Sisters Illustration (Oprah: Getty Images; Money: Stocksy)
Sisters Illustration (Oprah: Getty Images; Money: Stocksy)
Work & Money

You Can Make Money the Oprah Way!

Borrow these three strategies from the billionaire best friend in our heads.

Tamara E. Holmes

No one reflects our #moneygoals more than Oprah. This year, Ms. O became the only African American billionaire on Forbes’ list of the richest Americans. Shares of Weight Watchers (she owns 10 percent of the company) have skyrocketed more than 1,000 percent since she invested about $43 million and started counting points. Maybe it’s true that you can’t be too rich or too thin. Other recent mogul moves: She’s developing content with Apple, and she bought investment property. That’s called multiple income streams, ladies. Go get it, Oprah!


As a money writer who hopes to be financially independent one day, I researched how a hustling “thousandaire” sister could emulate Oprah’s wealth-building strategies — on a more modest scale. Here are three ways we can “own” our financial future.


  1. Own Property.


In May, Oprah dropped more than $8 million on a 43-acre-island estate off the coast of Washington state.


You may not have $8 million to put down on a luxury property, but a 3 percent down payment can get you started making moves in the real estate game. “While my friends were blowing their money on the latest fads, I was aggressively saving for my first real estate property,” says Jamila Souffrant, 35, of New York. She currently rents out that condo, and the rent covers the mortgage and provides additional income for Souffrant’s family. Souffrant and her husband also used the proceeds from another real estate investment to put down 30 percent on their current home and fund renovations. “Not only can I use the rent as income in our retirement years, but we can also choose to sell or we can pass it down to our children,” says the mini-mogul who shares her knowledge about achieving financial freedom through her podcast at JourneytoLaunch.com.


  1. Own intellectual property and make passive income on the internet.


When I’m struggling to meet a deadline, I often fantasize about making money while sipping a martini on the beach. So I can’t help but be impressed with Oprah’s digital venture with Deepak Chopra. The two collaborated to create a line of spiritual and meditation products ranging from $49.99 to $594.99.


While meditation might not be your thing, chances are there’s something you can create that people will pay for. Pay attention to what people compliment you on, suggests Candice Marie, a 29-year-old graphic designer in Boston who started the blog YoungYetWise.com to chronicle the lessons she learned about money. When her blog readers sent questions about certain topics, she packaged the answers into two e-books and a digital course that range in price from $14 to $127. “It’s nice just to have that extra income that’s not dependent on me trading time for dollars,” she says.


  1. Own a stake in someone else’s business


Earlier this year, Forbes estimated Oprah’s Weight Watchers stake to be worth $365 million. This summer, she invested in the healthy food restaurant chain True Food Kitchen.


You don’t need millions to invest in a company that you have researched and believe in — and one that you want to cash in on when it succeeds. With $5,000, you can become an angel investor with Pipeline Angels, a firm that matches women investors with women-owned businesses. Or you can invest as little as $100 in a startup on entrepreneur.indiegogo.com.

You can also dip your toe into the world of investing by  putting your money in a mutual fund — a pool of cash that is invested in a collection of stocks, bonds or other investments. Some funds let you start investing with as little as $100.


The key to creating wealth is recognizing that you are your greatest asset. As the mogul, herself, once said: “I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.”



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Sisters Illustration (Oprah: Getty Images; Money: Stocksy)