Category Archives: Personal

My Financial Journey over at BadCredit.Org

I had the opportunity to be interviewed by BadCredit.Org regarding my financial journey.

1. What inspired you to start writing at Savvy Financial Latina?

Savvy Financial Latina started when I was in graduate school. I needed an outlet outside of academia and the blog was born.

I wanted to share my ideas on finance and career. I also wanted to interact with the personal finance community to learn even more.

2. Did you have a background in finance or business?

I did have a background in finance. My undergraduate degree had a focus on finance.

My master’s happened to be in supply chain management, but school doesn’t teach you the basics of personal finance.

3. What sparked your interest in the financial field?

When I was in high school, I worked for a nonprofit. I was the assistant to the executive director and founder.

He taught be about finance. He helped me open a checking and savings account, bought me Quicken and helped me start investing in mutual funds.

In college, I decided I wanted to go in a business direction. I remember talking about Warren Buffett with a friend. We both wanted to be him and learn how he was so successful.

For more, click on this link: A Financial Journey:Savvy Financial Latina

 

Never Run a Race Without Training For It!

I’m back from my vacation in DC! Our vacation was awesome and will be going into more detail later this week. I immediately got back on Saturday, and had to wake up Sunday morning for a corporate marathon relay. This was for the Dallas Marathon.

I woke up late. I set my alarms for Saturday instead of Sunday. So, I actually woke up at 7:20 am. The race started at 8:05 am. Good thing I had the last leg (6 miles)!

I rushed to downtown Dallas. I parked my car at a DART station (metro) and took the DART to downtown. Saved myself some parking money and parked next to a Kroger, so I grabbed some breakfast!

I went to the wrong place. So, I went to the central place for runners (the Dallas Convention Center), where they told me I needed to go to the American Airlines Center ( 2 miles away) to catch the relay buses. So I ran there, and couldn’t find the buses. I was approximately 13 miles away from where I needed to be for my exchange.

I hitchhiked. Yes, I did. I saw some high school runners who had apparently quit the race, and I asked for a ride. One of the girl’s dad was picking her up and kindly asked him if he could give me a ride to my exchange point. He was so nice!!!! He said yes, and spend the next 30 minutes driving me to where I needed to be. He said I was a fellow runner, so anything for a fellow runner. Nicest highland park lawyer dad I have ever met. Thank god!

I lost my bib. Yes, I lost my bib. Pretty sure I left it in the dad’s car. I borrowed my partner’s bib when we exchanged at the relay point.

I did not train for the race. So, I initially signed up so I would force myself to start training again. Didn’t happen. The first two miles were brutal, I could barely breathe. The next two miles were terrible, my hips were breaking down. The last two miles were excruciating, I could barely run. This is coming from a person who could easily run 6 miles before. Sigh beh…need to start training again. I work out every day but I need to run more so I can get my endurance up!!!

Conclusion? Never plan a race after a vacation, and don’t run a race without training for it!

 

Direction of SFL

Hi Readers! I hope everyone is having a great Monday and hope everyone had a great weekend! My weekend was pretty great, I’m not going to lie. On Saturday, I cleaned the apartment and watched TV all day. On Sunday, we played softball (our team won! and I scored once, got on base 90% of the time :) ), went grocery shopping, and watched the closing ceremony of the Olympics ceremony plus True Blood (guilty pleasure). Let’s just say the closing ceremony was a bit odd, cool, and grand! Did anybody think the Giant Octopus was crazy weird!?! What about Russell Brand’s  fantasy tale? The LED effects were pretty cool! The audience was part of the entire performance -takes me back to some art history theory-. However, I do think the performance would have been thoroughly enjoyed by people under some type of influence (if you catch my drift) LOL!

My day has been pretty crazy and I am stealing 20 minutes from my afternoon to write this post. I skipped lunch because I had to crunch some numbers for a 1 o’ clock meeting.

For some time now, I have been pondering on the direction of this blog. It has been an awesome 6 months and I want to keep the momentum. So far, my blog has been viewed 3,500x!!! Pretty crazy, considering I started blogging in the middle of my graduate semester. Writing posts was my only outlet away from the stress school, marriage, and family brought. Thankfully, six months later work is pretty stable, and my marriage is happier than ever. I’m still working on improving the relationship with my family though (WIP).

I know this is not a purely financial blog. I want to tackle many issues relating to life in general, career, and finances in the future. I don’t think I’m ever going to deviate from inserting some of the crazy stuff I have been through. It’s always going to be personal.I know I’m young (only 22), but I do believe sharing my experiences will help some college students starting out. Or maybe some high school students? :) I did manage to get through school without debt, buy my first car with cash, and land a good job? I know we are not 50K in debt, only 5K, which may not seem like a lot to some people, but it is a lot to us. I want to start laying out the foundation for a great financial future here.  

Here are some issues I have been debating:

  • I have been using the pseudonym Savvy Financial Latina. It’s something I came up with in the middle of night after many countless hours of uninterrupted cramming. Should I keep it or start using my name?
  • Anonymity- I will not be “coming out” and using my complete real name. First, I don’t want this blog to mix in with my career life. Second, other than my husband nobody close to me knows about this blog, and I want to keep it that away. My portal here is an escape where I can write my thoughts.
  • Switching to self hosting. I want to switch to self hosting, but I also need to decide what I should name my blog.
  • I’m not sure if I should keep the SFL name or switch it. I think by switching it, it will open up my blog more to more readers. I already have a name in my mind. What do you think?

Thoughts on:

  • What do you like or not like about my blog? Is there anything you would like me to concentrate on?

As always, thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. Believe it or not, your thoughts help calm my anxiety. :) You have no idea how crazy busy my mind can get sometimes. LOL

I’m Guilty of Wanting Her Wedding

Happy Friday everybody! Only 8 hours left until complete freedom for the weekend. :) If only it was less. Hopefully, the day will just fly. I had another post planned today, but last minute thoughts made me replace it.

I’m guilty of being jealous of a Facebook friend. She recently got married last weekend, and recently one of her friends posted wedding pictures. Now, before I go on, I have to state that for some reason I have several professional wedding photographers who’s pictures always pop on my news feed. I usually see the pictures and think, oh that’s really nice, I would like that for my future wedding (remember hubby and I had a super small one and we said we would have a bigger one later on). Her wedding was wonderful. I loved the church, the ball room was beautiful, uhhh let’s just say a part of me cringed in jealousy. Her engagement pictures were also beautiful. Don’t get me wrong I wish her the best! But a part of me does wish I could have that wedding. Realistically, I don’t know who paid for the wedding. It looked expensive. Honestly, it looked like a wedding from a telenovela! I know I don’t think I could ever have that wedding, thus, a part of me is sad. I actually confessed these feelings last night to my hubby. He smiled and said one day.

Have you ever felt that way???

 

My Parents Are Driving Me Crazy

Warning…this is going to be a mini-rant (ugghh it turned into a huge rant). I am not complaining…don’t want sympathy…maybe I just need some guts to stand up for myself? I am honestly wondering if anyone has gone through what I am going through, and what you did to resolve the situation.

My life is pretty great right now. I have a new job, great partner, and good friends. My anxiety and stress levels have definitely decreased significantly, except when it comes to my parents. I have discussed certain issues I/we have had with my in laws. But nothing compares to the issues I am currently battling with my parents.

Background:

I am Hispanic, if you hadn’t realized that before. My parents brought me to the US when I was 6, and I have grown up in the US for the majority of my life. Even though I have tried to remain very close to my culture (fluent in Spanish, studied literature and history, and keep up with current events), there is a part of me that has been Westernized. I don’t mind it. Why? Because I am not defined by a specific set of cultural rules. I am my own person with my own beliefs.

My parents are alone in this country, and have no significant family. Most of our family is eleven hours away, and they have been for the past 16 years. Let’s just say this has made our parents a little too attached to my brother and I. My parents have very good qualities. They have supported us, and always made sure we had the essentials: food, roof over our head. We were definitely not rich by any standards. I grew up in a financially strapped household, and I knew it from around the age of six. I realized that if I wanted to go to college, I would have to fund the majority of my way through it. So I decided to become an overachiever in academics, sports, and music. My extra curricular activities also provided a way for me to get out of the house.

There has always been a tug a war between my family and I. They will never admit the extent of it, but it was pretty extreme. One, since middle school I was accused of not wanting my parents around, and being ashamed of my heritage. Thinking back, there was probably a part of me that did not want to be Hispanic. I saw how we were treated, and I wanted to differentiate myself from that. I did not want to become a statistic. As far as not wanting my parents around, what teenager does? I thought parents were suppose to co mingle with other parents and let kids be? But since my parents don’t dominate the English language, they always wanted me to stick with them, and hated it when I would go hang out with my friends during events.

Let me give you some examples of their behavior. The summer after my freshman year, I did not want to go to on an impromptu family weekend visit to a cousin’s home in East Texas. I had to study for summer midterms, and needed to spend the weekend studying and completing papers. My mom got mad at me because I wanted to stay home alone and didn’t want to go with them. We had a huge argument. I spent a couple hours at the post office because it was the only place opened away from the house because I didn’t want to go. I had to study! Her arguments were: we don’t trust you to stay home alone (I had lived alone for a year…I was 19), you can do your work at the cousin’s house (the cousin lived in the middle of nowhere with no internet connection), and what will they say when they don’t see you (umm…I’m studying and working?). That same summer I had a road trip planned with a couple of friends, one which I paid for by working during the summer. They held the road trip over my head, threatening to not let me go, if I misbehaved. My mom made me go buy her eggs (the grocery store is a five minute drive) after taking 3 back to back midterm summer finals, and already being late to a close friend’s birthday party. By the time I did her errands, they party was over, and I decided not to go (what was the point? I was distressed and didn’t want to show up looking like hell), she made me go to her house. Also, they didn’t like it when I would spend too much time with friends ( I lost all my friends back home because I couldn’t hang out with them during break). They got mad at me when I decided to not live with them for a summer because I had an internship. When they would come up to see me, and I would invite a friend so that the could get to know them, they would get hurt because they didn’t have me to themselves. My mom got hurt when I decided to bring my brother up from for Spring Break, instead of going to visit her. Oh man…the list is endless…

It’s gotten worse since I got married because they didn’t agree with my marriage, and did not give me permission to do so. Well, they accepted it because they knew I had made up my mind, but deep down they did not agree. Although, I have never really asked for permission, especially since I always take care of my stuff. Really, I do, and I take care of their stuff too. Let’s just say they don’t like my hubby and his American way. And have said in more or less words that he is a bad influence, manipulates me, etc. Which kills me, because he is one of the most compassionate, kind, smart, and handsome men in the world. He takes care of me. I love him. And I want my parents to respect us.

I know I can’t change my parents’ minds, i.e. their opinions. They are the most stubborn people I know. That’s where I get my stubbornness….persistence :) I have tried talking to them, explaining to them, telling them. It always ends up the same way, they think I’m wrong and a bad daughter. Sigh.

I don’t want to be a bad daughter (there goes the old Catholic training), but I also am not going to let my parents tell me what to do. At the end of the day, I’m the one living my life. I should be happy.

So I have to figure out a way to tell them that I respect them, I have listened to their opinions, but their opinions are not mine, and I will make my own decisions as I always have. Because at the end of the day, it’s my life. I have made extremely good decisions throughout my life, so there’s no reason to believe I am making wrong decisions now. Thus, I would like for them to keep their opinions to themselves, and learn to respect the way I live my life.

Now, I have to figure out how to tell them something I have told them a gazillion times in my life.

I care for my parents, they tried their best to give me a good childhood. Their marriage isn’t the most stable, and that has affected them and us. I don’t want to resent them. But I’m starting to, which is not good. One of my goals for this year is to spend more time with family. But I dread spending time with family because of their reactions. I don’t want to be in that environment, can you blame me?

I have a lot of conflicting emotions right now. I love my parents because they are pretty good. I love my mom’s cooking, she shops for me, etc. But they are needy and so far seem, extremely jealous that they don’t have me. They think they should be “enjoying me” and they are not. I think I should really be spending more time with my brother. He is 15 and needs a lot of guidance and support. Which I try to give him. But even that time is limited because my mom wants to be number one. She thinks I’m her best friend, wants me to be her best friend. I don’t like that role. It’s really hard to be a daughter and a best friend when your mother is always pulling rank on you. Not to mention her problems with my dad start affecting my relationship with my dad. I’m tired of that…story for another post.

Every time I stand up for myself, my parents react by saying I am being disrespectful. That no matter how old I am, they will still be my parents and have a say in my life. Do any parents feel like that towards their kids?

I’m sorry for the long rant…I just needed to get it out of my system. There’s only so much I can keep inside.

New Kid On the Block

Apparently, when I Google “new kid on the block,” all that comes up are pictures of men?

I feel like a new kid on the block. My head hurts from trying to figure out who does what, who is in charge of what, and who I can or cannot talk to. Well, it’s not that extreme, but you get my point. I remember starting college four years ago, and despite the fact that I did very well at the end, I was completely lost for the first two years. So that’s what I’m facing right now. ::O Yup that’s two pairs of eyes, I am wearing my glasses most of the day :)

At the end of this week, I will complete my sixth week and receive my third paycheck at my company. Hopefully, my retirement contributions will have started, but that’s nothing in my control. I feel like I am at a beach, the waves coming in and out. Sometimes work is very boring and slow, and other times it’s not so boring and slow. My head hurts from trying to learn the ropes and staring at too many numbers. I have about ten spreadsheets open; all related to different projects. Sometimes I can’t complete a project because I don’t have access to all the systems. Still working on that.

This feeling is not new. I have always felt it when I tackled a new project at school, or enrolled in a class outside of my comfort zone. But somehow I feel like the feelings I am experiencing now are more important than ever. Perhaps, because this is my first big job post school?

I’m sorry this post seems all over the place, honestly it’s not. My feelings are probably all over the place ;p.

What’s it like to start a new job?

The Exciting and Not So Exciting Parts of Growing Up

I love my independence! I love living alone, away from parents! I love being able to pay my own bills! Of course, I love paychecks and any additional side income I can get!

I do not love figuring out the fine print. What I mean by the fine print is figuring out what medical insurance covers. Or how much my hubby’s contacts are going to be. Or who my in-network doctors should be.

I love having my car! Who doesn’t like to drive wherever and whenever they feel like it!?!

I do not love the way my parents see me. They want me to grow up, and stay a little girl at the same time! So even though I’m an adult, stopped depending on them a while ago, they still want to treat me as a child. This awkward stage of being in the middle is so not exciting.

I love having my grown up job! It is awesome! Even though I get tired, it makes me feel accomplished.

I do not love the period after lunch when sleep tries to get to me. When I really wished there was a nap room.

I love taking care of just myself (and hubby, of course, but he’s mostly independent). This much needed “selfish” time is needed for my development. I have to say that I don’t mind not having someone else to be responsible for at the end of the day. I don’t think I could handle a pet at this point.

These are the exciting and not so exciting parts of growing up.

Indulging in Dreams

It’s Saturday afternoon. I’m sitting at Starbucks working on my laptop while my hubby is at the gym. Now, usually from 3-5 pm I have pilates and cardio kickboxing, but due to a family dinner we have tonight, I decided against it. I had a brunch this morning for a mentoring program I participated in, and then stopped by a friend’s house to pick up a finance book I need for Tuesday. If you don’t know already, I am counting down until I finish my studies this semester. It has been an extremely rough year, and it’s finally catching up to me. The good thing is that I did last this long, right? It’s crazy. Honestly I can’t believe I am already graduating. Four years ago I was still studying and taking AP and IB exams. I had just decided to come to my university, and had started planning what courses I wanted to take. It was an exciting time. I was going to move out and live on my own at college! Those times honestly make me smile.

Indulging in dreams have kept me going for a long time. I have been a little scared to indulge in dreams lately. I have no idea what’s going to happen next month. Will I have a job?

But I have realized that there’s not point in not indulging in dreams. Why should I be scared? So here is some insight into what my daydreams consist of lately:

1. Traveling- We are going to Hilton Head in 2 weeks and of course, I am so excited about it. One of my BFFs is moving to Boston for her Grad program in August, and I am going to visit her! I also have a friend moving to LA. I want to go visit my family in Mexico.

2. Car- I cannot wait to have my own wheels :) . That’s all I have to say about that.

3. Routine- I have no routine at school. I can be working anytime during the day or night. If I do other things during weekends, I regret it during the week. Is it bad that I’m looking forward to the 8-5 routine?

4. Paycheck- Duh???  Who doesn’t want money???

5. Saving- Cannot wait to start contributing to our 401Ks, maxing out our ROTH IRAs, and start building up our savings.

On another note, Panda Express is genius. They put it right next to Starbucks. It’s also overrated. I totally should not have spent $8 on it. I am now $8.16 poorer.

What are you up to on this fancy day?

SavvyFinancialLatina

P.S. I need to register for fall classes to finish my MBA. :(

My Roots

Tonight, in my endless pursuit of avoiding my dreaded papers and studying, I ended up reading The Happy Homeowner’s Confessions of a PF Blogger. Her story took my back to my roots, how I ended up in the US, and learned how to speak the English language. Everyone has a story that shapes who they are, here is a small part of mine.

I remember playing with my younger cousin Emi in my grandmother’s backyard. It was a beautiful day and the sun was shining. We were playing in the sand, speaking in some language that only kids understand. I remember talking about how I was going to learn English, and subsequently, saying gibberish in an attempt to imitate the English language. At that time I was only  4 or 5. I didn’t even know what the American dream was. Frankly, I don’t even think I realized in what part of the world I lived in. Who does, right? I was enrolled in a parochial kindergarten school, and we had an English class. We were only learning the basics. I remember my English vocabulary only consisting of “frog, milk, hello.” Despite the fact that English was so foreign to me, the language fascinated me. But I did not want to leave my country. Everyone I loved and that loved me was there. It was painful.

My parents had immigrated to the U.S. first. My dad was just suppose to be in the US temporarily for a job, and a couple of months turned into a year, and then my mom joined him. After a while, my parents decided that they wanted to bring me to this country, so that I could be with them. I remember that I did not want to go, but I had no choice. Growing up in America as a foreigner is not easy. As a kid I was teased. The fact that I did not fit in forced me into reading books. Instead of playing with friends, I would go to the library and check out books. I read and read and read. :)

Since I could only watch kids’ shows on PBS from 4 to 6 pm (remember zoom? Arthur? Bill Nye the Science Guy? Wishbone?), my tv time was limited. Back then we didn’t have internet either! No friends, no tv equals lots of time to read :)

I was also  more aware of our circumstances than most kids my age. I knew my parents were struggling financially. My dad worked so much and we had so little. I don’t remember asking for much.

Navigating the American world for my parents was hard. They often used me as a translator. So there I was, an 8 year old kid translating for her parents, negotiating prices, and arguing for their rights. I think that is why I feel so comfortable talking with older adults! I had to speak to adults in an authoritative way at a very young age.

My experience has definitely shaped my personality. I am very independent. I know that I have a strong personality. I believe in hard work and determination.  Even though I will finish my MS soon, life has just begun! I plan to conquer it too :)

What about you? What experiences have shaped your life?

SavvyFinancialLatina

P.S. 19 Days Left. I am also borrowing a friend’s graduation cap and gown, so I don’t have to fork out $100 to get one. :)

Balancing Personal Finance and Family Obligations

Check out my guest post at Money after graduation! Thanks Bridget for allowing me to guest post.

Bridget started blogging when she was in graduate school, where she used to be an aspiring scientist. However, she realized a career in research was not for her and on a whim, left with her MSc. only half-way done and joined the workforce (well, after she got back from living in Paris for a month that is). Now she labors for the love of financial freedom.

After she left graduate school, she owed $20,580 in student loans. She has ten years to pay it off, but is planning to do it in two. Six months into her repayment plan, she has $17,000 left to go! You can check out her progress here.

SavvyFinancialLatina
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