Talking Finansas in our Latino homes is often a taboo. Many times when we start talking finances, the conversations go silent or we start talking about the next pachanga, the vecina, or vecina’s kids. On March 9, Bair Financial hosted a workshop in San Diego where 25 #LatinaGeeks gathered on a Saturday to get their finance game on.
Pew Research tells us, that while there is no official definition of the American dream, public opinion surveys of U.S. adults in recent years show it involves hard work, financial security, career success and confidence that each new generation will be better off than the one before it. Americans also see life milestones as a part of attaining the dream: graduating from college, owning a home, raising a family and giving your kids a life that’s better than your own. Latinos say achieving the American dream isn’t easy. Only 51% said they had achieved it so far and about 74% said achieving the dream today is hard for people like them.
It’s not that people aren’t capable—it’s that they don’t know what they don’t know. Marci, the owner at Bair and a Certified Financial Planner set up a simple agenda for las chicas, a workshop designed to help manage money, design life and create a future. Each attendee was given a workbook and she explained finances 101. Each attendee left with a visual financial vision board.
Marci began the workshop with the note that the best way to build wealth is to get a handle on your finances. The workshop covered:
- Collect and write down an inventory of all of your assets, accounts, liabilities in one place.
- Save and invest the right amount for you
- Communicate with your partner or spouse about your finances
- Have the right insurance in place, Life and Disability, Long Term Care, Health, Auto and Home
- Umbrella insurance, extra liability coverage above what is provided to protect your personal assets
- Maintain an up to date Estate Plan
Alejandra Rodriguez, Esq also joined the workshop. Alex works closely with her clients and enjoys assisting them in navigating estate planning. Of Mexican descent, she understands the Hispanic community. Alex covered some sensitive topics that we don’t normally address, updating or creating a will, reviewing it regularly, get a power of attorney, name an agent. The importance of an advanced health care directive. All these sensitive topics touch close to home because we never know when life takes a turn and we should be prepared in all areas of tough family decisions.
For many Hispanics, recommendations are central to the decision-making process. In a Univision/Harris Poll survey, 27% said that friends and families were their preferred sources of information on finance and/or investments, compared to 23% for non-Hispanic respondents. Hispanics were also more likely to prefer information from their employers, financial and retirement websites, and social media—which is further proof of how important recommendations from trusted sources are.
According to a 2014 Prudential Research study, just 19 percent of Latinos had individual retirement accounts and less than 10 percent had investments in individual stocks, bonds of mutual funds. Only about 60% of Hispanics had a savings account, compared to 80% of the general population. The study cited various factors, including distrust of financial institutions and difficulty understanding products.
Hispanics are very hard workers and we are able to generate quick income for our families. Sometimes we are good at savings but we put the money under the mattress. We all shared where our families like to stash their cash. A consensus was made that saving in a coffee can in the freezer was the best route if we insisted on this type of savings.
“As a 28 year old Latina this was the first time I ever had a coaching class on finances. I loved how #LatinaGeeks cared about this aspect of our lives, and the way the workshop is presented. There is room to build new friendships, and delicious food is provided; it truly is community. Yay #LatinaGeeks! I am definitely less intimated about approaching my finances”- Nadia
Marci advises the ladies to start planning for a sound financial future early. Even if it’s only a few bucks a month or a week. The most important thing is consistency. We talked about setting up an emergency fund and investing what you can help get the ball rolling. Set some goals and envision the life you want to live. Marci had financial vision boards for the ladies. We all took home our financial plans.
The final part of the workshop was about asset class returns. Here we learned lingo like stocks, mutual funds, diversified portfolio, S&P 500 index and how important the KLD 400 Index is. Google these terms, you will get a glimpse of the basics of investing.
“Get started today to secure your Financial Future. First start by having a Savings account with 6 months of expenses set aside, then invest in your company’s retirement plan and contribute the maximum each year. Your future self will Thank You for putting this money away.” Says Marci
We look forward to a future session and also will keep the ladies accountable and see how they have planned, researched, saved and invested.
Amigas, we need to take control of our finances and estate planning. At a minimum, get your immediate families documents prepared and save them for that moment in time when your loved ones are looking for your wishes.