Nicole Lapin is an NYT best-selling author and America’s go-to money expert who disrupted the traditionally male-dominated finance space by empowering female audiences to take charge of their money and careers through her books Rich Bitch, Boss Bitch, and Becoming Super Woman. Her fourth book, Miss Independent: A Simple 12-Step Plan to Start Investing and Grow Your Own Wealth, was released earlier this year as a launching point for women ready to build their wealth, cement their financial independence, and secure the net worth needed to create the life they want. From automating savings; to too easy, no-stress ways of investing; and knowing when to take smart risks that compound wealth and keep debt away. Miss Independent sweeps away all the fear and misconceptions about saving and investing and achieving financial independence and then teaches all the different ways and paths one can take to build wealth.
Nicole got her start in finance at age eighteen by reporting from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for First Business Network. She graduated summa cum laude and as valedictorian of her class at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and went on to become the youngest anchor ever at CNN. From there she worked at CNBC and Bloomberg; hosted the business reality competition show Hatched on CBS and served as a special money correspondent for Entertainment Tonight.
Currently, Nicole hosts two podcasts for iHeartRadio: “Hush Money” alongside the editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur Jason Feifer, as well as her own daily show “Money Rehab with Nicole Lapin” where she interviews a wide range of well-known guests and is consistently ranked the top of Apple’s business charts. Nicole appears regularly on GMA3, E! Daily Pop, and Ryan Seacrest to name a few.
You are America’s go-to money expert. Share your background.
I grew up in an immigrant family where the only exposure I had to the concept of finances was green cash in a safe under the kitchen sink. I never imagined I would even get to a place where I had my own finances figured out much less be teaching anyone else about them. I didn’t have a silver spoon in my mouth growing up, I barely had a spoon of food in my mouth at times. I was completely clueless about money so much so that my boyfriend in high school said he wanted to be a hedge fund manager and I thought he wanted to be in gardening! It all changed when I was 18 and was offered a job as a business reporter in Chicago. I needed a job so I said I knew about business news at the time, thinking I would just figure it out. And I did! And since then I’ve always wanted to help that scared girl who had so much shame about her financial acumen, or lack thereof. I went on to anchor and report business news for CNN, CNBC, and Bloomberg. I also wrote four books on the subject (with 6 more to come!) and speak to my audience every day with my daily show Money Rehab with Nicole Lapin. I turned the thing that I thought was my biggest weakness into my biggest superpower. I really think my story serves as a reminder that if I can do it, truly anyone can.
How does it feel to disrupt the traditionally male-dominated finance space? How are you helping to empower female audiences to take charge of their money and careers?
It feels pretty sweet! I’ll never forget when I started on the floor of the stock exchange 20 years ago, the women’s bathroom looked like a little coat closet next to the palatial men’s room. That’s no longer the case anymore. I’ve tried to make a traditionally boring and stuffy subject, dare I say fun. The work I do is all about making complicated topics in business and finance accessible. I think it is the last taboo we have as a society. Like with any hard subject, someone has to go first. So, I’ve taken the approach of letting that be me. I go first by sharing my embarrassing money foibles and exactly how much debt I had and the money I made with every salary or project in my career. The best antidote to shame is truth. So hopefully I lead by example.
What challenges have you faced and how did these experiences strengthen you personally and financially?
Oh wow! Where do I start? In all of my books, I have a money “confession” in each step. All of my books are 12-step plans because the first step to any recovery is admitting you have a problem. The only financial problem you can’t fix is the one you don’t admit you have. I have a lot of super embarrassing stories about money but I would say being in a boatload of credit card debt early in my career and getting out of it strengthened me for anything I’ll face financially. I am never going back there.
Tell us about your books, Rich Bitch and Boss Bitch.
Rich Bitch is a simple 12-step plan to get your financial life together…finally. It helps you with getting your basic financial life together: buying a car, renting/buying, budgeting, retirement, etc. It’s for any woman who never imagined she would ever pick up a money book. Boss Bitch is a simple 12-step plan to take charge of your career. It helps you level up your career whether you work for yourself, work for someone else or run the business of your family. I don’t think a career looks like a ladder, I think of it more like rock climbing. Women go through a lot of different work permutations in their careers. It’s not linear. The only constant is you and that’s why I teach you how to be a boss wherever you go.
What truth do you want women to know about their money and careers?
Guys don’t know more about money and business than women do, they just talk about it more. So, let’s start talking!
How can we become a Super Woman? Tell us about your book, Becoming Super Woman.
Being a super <space> woman is different from the one-word version because it allows space for you, the woman. So, often we are told to do it all and be it all for everything else, which means we are nothing to ourselves. Becoming Super Woman reminds us to put our oxygen masks on first and argues that self-care is the biggest asset or liability in your career. It is a business book, in the business section of the book store not the self-help section because it focuses on how EQ (emotional intelligence) and FQ (financial intelligence) beat out IQ as the most important catalysts to success. The good news is: it’s really easy to boost both of them. Changing your IQ is hard but upping your EQ and FQ is totally up to you.
Can you share tips on how women can cement their financial independence and secure the net worth needed to create the life they want?
The biggest thing is to start investing. Now. You’re never as young as you are today and today is as good a day as any as far as I’m concerned. You know the nasty force of compound interest that’s used against you with credit card debt? You can use that very same force in your favor when you invest. If you’re a newbie, I would start with low-cost S&P 500 index funds or ETFs. It’s really hard to beat the market no matter how much people try to sell you on that. The reality is: very few fund managers beat what the market does. So just buy what the market does instead! That’s what an index fund helps you do.
Your recent book, Miss Independent: A Simple 12-Step Plan to Start Investing and Grow Your Own Wealth is drawing international attention. How is this book a launching point for women who want to build their wealth?
It serves as a reminder that having your own financial back gives you the freedom to leave a crappy job or relationship. Unfortunately, too many women stay in abusive relationships because they don’t think they can support themselves or take care of household finances themselves. Miss Independent reminds you that the power to do that is well within your reach but only if you grab for it!
How does Miss Independent sweep away all the fear and misconceptions about saving and investing?
I think money is a language like anything else. We just don’t have a Rosetta Stone for that language growing up. We don’t learn it in school and most of us, myself included, don’t learn it at home. I grew up in an immigrant family so there was no talk of stocks or bonds or mortgages. The world of investing sounded foreign to me. That’s until I learned how to actually speak the language and once I did, I felt empowered and could join money conversations. I also realized it wasn’t as complicated as I imagined it to be. The same thing happens with any language. If you go to Japan and you don’t speak Japanese, you’ll be really confused. If you go to Wall Street and you don’t speak the language of money, you’ll be really confused…until, of course, you learn it. It’s never too late to learn it. You’re not too old to start. I wanted Miss Independent to be your Rosetta Stone to help you decode the language of investing and growing wealth once and for all.
You have two podcasts for iHeartRadio: “Hush Money” alongside the editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur Jason Feifer, as well as her own daily show “Money Rehab with Nicole Lapin. What can we find on your podcasts?
Every day on Money Rehab, I offer listeners bite-sized episodes of what’s happening in the financial world in plain English…how inflation affects you, what’s up with interest rates and student debt or wtf is the metaverse?! Being up to date with financial literacy and the latest happenings is a key component to growing long-term, generational wealth.
Nicole’s iHeartRadio daily podcast, Money Rehab is where she hosts guests to talk about and celebrate their impact, lessons around work ethic, and successes.
Past guests include Hill Harper, Rebecca Minkoff, Senator Tammy Duckworth, Kristi Yamaguchi, Joy Mangano, Devon Kennard, Kate Somerville and more!
Can any woman change their trajectory when it comes to money?