For some it can be the cause of great joy and, for others, the root of immense stress. Our relationship with money can seem so complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. As I get older, I’ve realized I need to improve the way I view my finances and my relationship with mi dinero. The C.R.E.A.M (Cash Rules Everything Around Me) mentality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. However, who doesn’t want to get more dollar dollar bills, [right] y’all? And keep them through healthy financial practices.
I attended a private evening reception on financial empowerment, hosted by JP Morgan Chase and Chase’s new Latina financial education partner, Brittney Castro, on Monday, September 27. The event, held at The London Hotel, couldn’t have come at a greater time. The fourth quarter is the perfect time to review financial habits and set the pace for financial success in the next year.
I spoke with Castro, a Certified Financial Planner and founder and CEO of Financially Wise Women, a Los Angeles based financial planning firm for women, briefly during the event. We discussed how to get financially fit as millennials, as well as ways to pass this knowledge on the generation before us.
Ain’t I Latina?: What should millennial Latinas do to get on the road to financial fitness?
Castro: Learn about money management. That means take a class, buy a book, go to a workshop, sign up for a finance blog. I think it’s really important, especially for millennials, to get financially educated and it takes the first step and deciding you want it.
Ain’t I Latina?: Outside of millennials, I often think about my parents, who immigrated to this country. They’ve done the best that they can in educating me on finances; however, some things I’ve had to learn by reading Entrepreneur or Money, or learning by falling on my face. What are some things that we [millennials] can teach our parents?
Castro: Teach our parents about investing. Wise investing is incredibly important. Our parents probably did a good job of getting a bank account, establishing credit but now they might not know how to invest their money in real estate or the stock market to create wealth. That’s something we can learn and bring it to them like, ‘Hey Mom and Dad, how are you investing for your retirement? Do you have enough saved for retirement? These things they might not know about: the stock market and how to really grow wealth. I think that’s something that we can bring to them. I brought it to my parents. They taught me certain things, but I taught them these things.
Throughout the course of the evening, the financially-savvy Latina shared great tips on financial goal setting, budgeting and maintaining your credit score. You’ll want to keep these in mind:
- Adopt a budgeting system.
This simple budget formula will help you keep track of your spending and ensure you’re living within your means:
- 50% for fixed expenses, such as housing, basic food, insurance premiums and the like.
- 20% for financial goals. This would include extra debt payments, your cash cushion, retirement, etc.
- 30% for variable expenses, such as dining out, travel and entertainment.
- Check in with yourself by doing weekly money dates.
Establish weekly money dates to review your budget and manage and plan out your finances, Castro urges. During the money date, you should pay your bills, update and review your budget and take care of any other financial obligations. She suggests setting up most bills as auto-pay to ensure you pay on time.
- Pay attention to your credit score.
Super, super important! Your credit score is crucial to your financial future. When you monitor your credit score, you can see where you stand and what you can do to improve it, if necessary. Websites like Credit Karma allow you to view your credit score (not your actual FICO) regularly for free; you can pay to see your credit score at least annually when you use a site like AnnualCreditReport.com.
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