I’ll say it. Finances are taboo among Latinas. We were brought up thinking that talking about money was not OK. I’m not exactly sure why. Some Latinas I have spoken to about it say it was because their families didn’t want others to know their business. Others point toward being taught that it was tacky to talk about money. In my case it was a combination of both. But I’m part of a new Latina movement that believes we need to talk about money and share tips to help our fellow ladies be empowered with knowledge.
It’s the perfect time to Spring clean your finances now that we have finally emerged from the whirlwind of snowstorms this winter, I asked several Latina Financial Pros for their best Spring cleaning tips for your finances. They say knowledge is power. Prepare yourself to be armed with a lightning bolt worth of it.
- Tip #1: Create A Routine
Have a daily routine- Even if it’s only 20 minutes out of your day. For example every day when you receive mail make sure you toss out all the spam mail, separate the coupons and leave the bills in the same place. This will help you declutter everyday and make your bills look like you hardly have any and you will feel less overwhelmed. Also make sure you open your bills and organized them according to the earliest due date. Every month will get easier and chances are you won’t lose a bill and have a large stack of miscellaneous papers. This will allow you to know what to keep and toss.
- Tip #2: Organize for Taxes
Have a separate file just for your Tax statements and keep adding to this file all year round. For example if you donate items regularly you can keep adding those receipts to your tax files.
The more organized you feel the less you’ll have less anxiety, making you willing to tackle your bills more often. More tips in my book Financially Savvy in 20 minutes.
Natalie Torres-Haddad is TEDx Speaker, a financial literacy workshop facilitator, an Award Winning Author and podcast host of Financially Savvy in 20 Minutes. The winner of the National Magazine Minority Business Entrepreneur’s Who Rock 2016, she continues to work hard to help provide the resources her community needs. Learn more about Natalie here.
- Tip #1: Debt Management
Consider the cost of opportunity of paying over and above the minimum payment of low interest debt (4%>), especially if that debt has tax advantages. A good example is mortgages. By putting those extra dollars into the market, the rate of return on your investment could be more than the money saved on interest. When It comes to accelerated payment of debts focus on credit cards and high interest personal loans.
- Tip #2: Retirement Planning
Take advantage of any employer matching contribution plan (401k, 403k), maximize it before making any other investment towards retirement. Use all tax-efficient retirement savings accounts (IRA, Roth IRA) before pursuing non-qualified options.
Vivian Ramirez is a Colombian entrepreneur and real estate investor who runs a financial planning practice in Mexico and California. She is licensed in several states in the US. Vivian works with the two largest mutualist companies is the US (Northwestern Mutual and New York Life). She works with over 220 clients as a financial advisor whose client base is 60% women. She is passionate about empowering women through financial education. Learn more about Vivian here.
- Tip #1: Keep Track of Progress
It’s great to set up goals, but it is better when you check in to see your progress to keep your momentum going. What has been working? Don’t fix what isn’t broken, continue to do what works. What hasn’t been working? Make sure you to ask yourself why. What can you do different? Who can you reach out to for help? Are you needing accountability?
Money can be so taboo, but you don’t have to go at this alone. Reach out to someone you trust that has achieved what you are working on reaching. There are a lot of personal finance blogs, podcasts, books as well to learn from.
- Tip #2: Align Spending With Values
Take a moment to look through your bank or credit card statements and look for some common threads of spending. Does this align with what is important at this moment in time? If not, you can make the conscious decision to be more intentional when you are spending in this area.
- Tip #3: Celebrate Your Wins
It is always important to keep a running list of your money wins as it will give you an instant boost of confidence. We focus too much on how we have messed up with our money and forget that we have done some fantastic things too.
Have you paid down some debt? Maybe you have been saving consistently for the past 3 months. Or are you and your partner having money conversations more often? Has there been a money tip that you have implemented that you have loved?
Jen Hemphill, a military spouse & proud bilingual Latina, helps women who are tired of the traditional money advice gain a renewed sense of control, confidence and freedom in their financial life. She is a Money Confidence Coach, an AFC® (Accredited Financial Counselor) and host of the Her Money Matters®Podcast. Her first book Her Money Matters: The Missing Truths From Traditional Money Advice helps to fill the missing gaps for when you are financially stuck. Learn more about Jennifer here.
- Tip #1: Set It and Forget It
If you are terrible at saving money, use an app like digit. Digit will AUTOMATICALLY withdraw money from your account and save it for you. It studies your spending behavior, so it can withdraw different amounts at different times. This means you will have money for emergencies, vacations or anything else without doing anything. The best its that is protected through the FDIC, so you never lose your money.
- Tip #2: Invest, Invest, Invest
Buy real estate, stocks, whatever you like. Put your money to make more money for you. If you don’t know anything about stocks, again use an app like Acorns that does it for you automatically for you.
Marcelina Santiago, PhD- Creator of www.ahorrarmas.com. She is also a finance apps guru, side hustles entrepreneur, avid investor, scientist, wife and mother. She has been investing in real estate and the stock market for the last 10 years. After obtaining a PhD in Chemistry, she decided to use her dedication and passion for business and start a Spanish blog on frugal lifestyle to educate others on the topics of starting your side hustle business and savings. Get to know Marcelina here.
- Tip #1: Order and Review Your Credit Report
The majority of Americans don’t review their credit report regularly. This review should be performed at least once a year to uncover errors and see activities reported to the credit bureaus. By law, you are entitled to receive your report FREE once a year on the Annual Credit Report website. Contact your creditors to correct information you think is in error.
- Tip #2: Make Small Investments
Small investments today can make a great impact on your finances tomorrow. Find ways to investment small amounts of money. Use 401k, Dividend Reinvestment Plans and Online Brokers to start or to grow a small portfolio.
- Tip #3: Emergency Fund
A lot of people get into very serious financial problems because of emergencies or unexpected situations. You should have 3 to 6 months worth of expenditures in an emergency fund. So, if you lose your job or have another emergency you can cover some of your regular expenses without incurring new debts.
Sylvia Edna, MBA. Bilingual personal finance blogger. She blogs in Spanish about money, credit and investments at my blog Solo Contestas.com. My main goal is to teach my readers about DIY money and credit management techniques. I’m also a nature and art lover, techie and ex-corporate mom. Get to know Sylvia here.
Most of the experts featured in this article agreed on a few things. We need to start investing to grow wealth. There are various options and strategies, but it’s important to get started. Stay on top of your finances, whether it be credit reports, monthly bills or taxes.
Happy Spring cleaning!