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3 Money Tips for First Gen Latinas with Giovanna González


If you’re a First Gen Latina striving for financial freedom, Giovanna González has written a book endorsed by Eva Longoria titled “Cultura & Cash” that offers a practical and jargon-free money guide to help you tackle your finances.

After checking off all the “boxes” in her 20s, Giovanna González didn’t understand why she was still struggling with money. That’s when the light bulb hit; she might be making money, but managing it strategically was a different story. Motivated by the injustice children of immigrants face due to a lack of access to resources, she began to teach herself financial literacy by reading over 50 personal finance books – many of which were written by white male authors who did not account for how our cultura impacts our finances.

Today, Giovanna is a financial educator and bestselling author of “Cultura & Cash” and is on a mission to empower First Genstudents and young professionals of color entering the workplace to confidently manage their money, pay off debt, build generational wealth, and gain financial freedom. The First Generation and BIPOC experience often comes without a roadmap and believes it’s time we take charge of our financial journey. As a First Gen Latina herself, she has walked out the other side of the discomfort and overwhelm that comes from attempting to manage, invest, and grow an income as the first in the family and is here to teach you the ropes. 

She shared with us three key financial tips that you can apply to your money routines to align with the financial life you are striving for. If you want more juicy tips like this straight from someone who has paved the way for other First Gens like yourself, go buy her book “Cultura & Cash”.

Acknowledge the role our cultura plays in finances

The majority of finance books are written by white male authors. They teach you how to create a budget for yourself, build your credit score, and invest for your retirement. But they have yet to discuss how this financial planning overlaps with family. For us Latinos, money can be seen as communal, and we’re often supporting each other.

“I’m the child of immigrants. And my money experience will always be tied back to my extended family,” said González.

“I’m getting hit up to cosign on a car loan for my tio who doesn’t have good credit, like how do I navigate those situations?”

For those who are committed to building generational wealth, it often means we are the cycle breakers. It’s okay if you’re considered the black sheep for managing your money differently. Keep your eyes set on your goals, and keep moving forward because your devotion to this path benefits everyone.

Set financial boundaries

It is common in the Latino community to feel like we are not allowed to say “no.” It’s a cultural pressure that, as First Gens, we have the power to break free from and model by example the importance of boundaries – especially in finances. So how do you do it?

“Just like we’ve done in airplanes, you put your oxygen mask on first, and then you help others when you’re stronger to help others. But many times as daughters were told to sacrifice,” said González.

“You’re your own person, too, and your own financial wellness matters.”

“Cultura & Cash” is brimming with incredible insight and guidance so you can begin to determine what financial boundaries best suit you. A great place to start is her “Quier & Puedo” method, which is a two-part process. First, ask yourself – Do you want to financially support the specific family member in the way proposed? Then ask yourself – Are you able to financially support yourself while still sticking to your financial budget and goals?

Normalize money discussions

They don’t teach financial wellness at school, and our immigrant parents were still adjusting to the new system while trying to survive. Conversations around money practices aren’t the norm, but we have the power to change that. Whether talking to your little cousin about the magic of compound interest or with amigas about money dreams during brunch instead of chisme – bring up the topic.

Sharing is caring, and we must share our knowledge with others. You never know how it might impact someone. For example, Giovanna signed up for a 401K thanks to her colleague bringing up the conversation.

“I didn’t know anything about 401k, and somebody I work with said, ‘Did you sign up for this?’ And I said, ‘No, isn’t that for old people in retirement?’,” said Giovanna.

Because she took the time to pour into me, then, it helped me tremendously with my retirement portfolio.

About the Author

Chantelle Bacigalupo

Chantelle Bacigalupo is #WeAllGrow Latina’s Editorial Staff Writer. She is a Bolivian-American photographer, multimedia journalist, and activist based in Brooklyn, NY. Her work focuses on issues ranging across immigration, social & environmental justice, preserving Indigenous cultures, and reproductive justice. You can read more of her pieces here.




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