennial down and come back months to even years later and get their new questions answered.
What are you working on now?
I actually just submitted my proposal for a second book, so here’s hoping the publisher likes it and I get to writing my next book soon!
What is your writing Kryptonite?
The morning hours. I cannot write early in the day. I love the silence of the night and often will start around 9 pm and then work until 2 or 3 am when I’m in intense writing mode.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
I try to switch off my brain and focus on something completely unrelated to money. Perhaps that’s watching a Real Housewives episode or just going out to drinks with my friends. I find the shower principle often works for me and I get a moment of inspiration when I’m distracted by an unrelated topic. Then again, you can’t use that as a constant excuse to avoid work and sometimes you just have to sit and slog through a draft and then be ready to go back and heavily edit when you’re feeling more creative.
What does your writing space look like?
I actually don’t have one specific writing space. I alternate between my office (which is messy), to standing at the dining room table, and sitting cross-legged on the couch so I can snuggle with the dog whilst writing. It completely depends on how I’m feeling in that moment.
What are your top three favorite books of all time?
A doozy of a question! I always struggle to pick my favorites because truthfully, I don’t have re-read books and therefore don’t like to mentally stack them up as all-time favorites.
Tina Fey’s Bossy Pants is one of the only books I’ve ever read multiple times. I believe read it five times.
Paul Sullivan’s The Thin Green Line: The Money Secrets of the Super Wealth, is one of my favorite money books.
A final favorite would probably be one in the historical fiction genre. The Paris Wife or The Group are two I recently enjoyed.