Hey! I’m Julie. I’m a writer, business-finance grad, and investor here to help people like you invest without fear.

Mortgage-free homeowner.

Debt-free investor.

Reformed rule follower.



You are way too busy and overwhelmed to deal with financial complexity. You’d love a systematic way to understand your choices and make good decisions.


You want to own part of a company that inspires you, but feel conflicted because you’ve heard investing in individual stocks is foolish. You’d like to discover when buying a good company makes sense.


You wonder if investing is only for rich people with high incomes and inherited wealth. You appreciate reassurance that those who are “average” earners can start investing and building wealth.


You see stock symbols with arrows pointing up and down but aren’t sure what they mean — except “up” seems to generate excitement and “down,” fear. You already know there’s not an easy path to riches but you’d like to be content with your investments no matter what happens in the short term.

I guess my point here is that regular people can become wealthy.

When I was in college studying business and finance, I worked a part-time job as an RA (Resident Assistant) in the Housing Department. One of the administrators in the Central Office at the university was “independently wealthy,” having been an original investor in Food Lion (a retail grocery store started in Salisbury, NC.) Her investment of $1,000 several years prior had grown to over $1 million in the early 1980s.

A couple of my RA friends asked me what being an original investor meant and how her wealth transpired. I was surprised that they asked me – as both were extremely bright and high academic achievers while I considered myself average or slightly above average. (I finished college with a 3.2 GPA.) One earned her JD/MBA after undergrad and the other became a dentist.

I felt honored to be asked this question. I explained how buying ownership in a company works and how this woman’s shares had grown in value, making her a wealthy woman well before retirement age. My friends were fascinated by this story and by the concept of finance.

This made me realize that I had knowledge and understanding about finance that other people didn’t – despite their intellectual prowess.

This also made me understand that I could build wealth through investing, that opportunities were everywhere (including small towns and unglamorous businesses), and that even someone “normal,” who didn’t have a high-powered career or a trust fund, could become wealthy.

Since then, I have accumulated wealth through my own investment decisions, especially one in particular with another small-town retailer based in NC.

My aim with Investing to Thrive is to share what I have learned from both my successes and mistakes, and broaden my knowledge through research and writing. Through this process, I may inspire others to become more capable and confident in managing their financial lives.


Julie Rains is a writer and blogger with interests in business, personal finance, and life hacks, including personal and professional development.

She explores investing and related money topics at Investing to Thrive plus gives practical tips and shares honest reflections on personal transformation at Working To Live Differently.

She is the co-author of 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget. She has contributed to Wise Bread, American Express OPEN Forum, Loans101, and other online publications.

Julie is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the Kenan-Flagler School of Business and a Masters-level Certificate in Technology and Communication from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.