What My Latina Mom Taught Me About Money

By Mari Delgado

We all have vivid memories of someone from our childhood doing something that we wanted to accomplish one day. As a little girl, I had so many dreams about what kind of woman I wanted to be — from singing like Christina Aguilera to dancing like Britney Spears. But the most impactful role model I ever had was my mom.

My mom ran a health clinic in Colombia, led political campaigns, traveled all over to provide dental care to low-income towns — her accomplishments are never-ending. People admire her so much. Even when she left all her power and influence — her family and friends — to start a new life in the US, she still worked two (at one point, three) jobs to make sure my sister and I had the opportunity to learn the language and grow up with better opportunities.

As you might imagine, my household was a bit different than the average Hispanic household. Traditional hispanic households give more authority to the men in the home. Whether it’s a father getting a bigger plate of food at the dinner table, or an older brother tagging along at events to “protect” his sister, it’s very common for men to have the last say in many things. That also means all financial decisions would go through the dad, uncle, brother … blegh.

Not at my house.

My mom’s main piece of advice, when it came to money, was to save. She showed me what it’s like to be at the top of the world, and also what it’s like to hit the bottom. She always had rental properties, which she could sell if need be. She showed me the power of putting money away for a rainy day.

I’m not proud of this story, but I once got into a car crash — which, if you’ve ever been in one, you know how expensive they can be. The crash, the ambulance ride to the hospital, the X-rays — it’s unfortunate, but these kinds of events make you so thankful for your mom’s advice to save. That advice protected my family, time and again.

Memories like that one compel me to share my experiences, even today. But here’s the thing: Can you imagine where we would be if my mom had invested her savings in the markets instead of keeping it under a mattress?

The gender pay gap is large — but the gender investing gap is ever larger. And for Latinas? It’s heartbreaking. Historically, we’ve been denied so much money over the years. Money that could have saved us during a downfall. Money that could have helped us make it through “las vacas flacas” (moments of need).

As a Latina financial advisor, my goal is to educate as many people as possible about the importance of investing — and then help them do it in a way that does as much good for the world as possible. It’s also important to save. And to show other women that we can do anything. We can be the head of household while wearing our red-bottoms!

Let’s normalize sharing resources, talking about money more openly, and motivating each other to achieve our goals — including our financial freedom.

Thank you, mami, for inspiring me to be the best version of myself — happy Mother’s Day!

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Mari Delgado

Mari brings more than seven years of experience in wealth management. Today, she’s a financial advisor on Ellevest’s Private Wealth Management team, working with clients to help them develop personalized, long-term investment portfolios that align with their goals and values. She works with both Spanish- and English-speaking clients.