She might have her hands dipped in the stock market and own an Hermès bag, but if you asked Hayley Sacks, aka MrsDowJones, what her best investment is, she’d say it’s in herself.
“The best investment I've ever made was in myself and MrsDowJones because while it’s not always financially stable to have a startup, the power and the happiness and self-worth that I get from my work, and being able to help people, and connect with people...it’s so amazing,” she tells Yahoo Finance.
If you haven’t heard of MrsDowJones, you might picture finance as a bit of a man’s world. But Sacks’ idols are Cher and Martha Stewart, because she loves powerful women having a voice - and being rich.
Her Instagram account, and where her brand MrsDowJones grew, has garnered 147,000 followers, and it’s easy to see why.
Sacks, who calls herself a financial popstar, explains finance and the importance of having your money in order so well, that it’s accessible to all her followers. And she says her content is easy to understand because she did the hard yards first.
“I started MrsDowJones, because I really wanted to learn about money and become financially savvy,” Sacks said, in front of a Zoom background of $100 notes.
“But there were no teachers or content that appealed to me. So in order to teach myself I created this brand [and] this… way of life to learn.”
Sacks boiled down information from The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Investopedia and CNBC to memes and short videos for her audience to consume, and ultimately learn from.
“All those places were huge for me, because I was so passionate about what I was doing that I was able to sift through - even though their content was dry - because I was encouraged by what I was doing.
“I was just reading and like searching for something that would spark a connection and drive me.”
And she reads - a lot. In fact, the first book in her (initially) three-person book club read was Warren Buffett’s Ground Rules.
It didn’t take long for Sacks to bring up billionaire investor and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett, either - seven minutes into our 30 minute interview, to be exact.
“I love him, he’s safe and long term. And he’s not an idiot about money,” Sacks gushed.
“I think that’s something people really get wrong - it’s the same with stocks too. If something is too good to be true, it’s too good to be true. Everything takes time. If you buy a stock one day, and...you see how high it is today, and it seems illogical, then it’s probably illogical.”
But one message about finance she definitely wants to get across?
“It’s not that hard, it’s really not,” she said.
“It’s definitely something that people can learn, and don’t have to spend that much time figuring out. You just have to get into the habit of doing it.”
Making money while you sleep
Investing safely isn’t the only lesson Sacks learned from 89-year-old Buffett.
In fact, this is her all-time favourite quote from the world’s greatest investor: “If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you’ll work until you die.”
“That just, to me, sums up why you need to invest because if you don't invest and you have your money in a savings account, your money is actually going to lose value because of inflation and you're going to have to work till you die because you will have not grown your wealth at all,” she said.
Making that initial jump can be daunting, Sacks said, but it’s worth it in the long haul.
“Ultimately, everyone needs to have that moment of reckoning. I mean, I look at what’s going on now - it’s obviously horrible, terrible and I wish it wasn’t happening, but I’m also an optimist, and I love to see the positivity in things,” she said.
“A lot of us are going through our first emergency, and there’s no better impetus to make you want an emergency fund, or to make sure that you have a future set up for yourself no matter what than when you go through something and realise, ‘Shit, I don’t have that’.”
But before you invest, you need to have your financial ducks in a row, Sacks said.
“That in itself is really scary and hard for a lot of people to do.”
That means having an emergency fund and having a good budget - “And we’re not talking about a budget where you can’t buy cool earrings, you should be able to enjoy your life.”
You should be living frugally, too. If you’re already living frugally, it could even mean moving into a cheaper rental.
“You should see the places that I lived,” Sacks said. “Like, they were so bad. It was so bad, but it was fine because I was saving so much money I didn’t care.”
If you get to a point where you’re ready to invest, but you’re still a little tentative, take that in your stride, she said.
“I get scared, I am risk-averse and I want to know that I'm really diversified,” she said.
“So if you know that about yourself, then you should probably buy funds, you should buy ETFs or mutual funds.”
These funds, Sacks said, are almost like an eyeshadow pallet.
“You buy it once and you've got all these different colours, and that's sort of what [a mutual fund] is,” she said.
“You might be more excited about that shimmery copper than you are about that orange, but you're gonna get all of them, and who knows? That orange could be the coolest colour in four years, you know?”
Good investments aren’t always stocks
Outside of herself and stocks, Sacks’ best investment was her Hermès Kelly handbag, which she bought second-hand, proving you can still have nice things and be financially savvy simultaneously.
“That bag, I could resell tomorrow,” Sacks said. “She's gorgeous. So anytime there's like a real rainy day, I know I can cash in on her.”
During coronavirus, Sacks’ best investment has actually been her bulletin board, which she turned into a mood-board to pin Julia Roberts above her work desk.
“It’s just for stuff that makes me feel happy and puts me in a mood, and it brings me a lot of joy,” she said.
“And future investment - obviously I will have a Birkin collection.”
Are you a millennial or Gen Z-er interested in joining a community where you can learn how to take control of your money? Join us at The Broke Millennials Club on Facebook!