Latinx At Betterment Members Share Generational Financial Advice

Latinx people aren’t a monolith—we come from a variety of countries, speak many different languages, and are part of every racial group. But even so, when it comes to being Latinx and living in the U.S, we share experiences rooted in generational cultures, family, and social and economic strife due to the immigrant experience.

In honor of Hispanic American Heritage Month (HHM), we asked our Latinx employees to share their experiences with personal finance and how they give back to their community through the advice they’ve learned.

What advice did you receive from your parents and elders about managing money?

Gabriel Talavera, Software Engineer: My mom always taught me to maintain good savings. You never know when something will come up—like car trouble or any other unforeseen incident—where having good savings in place will help you get out of a tough spot.

Kenny Reets, Sales Development Representative: When I was younger my mother always mentioned to never spend every dollar in your pocket, because you don’t know if you’ll get another one tomorrow. Growing up and being a person of color (POC), as well as Latinx, I’ve always wanted to be financially independent and not be in the “rat race,” as some would call it.

Natalie Rodriguez-Jackson, Software Engineer: My dad always told me that I should be tracking my finances. He’s not computer savvy, so instead of using Google Sheets or Excel, he actually drew spreadsheets on a notebook instead. The cool thing is that now, the notebook is about 35 years old so it’s filled with some interesting data. Today I use an app to track my spending and savings rates.

Nicole Ramos, Sr. FP&A Analyst: Growing up, I did not receive much financial advice. My parents struggled to manage their cash and expenses. They often came to me and my sister for help understanding different aspects of finances that they had not learned or were having trouble understanding. They had strong feelings about needing to have cash and not going into debt as a result of their personal experiences.

Michael Mayaguari, Junior Software Engineer: Since a very young age, my mom always taught me the importance of budgeting, saving, and spending on necessities only. She always said “every penny counts,” teaching me that no matter how small things are, they matter. Growing up in Ecuador had an impact on this advice because I realized how my mom was talking from her own experiences with money management and raising four children with a limited budget.

Jackeny De Los Santos, Sr. Operations Associate: I come from a very poor farm, so “money talks” were uncommon. We relied on land goods for consumption and funds my mother would send from NYC to DR as income resources.

How does being Latinx impact your personal financial planning?

Nicole Ramos, Sr. FP&A Analyst: They say that millennials are poised to inherit the largest intergenerational wealth transfer in history of $30 trillion. I will not be receiving anything. Growing up, my family lived paycheck to paycheck and their income combined is less than I make now—all as they supported a family of 8+. Living without a safety net and being the only one of my immediate siblings who has completed college, I have to be very mindful of my expenses and savings. For me, personal financial planning is more than just personal, it’s familial. I need to ensure I am planning for the unexpected not just for me, but for my siblings as well.

Michael Mayaguari, Junior Software Engineer: Moving from Ecuador to the US exposed me to the differences in lifestyles, culture, and habits. As a first generation, I was not exposed to the importance of long term investments until my high school teacher told my class to buy bonds or stocks once we turned 18. This advice was a huge factor in my interest to investigate, learn, and put into practice my personal financial planning and investments.

Jackeny De Los Santos, Senior Operations Associate: Budgeting includes sending money to immediate relatives (within and outside of the US). It was something I saw growing up, so it is an expected behavior.

Kenny Reets, Sales Development Representative: My financial planning revolves around building generational wealth, which requires me to be disciplined.

Tiana Duran, CX Associate: Every move I make I take into account that I have to financially help my three siblings, parents, and great grandmother, on top of making sure I am financially stable.

What financial advice do you give to your community now?

Jackeny De Los Santos, Senior Operations Associate: Pay yourself first, in terms of personal growth and investments. My immediate community in NYC was in the projects. Revolving debt and lack of resources for personal development was a reoccurring factor that impedes progress.

Natalie Rodriguez-Jackson, Software Engineer: Do some auditing of where all your money is. Credit card balances, available credit, income, expenses, liquid cash in bank or investment accounts, etc. Make a list of it all so you know what you have and what you’re working with. Do the same thing for all of your debts too. Get clear on your numbers so you know what you need to do to get to where you want to go.

Tiana Duran, CX Associate: I tell my younger siblings that it is never too early to set yourself up financially for the future, especially when you don’t have a lot of financial responsibilities.

Michael Mayaguari, Junior Software Engineer: Invest for the long term and in yourself.

“I tell my family and friends to build yourself a base of assets to fund your life of leisure…Investing in your future has to be first always.”

-Kenny Reets

Nicole Ramos, Sr. FP&A Analyst: Please prioritize paying off your credit cards. Do not be scared to invest your money for the long term. Be careful with day trading as that is not how the rich get rich and there are a lot of taxes associated with that. Think about what you are spending your money on and why.

Gabriel Talavera, Software Engineer: I always recommend setting goals for yourself. For instance when I was going to college and working, I would set savings goals for myself. I would try to get and maintain $800 in my savings, and then $1000, and so on until I felt like I had enough breathing room. Even now as I’m still kind of early into my career, I am working on various goals: Getting rid of student debt, saving for a house, etc.

What does financial stability mean to you?

Kenny Reets, Sales Development Representative: Financial stability means having complete control over my time and helping future generations gain time as well.

Michael Mayaguari, Junior Software Engineer: Freedom and peace of mind.

Gabriel Talavera, Software Engineer: It means to be able to live comfortably. To be able to not worry about having to go to the mechanic if your car is making noises cause you’re afraid of the bill. It means being able to afford to go on vacation and explore the world. Being financially stable means to have the ability to live life to the fullest and be comfortable doing so.

Jackeny De Los Santos, Senior Operations Associate: The ability to afford your cost of living without the need for employment.

Nicole Ramos, Sr. FP&A Analyst: It means having enough money to not struggle financially. To be comfortable enough to enjoy life and not live in fear or stress of how I will eat or where I will sleep next month. To feel confident that setbacks will be minor and not catastrophic. It also means having enough so that all of the above extends to my sibling as well.

Tiana Duran, CX Associate: To me financial stability means being able to live comfortably without having to sacrifice things like a work life balance just to support myself.

Natalie Rodriguez-Jackson, Software Engineer: Being financially stable means that my family and I have all that we need to thrive: To have enough to cover things like helping extended family, vacations, and educational experiences that will help my family and I live fuller and richer lives.

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Susan Ikola