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In this episode, Chelsea talks to Dannielle from First Gen Money about growing up in an immigrant household, how it informed her relationship with money, teaching her parents about investing, and more!

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Hello, everyone, and welcome back to another episode of The Financial Confessions, one that I am very, very excited about because for those of you who may have followed along on YouTube, my biggest personal journey of the year is officially joining that trilingual club by becoming fluent in Spanish by the end of the year.

I was literally five minutes ago just having a Spanish lesson before we started filming. And I don't know exactly where I am.

I compare myself to various celebrities that I watch speaking Spanish as a second language on YouTube, and for that, Gwyneth Paltrow is like the gold standard, although she has this really, really pretentious Castilian Spanish. And that's not what I'm going for. But I would consider myself I'm like getting to the Ben Affleck level.

He's like got this very sort of charming Tex-Mex thing going on because I think he lived a little bit here and there in Mexico. And my tutor's actually Mexican, so if anything, I'm going to err toward that. But enough about that personal part of my journey.

The reason that I'm most looking forward to learning Spanish is not just because I live in New York where an enormous amount of the population is at least to some extent Spanish speaking. I'm also interested in doing it because I am very, very interested in talking about money with all of the various layers and shades and different versions of the first generation community here in the United States, of which a huge percentage is Latino. I'm, as most of you know, married to someone who's not American.

And even just that layer adds such enormous complexity to navigating finances. We literally have to seek out and find someone special to do our taxes and to help us with certain things. He's, as some of you might, stuck out of the country for over a year now because of immigration stuff.

And that is from two very privileged people, both of whom elected to make the choices that they did and did so with a ton of financial privilege and resources and know-how. So you take that first layer, which is obviously that any two nationalities being in the mix are going to complicate your finances. You add to that that some members of the family may not speak English.

They may be under banked or completely unbanked. You may have people who are totally unfamiliar with the financial system. You may have children who are growing up having to sort of be the intermediaries or the translators for their own family, and you take the fact that a lot of the immigrant community can be lower on the income spectrum, and you have a portrait of finances that is, frankly, very different from a lot of what we teach our audience here at The Financial Diet about money.

Yes, some of it can be covered by some of the things that we talk about more broadly with our largely American audience. But some of it is totally different and very nuanced and has many, many issues that we're not necessarily always covering. So part of our goal this year at TFD is to do a lot of Spanish first content.

We're going to be doing workshops, classes. We're going to be doing video content, text content, all of that stuff because we want to start speaking to this issue in a very comprehensive way, and of course, me being able to actually understand what we're putting out is a big, big part of that. So one of the first things I wanted to do as we dip our toe into this very uniquely American part of navigating our finances is speak to someone whose entire job is speaking to that first generation financial experience, which is why I'm so excited to welcome today my guest Dannielle Romoleroux of First Gen Money.

Thank you, Chelsea. That was amazing. I honestly-- my abuelita always tells me, you need to start making your content in Spanish.

So that's goals. I'm very happy that The Financial Diet is thinking about starting and creating Spanish content because it's much needed. But no, we get that comment all the time.

And I think-- I'd be really curious to hear, first of all, a little bit about your story. But what kind of drew you specifically to talking about the first generation money experience? Yeah.

So I mean, I think it all stems from who I am as a person. I am first gen in every aspect of my life. My parents came to this country from Ecuador.

And so when they had us, like I just became first gen American. And so going through just the college application experience was completely new to my family. And then after college, entering the corporate space, which was new for my family, but also, there became a gap that I started realizing that my parents wouldn't be able to help me understand.

So I just became interested in learning for myself because I wanted to be able to build wealth and also help my sisters because I'm one of the oldest sisters of five girls. And so I have younger sisters who I want to be able to guide through this new landscape that my family was entering. So you were born here in the United States.

And how long what were your parents in the country before you were born? It varied. So my dad came in the late '80s and my mom in the early '90s.

So I would say probably around an average of four years. Now, tell me about your particular experience growing up, as far as the finances of your family. As I mentioned, one of the common features of first generation children in the country is that depending on the English level of their parents or their familiarity with the financial system, the child may end up having to run a lot of that interference or translate in real time or help explain certain things.

So where did you guys kind of fall in that spectrum? Yeah, so when I was growing up as a young child, my parents were both undocumented. And only when I entered middle school and high school did they become actual residents and then now citizens of this country.

And so growing up, I was definitely that translator, more so in the context of applying for citizenship. When it comes to understanding and navigating the bank and financial institutions, I do remember going to the bank with my parents and kind of helping translate. But we actually lived in a very diverse city.

I grew up in Jersey City. And then when my family transferred over to the suburbs of New Jersey, that's when it became more transparent that, yeah, there are people who don't speak my parents' language, so it becomes a little harder for them to be able to communicate their needs. And yeah, so I mean, I definitely realized that it was important for me to understand certain terminology.

But I would say it was more so focused on that immigration process. Interesting. And so how familiar, both back then and now, would you say that your parents are with the higher level complexities of the financial system?

So as an example, my parents are both American. But when I was younger, we were pretty low income. And to this day they have, I think, a lot of reservations and a little bit of a lack of understanding around things like investing, and they tend to have a mistrust of things like that.

And I know that that can be compounded when there is a language or a cultural barrier, or these financial systems in a home country may have not been trustworthy or what have you. So where do your parents kind of fall on that spectrum? Yeah, that was certainly the case in my household as well.

I mean, when my parents were first like just getting into their careers, it was very much in jobs that didn't offer 401(k)s or different opportunities for them to get into the market. So what my parents knew and the kind of investing that was familiar to them was real estate investing. They knew that going into real estate made the most sense because you can get a tangible asset through that.

So that was kind of the extent to their investing. Like here, you need to get into real estate. You need to buy property.

And so I remember even as a child my dad reading Rich Dad Poor Dad. And that book really inspired him to get into real estate. And so that's the extent to what their knowledge in investing was until my dad transitioned into an opportunity that did provide him a 401(k).

But right now, that is kind of like where they're at. They're like, OK, yeah, we know we have a 401(k), and we're putting money in that. But there's still a lot to learn there.

And I think now that I'm talking about money and constantly bringing up like what other investment types they can go into besides just real estate, they're starting to be more interested in it. And my dad is especially exploring like-- he is doing a lot of like day trading and thinking about all of that stuff. So he's definitely very interested in now exploring the stock market and getting into that.

That real estate thing is so real. My parents-- like their whole nest egg, everything has been built on real estate. And my mom is very-- she's been always very talented at it.

But buying properties, fixing up properties. Like I think for her, the concept of having, like you said, something tangible for your money, I think just feels so much safer, even though in many ways, it's not. There are a lot of ways in which owning physical property can be more risky.

And it definitely opens you up to a lot of potential problems that just having money sitting in a brokerage account obviously doesn't open you up to. But I do think-- when I think a lot about the sort of American conception of wealth, a lot of these things, especially when you start talking about things like investing in the market and these very sort of abstract financial concepts, that really feels, in many ways, like the final frontier of assimilation financially because even for my parents-- I guess they're both-- they would be first generation or-- a mix of first and second. Even that layer is like not enough to, I think, feel fully comfortable with the financial system, and only that following generation that can have a real sort of rooting in these things can open up access to it.

And obviously here at DFD, we want to speed up that process, especially for young women. But it is fascinating how that level of implicit trust in a system is, I think, really difficult for a lot of people to develop. Yeah, no.

And especially when you're coming from a country that maybe like the economy or the banks was already like something you didn't trust. And so that, I think, is one of the biggest hurdles for four communities who are coming into this country and just understanding like, yeah, you can trust the banks more than you would at home. So I think that's something that I'm still navigating with my parents.

I mean, even just like opening a high yield savings account, the other day I was talking to my grandmother about that. And she's like, are you sure it's safe? How do I know if there's no actual location?

Can I trust this? So there's still a lot of stuff that we're working through, even though my family now has been in this country for decades. Would you say that the majority of your audience that you speak to at First Gen Money is of Latino origin?

Yes, definitely. And amongst that experience that you kind of see every day on your platforms, do you see a lot of nuances depending on which background or culture or country they might specifically be from? Yeah, I mean I think that-- I wouldn't say it's particularly a country, but I know that a lot of us who are first gen and whose parents particularly migrated, and we've been born here, I think we realize that because of this gap in this education around money, we have to be like the ones to kind of help facilitate the retirement planning and navigating like life insurance and things like that.

So I would say there is a difference between those first gens who either have parents who were born, or I guess they wouldn't be forced gens. But I do have some audience members who are second gen or have one parent that was born here and one that wasn't. So I do see the differences there in terms of planning for your parents' retirement and thinking about how do you set up their future so you're not hurting your own.

It's obviously such a difficult thing to navigate I think especially emotionally and kind of on a more personal and human level than financially to help one's parents because especially if you're from a culture where there's A, a lot of taboo around talking about money and B, a lot of pride and respect and deference that goes generationally in terms of you're not supposed to be telling your parents what to do, that conversation of, OK, my parents are maybe getting to retirement age, and I know they don't have enough to retire, or they're not really understanding the nuances of let's say the 401(k) that their job is offering or these kind of high level things, how do you advise your audience on having those conversations with their parents in a way that will be comfortable for all parties? Yeah, I think it's really coming at it from this sense of like I'm doing this for you, for your benefit. Because one thing that is the biggest challenge here is that our parents, or at least my parents and some of my clients, what they've experienced is that there's backlash and why are you trying to create a life insurance policy for me?

Like do you want me to die so you become wealthy? So I think coming at it from this perspective of like I want to make sure that you get what you deserve when it's time for you to retire. I want that life for you.

And so coming at that from that perspective instead of like, hey, this is like what I know, and you're doing it wrong is probably the best approach that I've found to be more successful. And for me, I'm fortunate that I have four other sisters. And so making sure that you're talking to your sisters or siblings ahead of time, so you can all kind of come together as a family and say like this is stuff that matters for us because we care about you because we want to make sure that the hard work that you put into creating the life that you gave us is something that you have-- you're able to retire and actually live the life that you want and that you envision for yourself.

And what are the most common pain points or issues that you're hearing from your audience about specifically that parental child relationship? I mean, I think it's just like our parents don't want to hear it. Or like they just feel like they've gone so long without needing to consider it, that it's like what does it matter at this point?

So yeah, that's like the biggest one and trying to understand how to let them know like, yeah, you might be approaching retirement, but it's still something you should be thinking about and approaching. So I think that's one of the biggest things that I found, yeah, just like being able to talk and get the point across about how this is something that you shouldn't just give up on because you haven't been doing it for the last 20 years of your life. Tell me a little bit about the experience of growing up with undocumented parents.

What was that like as a kid? I don't think I realized that I had undocumented parents until I was in court and explaining to the judge why I believe my parents should be in this country. And yeah, I remember that point like vividly.

Like I remember being in there and just being super emotional and nervous that my parents were going to not be there with us when we left. But I don't remember anything before that. I think like that court experience was like the only thing that I remember, maybe because everything else was just something that wasn't in my day to day.

But yeah, like once they did become residents and just remembering and being able to get on that trip with them to go to Ecuador for the first time in decades was really exciting for to witness. But yes, that court experience was like the only memory that I have of my parents actually being undocumented. It's become one of the issues that I feel most passionate about in terms of the rhetoric around immigration because as I mentioned in my intro, you know, my husband is the most privileged type of immigrant one could possibly be, right?

Like he's white. He's financially stable. He's from a country that offers visa free travel.

He's got a steady job in the US. You really don't get a lot more in terms of things tilted in your favor. And we still found out last March, oh, you have 72 hours to leave the country.

Your application has been denied on a technicality. Bye, bitch. And that happens so much, and we obviously are very plugged into a lot of other immigrants who are in similar situations.

And I think a lot of Americans don't realize. They're like, well, they should just come the right way. They should just get their papers and then come over.

I'm like, do you guys realize how brutally difficult it is to get your papers the right way even if you speak perfect English and have every resource at your disposal? I really think a lot of people don't understand how difficult it is and how emotional it is. Yeah, I agree.

I don't think people realize that. It's like if you're coming from a country in South America or Central America, it's just not going to be easy for you. It's not.

There are a lot of systems in place to make it difficult. And yeah, there is just no longer the right way to come into this country because it's just not going to happen. So when it comes to college, specifically, and I know you paid off a lot of debt, which I assume was from college?

Yes, all of the debt I had was student loan debt. So when it comes to college specifically, this is an area where we've heard a lot from our audience that the first generation experience is very unique because obviously, for, I think, a lot of first generation kids, going to a four-year college, the best one you can go to is obviously a massive accomplishment. It's such a-- the ultimate aspiration, but at the same time, there is often a tremendous lack of education around the loan system, around the implications of those loans.

Often parents can't access the loans. We heard from one of our interviews with another first generation financial educator, she was telling us that she ended up signing on-- it was a friend's sister's student loans who ended up defaulting on her loans. But it was just like-- she was like it was so-- she had no resources to do it in her own family, and our families were so close that I was like, sure, I'll sign on these loans.

But it seems like a particular area where a lot of these disadvantages and unique situations really come into play. So can you talk a little bit about the first gen experience specifically going to and paying for college? Yeah, I mean, for starters, when I was in high school, I had no idea that you needed to take the SATs or standardized tests to apply to school.

Like that just wasn't something my family was talking about. And I was fortunate enough to have friends who were in that process and starting to think about it. That kind of introduced me to like, oh, maybe I should be taking a prep course, or maybe I should be studying.

But even just that basic like understanding what I needed in order to actually apply to college wasn't there from my family's perspective. And so when I finally got into school, funding was definitely the issue because at the time, my parents had basically no credit since they had declared bankruptcy within five years earlier. So I did have to go to my grandmother to co-sign a loan for me.

And I was in a fortunate position where she could do that for me. But if it weren't for her, I don't know how I would have been able to go to school that first semester because I didn't have the funds that I needed to actually enroll. So I think it was kind of a awakening moment when I realized like, oh, you pay for college, and typically your parents are those that provide the funds.

But my parents didn't have funds to give me to go to college, so the second best thing was the student loans. And then that other hurdle of like I don't have co-signors who are my parents who could do this, and finding people who could co-sign, and finally coming to my grandmother and realizing that she could be my co-signor. So there was definitely this gap of knowledge of what do I need to apply and what does it cost to apply to schools?

Which I-- you know, you apply for every school that you want to-- or you pay for every school that you want to apply to. And then this idea of like, OK, after I get in, there are other costs. And there are the costs of actually attending school, but then like going to-- and transporting yourself to those schools, like driving up to-- my first year, I went to UMass Boston.

So my parents, they took me there, we rented a car, they got my whole like-- it was an apartment that the students had-- it was like a commuter school, so we had an apartment, and they had to help me furnish it. And so all of that was a lot of money that my parents incurred, and I'm 100% certain they put it on credit cards and just realizing that, oh, this is costly. And I'm sorry that I'm making you pay for all this stuff.

So there was a lot of guilt in that. But yeah, there was a lot of stuff that I realized we did not know and we were not prepared for. What do you feel like the media gets wrong when they speak to the Latino community generally and about money specifically?

What do you feel like it gets wrong? I think they don't understand the cultural nuances. There's this idea that we're all on the same-- we all believe the same things, whereas at least with the Latino culture, there are so many things that is very specific to who we are as a culture and as a community.

We are very like family focused. We're not-- we don't have this individualistic mindset. So I think that's something that sometimes they don't get right, and you don't see a lot of that.

In terms of the cultural nuances, what are some of those differences, and specifically, the more cultural nuances that you see come up in how first generation kids are navigating their lives as Americans, especially women? Yeah, I mean, I think the main one, I would say, and the most important one is this idea that when we get our first paid salaried position, like, yeah, we're finally making money, but some of that has to sometimes go to support our family. And I don't think other communities-- or I mean, I know definitely for the Latinx and the Black communities, that is something that we experience.

But we're not only lifting ourselves up, but like trying to lift our families up along the way. Yeah, that is the main one I see because it just adds to the not inability, but just how it's a little harder for us to be able to actually build wealth. So in terms of when it comes to a lot of the other sort of life choices that you're making, another big one obviously for young women especially, and I think all cultures, you know, Latino or otherwise have a lot of very unique sort of expectations and norms around it.

But one of them is marriage and gender roles. And I think a lot of what we speak about to a completely broad and diverse female audience from all different backgrounds is a real sort of rubbing up against the expectations of their parents' generation, as far as what all these things should look like, what's expected of them, having children, having the big wedding, whether they should be working full time when they get married, like all of these questions. And I'm curious what the additional layer of being first gen kind of puts on those conversations for young women.

Yeah, I mean I get the question all the time about when I'm getting married, when I'm having children. I've been with my partner for now six years. So that is something I hear a lot from my parents, who had me at a very young age.

So my parents were 18 and 19 when they had me, and I was their second child, and they were married by this point. So I think there is a lot that I still-- like when that question comes up, I always try to say, you know, this is my priority. I'm working on first gen money right now, and kids just aren't on the agenda.

But yeah, I don't think that they're trying to rush me. I think they have this idea of like by now, you should have had at least one kid, just based on how my family has done in the past. And when it comes to the wedding, yes, my mom is very much like we're going to have a huge wedding.

We're going to invite everybody, even the people that you don't know. My sister got married three years ago, and her wedding was huge. And she didn't really-- she had a choice into who she could invite, but it was definitely my mom and her mother-in-law putting in invitations and adding guests who my sister just didn't have relationships with.

So I'm always very upfront about how I feel in terms of marriage and just having children because I've just always been that way. I think my parents know to expect this different approach to life from me because I've always been a very vocal feminist and the biggest feminist and my sister. So yeah, I'm always saying like, why do you think that way?

Why-- I'm always challenging them. Good for you. We love to see that.

When it comes, though, to these choices, you obviously seem like you have very strong convictions. You're very confident in those choices. But what is your recommendation to women who feel a little bit less strong in the face of that pressure, who maybe have less of that conviction, or feel like they don't know how to kind of set their boundaries and stand up, especially in the face of super strong cultural expectations?

Yeah, I think the important thing to remember and really try to understand is first think about what you want outside of the perspective of what is wanted of you. And I think coming at that lens of this is what I've determined for myself that I want, it becomes easier to then go back to family and approach questions like when are you going to have children in a different lens. I think something that I-- I mean, like you said, I've always been very confident of being up front about how I feel.

But for those who aren't, I think maybe having honest and open conversations about why you feel a certain way or why a question that they're asking is triggering is a good start because there's always going to be that tía at a dinner party who's going to be asking about your love life. And sometimes it just could be that you don't want to talk about it because you're going through something emotional. So I think just reminding people and saying like that's not-- it's just insensitive for you to be asking and trying to get into my personal life like that.

One of the things that-- so I did a very emotionally challenging, but ultimately rewarding video that was partially in Spanish recently. I was very nervous to do it. But I have to say all you guys, the nicest community.

I got the nicest comments. They really gave me a soft landing on that one. I so appreciate it.

But we did get a lot of comments from our Spanish speaking audience saying you guys got to do stuff about how badly the MLMs and scammy financial sort of products and services target our community. And to be honest, although we have done several pieces on MLMs, that was something I really wasn't aware of. Can you talk a little bit as to that kind of predatory behavior, specifically kind of seeking out the Latino community?

Yeah, I mean, I-- my grandmother growing up, she was part of Mary Kay. She sold Mary Kay. No.

Definitely know that from a personal level. And I I'm not sure why we're targeted. But it definitely-- I definitely see that a lot in just like going on my Facebook or my Instagram and just idea of-- I guess, I understand why we're targeted.

But how do we move away from that? I think one of the reasons why our community chooses to opt in to MLMs is because they want this idea of being entrepreneurs, and they know, and they realize that that's the way to build wealth in this country. Being your own boss is kind of the best thing that you can do.

And a lot of Latinx people are business owners. Like my immediate family already just has a handful of people who have and run their own businesses. So when they think about MLMs, they think about it as-- especially the way it's marketed of like you have access to when you work.

You can create your own destiny. I think that's what attracts them to it. But yeah, it's been like that for many, many decades and growing up.

And I actually recently talked to my grandmother about that. I mentioned to her like, oh, you know, Mary Kay, and there's like a lot of other organizations that are predatory. And she still to this day was like, I don't think that's true because I actually was able to work by being part of this.

So she's still very-- she kind of challenges me on that. But I'm like, yeah, I don't know why we get targeted. I think it is because of that just desire to be your own boss.

Man, your grandmother was one of the one percent statistically if she was able to make any money off that. Listen, that clearly speaks highly to her abilities as a salesperson, I suppose. So good for her.

But in terms of-- so obviously, there are going to be a lot of scams out there. Any time there are people with financial vulnerabilities, there are going to be people out there trying to take advantage of them. And one of the biggest vulnerabilities in the immigrant community in the US is being under banked or unbanked.

And obviously, when you are under banked or unbanked, you are opening yourself up to things like predatory check cashing services, lenders, all kinds of stuff like that. And something I think a lot of people kind of have a hard time understanding is, well, just go get a bank account. Anyone can get a bank account.

They're free, which isn't true by the way, depending on where you go. But can you talk a little bit-- kind of explain why being under or unbanked is such an issue and kind of some of the obstacles to this particular population getting properly banked? Yeah, I mean, I think the main issue is that it's expensive to be under banked.

I know, like-- yeah, it's not free to have a bank account. You get charged fees after fees if you don't meet a minimum or if you overdraft. And so because a lot of people choose not to go that route, they are depending on different services that will cash your checks and also just the way that you're paid.

I think if you're undocumented or if you just choose not to go with the traditional banking route, it's not because you are actively choosing that. It's because either you have income, or you make money in a way that doesn't make it feasible for you to just go and get a deposit into your bank account electronically, or there are so many different layers to why going and being a bank member isn't something that works for you and works for this community. So I think, yeah, there's so many reasons why it's expensive to be under banked in this country, but there's also many reasons why people-- just that's not an option for them.

And I think one of those reasons is because of the work they're in. In terms of-- I think because one thing that we've heard a lot is a lack of trust in financial institutions, especially if you come from a place where financial institutions are not particularly trustworthy. So in terms of if you have audience members who are trying to help sort of instill that confidence in their parents about some of these things, like for example, brick and mortar banks, what do you recommend?

Yeah, I mean, I'm struggling with this right now with my grandmother right because she does have a brick and mortar bank for her checking and her savings. And I'm trying to transition her into this understanding of online banks and trying to help her get more money from the savings that she does have. But because of, one, her lack of access to Wi-Fi or a computer and to not being able to access these sites because she doesn't understand what they're like-- there's just-- she doesn't understand the language on the websites.

So a lot of what I do is sit there and kind of do it with them or do it for them, but in a way that I'm like, OK, this is where you go or what you need to access. And I still, even to this day, I do a lot of-- my parents' savings, I manage that. So it's really being-- working very closely with them.

So they know their login, but I also know it in case I need to go in there and transfer money. So I think there's a lot of just making sure that I'm walking them through it and doing it with them that goes into it. You're a very good daughter to be managing their savings for them.

That's so great of you. So you paid off $26,000 of debt. Is that right?

Yes. And you did it in a fairly short amount of time. Yeah-- I mean, I think it's not as impressive as some people who are like, yes, I did 100 K in months.

But yes, I'm very proud of being able to accomplish that because of other goals that I was working towards at the time. So you paid it off in about two years, and how did you do it? I mean, the biggest secret there is like I lived at home, right?

I graduated college, and I moved into my parents' basement. And I stayed there until I felt I was financially OK to move out. Very normal in our culture, very normal to live at home.

There was no shame in it. I mean, I saw my peers living in New York City apartments and living the lifestyle that I wanted to live in. But I was fortunate that my parents lived in a New York City suburb, where I could easily take the bus and get into downtown in less than two hours.

So I was very fortunate to be in that position, and I always say to the people that I work with, if you are able to live with your parents, who either own their house or have a rent stabilized apartment somewhere in a metro area where you can find work, like do it. I was always happy to be able to give some of my money to my dad to help him with certain bills and to be paying rent elsewhere. And I'm back at living in my parents' basement.

I'm not at my parents', but I'm at my partner's parents'. And I think that there's nothing shameful about it at all. So I'm very proud about that.

And just also cutting on transportation costs. I was commuting into the city five days a week when I was working in the city. And because I live in the suburbs of New Jersey, like you should have a car, or else you're kind of stuck.

But I chose not to have a car. I was like I'm in here two days out of the week. I don't need a car for the weekends.

So opting out of certain things, like owning a car. And so in terms of the choices that you made, because a lot of people, I think, when it comes to the choice of not having a car in a place that most people do or moving in with their parents when they'd rather be living in an apartment, or what have you, how do you recommend people find the motivation or incentivize themselves to make some of these shorter term sacrifices when it can feel very difficult? Yeah, I mean, the truth is sometimes the numbers aren't enough, and it's not going to be enough if you can't find the motivation, just like seeing your bank account grow or like paying off your debt.

I think the motivation is really understanding your why behind like why you're doing it and giving yourself like a timeline. I know for us and our decision to move back into the suburbs when the pandemic hit, it was more based on what did we want during this time that we're here? What do we want to save for?

What are our goals as a couple but also as individuals? What are we going to do to make the time here worth it? And so really understanding that why I think is important because when it comes down to it, that's the only thing that's going to keep you from like opting out.

Absolutely. Absolutely. And kind of lastly, before I get to our beloved rapid fire questions, which I know we're all very excited to hear about, when it comes to someone who did not-- whether first generation or otherwise, if they did not grow up with a financial education, especially women, and they're feeling like they got out of college, they have debt, maybe they have a job somewhat related to what they went to school for, but their salary probably isn't great.

And they feel like the goals that they have financially and the life that they want financially is really kind of far out of their reach and they'll never kind of be good with money, which is exactly how I felt in my early to mid 20s. What would you advise them in terms of where to start and what to kind of learn? Just make like a one move action item for yourself.

You're not going to get there tomorrow. But what can you do to take one-- to make one step forward? And I think the main thing that helped me is realizing like what was that first goal I wanted to tackle?

Which was for me, I knew that paying off my debt was a first goal. But then I realized that I needed to save for an emergency fund. I needed to do all these other things.

So I think if I hadn't taken that first step and just like paying off my student loan debt and before I paid it off, even, like if I didn't make that first move, I wouldn't have realized that maybe these are other things that I could be working on. So I think it's breaking down like that bigger picture that you have for yourself into things that you can act on today. So because I also, right now, I have a vision in my head about that life that I want to live and where I am financially at the moment.

And I know it's going to take me some time to get there, but what can I do right now to start building that life for myself? And so part of that has been creating a side hustle, creating First Gen Money, and building towards making that an additional stream of income for myself. So just like taking those small steps that will help you build up to that life.

Love it. So as promised, our big rapid fire questions. What is the big financial secret of your industry?

So I'm going to take this from the perspective of being on YouTube. When I first started my YouTube channel, I had no idea how much work was going to go into it. I always saw like beautiful YouTube videos and was like, oh, I can't wait to make beautiful YouTube videos and then realizing like, oh my God, there's editing that I have to do.

There's nights that you're just like editing a video, and you're like being critical of yourself. And so I think that there's another side of YouTube that people don't realize where it's like, you have to get the content out and editing to make it look like that product that you see when you look at a YouTube video. It takes a lot of work, especially if it's just one person doing the filming, editing, and marketing that video.

Love it. And I agree. I have to say we are very lucky in the five-ish years we've been producing YouTube videos, I've never edited a single one because we started out with a production company.

So I just never was on that side of the fence. But yeah, suffice to say, I don't think I'd be making YouTube videos if I would have had to edit them because it is so difficult. Like I tried making a TikTok the other day, and that alone, I was like, no way.

Yep. So difficult. All these Gen Z-ers, man.

So talented. OK, what do you invest in versus what are you cheap about? I was thinking about this one.

And I don't really know what it is that I invest in. I think maybe like getting my hair done once a year, like really, really getting it done. I think that's something I invest in.

Cheap about, I still don't have a car. I'm OK like not having a car. So yeah, I think maybe transportation.

OK, love it. Although I would still consider if you do your hair only once a year, I feel like on the scale of like how often women get their hair done, like that's not really investing, right? Like that's pretty rare still.

That's true. I don't have anything that I'm like I definitely invest in that. I definitely need that.

Well, maybe like literally-- I can't think of anything besides like getting that nice-- and probably more than once a year because I'm already due for another Brazilian Blowout. OK, what has been your best investment and why? I think definitely just my college.

I think getting, yes, student loans, I got into debt. But if I wouldn't have gotten to college, I wouldn't have had the experiences that I did and met the people that I met and just been challenged the way that I was. Where did you go to college out of curiosity?

I went to UMass Boston my first year and then Rutgers. Nice, a Rutgers gal. I have many Rutgers friends.

Jersey girl through and through. Yes. What has been your biggest money mistake and why?

Oh, my biggest money mistake, I think not knowing how to manage it when I went to study abroad in Spain. I had to leave and end my study abroad experience early because I needed to take a job because I had run out of money. And I just couldn't live abroad with zero dollars in my bank account.

Where did you live in Spain? Valencia. I'm going to live there.

Get out. Yeah. It was beautiful.

It was like the best semester ever, and it was cut short, but I loved my entire time there. Wow, I might have to ask you for some reccos. What is your biggest current money insecurity?

Oh, money insecurity, I would say just continuing to tackle the mindset piece. Like how do I move away from this idea of this scarcity mindset and into one of abundance where I'm like welcoming all the opportunities that are coming to me? I really feel that.

What has been the financial habit that has helped you the most? Tracking my money. That's the first thing I started doing, and it's the thing that I still continue to this day.

Ain't that the truth. OK. And lastly, when did you first feel successful and what does that word mean to you?

When did I first feel successful? I think probably when I funded my emergency fund. I was like oh, OK, so if I get fired, or if I get laid off, like I'm going to be OK.

I think financial success is just not worrying if you can make your bills, if you can pay your phone bill or the electricity bill and things like that. Love it. Well, it has been a pleasure talking to you about this very unique topic in personal finance that I'm so interested in.

So if people want to learn more about what you do, about First Gen Money and talk to you, where can they find you? Yes. Thank you so much for having me, Chelsea.

And you can find me on Instagram @FirstGenMoney, on YouTube, also under First Gen Money. Love it. Well, thank you guys so much for joining.

And I will see you guys all back here next Monday for the next episode of The Financial Confessions. Bye. [MUSIC PLAYING]