Disclosure: This post is not sponsored. It does higlight a former sponsor Prudential Financial. The post does contain affiliate links that create a win/win. You get a perk and I get a commission of equal value for you using my code. I appreciate your support of this work.
HAPPY NEW YEAR… LETS TALK MONEY MOVES!
I have always been a firm believer in teaching things as I learn, building a community around that process and creating a peer teaching culture. I did this in the 90’s when I started Sofrito For Your Soul with other webmasters, in the new Millenium, I did it again thru platforms like LATISM and Hispanicize in the social media space… and today, I continue to do it with my new project Siembra Academy, a growth centered Facebook group I started at the beginning of the pandemic to help people pivot and inspire entrepreneurship.
For this reason, I feel compelled to share part of my financial journey… So for my lawyer’s peace of mind, I have to tell you that I am NOT a financial advisor, I am only sharing my personal experience in how I am finding abundance.
THE SAD TRUTH IS…
for many years, I have considered myself FINANCIALLY ILLITERATE. I worked my ass off, had pretty much everything on the American Dream checklist but for over 20 years, I drowned in debt. I did not get here by spending and living above my means. I simply got here by not having basic financial know-how that would have allowed me to make my money work for me.
I want to add, that what I just said does not reflect my work ethic, quality of work, or ability to do amazing things in my business. It just means I have been working so hard I have not learned how to grow my business and get it ready for long-term success independent of my contributions.
I realized this a few years back when Prudential sponsored the Hispanicize Positive Impact Awards.
I spent some time at the booth getting to know the team while working the event. I had the realest conversation in a circle of bloggers and a financial consultant that was there (I really wish I remembered his name). Long story short… we collectively realized we all were in the same (leaky) boat. I also want to add that there was a serious contrast when I talked to people that had done the homework and were in the process of taking on investors or selling their platforms. It actually made me feel like I failed… I mean I started my site at least 12 years before most of these people. Why am I so behind…?
So I dug deep… and here is what I found.
(Major Red Flag Alert 🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩)
A list of things, warning signs if you will of where I was at that given moment that kept me in this cycle of financial insecurity.
- No significant savings in the bank, essentially living check to check.
- Living in a home, we could not afford (property taxes in our village were high)
- Despite high taxes, school district sucked so the twins went to private school.
- Used credit cards to fill gaps in necessary spending for life essentials (really bad decision)
- Working my day job and running my business at night made me rely heavy on expensive takeout.
- Did not invest any money and actually pulled money out of a 401k after 10 years to save our home when I was sick and fell behind. This is a debt that currently haunts me years after moving out.
This also meant fewer vacations, family quality time, humble holiday seasons, and sending our kids to college with $0 savings relying completely on loans and financial aid which is crippling financially. This also adds stress because relationships suffer in a financial crisis. I lost friends because I could not afford to attend milestone events in their family (weddings, birthdays etc).
The worst part is that this story can repeat itself with my children and grandchildren if I do not do something fast. They need to learn everything I am learning before they start their families. In addition, it is not too late for me to create some security for them in my personal life planning.
I am sharing my story because there were a lot of things I had to figure out the hard way. There weren’t the resources we have today via the web to educate ourselves about investing, starting a small business or preparing for retirement.
My decision to share these resources is deeply rooted in teaching you what I am learning as I learn it.
When the pandemic hit, I realized that I had very little savings, a healthy amount of revenue streams but no discipline or direction in how to do it, I turned to some people I know and youtube videos to learn. I want to share my progression.
The first step was learning in some sessions with Prudential thanks to my friend Dorinda Walker.
Here is the resource I learned some basics on – https://www.prudential.com/financial-education back in 2017, when I worked as an ambassador for them at Hispanicize.
Still, I did not take much action.
The only stock I owned walking into this was the remnants of T-Mobile stock that I had from receiving a founders grant after a failed merger with AT&T. That stock is currently valued at 107% over what the initial grant was.
Here is how it shifted for me…
These are the apps that started me on a new journey of investment and financial literacy.
I started with Acorns because I was spending a lot of money daily on business and travel. I thought it be interesting to use their round-up feature to see if I can “trick” myself into saving. It worked… it was not long before I was stashing over $300 a month. This got me very interested in potentially investing in companies I use in my daily life like Amazon and Apple.
I was already using Cashapp with friends and family, and they started marketing the stock and crypto offerings. I decided to cash out of my acorns and dip my toes in some stock. Here are my first-year results.
In a 6 month “experiment” I bought $742.70 in stock, sold it all for $969.43 making a profit of $226.83 (30.54%)
For those of you contemplating investing a few expendable dollars to test the waters, I totally recommend Cashapp especially if you need to gain access to the money quickly for emergencies.
I used this to buy my first stake in Bitcoin after listening to the Wallstreet Trapper and the Earn Your Leisure podcast and that led to eventually discovering the Robin Hood App. The real game-changer for me.
This is where my story gets interesting, during the pandemic, I decided to invest all the money I was saving by not eating out at restaurants three times a day and start investing it in stocks of companies I really liked. I did everything from buying fractionals of stocks I could not afford full shares of, solidifying full positions, buying into ETFs, experimenting with new Etherium based crypto coins, buying options, and building some dividend-producing investments. My current portfolio at its height was up 57% and in the current market correction is still holding strong at 9%.
My latest experiment is with new coins like Matic, Shiba Inu, and Cardano. I am currently down in this experiment but the current Wall Street correction during the holidays has affected the crypto market but the outlook is very good by all accounts. I will say that crypto is not for impatient or novice investors. I learned a lot by watching Chris Sain and learning how to ride the waves of a volatile market.
I share this so that you too can begin your journey of investing in a way that makes sense for you. The only thing I will tell you is to start off with pocket change so you can see micro results and gain confidence. The most important thing to remember is that even though I am currently experiencing great gains… anything over 5% is a big win.
Today, I am actively looking for opportunities to build a stronger portfolio
Just before I wrote this post, I invested in a project thru a platform called SEED AT THE TABLE called Row House Publishing that is disrupting and raising the volume of voices that matter. I am excited about the future now.
Next challenge is already in process –> Investing in Real Estate. Stay tuned for the update.
As I am,
Your friendly neighborhood Jibaro.
Book a cultivation call by visiting bit.ly/siembraacademy