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How to Overcome 5 Common Feelings About Money As A First-Gen Latina

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Latina wealth coach Luzy King unpacks five emotions that may be holding you back from reaching your financial goals as a First-Gen Latina. Read more to break free from money wounds and start building generational wealth.

Whether you are a First-Generation Latina navigating a better-paying job than your parents, or the first family member to access employer benefits such as a 401K, 403b, etc., many of us have a rollercoaster of emotions regarding money. Money emotions are multilayered and can stunt growth if you don’t take the time to understand why they are coming up. As the founder of Say Hola Wealth, an online coaching agency that teaches Latinas how to invest through a holistic lens, and someone who had a lot of money wounds, I can tell you that simply budgeting won’t help you achieve your financial goals. 

Identifying the emotions that might be acting as barriers to achieving your financial dreams is important. After working with private clients through the Say Hola Wealth Academy, below are the most common ‘money feelings’ that come up for first-generation Latinas. Take a look – which ones are you needing to navigate to make a leap towards financial abundance?

Guilt

When working with my clients, guilt for making “bad financial decisions” comes up a lot. Some even use the language of, “I should know better. I have a college degree.” 

But the truth is that they are the first ones in their family learning how to manage their dinero. For other clients, the guilt of spending money is heavy because, growing up, their parents told them only to spend money on necessities. But can I tell you a secret? There’s no such thing as the “perfect way” to spend or invest your money. Yes, take care of your financial responsibilities but also balance spending money on the things you love. Creating a “pay-yourself budget” and defining your priorities first will help you get rid of the guilt.

Afraid

Some of my clients are afraid of spending their hard-earned money. I get this. It’s almost like having a large amount of money in the bank gives them a sense of security. But most of the time, being afraid to spend money is rooted in the cultural tradition from our abuelitos or parents that insisted we should save for an emergency. Although this is one of the building blocks of generational wealth, I recommend only having six to twelve months of living expenses in a high-yield savings account. The rest of your money must have clear financial goals for the next three, five, and ten years. Do not be afraid to let your money work for you! Money is energy.

Stressed 

As a first-gen Latina, you must understand that you are navigating many things for the first time. Perhaps you have student loan debt, are the first in your family to apply for credit cards, or are a first-time homeowner. You are paving the way! But this also comes with financial stress because you are not always 100% sure on how everything works, and that’s ok. You don’t need to have all the answers or pay all your debt at once. 

Are you financially responsible for your parents? If you are, this might be causing you some stress. Prioritizing your finances is key, and then you can focus on your parents. Setting a small amount of money aside monthly to help your parents and setting clear financial boundaries with your loved ones is helpful.

Anxious

The only thing certain in life is uncertainty. As wild as this sounds, uncertainty can help you overcome money emotions. One of the biggest lessons I coach my clients through is to control what they can control. They don’t have control over the weather, unforeseen layoffs, or interest rates going up, but they do control how they react to those things.

 A fully funded ‘Peace of Mind Fund’ (emergency fund) helps you overcome money anxiety. Having more than one income stream gives you the confidence to continue to have cash flow even when the economy isn’t healthy. Think of how you can create multiple income streams with your existing skills.

Hurt

Money can bring a lot of hurtful feelings, such as abandonment wounds and sacrifice. Many of our parents came to this country in pursuit of a better life, and for them at that time, it meant working longer hours and leaving us with our tías, or la vecina. Our parents were in survival mode, but our young minds didn’t see it that way. Many of our emotional needs were unmet, and we see money as something that brings back childhood wounds. Money also represents the hard work and sacrifices our parents endured to get us ahead. Sometimes, we might even avoid looking at our savings or 401K balance because it makes us feel uncomfortable, almost undeserving of having it.

But money is good energy that can help you build generations of wealth and create the life your ancestors could only dream of. Journaling about your money memories will help you overcome this feeling, and if it is too much to bear, seek help. 

These are just a few of the money feelings my clients and I have experienced as first-generation Latinas. When it comes to your finances, it’s not just about learning how to budget your money – It’s also about knowing where those emotions come from and how to manage them. You are not alone in this wealth-building journey, so take aligned action on some of the steps I suggested and let’s build wealth juntas!


About the Author

Luzy King

Luzy King is an award-winning Latina wealth coach and founder of Say Hola Wealth. She became a first-gen investor after learning about investing and wealth building by accident through her MBA program in 2019. During the same year, Luzy was denied access to financial advice because she didn’t have $100K to start investing, and she made a commitment to learn things on her own and become the first one in her family to start investing. Now she is passionate about teaching Latinas all the strategies she wishes someone would have taught her in school. Luzy is a certified trauma-informed Financial & Business Coach, contributing author, and Community Leader.

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