Disclosure: Although I was invited by JP Morgan CHASE to an intimate evening reception of financial empowerment to meet Brittney Castro, all opinions come from the bottom of my blogging heart. ❤
My Money Story
The story goes that in the early 70s my mother was a beautiful airline stewardess. In the time of mini-skirts as uniforms, that term was still considered politically correct. Before being a girl in her thirties, she was already living in a foreign country sending back money to her mother who stayed behind in the motherland. In the days before direct deposit, she would get paid in money orders that she kept underneath the mattress in her Baltimore apartment. One winter night, as she lay atop her fortune with an electric heater turned on, it dawned on her that if all those money orders caught on fire she would lose her entire life savings. The second best option was to invest. So she decided to cash out all the money orders and purchase a diamond ring reasoning that it couldn’t catch fire and wouldn’t depreciate in value.
Believe it or not, anecdotes like those are very common in Latino culture. What may be surprising, however, is the long-term effects our money stories may have in the way we, the next generation, make, spend, and save our money. That’s what I learned this week from, Certified Financial Planner™ and Founder & CEO of Financially Wise Women, Brittney Castro, as we chatted it up while drinking champagne.
Since 2013, Brittney has been running her own financial firm, Financially Wise Women, which is a registered investment adviser, offering advisory services in the State of California. Being a Chase Latina Financial Education Spokeswoman, she has become a well-known financial expert for women of all ages; and has earned national media recognition from CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and many more. How does she manage to expense her business, and still find room in the budget for lattes, green smoothies, and salsa dancing? My inner-chismosa was dying to know!
AGirlinHer30s: Women in their 30s are usually at the brink of huge decisions whether it’s marriage, starting a family, or buying a home. What’s your advice when planning for life’s big changes?
Create financial goals. For example, you’re going to have to save for the wedding, so determine how much it’s going to cost. Having a baby requires taking time off work, set a goal and save for it. Clarity in the budget will make sure you make the right decision. Also, become financially educated. For example, you can sign up for the online course on http://www.fwwmoneyclass.com/. This online curriculum is like the college class we never got.
AGirlinHer30s: Lately, there’s been so much talk of slow living, downsizing, and simplifying. Can you share some tips on simplifying financially?
I’ll share three tips:
- Begin by cutting out the expenses in the budget of things you don’t use. For example, cut out any gym memberships, subscriptions, or anything you haven’t used in 3 months.
- Next, ask yourself what can you sell? For example, are there any clothes you don’t use? Sell these items so that you can simplify and make some money.
- Pay off any debts. (You can start by bringing the debt down on credit cards so that you only owe 30% or less of the credit limit).
AGirlinHer30s: Most of the inspirational women I have interviewed began their passion projects as a part-time separate from their conventional 9-5 jobs. How do you recommend women go about funding their creative projects?
Have a business plan for the side hustle, so that you can create a savings account for it. When in doubt, save. If you follow the 50/20/30 rule, then you should be expensing these projects from the 30% of your net income (that’s after taxes).
AGirlinHer30s: Being a girl in her thirties, who is incredibly successful, do you ever experience self-doubt?
Of course, I have fears like everyone else. Through meditation, I have learned to overcome fears. Every day I want to make sure I am fully living, and had the courage to go for it, I don’t want there to be any regrets at the end of the day.
AGirlinHer30s: Describe yourself in three hashtags.
#spicy #fun #dancingqueen
Finances Can Be Romantic
Believe it or not, there are still many correlations between financial decisions (or disputes) and divorce. What does Brittney recommend? Have money dates before and during the relationship (if you’re single you can have them with yourself). While sipping champagne, like we did, ask a potential mate their money story; discuss how their families handled money while they were growing up. I didn’t, and I’m sure my husband was shocked to read the story at the onset of this post. If you’re already married, but are reluctant to have these types of conversations, I found this very helpful worksheet developed by University of Rochester psychologists who studied the effects of watching movies and then discussing their fictional characters as a couple. The point is, “the more you communicate about money the better the relationship can be.”
The more Brittney and I talked, the more I felt inspired by her. I thought, “Maybe I can barter salsa lessons for financial lessons”. It’s a good thing I didn’t have to since there’s already a lot of free and very useful resources on her website. What I did realize is, I have a lot of money courting to do and decided to start this very night.
What’s your money story?