Syama Bunten Shares Her Secrets to Financial Freedom and Success

Introducing Syama Bunten, a finance and entrepreneurship powerhouse.

Syama is an operator, investor, advisor, and trusted consultant to startups. Known as 'Big Delta', Syama launched Rendall Co and grew it to $3M in 6 months, doubled the volume of Gucci Outlets from $50M to $100M in 2 years, and has been scaling up teams to operational efficiency and profit for the last 15 years. 

After achieving entrepreneurial success, Syama is finally revealing her financial secrets on her new podcast, "Getting Rich Together." Season 1 features inspiring interviews with entrepreneurs and corporate executives, sharing their money journeys from childhood to legacy planning. 

In our interview today, Syama shares her financial journey from overcoming early struggles to finding financial freedom, and launching her own podcast. Here are some of the highlights from our conversation:

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My earliest memories in my financial journey was around the age of nine years old. My parents got divorced when I was five, and they got remarried when I was nine. In that time period, I remember them fighting the most about my education. I grew up in San Francisco, I was the kid who went to all private schools, but on financial aid. 

I was able to see the people around me and the stable homes that they had. They were able to have the things that they wanted in their life. And so my career actually started from a place of figuring out how to make money. I was lucky that my mom had me do summer internships starting at the age of 11 or 12 years old. I basically started developing office skills at a very young age. A big part of it was that my mother saw the need for financial independence. It was her passing down to me that: if you can work, then you will be able to make your own decisions and do your own things. 


How can young professionals and students align their career goals with their financial aspirations?

I did not find the life I was looking for until I started my own business. Regardless, if you have a corporate job or not, there is a real need to be able to, from a tax perspective, have an S corp or an LLC. This way you are always able to take advantage of the federal government's taxing system. Every person should be a business owner, as soon as possible. That gives you the freedom and flexibility to choose a career that you love, and helps you to make capital.

How can young professionals and students begin planning for and ensuring long-term financial security?

The one thing that I would have done is invested in my 401k out the gate. The one thing I hear from so many women is how incredible it's been for them to see this compounded return from their early days in college. And these women are now in their 40s and 50s. I needed the money to pay for my rent, so I just couldn't fathom a world where I was able to put any money aside. But I wish I had done that. I wish the opportunity was there for me to have done that. 

Syama Meagher, winner of Positive Leadership Award 2023.

What are some common misconceptions or challenges young professionals face when it comes to managing their finances?

It's difficult to manage your finances when you feel like you don't have any. It's difficult to manage your finances when your parents never taught you about money. It's also difficult to manage your finances when you're being baited with high interest rate credit cards, but you're trying to figure out how to pay for dinner with your friends. But, the one thing you will never have in front of you ever again, is your youth. Your youth means that you can take risks, you can take a year to go on vacation and figure out what you want to be and what you want to do. 

My advice for young professionals is to get the job in the industry that you're most curious and interested about. And know that where you start is not where you're going to finish. Know that success will come over time. For most people, the peak of their earning potential doesn't happen until they're in their 40s. So you have time, while I'm not promoting financial instability or to not manage your finances, know that your circumstances will change as long as you're applying yourself to your zones of excellence.

You mentioned that young professionals should try and improve their financial foundation whether via a business or a side-hustle? How do you suggest young professionals look for these opportunities?

There's something to be said about curiosity, and incremental risk. I don't advocate that everybody jumps off and invests a lot of money into starting something. But I do advocate that people take the time, and little amounts of capital to exercise incremental risk at testing things out. And so as we are today, I've got 30 different domain URLs. I'm always thinking about what to do next. I'm not even thinking. I'm allowing for the next ideas to pop up. And I don't hesitate at taking incremental risk. And that is important, because when you're planting seeds, you don't know which seeds are going to come to fruition at what point in your life. But if you never plant the seeds to begin with, you're guaranteed to have no crops. Then, you're just left with growing whatever the bird drops onto your ground, right? So, instead of just taking whatever is going to come, you really have an opportunity to nurture curiosity, and to take incremental risk. 

Syama Bunten and her husband. PHOTO: COURTESY SYAMA BUNTEN

Can you share a funny or memorable financial fail from your past and the lesson you learned from it?

There's been a lot of things that I probably would have done differently. But the thing that I didn't do enough of was ask or look for help. There’s this one story I remember. I was working at Barneys and was gonna move apartments. I was so stressed out, because in New York City, you have to pay a broker fee when you move into an apartment. So you get an apartment, you need to have first month's and last month’s rent, and then a broker fee, which is equivalent to one month. So even for a $2,000 a month apartment, you need about $6,000 to move in. And then obviously, the movers or whatever it is you're hiring. I wish I had asked for more help. I should have called a family member and been like, "Hey, can I borrow some cash," rather than really agonizing over how to cover it. Those are the moments that make being a young, independent person really difficult. It's not necessarily always covering the basic monthly costs. It's these moments when you're trying to transition to your own thing where you actually need more capital than you think you do.

Be sure to check out Syama Bunten's new podcast “Getting Rich Together” where she dives deep into financial advice and guides listeners on how to lead their best lives. Tune in for insights and tips on achieving financial wellness and personal success!

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