Taking Charge of Your Finances


Taking Charge of Your Finances

This is part of a sponsored collaboration with Prudential and DiMe Media. However, all opinions expressed are my own.    
There's a saying in Spanish that goes Mujer Prevenida Vale Por Dos!, which translates to something like "a prepared woman is worth twice more!"  Technically, the saying wants to remind people that being prepared is important. Women are often the ones to have the responsibility to financially manage the family's budget and finances, and that is why we need to be even more prepared financially for the future.

As many of you may know, I recently earned my M.A. degree and, quite frankly, saving is not was not a top priority. After graduating all I wanted to do was pay off my student loans and secure my future with a good stable job. In my mind, I just graduated, life has just begun, and I just started to earn a good income, why think about the future if I have yet to worry about the present? However, a few days ago I attended the #WomenInspired event with  Prudential. They invited many bloggers to this event and we sat down to discuss our financial worries and tips to take charge of our financial future.

In this blog post I want to share with you some of the things I learned, and that I want to begin to implement in my life to take better control of my money and financial wellbeing. I know, I know.... this is a beauty and fashion blog. Well, let me tell you, being financially stable is fashionable. Being well-off financially makes us feel better. Like someone at the event mentioned, there is a difference between having money and being well financially. So, with that said, here are some of the tips I learned and that I hope we can start implementing now.
Photo Credit: DiMe Media
1) How to Avoid Having a Massive Student Debt 
I'm a first generation college student and a first generation immigrant. That means that we, my parents and I, started from zero when we arrived to the United States. Being a first generation immigrant is often reflected on people's finances as we try to move forward in life without any previous foundations set from previous generations.We often just try to make it day by day.

My parents helped me a lot to pay for my studies the first years of college with the help of FAFSA- a Free Application for Federal Student Aid that is income based. If you, or your kids, are about to head to college, make sure to research FAFSA and apply on time. The image below explains that people submit approximately 22 million applications for FAFSA each year, and FAFSA disburses approximately $122 billion dollars to students to help them pay for their studies.

I was lucky enough to have FAFSA pay for a big chunk of my studies while earning my B.A. ; however, there is very little help for graduate school. Thus, the reason why you need to be prepared in advance.

I was not financially prepared to attend graduate school, which led me to request a couple of student loans. Although I do not regret that decision because having that money made me feel less stressed about paying for classes, I do want to make sure that my kids won't have to do that, as you do end up paying more in the future. Below are some tips from Prudential to help you and/or your kids avoid having a massive student debt.

Fortunately for me, I only took out a couple student loans. I know of students who took out a loan each years since they began their B.A. and I cannot image the stress they may feel right  now trying to pay all of that. I actually implemented some of the tips that Prudential recommends. I stayed home and commuted to school, I chose to stay local, I began in community college and transferred to a university, and I also applied for FAFSA and other scholarships. I'm currently still paying for my student loans, and every time that I can, I try to pay extra to the loan with the highest interest, which is something I recommend you do if you are in the same boat.

2) How to Take Care of Your Parents as They Age

One of the things that was talked about a lot during the event was the fact that in our Latin culture we tend to take care of our aging parents, which means that we have to also prepare financially for everything that caring for an elder entails.

My parents are not very old yet, but I learned that the time to begin planning for their retirement and elderly life IS NOW! At any moment something can happen which may require special care and we do not want to be caught off-guard when that happens. We need to be prepared!

Patrice Washington– author of many financial wellbeing books– opened up her heart to us and shared that she also experiences that same struggle as she also worries about her mom's wellbeing. Her mom is at the age of retiring and she did not feel comfortable doing so due to her finances. Imagine working hard for many years and not being able to retire because you do not feel financially stable. I don't want that for me, for my parents, or my children.

Patrice explained that she spoke with her Prudential advisor who helped her get a plan that will allow her to cover medical costs for her mom if something were to happen. Medical and life insurance should not be something that we see as an additional burden, but rather as a financial step to invest in our future wellbeing.

3) Save and Invest
One of the things I learned from blogger Mónica Taher  is that we have to save, BUT we also need to invest. You do not need to have a lot of money to do so. In the video below she talks about renting rooms in her home, buying domains and re-selling them for profit, etc. The possibilities are endless. Whether you have a good paying job or a seasonal job with high's and low's during the year, it is important to maximize your money and think of ways to invest and generate more income.
What did you think about the video? Honestly, this event made me re-think the way I'm looking at my finances, and it made me think about the future and not just the present. We need to be prepared for anything that life may throw our way.  As my mom always says, everyone should always have an emergency fund for emergency situations.

Talking about your finances can sometimes be a bit intimidating but, as Patrice Washington mentioned, we should not be ashamed to seek help and advice. You do not need to be in a bad economic position to seek that help, sometimes you just need guidance to learn how to prepare for the future and be better economically in the present. There are many places where you can find financial guidance,  Prudential is one of those places that can help you maximize your economy as you plan for the future, whether that future is attending higher education or retiring. The only thing you need to do is ACT NOW and don't leave it for tomorrow as it can be too late then.

Do YOU have any financial tips? 
If so, leave your comments below. 

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