Money Smart Latina Reviews…It Is Only Money

All progress takes place outside the comfort zone

For years I’ve taught life skills in a low socioeconomic neighborhood. While I never imagined myself being a teacher growing up, I ended up loving it. I loved my administration, my peers who taught by my side and my students, who I was blessed to serve. When I got a promotion this summer, it was bittersweet to leave the classroom. While I had so much fun with my kiddos, I knew it was time to leave and go on in my career into administration myself.

Part of the life skills curriculum I taught were financial literacy and education. I can tell many a stories of my students realizations but one that hits home the most was the time all of my students thought everyone got food stamps. They were very confused that I had to use actual cash and then told me if I had a baby, I could get food stamps too. While shocking, I was just like these kids when I was in junior high. I knew you could buy food in cash but after my mom and dad separated, things were financially rough. My mom was disabled and we received government assistance including, but not limited to, food stamps.

Since realizing how important financial literacy is, I have a soft spot for making sure my students, despite their socioeconomic status and culture, know what a budget is. Culture and religion, along with your socioeconomic background, may influence the way you think about money and your mindset around it moving forward. That was a major reason behind starting Money Smart Latina, so I could make sure Latinas had options and knowledge.

I was happy to be given a copy of It Is Only Money- And It Grows On Trees! by Cara MacMillan to read and then review here with the rest of you. This book is a nice read about a teacher who goes into a classroom with multi-ethnicity students to learn about other’s mindsets towards money and wealth. Learning about the Jewish culture of money and wealth was especially fascinating to me. My BF happens to be Jewish and I spent last summer in Israel studying counter terrorism, so this culture and it’s people have a special place in my heart. It was fascinating to learn about their jar system and how they give so much away to help others.

Along with learning about different cultures, it was full of ideas to share with others to help with their mindset of money. For instance, do we need to spend more than what we make or even the same? Can we live below our means instead and save for a rainy day? Do we have to have the nicest of everything all of the time or can we make do? It also gave great tips and takeaways, such as looking to expand your skills and building a small business on the side. As a young single woman who lives on her own, I think having multiple streams of income is key to building your wealth and financial stability for yourself.

This book also comes with worksheets to help discuss and think further into your own mindset about money and finances. I know that lately, realizing that money wasn’t just something I should be good at but instead, realizing it was part of my security, made a big difference in my mindset. I need to feel like I am saving for something and my peace of mind knowing I am taken care of helps a lot. This also makes me realize I need to save more!

Check out It Is Only Money for a look around the world at mindset and money through the fun eyes of students and their teacher!

Money Smart Latina Reviews… You Only Live Once

All progress takes place outside the comfort zone (1)

I met Jason Vitug a few years ago during FinCon13. Actually, another blogger had mentioned that he would be there and I was friends with her so she mentioned to both of us we should connect. We happened to bump into each other on the dance floor of a party I was throwing.

At FinCon, people don’t really discuss their dance skills but rather their projects, passions and purpose. Jason was filled with all of the above and since meeting him all those years ago, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know him along with working on projects with him. I’ve spent time staff writing for him as well as meeting up with him on his famous grassroots mission, The Road To Financial Wellness. One of Jason’s passions is to make talk of finances less taboo and really get dialogue started to help you think about the life you want to live. 

Jason recently released a book after coming off his award winning collaboration on the road and before going out for his second tour, You Only Live Once. He’s taken the YOLO acronym millennials are so fond of using and instead of using to make it rain at Starbucks, he’s implied it in a purposeful way to help you think about creating the life you want. And maybe I’m the one who makes it rain at Starbucks but I digress. 

You Only Live Once is different from the usual finance book in the way that it actually can be broken up into a self help book as well. I know some people groan at the word self help but I find that since becoming a self help groupie a few years ago, my mindset on life and what I can accomplish has changed. Sure, I was taking care of my finances but I’d always find myself back at square one with just about everything and that’s because my mindset never changed. 

Mindset is a big part of keeping your finances on the right course and aiding in your road trip to a purposeful life, which is discussed in this book. It doesn’t necessarily tell you about The Secret or staying positive, but it discusses personal core values. Quite easily, people are able to say certain things matter but don’t spend time or invest in it financially. If you don’t invest time or money into something, like a goal of traveling, it’s easy to get caught up in just talk and not action. 

Along with speaking of our core values, it also discusses the notion of time. What do we really spend our time on? Is it something mindless like TV watching or FB scrolling or is it something making our lives more productive, such as reading a book or spending time with a loved one? Both things that people say they value but don’t necessarily make time for, then get upset they aren’t living a life of purpose. 

When making the choice to go back to school as an adult working full-time, I convinced my roommate to actively cut our cable. I had found myself wasting hours on consumption on the TV in the living room set and knew I needed to limit as many distractions as possible in preparation of getting an education. To this day, I pride myself on not watching TV. I watch four shows and refuse to get sucked into any new ones. I own a TV but I usually forget I have it since it was a gift from my dad when I got my own apartment. As a matter of fact, it collected dust in my living room for three months before I hooked it up and then it was another month before I watched an episode of AHS on it.

Jason’s book is filled with real life examples and stories like the one I provided above as well as financial advice for beginners. Along with the great credit avalanche/ snowball debate, he also talks about budgeting, investing and spending on your core values. After making a list of my values, which I’ll be sharing next week, I realized some of my spending aligns but not all. With a recent promotion and my birthday within a month, it was a great time to sit back and think about the upcoming year. 

I highly reconnect You Only Live Once and I can’t wait to see what else Jason has in store!