Things That Matter

We Earn Less Than Men, We Lose Income As Caregivers And That’s Why This Latina Gives Financial Advice To WOC

For a long time, finance was considered a boys’ club that only allowed old, grey-haired men in. But for women who largely head households and outlive men, monetary savvy is a necessity we can no longer afford to pass over. In Los Angeles, financial planner Brittney Castro, CFP®, is ensuring that women of all walks of life have the money wits they need and deserve.

At Financially Wise, Inc., the boutique financial planning firm Castro founded in 2013, the biracial Mexican-American offers holistic and comprehensive financial and investment planning for individuals, couples and businesses, with a special aim for women to get their money right. 

“A big thing for me, in the beginning, was to make [financial advice] more accessible, not just for high-network clients. Everyone needs a financial plan to pay for life and goals,” Castro, who says she speaks with clients as if they were friends, in a “fun, personal, compassionate, relatable and nonjudgmental way,” told FIERCE.

In addition to her fee-only financial planning, the 35-year-old CEO also provides online money courses, financial wellness workshops, speaking engagements and brand partnerships. 

Unlike many others in her field, Castro wasn’t raised by entrepreneurial parents, so she understands firsthand how intimidating finances can be. In fact, she entered the industry because she wanted to help communities like her own, everyday people with finance fears, all while being her own boss and making a lofty income herself.

Starting in the corporate world, she loved the change she was making in people’s lives: educating them, helping build confidence in themselves and their pursuits as well as co-creating futures where clients weren’t just secure but thriving.

Still, the long workdays and benevolent sexism of the industry took its toll on the young career woman.

“I stuck out like a sore thumb, which used to bother me a lot,” she said. “There have been so many times in my career when I was talked down to or judged.”

After five years working for a large company, Castro decided to quit and enter independent financial planning, where she’d have more control over her hours and less interaction with condescending bros. 

At the time, blogs were in bloom and social media was on the come-up, and Castro, knowing the troubles of being a woman in money, saw a niche that wasn’t being targeted: women. She started writing and speaking publicly about gender and capital, quickly seeing the benefits of the identities she was previously made to feel insecure about.

“I now think it’s an advantage that I’m a woman, Latina, young and in finance,” said Castro, whose insight on the topic can be found in outlets like Entrepreneur, CNN, CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Glamour, Elle, Marie Claire and more. “People need me. This is America. I’m the new face, the new generation, so now I see it as a strength.”

Her biggest goal is to demystify finance so that it’s approachable for everyday people who fear all things dinero, and that typically comprises women, especially women of color. This demographic, Castro says, often feels unseen and unheard, and she doesn’t want to perpetuate those feelings and experiences in her office. Knowing the fears, insecurities and emotions that come with money talk, she creates a space where women feel safe to open up.

Courtesy of Brittney Castro

“It’s never just money — it’s our lives, our fears, our wants. So it’s important for me to give women another place to come to where they can feel heard and get the help they want and deserve,” she said.

Once she and her client work through the sentimental blockages, she then breaks down why it’s totally essential for women, especially, to be financially literate and in control of their coins: We live longer than men. Nine of 10 women will be in charge of their finances at some point in their lives. We still earn less than men. We lose income when taking care of children and elders. And the list, she says, goes on.

“There are a lot of challenges, which makes learning about money more necessary,” Castro contends. “While current women’s movements are helping, by making it easier for us or creating more awareness around issues we experience, we, as individuals, still need to decide to dive in and make decisions on our finances.”

For those who are interested but don’t know where to begin or feel like they don’t have the time or cash flow to get started, Castro urges to be abandon self-doubt and just embark on the journey.

To start, Castro offers a few beginner steps.

Know your budget.

This includes all the money coming in and going out of your bank accounts.

Consider how your current budget is working. This will help you spot if you are running short and allow you to identify areas where you might be wasting money that you could actually be saving. “Maybe you need to make more or cut back, but you have to find a way to save money. We all do. But you have to start with your budget,” she said.

Set up automatic systems that will save you money.

There are a few ways to do this. Paychecks that are made via direct deposit, for instance, can automatically go into different accounts, including savings, 401(k)s, investments, employee stock purchase plans and health savings. Automating recurring bills as well as putting credit cards on autopay could also help.

“It’s almost impossible to save money if you have no automatic system that is taking money out of your account. It’s torture to do it any other way. If you see it, you will spend it. Just to be safe, set up an automatic savings plan,” she says.

Learn how to invest.

Learn the language, don’t take risks that will lose you money and expect it to be a lifelong, ever-changing journey.

Whether through a class or a book, educate yourself on investment, in the stock market and in real estate.

“I’ve been doing this for 13 years, and I still learn something new all the time,” she said. “Things change. Technology changes. Products change. There are investments that are right for you and then something comes that’s better, so you have to be willing to make a change.”

Be gentle, yet assertive with your financial goals.

Castro emphasizes that it takes courage, willpower and commitment to follow through on your strategy, which isn’t always easy to maintain.

To help, Castro recommends finding a trusted partner who can help you stay accountable and on track. “Stay motivated and hang in there,” she says. “You’re never alone. We all have the same money goals and challenges, so it’s nice to find somebody you trust that can go through this financial journey with you.”

Once we start paying closer attention to our money and making healthier financial decisions, Castro affirms that we will begin seeing benefits in other aspects of our lives. Think about it: when we aren’t stressing about money, we can think more clearly and spend more of our time enjoying life and those around us. It’s a win all around, and it’s one that is in our hands.

“People fear finances, but it’s actually so empowering when you have it in order,” she says.

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Investing Latina’s CEO Is Here To Tell You The Best Ways To Save You Money

Fierce

Investing Latina’s CEO Is Here To Tell You The Best Ways To Save You Money

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Saving money and investing it properly is tough. It is hard to know where to take your money to make the most of it. Fortunately, FIERCE is here with another chat with a money queen to make sure that you get the most of your money.

Jully-Alma Taveras is here to help you reach your money-saving goals.

Saving money is tough. How much should you set aside? Where do you keep it to make sure it is safe? When should you start? Taveras started Investing Latina two years ago to help people figure out the best way to start their savings journey. There are a lot of things to save for from retirement to big purchases to emergencies. Here is some of what Taveras had to say when our very own Sam sat down with her.

Sam: “Let’s talk about savings. What would you recommend people do to start saving today?”

Jully-Alma Taveras: “Savings is kind of the beginning of it all, right? It’s kind of where we start laying down the bricks and foundation to our financial house. When I say laying down bricks, that’s really what I mean. I mean that they are small and heavy but they build up. That’s exactly how you have to think about how you start saving. It really starts small. Nobody starts with $10,000 in their savings account. Nobody. Everybody starts putting in $25 per week. Fifty dollars per month. Whatever it is that you can do. You have to be able to just kind of put it aside.

“I always recommend using a savings account first. Your core savings account at a bank that you can easily access if you needed to access your savings and then having a bulb of savings to a high-yield saving account so that you can also use the technology that exists right now with high-yield savings accounts. You can have little envelopes so you are saving for designated things. You can save for specific goals.

“I think that when it comes to savings, you really do have to set a big goal for yourself, and then you kind of start working backward. Then you’re like, ‘Okay. My goal is to save $10,000 in 2021. That’s what I want to get to. I want to be able to have my 1,000 immediate little emergency need savings account with just $1,000 and then I want to have the rest into a high-yield savings account where I can really start building my money confidence. That’s what happens when we start saving money.”

S: “One of the things I know that we started chatting about was high-yield savings accounts. Can you go into some more details about what exactly that is for everyone?”

JAT: “When we talk about a high-yield savings account, it really is a way for you to put savings into a bank or institution, or nowadays it’s really just an app sometimes. You put it in a place,  secure place that’s FDIC-insured place, where you can get a higher interest rate than what typical savings accounts offer. When you open up a checking account, you’re automatically, or usually going to get the option of opening a savings account with our bank. The retail banks that we typically use, the ones that we can walk into, that we can have ATM cards you can easily access and have teller access are usually positioning themselves where they offer retail services.

“What happens with that is that they don’t give you a lot for holding onto your money. They’ll offer something like a free checking account or a free savings account. They won’t charge you for it depending on what category you’re in, especially teens or if you are in school. You can definitely get a free checking account. But, they won’t give a higher interest rate than likely .02 percent. What a high-yield savings account offers is a higher interest rate. These are usually with banks that you don’t normally see as you walk down Main Street in your neighborhood. We aren’t talking about the Chases the TD Banks the Citi Banks, right? These banks that we know and are familiar with because we see them on Main Street. We see them in our neighborhoods. They’re not typically going to have a high-yield savings account. They want you to just use their services, their savings accounts, and their checking accounts. That’s it and they’re just going to be happy holding on to your money while you transact and do what you have to do with your money.

“With high-yield savings accounts, those are typically going to be with banks that don’t have retail stores. Some examples are Marcus by Goldman Sachs. SoFi, which is one of my favorites because of the tech that they’ve implemented in their app and their website. Ally Bank. These are banks that we typically won’t see actual physical banks of but they do exist online.

“What they do, mechanically, just so you kind of understand what happens when you put money into a high-yield savings account, is truly, they’re actually, putting all of our money together and they’re kind of investing our money behind the scenes. That’s what happens. You have the security of your digitized dollars and you will never lose it because it’s not an investment account.

“That’s basically what’s happening. Just so you know. You can feel safe that your money is there. It’s FDIC insured or it is completely insured up to the $250,000. That’s typically what we get insurance on. Then you also make a little extra so you make a couple of dollars every month.”

Taveras has so much more to say about saving and investing. Watch the full video below!

READ: In The First Episode Of FIERCE’s ‘Money Moves,’ We Explore The All-Important Budget

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In The First Episode Of FIERCE’s ‘Money Moves,’ We Explore The All-Important Budget

Fierce

In The First Episode Of FIERCE’s ‘Money Moves,’ We Explore The All-Important Budget

mitú

Finances can be hard. A lot of us were never told how to properly budget because our families weren’t equipped. Fortunately, in the 21st century, we can connect electronically with other Latinos and Latinas who are making money moves. In the first episode of FIERCE’s “Money Moves,” we talked with Beatriz Acevedo, CEO and founder of We Are Suma, a new financial literacy media company.

We Are Suma is a new company that wants to teach you how to make the most of your money.

Financial literacy is so important in creating generational wealth. It is an important step to being financially comfortable. CEO and founder of We Are Suma Beatriz Acevedo wants to help all Latinos and Latinas reach their financial goals. The most important place to start is creating a good and manageable budget. We sat down and spoke with her about what to do to make that happen. Here are some of her insights.

Sam: What would you recommend in terms of knowing what I need to get financially fit?

Beatriz Acevedo: Well, listen. Because we are here in a group of Latinas, like I said earlier, there’s certainly a lot of particularly incredible, amazing Latinas that do these seminars and these course. I have made my list of the ones that we already work with and really love. One that we have as our Latina in residence right now giving us a lot of this coaching is Jen Hemphill and she has a podcast called ‘Her Dinero Matters.’ So constantly, if you follow them, they have their social media, they have the things that they do. We mentioned Julie from Investing Latina that you guys will have on. Also, she does these seminars where they are made for our community. It just doesn’t feel as dry as when you read content or you go to a class and are like, ‘Oh my god. I feel so out of place here with the words that they are using the expectation that i already know this.’ No. This if for our community by our community. Latina Money. We’ve done some collaborations with her as well for equal pay. She’s awesome. Snowball Wealth. If you have student debt, they definitely specialize. Dana is your girl who specializes in how can you lower that. How can you start paying off your student debt?

All these are amazing Latinas that want to support our community and what they do every day is that. Obviously for us at We Are Suma, we do it in a very fun pop culture kind of way as well. So, five years ago if you asked me this question, I’d be like, ‘I don’t know.’ Today, there are so many resources and just with the ones that I mentioned that you guys can find right here on Instagram.

All of those resources are great. They’re easy to understand and again they’re made my women in our community so they understand where we came from and they understand that we did not have those conversations growing up, that we’re going to need to catch up.

S: What should they take a look at when creating a budget? Is it kind of like consolidating everything that they have and writing down a list?

BA: It’s a very easy thing to do nowadays. I remember when my dad would always tell my mom, ‘¿Donde esta el presupuesto?’ He knew that el presupuesto was very important because my mom and I are enthusiasts of la Marshalls y la Ross. Like, ‘Look, it’s only $9.99.” But, then, they can add up. So, I remember her so vividly in the kitchen, the poor woman, doing these budgets for my dad or for the household in these yellow pads. She was like, Food and this and Gas and all of this other stuff and adding it up. Nowadays, it’s so easy. there are so many apps that you can use. Even from the resources from all of these other Latinas that I mentioned earlier, some of them have these.

I know Snowball has one of these and I’m sure most of them do. It’s free tools where you can go in and you plug in and it helps you to track all of your expenses. There’s also very sophisticated apps that I like to use and it is the preference of people that very easily let you see how much do you make. It’s very important to know how much you make. You make a budget for $10,000 and you make $5,000, that’s not gong to work out, even if you have a beautiful budget.

S: Could you share some of the apps that you personally use or that you would recommend?

BA: Mint is the most popular one from all of the surveys. People really love it. I’ve never used Mint personally, but it must be great because people love it, and is the overall best one. I use PocketGuard. I don’t know how I discovered it or why, but I like it and that keeps you from overspending. It’s almost like, ‘Oh, you’ve reached this. Or you’re spending $5 more this month than you spent this month. It is always sort of alerting you. I’m sure all of them alert you if you are going over the budget that you have.

There’s one that people love that I just learned about that’s called You Need A Budget. That’s the one that people say is for the Type A personality so I need to look into that. It is on this principle of zero-based budgeting, which means that you give a job to every cent that you make. You don’t leave anything up to chance. Even if you are going to put something into retirement or to invest. You make $10 and your budget is at $10. It’s depleted so there is never anything left either under or over that could be a great area. A lot of people really like this You Need A Budget app that I still have to check out.

We were also talking about the envelope method. I learned about that a long time ago in my previous life when I was a tv producer. We were doing this show for Discovery channel where we would go into Latinos homes that needed almost a financial intervention because they were in bankruptcy. They had a mess with their finances. You would walk into their houses and they would have the most unbelievable TVs, VR sets before VR was popular. You’re like, ‘Oh my god. What are you doing, dude?’ I remember that our financial adviser at the time told the woman like, ‘Señora, you’ve got to cut off your credit cards.’ The woman was crying cutting up her credit cards but she had maxed out so many credit cards buying clothing for the daughter. The guy had bought all of these electronics. It was crazy. Then I remember that it seemed pretty prehistoric, right, because I was, ‘Really? You’re going to go put money into an envelope?’… I was reading that there is one called Mvelopes and that sort of mimics that but in the digital world.

Make sure you watch the full interview below for all of Acevedo’s tips to growing your wealth.

Make 2021 the year to become financially fit! You have the power to dictate what happens with your finances.

READ: Do You Combine Finances With Your Spouse? Latinas Answered!

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