Show Me The Money!

That’s what we hard working grinders want, isn’t it?

We don’t grind for countless hours, forego any semblance of a social life, and dedicate ourselves to our business simply for sainthood. Do we?

We do it because we want to build something in this world, to create a better life for ourselves and our families, and to reap the rewards of our sangre, sweat and tears. 

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And yet… I have to tell you, if you are a minority, a woman, a Latina like me, it ain’t easy, is it?

It’s like we’re in a race for our lives, but we began behind the starting line. Why? Because we weren’t taught as Latinos about finances, about investing, about cash flow, about IRR, or ROI or lines of credit. All we knew was:

  1. Don’t spend what you don’t have. 

  2. Keep some under the mattress for a rainy day (sometimes literally, eek). 

  3. And… “Niñita porque tu compras algo sin cupones??” Got it Nana, always use coupons. 

..When the next little Latina looks at the faces on CNBC she’ll look up and see a face that looks just a bit like her. After all — if I can, anyone can!
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While we may be frugal, financially free we are not.

That’s why I became obsessed with investing and financial freedom more than 10 years ago.

Before I built businesses and played with money for a living, I was a journalist working along the US/Mexico border. I knew nothing about mutual funds, 401ks (como?), ETFs or the like. And yet I saw millions of my fellow Latinos were getting left behind not because of their race, but because they didn’t have or understand money. The wealthy held all the power and we didn’t. So, I started climbing my way through finance so that when the next little Latina looks at the faces on CNBC she’ll look up and see a face that looks just a bit like her. After all — if I can, anyone can! (Related: Need More Capital? Get Funding for your Startup.)

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But that isn’t enough — because we need change now. That’s why I went to an event by Northwestern Mutual for Latino’s sharing their road to financial freedom. I realized all over again that we Latinos still have much too far to go. 

Here, queridos, is what I would tell myself before I made my money, and what I still tell myself everyday…  

You’re only as good as who you know. 
  1. You make money earning, you keep money by investing.

This means three things:

  • Rule # 1 - you have to work to get wealth, you can’t expect the market to give it to you.

  • Rule #2 - always negotiate for a higher salary (we Latino’s don’t do that enough).

  • Rule #3 - invest before you spend.

Seek out firms known to support minorities and women.

2. You’re only as good as who you know. 

  • Make an advisory board. Just like a company does, leverage those smarter than you. The best part about this is there is no up-front payment for the good ones — they make money when you do. So for me this includes a tax accountant I trust, a financial advisor I trust, and an estate planner I trust. Seek out firms known to support minorities and women — that’s why I worked with Northwestern Mutual! They believe that you’re in control of your money and that your financial goals and planning should look like planning and more like living. #SpendLifeLiving.  For more information about planning your financial future visit, NorthwesternMutual.com; find your local advisor here to schedule a consultation.

Related: Lessons from My Favorite Contrarian Entrepreneur

3. FREE is my favorite four letter word.

  • These days we have so much technology at our fingertips — even free technology. We Latinos just need to use it. 

  • I like Giving Docs for free wills where you can also donate.

  • I use an online budget tracker to keep me in check! 

  • I use the online tool from my financial advisor, like Northwestern Mutual offers here, to track my portfolios performance. 

Related: Make More Money: The One Thing You Should Do Right Now

4. Use Other People’s Money.

  • Your padres were right, don’t spend more than you have. But also, use OPM (other people’s money) when you can. Debit cards win me nothing. If I’m smart with credit, it can pay me back. For example I can use this to tell me where my $$ spent can equal miles flown to a new destination.  

5. The Best Investment: Go look in the mirror — oh there it is!

  • They say many things are common sense, but not common practice. Ain’t that the truth. The best investor is a curious and educated one. 

  • And last but not least, go out and meet more successful humans, more Latinos, hear their stories, and learn from their mistakes. If you want to check out Northwestern Mutual’s next Latino events


And as always, ADELANTE!

Codie

Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI (NM) and its subsidiaries. Learn more at northwesternmutual.com

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