Professor Pig has teamed up with financial guru Athena Lent from MoneySmartLatina, to bring you insights into saving in the Latinx community. Read on to learn more. You can find more of Athena at https://moneysmartlatina.com/.
Professor Pig: What are some of the financial challenges you, or people you know within the Latinx community, have faced? How have you overcome them?
Athena Lent: A lot of the Latino, and other underrepresented communities, have limited or no access to financial services many take for granted, such as a checking account. I did not grow up with access to checking accounts. My parents did not trust banks and neither did my grandparents, so the majority of my childhood we used cash. Granted, back in the 90s, it was much easier. I can’t imagine doing it now even though I had to in my early twenties for a while. Because of a lack of financial literacy around checking, I overdrew my account and had to deal with the consequences, such as overdraft fees! It was hard because I felt I was punished for something I did not understand, even though I took care of that issue within a month.
Professor Pig: What is the best piece of advice you can give to young savers just starting out?
Athena Lent: Make. More. Money. Align your interests and passion with a career that can provide you the standard of living you deserve. As women, we statistically make less money when it comes to our earning potential. As Latinas, it’s worse. You can’t save what you don’t earn - so look for ways to increase your earning potential, STAT!
Professor Pig: How can banks and other financial services firms better serve the Latinx community?
Athena Lent: Make financial literacy more accessible. Go into schools that serve a high Latino population and start talking to them about checking accounts. Budgeting. Credit cards. Get out there and give them the tools to break the cycle.
Professor Pig: Finally, what is the most helpful piece of financial advice you have ever received?
Athena Lent: Along with earning more, the best piece of advice I’ve gotten is to save on what you don’t care about so you can splurge on what you do. I don’t bat an eye at buying generic food and household items, wearing clothes from big-box stores (if I do need to buy clothes, I rock a capsule wardrobe), and staying in with my cat while streaming my favorite shows and drinking low-key, affordable wine. Because I decide to cut back on certain areas of my life, its easier to spend on what I want to, like travel, therapy, concerts, and taking care of the world’s most expensive cat!
Please note that Athena Lent was compensated by Sallie Mae for providing this content. All opinions expressed herein are her own.
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