- At our recent Latina Women on FIRE event, we got a chance to hear from four Latina money experts on their best investing strategies—and the personal decisions that drive their pursuit of financial freedom. If you missed out or couldn’t attend, you can watch a recording of our free webinar.
The numbers speak for themselves. Latinas have to work for nearly two years to make what white men make in a year, earning only $0.55 to every dollar a white man earns. Black women make $0.62 per $1 made by a white man, and Native American women make $0.57.
The pay disparity that Latinas face has barely improved over the last 30 years. In 1989, they were paid just $0.52 for every dollar paid to white men. At this rate, according to research from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Latinas will wait 232 years for equal pay, and Black women 108 years.
But these Latina money experts are done waiting. With their growing online communities, these women are educating their audiences about saving, investing, and growing wealth—and raising awareness of the systemic inequalities Latinas must overcome. They are actively trying to close the wealth gap by talking about it online, sharing details of their financial journeys, and increasing the visibility of powerful, successful, and rich Latina women.
Here’s why you might want to add them to your social media timeline.
Puerto Rican entrepreneur and NextAdvisor contributor Jannese Torres-Rodriguez, 35, wants her wealth to uplift others in her community.
She spends a lot of her time educating Latinx and other POC communities through her Instagram, online workshops, and podcast, “Yo Quiero Dinero” on topics like investing, building generational wealth, paying off debt, and entrepreneurship. Before launching her podcast, she built from the ground up a $50,000 side business, Delish D’lites, a food blog for Puerto Rican and Latin-inspired recipes. Since then, she’s worked her way up to having 10 side hustles. She’s currently transitioning from her 9-to-5 to full-time entrepreneurship, and plans to reach a net worth of $1 million by 2025 through her side hustles and investments.
“I earned at least $12,000 a month (gross) in my biz consistently for the past five months, so it looks like I’m leaving the corporate workforce after 14 long years,” she wrote recently on Instagram.
One thing that Torres-Rodriguez isn’t afraid of is breaking stereotypes. For example, she wrote a story on NextAdvisor about pursuing the American Dream and becoming a landlord — and how it landed her in therapy. She always believed that in order to be a success, she had to own a home, but her own experience taught her to never let anyone, even the closest people, tell her how to spend her money.
“Don’t let society, friends, or family tell you what you should be doing with your money. There’s nothing wrong about renting, or right about owning. Those are simply opinions, and the most important opinion influencing your decision should be yours alone,” she writes.
Rebecka Zavaleta, a tech professional by day and the founder of First Milli, wants to help people in the Latinx community get to a financially secure place — and show that it’s possible for anyone to build a net worth of $1 million, hence her platform’s name.
First Mili was born after Zavaleta realized she was unhappy with the financial state of the Latinx community. First Milli’s colorful, user-friendly blog and Instagram offers financial advice, easy-to-understand explanations of complicated financial terms, and examples of how building good money habits can lead to financial health. She’s also a NextAdvisor contributor — read her take on how to get to a $1 million net worth with a $50,000 salary.
“Having doubts? Well, I proudly hail from a FGLI (first-generation, low-income) background, and I’m telling you it is possible. As the pandemic continues to further the inequality gap, it’s important to show that there are ways to passively grow wealth, and one of those ways is via the stock market,” Zavaleta writes.
Delyanne Barros, who goes by “Delyanne the Money Coach” online, is in the process of leaving corporate America to dedicate herself to her online money-coaching business and share advice about debt payoff, investing, and achieving financial independence on Instagram and TikTok.
“In the Latinx community, talking about investing is so foreign. We just don’t do it,” Barros told NextAdvisor a few months ago. “Many think the stock market is like a scam or it’s something that only rich white people do, that it doesn’t apply to them.”
Barros came to the United States as a child from Brazil, and spent much of her life in Miami as an undocumented immigrant. She was eventually able to go to undergraduate and law school, but they came with a price: $150,000 in student loans.
Inspired by the FIRE movement (Financial Independence / Retire Early), she began documenting her own debt-free journey online in 2019 and paid off over $100,000 in student debt in less than a year. This led her to start her money-coaching business, which teaches people how to invest and achieve their financial goals. At 38, she’s quitting her day job as an employment attorney, studying to become a certified financial planner, and is planning to retire by 45 in Portugal.
Katia Chesnok, founder of personal finance blog and Instagram platform Economikat and CNBC contributor, empowers Latinx and BIPOC communities online to earn more, negotiate, budget, and invest.
Before starting her blog, she was working in corporate finance living paycheck to paycheck and had almost $40,000 of credit card debt. In 18 months, she paid off all her debt and turned her blog into a six-figure business. Chesnok recently shared her advice with NextAdvisor on how you can take control of your finances during times of political change. She recommends investing extra savings in the stock market for the long term.
“I wouldn’t day trade right now. I’d focus only on longer-term investments,” Chesnok said. “Over time, because of compounding interest, you’re going to recoup your investments. You’re going to increase your money that way.”
Vanessa Menchaca-Wachtmeister, 29, is teaching others how to make money and travel farther, longer, and for less through her online business, Wander Onwards.
Originally from Los Angeles, Menchaca-Wachtmeister is a Mexican-American travel tech professional who has spent the last seven years living abroad in Asia and Europe. That has taught her a lot about money in America. Her latest story for NextAdvisor explores how different cultures have very different perspectives on money — and the money lessons she learned from living and working abroad.
“My personal finance journey has led me to China, the United Kingdom, and Germany, and along the way I’ve learned about reducing my cost of living, what a ‘good’ investment means in different countries, and upending cultural expectations,” writes Menchaca-Wachtmeister.
She started her journey toward financial independence in 2016 after paying off thousands in debt. Her knowledge and passion for personal finance grew organically from there, and she now has 10 streams of income. Her long-term goal is to retire with over $1 million to her name by age 48.
Linda García, a Californian with roots in Mexico, began investing several years into her career as a marketing executive in television and film. After 17 years, she left the industry to create her own content and began building a community of Latinx investors known as In Luz We Trust. Her mantra is to “help heal the generational wounds in the Latinx community specifically tied to building wealth from a unique spiritual perspective.” She also launched a weekly podcast called “Let There Be Luz” and more recently, a beginner’s stock market course. Much of her advice focuses on the importance of financial literacy and long-term investing in Latinx and BIPOC communities.
“Me, no math skills, no finance degree and no generational wealth. How? Because since 2012 I’ve been working on my financial literacy. Since 2012 I’ve been investing in the stock market. But more importantly since 2012, I have been working on my money wounds,” Garcia wrote in a recent Instagram post.
Rita-Soledad Fernández Paulino
Rita-Soledad Fernández Paulino, the daughter of immigrants from Mexico and creator of Wealth Para Todos, has a passion for making wealth creation accessible for everyone, but especially for Latinas. As a former math teacher turned personal finance enthusiast, Soledad, 34, speaks about her own financial journey, building generational wealth, and other topics such as investing, budgeting, and saving.
Since the beginning of 2019, Soledad has paid off over $20,000 in student loan debt, built a six-month emergency fund, maxed out multiple retirement accounts, and plans to retire by 47. Based in Los Angeles with her husband and two kids, she’s now becoming a certified financial planner to ensure more people of color and Latinas can receive financial advice from someone who understands their unique money challenges and goals.