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brightpeak financial, finances, money, financial planning

Disclosure: This is a compensated campaign about financial planning in collaboration with brightpeak financial® and Latina Bloggers Connect.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve worried about my finances. I grew up poor. A child of a good Catholic immigrant and a southern housewife. There were six children and only my father worked outside of the home because it was important to my parents that my mom be home with us to guide us. I’m thankful that my mom was able to be home with us and grateful that I am able to do the same for my girls. I feel like childhood is fleeting so every moment and memory that I can attend to soak in with my children is precious to me.

The only downside of having only one parent who worked was that we never had a lot of money. So, I grew up anxious about finances. I’m still anxious about money. It’s just one of those things that I’ve learned to deal with by being financially responsible and prioritizing what is worth the cost. I always prefer to keep a cushion in my savings account and when it gets below a certain level, I have a bit of a freak out but that’s the extent of it. I have no real plan in place.

I need to have a financial plan rather than just trying to save a little bit in my savings account. I may as well be stuffing money under my mattress. Unfortunately, I wasn’t taught how to do this by my parents. They didn’t have money  to save. There were no college tuitions saved for us. There was no retirement fund. There was a pay-the-bills, live paycheck-to-paycheck mentality and it is not for me. Yet, here I am repeating history.

I’m interested in finding tips, information and guidance to avoid the same financial fate as my parents, but I’ve never felt confident enough to make an appointment with a financial planner. I feel like either they’d laugh at me or simply just shake their head in disbelief at my naiveté. Part of me is afraid to face just how behind we are in saving for our retirement and the girls’ college tuitions. A a parent, you must also consider opening a savings account on The Children’s ISA to ensure your child’s future but if you move abroad after already opening an account then you are not allowed to make payments into the account.

Because to be really honest, besides the fact that we make a lot more money than my parents did and we both work and we only have two kids, our debt is much higher. More money, more problems and all of that good stuff. I blame the fact that when we were in college they were handing out credit cards in the quad like candy to babies. We all took it and now, we are paying for it, literally. That, and the fact that we had no prior knowledge as to how finances and the real world work.

I needed guidance, and when I was presented with the opportunity to partner with brightpeak financial, a new company for a new way of doing things that’s actually built for people, not for profit, I was thrilled. They help people like me who want to put the real stuff in our lives like faith, family, fulfillment and quality of life first while being smart with our money, see the post about wealth management plans from Hawley Advisors.

With their new program MoneyMyth.org, brightpeak is using the concept of mythical creatures to bring attention to a common myth in personal finance: the misconception that only wealthy people need a financial plan. The truth is if you have an income and expenses (and who doesn’t?) you need a financial plan.


They believe that life is more than money and families shouldn’t have to compromise their values to be financially successful. They know that stronger families create a better world and stronger communities. Through the MYTHS program they are allowing individuals and families to create a financial profile by answering only three multiple-choice questions. This just so happens to be a great way to start a financial plan. I answered the questions, which were basically prioritizing my financial goals, and it presented me with helpful tips and articles on how to get started towards those goals. It was that easy.

brightpeak financial, finances, money, financial planning

The Money Myth program is about more than just saving money, it’s about the spirit of community and helping one another succeed. It’s about turning risks into security by planning ahead and knowing what your goals are in life. Prioritizing and turning wishes into reality.

How are you financial planning for your family’s future?

This is a sponsored campaign written by me on behalf of Brightpeak Financial and WeAllGrow Latina. The opinions and text are all mine.


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#HallmarkTradiciones , Hallmark, Noche Buena, nochebuena, christmas eve, latinos, celebrating the holidays

Disclosure:  This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with Hallmark and Latina Bloggers Connect.

This time of year is all about celebrating family. No matter what direction life takes us as we grow into adulthood and have children of our own, our upbringing keeps us grounded in the roots of our culture. Family is still everything.

As a child in a biracial home, the one thing I looked forward to every December was Christmas eve and celebrating Nochebuena. To be honest, I didn’t even realize it was a Latino custom until I was in university. It was just how we had always celebrated.

Most people look forward to Christmas morning but not in our house; in our house it was all about Nochebuena. Every year I looked forward to decorating the tree, eating sweet and savory tamales, buñuelos, attending the posadas celebrations and mostly being together with my parents and my brothers and sisters during the holiday celebrating.

We grew up fairly poor and to be honest, I don’t ever remember believing in Santa Claus… ever. I’m sure when I was very small that I did but I couldn’t have been older than 4. I know, it’s sad. That’s probably why I try so hard to maintain the magic for my own girls, as long as possible. It’s probably the reason the gifts spill out from under the tree and out into the middle of the living room floor every year. This is why we have 5 elfs on the shelf and watch every single holiday classic. I’m trying to preserve their childhood magic for as long as I possibly can. So please, if your kid doesn’t believe in Santa…keep them away from my children.

On Christmas Eve before midnight mass, we would eat and drink and have a blast listening to Christmas music. It was always very exciting. My dad videotaped every Christmas Eve. It was the one night of the year where we all felt happy and things like money and possessions didn’t mean anything. We just enjoyed being together.

#HallmarkTradiciones , Hallmark, Noche Buena, nochebuena, christmas eve, latinos, celebrating the holidays

After all of the eating, drinking, dancing and laughing, we’d venture out into the cold winter night and attend mass. I have very fond memories of those ethereal nights attending church on Christmas Eve. I was there every Sunday but somehow on Nochebuena, it was like God and the angels themselves were in the building or maybe it was just the weary eyes of a small child, half dreaming my way through the celebration.

After mass was done, as a family, we’d go home and were allowed to open one present. That was a huge deal because we only ever got to ask for ONE present… the rest were socks and underwear because that’s how it works in a home when you are struggling financially. You were allowed to ask for ONE gift that you wanted, everything else was what you needed and even then it wasn’t much, basically just something to open.

We knew my mom bought us our “BIG” Gift because she asked us what we wanted. When we opened it, we were grateful. We knew there was no Santa because if there was we wouldn’t be opening socks and underwear on Christmas morning but we didn’t care.

Every year of my childhood and still now, I look forward to Christmas Eve because, for us, it is the best night of the year. My celebration with my children may look a little different than it did back then because, just as I was  biracial child, so are my children. There are not 6 children and we don’t make it to midnight mass because our girls aren’t old enough to stay up that late yet. We go to the 6 p.m. mass, then to celebrate with family and then we come home and put on our matching pajamas to wake up early the next morning to open presents together. My children still have the luxury of believing in Santa Claus. Even though the celebration might not look exactly the same, the sentiment is…family is the most important thing on Nochebuena.

#HallmarkTradiciones , Hallmark, Noche Buena, nochebuena, christmas eve, latinos, celebrating the holidays
This holiday season Hallmark helps Latinos celebrate and connect with family and friends. Hallmark’s assortment of cards in English and Spanish cultivate traditions with loved ones, both during the holidays and every day. Hallmark’s beautiful, hand-designed cards offer something for everyone on your list.

Some cards are funny, lighthearted, religious and heartfelt. All are perfect for the holiday season. Hallmark cards speak to the language that everyone understands — the heart, whether it’s for mama, papa, los abuelos, brother/sisters the kids and/or a significant other.

Visit Hallmark.com or a participating store to find the perfect holiday (or every day) cards for those you love.

#HallmarkTradiciones , Hallmark, Noche Buena, nochebuena, christmas eve, latinos, celebrating the holidays


I will be giving one lucky reader an assortment of five Hallmark Holiday and Everyday cards in a set (3 holiday and 2 everyday) and a $25 Hallmark Gift Card.

The giveaway is open to readers over the age of 18 that live in the contiguous U.S. No Puerto Rico. The giveaway will end December 20, 2015 t 11:59 p.m. EST.


Mandatory entry: What is your favorite holiday tradition?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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This post is brought to you by a compensated campaign in collaboration with Latina Bloggers Connect and WellsFargo but all thoughts and content about how to teach kids about credit card responsibility are my own.

I grew up poor. There were 6 children, my mom stayed at home and my dad worked as a forklift driver at the local glass factory. We were a 100% blue-collar family. Money was always tight but my parents did what they could, with what they had. Everything was paid in cash and if we didn’t have the cash, we just didn’t get it and we saved until we did or we decided it really wasn’t that important. I hated this way of life. Being poor is not anything anyone would choose.

In high school, I got two jobs so that I could have the things that other kids had like-named brand clothes, shoes, a television and radio in my room. I could finally afford to “hang out” with my friends and use the car because I could afford gas and admission into the movies, roller rink or at the mall.

It was difficult being 17 with 2 jobs but I learned the importance of hard work and saving. I learned the value of money, even if it was a hard lesson learned. I bought what I could afford and I learned to have very discerning taste and appreciated and took care of those things. I had a solid financial foundation.

Then I went away to university, this is where everything went horribly wrong, and suddenly there were banking institutions all over the quad offering me free t-shirts and pre-approved credit cards, or as I thought of it in my 18-year-old mind “free money”. I couldn’t help myself, I took every free t-shirt and credit card they offered me and without my parents there to remind me just how blue collar I really was, I just kept spending. Having credit felt like freedom from my blue-collar existence but I had no idea that I was trading my financial restrictions for full-on slavery.

Did I mention I was at university only by the grace of academic scholarships and financial aid? I wasn’t supposed to work in college. I was supposed to focus on my studies so that I could become something better. I had no business having any credit cards, never mind several and what kind of Bozo gives credit cards to unemployed children, anyway? Who could afford the crazy interest rates in the fine print that no one bothered to mention to me? So there I was, 18 with all the credit cards and no way to pay them back and interest building up daily. I felt like I was suffocating. I wish someone has talked to me about money.

It wasn’t like I could ask my parents for help. They never had credit cards and I was pretty sure that they’d be disappointed that I had racked up thousands of dollars in debt just trying to be cool. To be honest, I was embarrassed but I couldn’t just keep avoiding my responsibilities. I had to get a job again to pay my bills. I wish I had someone sit down with me and teach me how to use credit and explain all the responsibilities that came with it rather than handed me a credit card app while they tossed me a t-shirt. I felt duped.

Wells Fargo Infographic2_ENGLISH

Here are some credit tips from Wells Fargo that I wish I had when I was getting my first credit cards.

  •  Check your credit report annually

Make sure your credit report contains current and accurate information. Errors will negatively impact your credit score. Request a free copy of your credit report at least once a year from AnnualCreditReport.com or call toll-free 1-877-322-8228.

  • Pay your bills on time

Your payment history is one of the biggest factors in your credit score – including things that may surprise you like on-time payment of your rent and cell phone bill.

  • Pay more than the minimum

Paying more than what’s due on your personal credit cards helps you pay down debt faster and can improve your credit score.

  • Keep debt at no more than 35 percent of your gross monthly income

Lenders look at the amount of debt a consumer has compared to their monthly income when making credit decisions. If you think you might be in troubled waters financially, it’s best to opt for something essential like Credit Repair Analysis to help you in your endeavors.

  • Contact your lenders

If you ever have trouble paying a credit account, contact the lender rather than simply not paying.

  • Think before closing accounts

Closing credit card accounts may lower your available credit and hurt your credit score.

Wells Fargo has a full list of helpful credit tips and money managing tips that are perfect to share with your teenager or anyone who might benefit from some financial guidance. Can’t we all?

 wells fargo, credit tips, credit, money management, financial security, Telemundo, Latinos

Wells Fargo is committed to making financial education and in-language resources available to Latino consumers. That includes providing customers with bilingual online tools, Spanish Text Banking, Spanish account statements, Spanish-language call centers, Spanish-speaking bankers in stores across the nation and more.

As part of that commitment and in order to connect with the Hispanic community in a meaningful way, Wells Fargo recently collaborated with Telemundo for the “Conversemos de Tus Finanzas” campaign. The campaign is focused on empowering Hispanics to enhance their financial knowledge and help them to reach their financial goals. The campaign provides customized content, tools and resources around the important financial topics of money management and credit.

I wish they had this when I was 18 but I’m sure glad they have it now and these kinds of invaluable resources will be available to my girls when they get older. Plus, the silver lining, they get the benefit of learning from my credit mistakes.

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Illegal immigrant, illegals, Mexicans, immigration law

Throat Punch Thursday,illegal immigrant, the i-word, Charlotte NC, Tommy Arias,illegal immigration

Calling people illegals is dehumanizing

” Illegals” are not okay~ Earlier this month, the Charlotte Observer published a story about the birth of Tommy Arias, the first baby born in 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The article sparked an outpouring of hate from some readers.This really gets me hot because another beautiful brown baby was born a day later, my nephew, and I don’t understand how something so precious could incite racism? How could the birth of any baby ( black, white, brown, purple, green, yellow) spark hate? The hate came from the color of the baby’s skin and the assumption that the parents were illegal immigrants, prompting an explosive use of the term illegals or the i-word for polite society.

The entire immigration situation in the United States has been ridiculous for quite some time now. I am Mexican. I am a first generation American. My father was born in Mexico. Just because my father is of brown colored skin does not give anyone the right to assume that he is in the country illegally or to call him derogatory names such as illegal, wet back, Spic, Bean eater, illegal aliens (WTF, we’re not from outer space) and all the other wonderful names that people come up with for Latinos nor does it give people the right to comment so heinously on a newborn baby. I don’t give a flying fuck where you fall on immigration legislation. People are not inanimate objects, they have thoughts and feelings and they can hear your words and be hurt by your actions, even when you think they don’t understand. Believe me, they do understand. English is taught in the schools and not as an elective, as a requirement.

Here’s what happened. A photo of new mom Lucero Arias, 19, and baby Tommy, was published along with the article, which did not reference Ms. Arias’ immigration status, or national origin. The piece, however, did mention that Tommy’s grandfather called from Mexico City. How asinine is this? My children’s grandfather calls from Mexico on certain occasions at certain times of the year because he’s retired and that’s where he goes when it’s cold. Besides, would there have been such an issue if  baby Tommy’s grandfather had called from Spain? Italy?Australia? Germany? Japan? Africa? I’ve got news for you, we were all immigrants (unless you are a native American) at one time in our history. Some of us just got here sooner than the others. But make no mistake, we are all descendants of immigrants; illegal or otherwise. We are not all “illegals” and no one deserves to be called by that name.

Illegal immigrant, illegals, Mexicans, immigration law

“illegals” is derogatory and hurtful

That was enough for the comments section to fill up with anti-Latino, anti-immigrant rants, causing the Observer to shut down commenting for the article. The paper also added this note: “Comments have been disabled because of repeated violations of site policies. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.”

They had to disable comments because of all the venom that was being spewed about a baby who happened to have a Grandfather who called from Mexico, really? Do people just wait for any excuse to hate other people? It’s like a license to treat people like inanimate objects because they are Latino. Not every Latino is Mexican, and not every Latino is here undocumented, and not every Latino looks Latino so you should probably watch what ignorant comments will be coming out of your mouth because we come in all different shades; including white.

According to Observer readers and Drop the I-Word supporters, the attacks included the derogatory i-word and “anchor baby” slur. Jess George, the Executive Director of The Latin American Coalition, wrote the Observer asking them to Drop the I-Word. They didn’t drop it, but they published the letter, which also sparked hateful reader comments, including these: Way to be an asshole Observer!

” … When kids see lawbreakers get away with their crimes they think they can as well and kids know what illegals are. There IS a difference between Human Rights and US Citizens Rights … “

“Thats right. When an illegal takes a job, he displaces a citizen. When the citizen collects unemployment and goes on food stamps, we pay. This is just one hidden cost of employing illegals.”

“… The way to stop “stereotyping” is to have no illegals here, only legal Latinos. Where could any U.S. citizen sneak over a foreign border and expect a free ride?”

The incident is worrisome, as Charlotte, the city with the largest Latino population in the state, and host for this year’s Democratic National Convention, has also seen a rise in anti-immigrant, ant-Latino bullying. In a span of two weeks at the end of 2011, at least seven cases of anti-Latino bullying in Charlotte public schools were reported to the Latin American Coalition.

The term “illegal immigrant,” which many journalists are having a hard time giving up, is not too far of a stretch from describing people simply as “illegals,” which the Associated Press, New York Times, and the Observer itself have deemed pejorative. Both terms are dehumanizing and further the concept that a person’s being can be illicit. “Illegal immigrant” is not even legal terminology; the Board of Immigration Appeals does not use it, and neither does the Supreme Court. It’s not constitutional or precise language not only because the term convicts people, denying due process. But also because people are never found by courts to be “illegal.”

Can we please stop using this insulting term? How about Latinos? Mexican Americans? Mexicans? You wouldn’t use the n-word, don’t use the i-word. Humans should not be reduced to being called “illegals” it implies that the person is breaking the law by their very existence. It’s derogatory, it’s mean and it’s not going to be tolerated any longer. Throat Punch to anyone who thinks this term is ok. Throat Punch to anyone who uses it. Throat Punch to anyone who can hate a child for the color of it’s skin. Throat punch to the human who can not recognize the humanity in the eyes of another human, even if those eyes are dark brown and happen to belong to a Mexican.

Hope you will link up your Throat Punch Thursday posts with me. I wanted to extend a personal invite to all of you to link up any posts in which you air a grievance, call out any asshatery,or just dole out a well deserved throat punch to one of societies shortcomings or political douche canoes. If not this week, I do it EVERY single Thursday and would love for any or all of you to join in! All you have to do is grab the Throat Punch Thursday button ( listed under the “about” tab at the top of the page), put it in your blog post and link up. If you’d like to stay in the Throat Punch know, I’d love it if you would email or RSS subscribe ( as GFC will stop working soon). People are no more illegals than they are felloniouses, unconstitutionals, or forbiddens ( do you see how stupid the misuse of these words truly are?)


Just say no to the term Illegals


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