From Broke Phi Broke to Financially Woke – The Investing Tutor


Escape from being broke

Today, I am excited to share with you the latest interview in the From Broke to Financially Woke series!  The purpose of this series it to give hope to those struggling to escape from the not so secret group Broke Phi Broke.  A group whose chant is, “We ain’t got it. Broke, Broke, Phi Broke! We ain’t got it. Broke, Broke, Phi Broke!”

To help me accomplish this goal, I have invited the best and brightest of the financial independence community here to share their stories.  As you read their interviews, pay close attention to the mistakes they made.  Take mental note of the success principles they used to turn things around.

When trying to apply these principles to your own life, realize that success in life is rarely linear.  You will encounter some struggles.  But stay persistent.  Keep moving forward.

Our special guest today is Dr. Hans, the Investing Tutor. He was born and raised in Ghana, where he was taught that the key to success was to get get a degree and find a high-paying job, but no one taught him about money.

At his lowest point, he lost the bulk of his paycheck playing a gambling. As a result, he was broke the entire week.

What game did he play and did how did he learn about money? I’ll let him tell you the story…


Introduce yourself.  Where do you blog? What are some of your interests outside of financial independence?


Hey there! Dr. Hans here – the Investing Tutor. I post a lot on social media. You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, or Linkedin. Interests outside of FI… Hmmm, that’s tough because my #1 interest is money. But I love watching documentaries about wealthy entrepreneurs and studying how they achieved their success.


Tell us about a time where you were a member of Broke Phi Broke and had to live paycheck to paycheck. How did that low point make you feel?


Escape from being broke


I remember it like it was yesterday. 15 years ago, I was working for a children’s clothing store in the Bronx. I had just received $250 for a week’s pay. On my way home from work, I saw a group of people gathered around. They seemed to be having a good time, so I went over to look at what was going on. I watched as they played this game. One person would shuffle plastic cups over a ball, and if you could locate the ball, you doubled your money.

I stood by and watched for 10 mins. Each time, I knew which cup had the ball. After waiting a total of 15 mins and feeling like I had won all those times, I finally raised my hand to be next in line to play. I put $100 of my paycheck down to play. The game started and I watched the ball carefully. I saw it land underneath the right cup. I pointed to it – and poof the ball wasn’t there. I lost $100 instantly. My heart sank, but I told them I wanted to play again. I put down another $100. I paid closer attention to the ball – and lost the money again. That’s when I realized I had been scammed. The game was set up to take money from naive individuals that tried to find an easy way to make quick money.

 That was the lowest point of my life. I was broke the entire week and couldn’t tell my parents what had happened. Since that experience, I stay far away from ANYTHING that promises quick returns. I don’t believe in day trading, Forex trading, options trading – nothing. I’ve come to realize that the allure of fast money is a gimmick. It is used to enrich those promising such schemes. That was the best lesson I learned at the lowest point of my life.


What are some of your biggest financial mistakes?


This story is from my time at the University of Buffalo. I had full coverage car insurance on my Nissan Maxima. I managed to convince myself it would be a good idea to switch my car insurance from full coverage to liability insurance. Liability insurance was three times cheaper. I figured everything would be okay.

Exactly one month after switching, an older couple ran me off the road, and I totaled my car. The police officer didn’t ask me for a verbal statement. He asked the older white couple to leave the scene and lied to the insurance company that I was to blame for the incident. The car I purchased for $5,000, less than a year ago, was sent to the junkyard.


Describe your upbringing.  Where did you grow up? What did your parents or teachers teach you about money?


I was born and raised in Ghana West Africa. Growing up, I was told the key to success involved getting a degree and finding a high-paying job. No one spoke to me about money.

As an immigrant, you are encouraged to work for money and trade your time for money, instead of having money to work for you.


How important is becoming financially woke to you?  What steps have you taken to increase your financial knowledge?


The difference between the rich people and the poor is access to valuable information. I remember a famous quote by Jim Rohn. He said, “If you want to keep information from a large group of people just hide it in a book.” That quote resonated with me so much that I made a concerted effort to read as much as possible. For the past 10 years, I’ve read over 400 books on the topics of personal finance, wealth building, and investing.


What are some of the key principles you have used to improve your financial life?


Escape from being broke
Success Principles


This question brings to mind several quotes I’ve gathered during my personal finance journey and some I created. These quotes allow me to navigate this long financial journey with confidence.


  • “Pay yourself first.”
  • “Spend less than you earn and invest the difference.”
  • “Don’t tie your happiness to money because it takes time to build wealth.”
  • “Poor people are told to stay away from debt. Rich people raise capital and use debt to grow their wealth. Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates all used debt to their advantage.”


How often do you consume personal finance information?  Name 3-5 of your favorites sources (books, podcasts, blogs, etc.). 


I read about 15 to 20 articles per day. I listen to financial podcasts, Youtube videos, and audiobooks. I cannot go to bed if I don’t learn something new each day about the economy, personal finance, or investing.


Where are you on the path to financial independence?  


Escape from being broke


I consider myself financially independent because I don’t depend on a job for money. I run my own business. Running a business you love, and being able to live a happy, fulfilled life is the best feeling ever. I genuinely want others to experience this for themselves. It starts with being bold enough to take a step in the direction of your dreams.


Is there any advice/encouraging words you can give those who are struggling to escape Broke Phi Broke?


What you’re experiencing is preparing you for where you’re going. I remember 13 years ago, I was worth $6/hr. Today, I’m worth 100 times that. Never let where you are today stop you from envisioning where you could be. Never let your current circumstance make you feel inadequate. What you’re going through is not a reflection of your future.  Sooner or later, the dream that you have for your life will become your reality if you never lose sight of it.


How can the readers contact you?


I’m on instagram. Find me and let’s connect. Just search – theinvestingtutor

I hope my story inspires you to never be too hard on yourself. Your past experience does not define who you are. Everyone can create the life they desire. You just have to be bold enough to chase your dream and never give up.

Read more interviews in the From Broke to Financially Woke Series.

Escape from being broke

Please share this From Broke to Financially Woke interview on social media with the hashtag #escapebrokephibroke

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Author: Jerry

Jerry is a Business Insider Contributing Writer who is obsessed with personal finance. He believes you can improve your financial situation by applying principles taught by the financial independence community to your financial life.

If you are having trouble saving, he recommends that you join the SaverLife Savings program where you can get a $60 reward after six months (no income requirement). All you have to do is put a minimum of $20 a month into a savings account. Easy, right?

For a fun read, check out his article 10 Signs You’re a Personal Finance Addict to see if you are a personal finance nerd.

Before you go, check out the new From Broke to Financially Woke Interview Series.

Also, please subscribe below if you found his content valuable and want to continue following him as he documents his own journey from Broke to Financially Woke!

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