What were you doing at 19-years-old? Most of us were just getting started with our lives and were probably participating in typical teenage activities that we regret (lol). Oia Eng isn’t your average teen—she’s already investing in real estate and solidifying her financial plans for the future. Her brilliance and focus at such a young age is truly impressive. We had the chance to catch up with this girl boss and discuss how she started her investing journey, college, and her plans for the future.
We’ve already heard amazing things about you! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
First off, I want to thank you guys for having me! I’m 19 years old and currently on a gap year. During my gap year, I’ve been focused on sharing financial literacy tools with young girls & women. I started my journey in real estate to broaden my financial portfolio & financial stability.
You grew up in Shanghai, Taipei, New Hampshire, and Toronto. How do you think these experiences shaped who you are today?
Like you mentioned, I’ve lived in many different cities. I grew up in Asia & attended high school in the US. I loved traveling as a child, and had the opportunity to grow up in diverse communities. Traveling often as a child did have its challenges. However, being immersed in many cultures helped to shape who I am today!
We see that you will be attending the University of Chicago. What are you pursuing? What is your dream job?
I will attend the University of Chicago as a Freshman this fall. I haven’t declared a major yet, so I look forward to having the opportunity to try out different majors and see what sticks. I do know that I’m currently interested in ECON! As far as a dream job and my future, I’m striving to build passive income & gain financial independence, so after graduation I don’t have to dive directly into corporate America. The financial foundation I am building will allow me to hone in on my passion after graduation.
At just 19 years old, how have you become so knowledgeable about investing?
My family has always been finance oriented and inspired my interest in investment. My father gifted me the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad around the age of 12. I wasn’t thrilled about receiving the book as a gift, but the messages really resonated with me. I remember one quote from the book that really stood out to me: “Instead of working for money, have money work for you”. I later joined the workforce in customer service where I learned the value of a dollar during my time as a server. I discovered that I didn’t want to work for money and learned that finding a way to have my money work for me would give me financial freedom and more time to do other things I enjoy.
Another thing I realized was that everyone is an investor! While depositing my server paychecks helped me realize that everyone is an investor because you’re investing your money into low interest accounts. I then began investing my server checks in stock & that is what sparked my investment journey.
What inspired you to co-write the book “Ten Commandments of Investing” with your father?
My family prioritized financial freedom. I realized that there was a lack of financial literacy tools to teach young girls about financial independence & money management. I recognized the vast financial literacy gap between women and men & how that cycle continues through gender wage/pay gap. My dad & uncle created the initial draft of the ten commandments, and during the editing process my cousin and I saw the need for a different approach to engage a younger audience. That is when I joined the project as a co-founder along with my cousin. In the book I wanted to highlight women investors, investors of color, and voices from across the globe. I also added fun anecdotes to make the book more palatable for younger audiences to become financially literate & enjoy the content along the way.
Are you interested in investing in businesses in the future?
I would love to diversify my investment portfolio in the future and enact change in the community by investing in female businesses & POC-owned businesses.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to start investing?
I would say go for it! Investing can be really scary, but I began with small investments to begin practicing investing in a lower risk environment. I used to watch YouTube videos on investing when I first started. I encourage others to spend time watching videos, ask for help, mitigate fear, and just get started. The #1 thing I’ve heard from older generations is that they wish they would have started when they were younger. So simply learning financial language & getting started is the first step.
What is your superpower?
I love this question. I would say connecting with others! I love connecting deeply with people & knowing who they are beyond business. I truly value the uniqueness of every individual and learning more about them and their experiences.
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