Judy Zhu Talks to FGI Students about MoneyGirls, Superpowers and "Failing up"

Updated: Sep 18, 2020

On Monday, Judy Zhu, Founder and CEO of MoneyGirls. spoke with the students of First Generation Investors about a wide range of topics. Below are some of the highlights. You can view a replay of her talk at

Judy kicked off by telling the group that she was born in China, moved to Canada at age 9 and went on to work for some great companies like L'Oreal, Amazon, and Uber, but wanted to be an entrepreneur and eventually went on to address the “don’t talk about money” stigma by creating MoneyGirls -- a place for money conversations. She described the questions that she receives most often and shared her thoughts:

When should I start investing?

The best time to start investing is yesterday! The earlier you get started the more time you will have to benefit from the growth. Realistically, as soon as you have enough income to cover your needs (and some of your wants), you should aim to invest approximately 20% of your earnings. Also, if you invest a little bit each week or each month, you can benefit from “dollar cost averaging,” where you buy more shares when the price is low and fewer when the price is high.

What should I invest in? Give me stock picks!

Investing really is all about long-term wealth building, not day-trading or stock-picking. The best approach is to put 80 or 90% of your money into the "unsexy" things like mutual funds or ETFs for the long-term. Then, if you want the “adrenaline pay off,” take about 10% to invest in specific stocks that you like. She explained that it’s important to understand your own personal psychology and whether you will feel worse if you lose money or if you miss some upside.

"Failing up"

Judy described the notion of “failing up” and explained that everyone fails, but the important thing is that you learn from your failures and grow from them. She also explained that nobody is going to hold a failure against anyone of high school or college age. You’re almost expected to have some failures (if not, then you probably haven’t taken enough risks!).

“Nothing big in my life ever happened because I said no!”

On a related note, Judy encouraged students to “say yes to opportunities,” even if they’re afraid they might fail. When in doubt, if you’re nervous, say yes and then figure it out.

What’s your “superpower?”

Judy encouraged students to identify their “superpowers” so they can flex them - these are “things that you’re better at than other people.” If you’re not sure, then “ask your friends.”

Identify and accept the things you’re bad at too!

Judy told the students to accept the fact that they’re not going to be good at everything. Sure, there will be skills that they need to focus on, depending on their career aspirations, but don’t feel like you have to be good at everything! Accept the things you’re not great at.

“Take a chance... take the interview”

Judy described how, early in her career, she created her own luck by interviewing with a company that she wasn’t sure about. The job didn’t work out, but the woman who interviewed her happened to move to another company one week later and invited her to join that company,, which ended up opening new doors to tremendous opportunities for her.

About MoneyGirls

Judy focused mostly on sharing learnings that could benefit the students on the call, and didn’t speak much about her own company, MoneyGirls. However, when asked about it, she described how she built the business by asking lots of college students about their areas of concern regarding money, and built a solution to address their needs. She invited students on the call to visit the website: and to sign up for their free newsletter which “provides access to the knowledge, tools, and network to put yourself in the driver’s seat of your financial life.” She also invited the students to follow @gomoneygirls on Instagram, and to submit questions to the website any time via email.

Disclaimer: The above references an opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice