Celebrate Life Moments
What my dad taught me about money
The following article is part of Chase Slate's 2018 Credit Outlook, which provides data-driven insights on how Americans' views on spending, saving and budgeting are changing.
“Mija, how much are you getting paid to do that?"
“A lot, Dad."
“How much? Make sure they are paying you!"
“Oh, Dad! Why can't you just say how proud you are of me!?"
This conversation between a father and daughter may not seem like a big deal, but I can't tell you how many times I've been upset by my dad's questions about how much money I was making. They would trigger a waterfall of reactions, from anger to self-doubt to frustration.
Undermined by concern
Five years ago, I set out to create my own company and build a whole new life for myself. As a tried and true entrepreneur, I can tell you that every day is filled with emotional ups and downs, a never-ending roller coaster of challenges and successes.
When I was starting out, these innocuous questions poked at my worries about whether I would “make it" financially as an entrepreneur. What I didn't realize at the time was that this conversation was my dad's way of loving me and ensuring that I was caring for myself.
As the Chase Slate Financial Education Ambassador, I've been able to share my wisdom and knowledge about money management and credit with others. Along the way, I've also been able to reflect on my own upbringing with a Hispanic father in a whole new way. My father's family worked hard to establish themselves in America, and their work ethic has been etched into my own consciousness. It has stuck with me while I grew in my career.
My father is a strong, hard-working Hispanic. He doesn't always express himself in the sweet, caring, nurturing way that my mother does, but it is definitely LOVE. His care for me all these years has shaped how I relate to money. He's taught me about the inner workings of money management and — equally important — about my self-worth. He taught me to never sell myself short and constantly reminded me to budget my money in order to save for my goals.
A culture of saving
My father isn't alone: according to the Chase Slate 2018 Credit Outlook, Hispanic parents are more likely to talk with their children about money (61 percent) than the general population (56 percent). However, almost two in five parents still have not had the "money talk" with their kids – primarily because they think their children are too young.
I want to stress that it is never too early to begin the conversation. I encourage parents to start talking to their kids about the value and the positivity of finances when they're young. I know communicating with my own parents helped me tremendously in my career.
My dad helped me establish my credit when I was 16 years old by co-signing on my first credit card. He had a stern talk with me about the charges — like gas — that I was allowed to make on it, and made sure I paid off the balance in full every month. Because of this early lesson in money management, I was later able to leverage my good credit to kick-start and finance my dream business.
Findings from the Chase Slate 2018 Credit Outlook revealed that Hispanics have positive feelings about their credit scores, with 66 percent of Hispanics recognizing that it is very important to have access to credit.
I think this is important: we should project optimism about our finances. Now, what do we do to maintain a positive momentum around the topic of credit?
72 percent of Hispanics — compared to 60 percent of the general population — want to improve their credit score, and 61 percent have a plan for doing so in the next year. The survey also revealed that Hispanics are taking the appropriate steps to earning an improved credit score, such as planning to pay down debt (57 percent), pay bills on time (56 percent), and keep credit card balances low (50 percent). Clearly, they know their stuff!
Finally, one of the best parts about being a financial planner for the past 13 years is being able to help my parents build their wealth over their lifetime. As a Hispanic American woman, that feels incredible.
Brittney Castro is a Chase News contributor who focuses on personal finance and whose work has appeared in New York Times and The Wall Street Journal