Lucia of The Wealth and Health Journey believes that a lack of financial literacy is a nationwide problem in the US. Read on to learn more about how she is aiming to close the gap with women, people of color, and first gen students.

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Q: What is your current position/role and when did you first develop an interest in finance?

A: I work full time as an eighth grade science teacher in South Central LA. I was born and raised here and I love teaching the kids who are growing up in the same community that I did. I am also a money coach and started a personal finance page on Instagram in May 2020. My goal is to coach women, people of color, and first generation people to help them get a hold of their finances and build wealth.

Q: What challenges have you faced with personal finance?

A: I have faced a lot of challenges and that is why I am doing the work that I am. One of the challenges was not being taught financial literacy. A lot of people ask me if I think that a lack of financial literacy is a problem specifically in low income communities and my answer is no. I think it is a national problem, even in middle class communities. There is a huge lack of financial literacy. It is a nationwide, and possibly even worldwide problem. It was difficult to be the first one in my family and in my community to learn about personal finance, especially through trial and error.

Q: If you could give advice to your 18 year old self about managing your money, what would you tell yourself and why?

A: To put it simply: budget your money, save three to six months of emergency expenses, and invest early.

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Q: What is your top tip for budgeting?

A: I always pay myself first: I automize my savings and my investments. I treat those as bills so that it becomes a habit. With the remaining amount of money you can do whatever you want. I like to make personal finance rewarding by building in flexibility. 

Q: What do you think is the most critical step to ensuring financial independence?

A: The most important thing is to set smart goals that are measurable and attainable and to execute them every single month.

Q: If there anything else you would like to add?

A: My goal is to help women, people of color, and first generation people to learn about personal finance to build generational wealth. A lot of us are coming from marginalized communities so we don’t have the information and we are the first people from our communities and families to be learning about personal finance which is very important and scary. For a lot of us, because of the lack of wealth that is in our communities, we are responsible for three generations: our parents who have been exploited and have no retirement plan, ourselves, and our future children. That is a lot of responsibility on our shoulders. By investing we are able to begin to close the gap on the money that we will need to have in 20-30 years from now.

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