The Ivy Investor talks Black Enterprise, TREF, & Cannabis Investing

I discovered The Ivy Investor financial expert advice blog in the Stocks and Stilettos Society Facebook Group and I am glad I did! So when I had to opportunity to hear Courtney Richardson, The Ivy Investor, speak at her Investing 101 Class hosted by Dream Catchers: Harrisburg Chapter, I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her feature in Black Enterprise, her take on the Tulsa Real Estate Fund, and how to aggressively invest in cannabis.

Dream Catchers: Harrisburg Chapter

MRTV: Share your educational and professional background and how it lead you to blogging as a vehicle to sharing your investing advice?

CR: I started The Ivy Investor in 2014 as a second frustrated second year associate at a big law firm. In this position I spent my day writing oil and gas real estate titles and I needed a more creative outlet. At the same time, my friends constantly called me for financial advice as they transitioned into new jobs and families. Before I went to law school, I was a licensed stockbroker and investment advisor. My claim to fame is that I was working the day the stock market crashed in 2008. I would probably still be in financial services if I didn't get laid off in 2009 and decide to go to law school.

I spent a lot of time getting my friends "up to speed" on financial terms such as rollovers, portable insurance, and stocks. I started to realize nearly everyone had the same questions. I started to write blog posts that addressed these common questions. My friends ended up sharing my blogs with their friends and their friends' friends.

In 2014, the same year I started The Ivy Investor, I decided to make my general knowledge more specialized by getting a tax law degree. I graduated with my Master of Laws (LL.M.) in taxation and certificate in estate planning.

Courtney Richardson, The Ivy Investor

Photo Credit: Courtney Richardson, The Ivy Investor

MRTV: What trends have you seen in the Black community in our relationship with wealth building and investing?

CR: *Whew* I have seen a lot of trends. The first trend is that of fear and frustration because everyone understands that a 9-5 job is not going to cut it in light of student loan debt, relatively low wages, and the general demands of life. So many people are looking for something else. Investing is the logical conclusion. But here is, unfortunately, where I see it fall apart. We don't have a great grasp of the investment world--- it's not taught in schools or in college (even finance majors don't quite get it)-- and we have trouble discerning the difference between investments and gambles. So we tend to be susceptible more "scams" or get rich quick schemes more so than others. I focus on providing quality education so my students and readers can make informed decisions.

MRTV: We’re always encouraged to pursue your passion, “do what you love and you’ll never work a day,” etc. – but pursuing our passions isn’t easy. Overall, would you say The Ivy Investor is your passion and has building your platform been easy for you?

CR: YES! The Ivy Investor is certainly my passion. I did it for three years without receiving a dime! I only started charging for classes in 2017. I think the path to building my paid platform has been easier than most because people buy from those that they know, like, and trust. I was providing such high value information for years that people thought it was natural to pay me for it. If I had to do it again, I would definitely say that I wouldn't wait so long to monetize. lol

MRTV: Congrats on your Black Enterprise feature *happy dance*! You were named as 1 of 7 Black Millennial Financial Experts to Follow on Instagram. What you’re most proud of as financial educator and what sets you apart from the others?

CR: Thank you!! I'm most proud of being able to bring all of me to my business. I take my experience as a former investment and financial advisor, my in depth understanding of tax law and estate planning to create content and courses to educate the world. That's pretty amazing.

One of my attorney friends called me a unicorn a few weeks ago. At first I was stunned but then I was like, YES! I am formally trained as a financial advisor and I worked in financial services advising on investments for years. My law degrees allow me to understand business, the foundation of investing, on a deep level. Second, I had the opportunity to use my financial planning experience to take my mom from bankruptcy to comfortable retirement. I think its easy to do something for yourself but its ten times harder to do it for someone else.

Courtney Richardson, the Ivy Investor

Photo Credit: Courtney Richardson, The Ivy Investor

MRTV: I have been tagging you in marijuana investment and legalization news, encouraging my followers to follow your platform. We discussed briefly how difficult it is for POC to get the licensing required to grow or sell marijuana. In Pennsylvania, the application fee to open a dispensary is $10,000. With these costly barriers, is the Green Rush “Fool’s Gold” for the Black Community or do we the potential to make as much money as possible?

CR: Thank you for the love! There's so many ways to make money in the cannabis industry it is not funny. But there's also many ways to get caught with your pants down. For now, I think the cost of doing business is so high as a dispensary that I would stick to investing in the stock market and working in ancillary industries such as compliance.

MRTV: What, in your expert opinion, is the safest way to invest in the Green Rush for someone totally new to buying stocks ?

CR: Educate yourself. Learn as much as you can and don't invest more than you can afford to lose. Because like I said there's so many ways to get taken advantage of. I have an on demand class Five Ways to Invest in the Cannabis Industry that helps navigate the waters. Here's a link to the class:

MRTV: What debt management question are you asked the most? How do you reply?

CR: The most common question I'm asked is should I pay off debt first or invest first. I always say both because your biggest tool when it comes to investing is time. So don't wait to invest until you have paid off your debt. Come up with a debt elimination plan and an investing plan-- make both a part of your budget. Your investing amount shouldn't be as high as what you are contributing to paying off debt but it needs to be something. "Investing, like excellence, is a habit."

In terms of how to manage debt, I used the snowball method in paying off my debt excluding student loans a few years ago. Honestly, debt management isn't really my ministry. Using the snowball method, I listed all of my debts from low to high and threw as much money as I could to the lowest debt and moved on to the next debt, etc.

MRTV: You also wrote an article about the Tulsa Real Estate Fund - Tier 2 Real Estate Crowd Fund. Since the Initial Public Offering in June 2018, has your views on this fund changed and if so, in what way?

CR: I'm still as cautious as I was in May of 2018 of TREF. I find that it is very much a speculative investment. I recently learned that the company received a grand jury subpoena from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia and a civil subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission, each seeking documents and other information concerning the Company. I hope the investigation is quickly and amicably resolved.

I want to be clear that I think the idea is amazing but I think the execution in this matter could be improved.

MRTV: Are there any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve benefited from using and would like to recommend?

Podcast-- Episode 85 of Journey to Launch. Discusses financial independence for African Americans.


One up on Wall Street, Peter Lynch

The Intelligent Investor, Benjamin Graham

Photo Credit: Courtney Richardson, The Ivy Investor

MRTV: What can we expect from The Ivy Investor in the future?

CR: I'm currently on the Brown Girls Do Invest Tour, a four stop investment tour. We were in Atlanta in March. We will be in Chicago in June, NYC and Philly in September, and Houston in December. I'm working on a book (hold me to that). I also have a webinar, 3 Things I learned from IPO Investing on Thursday, March 21st at 8:30 pm EST.

MRTV: Share your most valued and treasured investment goal.

CR: Helping my mother reach retirement.

MRTV: Which life experiences have taught you the most about yourself?

CR: Law school taught me a lot about myself as a student. Working as an attorney has taught me patience like no other. Being an entrepreneur, has forced me out of my comfort zone in so many ways. I have to do things I don't like to do or feel comfortable in doing but for all of these experiences I'm grateful.

MRTV: Finish the sentence: Never give up on yourself because…

CR: You're all you've got. I always bet on Black. :)


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Got investment questions?? Leave them in the comments below and follow Courtney Richardson on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

#CourtneyRichardson #TREF #Investing #BlackWealth #Cannabis

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