Finding Financial Freedom with Tonya Rapley ’07

Debt is one word with which most of us are a little too familiar. Straddled with student loans, soaring rent and lower incomes, sometimes it feels like there’s no end in sight. Tonya Rapley ’07, CEO of My Fab Finance & The Not Just For Profit struggled with similar obstacles – then she decided to make some serious changes.

After navigating through her own tumultuous sea of debt, Tonya emerged just 18 months later with a much improved credit score, a significant savings and a new purpose – to support other millennials on their journey to financial freedom.

Determined to realize this goal, Tonya became a Certified Financial Educator; founded My Fab Finance in 2013 and was named the “New Face of Wealth Building” by Black Enterprise Magazine in 2014. Today, with her impeccable wardrobe, contagious smile and entrepreneurial spirit, Tonya Rapley is a seriously fashionable, financially savvy force to be reckoned with.

Tonya Rapley ’07, CEO of My Fab Finance & The Not Just For Profit
                              Tonya Rapley ’07, CEO of My Fab Finance & The Not Just For Profit


As a junior at FIU, Tonya worked as a student research assistant at FIU’s Metropolitan Center, an experience she says played a large part in where she is today. FIU’s Metropolitan Center has developed a research-based community action plan to improve economic opportunity and independence locally. “Here I was, just a college student, but I was working on city plans and affordable housing studies. It ignited a hunger in me to serve the underserved in innovative ways,” Tonya says.

Tonya facilitated focus groups as part of her research assistantship at the Metropolitan Center. Now an entrepreneur working in finance, Tonya often facilitates focus groups for banks and lending institutions.

Support from the FIU staff was fundamental to Tonya’s success, “Having gone on to receive a Master’s degree, I realize just how special the professors in my Public Administration program were. They exposed me to career fields I never imagined,” she says.

One professor made an especially meaningful impact while Tonya was a student at FIU. Dr. Edward Murray served as a mentor both during Tonya’s time on campus and after graduation. “He encouraged me to examine alternative career paths that fed my entrepreneurial spirit rather than settle for what seemed next and I’m happier today because of that advice,” she says.

What’s next for this successful and inspiring alumna?

“I’m continuing my work to help individuals break the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck via my online and offline workshops and courses,” Tonya says. “I just completed the #BanishTheBalance challenge, a 60 day debt repayment challenge that helped 4,000 participants pay off over $200,000 worth of debt. I’m focusing on writing curriculums to serve a wider population while continuing to defy the perceptions of what a financially responsible millennial looks like.”

But that’s not all. Tonya says she’s “also working to empower survivors of domestic violence as they reclaim their financial independence.”

Tonya Rapley at a Girls Night Out event
                                                         Tonya Rapley hosts a Girls Night Out event

If she could change one thing about her time at FIU, Tonya would have joined the FIU family as an incoming freshman. She transferred in from a North Carolina college for her junior year. “While my experience at FIU was rich,” she says, “I know that it would have been richer had I started off there instead of transferring.”

As a proud Panther, Tonya tries to “give back to the school that gave so much” to her. She has this golden advice to share with current students and young alumni: “Engage, engage, engage. FIU is a fine school with exceptional teachers, but the work you do outside the classroom matters just as much as the work you do inside the classroom.”

To discover your own financially savvy side, visit Tonya’s website,

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