Fresh out of college and ready to start her first job, Maribel Francisco’s new employer asked her what she wanted to be paid. With no idea where to begin, she said $40,000.
She soon realized that was less than what she was worth, but when she asked for more, the employer wouldn’t budge.
It’s a situation Francisco, the first generation of her family born in the United States, hopes to help others avoid. After working as a financial analyst in the entertainment industry, she launched Our Wealth Matters, a platform to help immigrants on their financial journey in the U.S. by coaching them on saving, investing, and retirement planning.
She’s not alone. Delyanne Barros, a Brazilian-born U.S. citizen, launched her brand, Delyanne the Money Coach, after an unsatisfying career as an attorney. She found investing as an opportunity to work toward financial independence without owning property, and hopes to help others, particularly Latinos, achieve their own version of financial freedom.
Language barriers and a lack of trust in the financial system, Barros and Francisco say, are among the factors that make it difficult to find financial stability in a new country, especially for Latin American immigrants. With the number of foreign-born people in the U.S. rising — currently at an historical high of 44 million, 50% immigrating from Latin America — a growing number of people are in need of foundational advice on how to navigate the American financial system.
Barros says overcoming these types of hurdles is one of the first steps toward financial stability for this population, which she defines as “the ability to walk away from situations or walk towards situations that are going to increase your happiness.”
Here’s what Barros and Francisco think are the biggest barriers to financial stability for immigrants, and how to begin the process of overcoming them.