BiggerPockets Money Podcast 62: Taking Advantage of ALL Opportunities Life Throws at You with Anna Li

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Anna Li moved to America from Uzbekistan when she was 22. On today’s episode, she shares the opportunities she’s been presented with—and taken advantage of—from an opportunity to learn at the first non-government university in Uzbekistan that partnered with an American College (essentially allowing her to earn the equivalent of an American degree) to picking up and moving to a new country to start a new life.

Though she was a financial analyst in Uzbekistan, the language barrier prevented her from getting a job in her field in her new country. Newly married, she took a job at a shoe store while her husband delivered pizzas.

Finally, she was able to secure a position in finance with Vanguard. It took five years to work her way up from analyst to team lead. She switched firms and is now a director for an international pharmaceutical company.

After every opportunity, she thought, “I’ve made it.” But instead of sitting there comfortably, she continued to pursue more—a better job, a promotion, a transfer.

When her husband’s last company closed, instead of finding a new job, they took this as an opportunity to begin investing in real estate. Her job offered a transfer to Switzerland—a three-year stint that came with a hefty raise and almost all expenses paid by the company, allowing them to ramp up their savings to pay for more houses. Plus, her husband flips long distance with her dad, another source of revenue.

Anna also shares a few unique tips for paying for child care and college—and you’re going to want to stick around for those! This episode is packed with information, and Anna’s journey will inspire you.

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • How Ana’s journey with money began
  • How she went from stable environment to chaos
  • How her dad instilled an entrepreneurial spirit
  • The story of starting a soda business
  • Why she borrowed $3,000 from parents and moved to U.S.
  • Their money evolution
  • What their wealth accumulation looks like a year after they migrated
  • What happened the year after they lived with their parents
  • A discussion on thinking only of surviving and not having exact goals for the first couple of years as immigrants
  • What their experience was like living with relatives
  • How they weathered the 2008 financial crisis
  • The daycare hack Anna figured out
  • How her husband got interested in real estate and decided on flipping
  • How she discovered financial independence
  • The benefits of expat jobs
  • What a Solo 401k really means
  • Hacking college
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Tweetable Topics:

  • “You can take any disadvantage and turn it into an advantage.” (Tweet This!)
  • “If life has taught me anything, it’s that anything can happen.” (Tweet This!)
  • “It’s not about stopping working; it’s about doing what I want to do.” (Tweet This!)
  • No matter what life throws at you, everything is possible.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Anna

About Author

The BiggerPockets Money Podcast is for anyone who has money… or want to have more! Join BiggerPockets Community Manager Mindy Jensen and Director of Operations Scott Trench weekly for the BiggerPockets Money Podcast! Each week, financial experts Mindy and Scott interview unique and powerful thought leaders about how to earn more, keep more, spend smarter, and grow your wealth. You'll get tips for getting your financial house in order and actionable advice from guests who have been in your shoes - and found their way out.


  1. Katie Rogers

    You glossed over it a bit, but please remember that the tax on 401(k) contributions is DEFERRED. After so many years of not paying tax, a lot of people forget that eventually they will have to pay tax. Some high earners have been burned because they are actually making more money upon retirement than less, and therefore end up making more tax down the road. A lot of people cashed in their 401(k) in 2006-2007 and were surprised that they had to pay income tax on the contribution portion and capital gain tax capital gain tax on the rest even though their 401(k) had lost half its value.

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