Building wealth over looking rich online with The Millennial CPA

As a part-time hula hooper, dog walker, and accountant, Kim Liao knows the value of hustle. Now the social media star teaches her followers about financial literacy to allow more people to take control of their money.

Money has always played an important role in Kim Liao’s life. As a little girl growing up in China, she embraced the side-hustle. She loved getting pocket change from her parents for doing chores or practicing piano and would even charge her uncles $3 to wash their hair.

“I just wanted to be rich,” she remembers.

Kim had a good role model for success and hard work in her mother—a college professor. When Kim and her mom immigrated to Los Angeles, her world turned upside down. 

Suddenly they were a single-parent family in a new country where her mom’s degree meant nothing. Money was scarce and her mother took a job selling sunglasses in a mall.

“It made me want to be successful in the future so I could provide a better life for her,” Kim recalls.

Changing money scripts

Those lean years imprinted her with some beliefs about money that didn’t serve her long-term goals. After graduation, she started earning money and found herself spending hundreds of dollars every weekend on things like clothes and skincare products.

“I had the script of like, Now I have money — this is what I worked hard for. What’s the point of making money if you don’t spend it?

A reality check came when she took a trip to Korea. While there, she avoided checking her credit card expenses because she found it stressful. When she returned home to find she had spent over $2,000 on a shopping spree and realized it was time to get smarter about money.

Instead of spending money to look and feel rich, she started getting serious about building wealth. She began learning about personal finance and developed a strategic plan that allowed her to maximize her income, savings, and investments. Slowly but intentionally, she built an emergency fund, bought a house, and grew her savings and investments by $100,000 in one year.

“I just took baby steps, and that compounded to where I am today,” she says.

Perhaps the biggest win of Kim’s career came after her mother lost her job in 2020. Kim set a goal of saving $28,000 within a year to pay off her mom’s mortgage – she reached the target in nine months.

“I called her and I was like, Mom, we’re at 28,000 — it’s done,” Kim recalls. “And then she started crying and then I started crying. That was the most fulfilling moment. It opened up a feeling that helping the people I love is becoming more important in my life.”

The Millennial CPA

Kim stumbled upon her current career somewhat by chance. During the pandemic, she began posting TikTok videos of herself dancing with hula hoops. Along with dog walking, it’s one of several hobbies she’s turned into a side-hustle. 

After one video went viral, she capitalized on the momentum and launched an Instagram account called Here she shares finance tips and ways to help people grow their money. Much of what drives her is enthusiasm for learning and sharing new things, for example handling inflation and rising interest rates or having fun with your money responsibly.

Today, as an accountant and finance influencer, Kim uses lessons from her past to help others become financially literate. Her openness to sharing her own highs and lows with money boost her credibility when it comes to advising others on financial matters.

As a global financial technology platform, Intuit helps customers like Kim build the financial confidence to achieve their dreams. We’re here whether you’re opening a coffee shop, paying down your college loan, or giving others the tools they need to become financially literate.

Kim knows from personal experience that changing money scripts is hard.

“But if you just take one baby step at a time, you can become more financially literate, and those opportunities will come where you will be able to better your life,” she says.