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Radio host Angela Yee gets real about money: Let's 'have open and honest conversations'

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Angela Yee speaks at the Essence Festival of Culture in New Orleans in 2021
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Key Points
  • Angela Yee is a radio personality, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. She is one-third of the nationally syndicated program The Breakfast Club and was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame with her co-hosts in August 2020.
  • For her latest project, she aims to normalize money conversations.
  • "I don't want people to be embarrassed about where they are or ashamed to talk about money," says Yee. “I just want us to be able to have open and honest conversations so we can improve the ways we save and invest.”

Angela Yee has spent her 17-year radio career perfecting the art of the interview with celebrities like Eminem, Erykah Badu, and Lizzo. Her newest project brings that expertise to the topic of money, which remains very sensitive territory even at a time when people are willing to be pretty open about everything else.

"It is really hard for people to be completely honest about financial situations, but I do find that when you come out on the other end, it's easy to talk about where you were," says Yee.

Yee has partnered with the finance app Acorns on a new web series that hopes to help viewers get real about money. In Season 1, Yee sits down with rapper Remy Ma, multi-hyphenate performer Nick Cannon, and Roc Nation's Lenny S., using her signature style to dive into money conversations that not only entertain but also educate.

"I think people will listen to Angie," Noah Kerner, CEO of Acorns told Grow. "She can translate some of these complex topics to everyone."

Ahead of the show's premiere, Grow chatted with Yee about financial literacy and empowerment. The interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

'I don't want people to be embarrassed or ashamed to talk about money'

Rudine Manning, Grow editor: Can you tell me a little bit more about why you think financial literacy is so important, especially in communities of color, and how a show like yours will help?

Angela Yee: I think a lot of us have a mistrust of investing our money and I want us to get out of that mindset. And I know it was something that I grew up with and that my parents did.

So, for me, financial empowerment is so important for our future and for future generations to be able to, you know, level out the playing field. That's why something like this is important. I've been talking about financial literacy now for I don't even know how long, but this is a new journey.

I don't want people to be embarrassed about where they are or ashamed to talk about money. I just want us to be able to have these open and honest conversations about money so that we can improve the ways we save and invest.

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'The most important thing is to learn from those mistakes'

Manning: You've conducted hundreds, maybe even thousands of interviews. What have you learned about asking folks about money?

Yee: It is really hard for people to be completely honest about financial situations, but I do find that when you come out on the other end, it's easy to talk about where you were.

In the middle of a situation, you're embarrassed about a bad deal that you signed or you're embarrassed that your house got foreclosed on. But the most important thing to me is to learn from those mistakes.

It is really hard for people to be completely honest about financial situations, but I do find that when you come out on the other end, it's easy to talk about where you were.
Angela Yee
Radio personality, entrepreneur, and host

Manning: What is a money move that you're most proud of?

Yee: I would say buying a house. That's something that I was most proud of just being able to scrape together the money for the down payment. It's been such a great investment for me. And I looked at it as not my forever home but my first home. It's already doubled in value and it was only like seven, eight years ago.

So that was really, honestly like my best bet. And it made me feel so much more secure.

'I wish I would have gotten started earlier'

Manning: What do you wish you'd known about money earlier in your life and in your career?

Yee:
I wish that I would have gotten started [investing] earlier. I'm glad that I'm in it now, but the reason I even started investing in the stock market at all was because I had a guest when I was at Sirius, and he was a financial planner, and he couldn't believe that I didn't have an IRA or anything set up for retirement. So, I was like 30 years old when I first got started.

I'm glad that I finally did do it. And listen, it's, you know, it's never too late. But that's something that I wish I would have gotten together a whole lot earlier.

And that wake-up call might come for somebody who'll hear their favorite artists talking about their own investment stories or their financial journey and it might spark something. That's what we hope does happen.

Grow is produced in partnership with Acorns and CNBC.

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