Company founder tells Latinas: ‘Get rid of the fear’ of investing

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Jully-Alma Taveras, founder of bilingual financial literacy platform Investing Latina, wants Hispanic women to shed the notion that investing is too risky.

“Get started, get rid of the fear because I know it can seem very scary at first,” Taveras tells Hispanic women. “Because we hear those ideas from previous generations that it’s risky, we don’t do it,” Taveras told Yahoo Finance.

For Latinas trying to build wealth, the odds are stacked against them. They typically earn just 55 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. According to the Federal Reserve, the typical white family in the U.S. has five times the wealth of the typical Hispanic family. And just 28% of Hispanic families in the U.S. are invested in the stock market, compared to 61% of white families, according to Pew Research.

“It’s so powerful to invest in the stock market,” said Taveras. “Once I realized how amazing it is to invest a little bit of money, and then have that money working for you…it caught my attention.”

Taveras got her first investment account through her employer-sponsored retirement plan. She says she didn’t pay much attention to her 403(B) statements at first, but when she saw the account grow, she began to ask herself, “How come I’m making money without doing anything?”

She began to pay closer attention and “started Googling what those funds were,” said Taveras. “I had target date funds, there were some index funds in there, there were some bonds in there. So it was a combination of things, and that was really where my self-education began, literally just looking at what I already had at my job.”

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“I became very obsessed,” said Taveras, who launched Investing Latina in 2019. “My goal was really to help others.” As a Latina, Taveras is familiar with the lack of education among Hispanic families about how to manage money.

“My parents are Gen X and they thought you wouldn’t have to worry about these things, you will marry into someone that will worry about these things,” Taveras said. “These are the traditional roles that have been played.”

For Latinas interested in investing, Taveras suggests that they calculate their survival number – the minimum amount of money needed for housing, food, and basic needs – to determine what their opportunity will be.

“You want to know exactly how much you make in a year. You want to know how much you spend in a year, and then you want to set a goal,” said Taveras. “Start [out investing] with maybe just $100 for the year.” Taveras adds, “I always push people to invest more so that you can get to financial freedom sooner.”

Of course, investing comes with its own set of challenges. “It really requires consistent and diligent work to be able to continue to learn and figure out how you can make things work for you, for your family, for your situation,” she said.

“Look at what happened last year, the pandemic hit us,” Taveras said. “There’s some things that are going to be out of our control, but there are many things when it comes to our money that we can take control of and become financially powerful because of it.”

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