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Mabel is focused on ensuring financial literacy for a widely underrepresented audience through her company, Girls on the Money, Inc. She shares tips for investing in the stock market as she seeks to educate women and other individuals on this critical skill.

Visit Girls on the Money at their website, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn!

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

A: I am the founder and Chief Education Officer of @girlsonthemoney. I come up with the courses, workshops, and resources that I share.

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I became interested in finance in my senior year of college. I was a business major and didn’t know what I wanted to do, but then I took a finance course about investing and became obsessed with the world of finance, specifically investing and personal finance.

Q: What challenges have you faced with personal finance?

A: I struggle with a scarcity mentality. I moved from the Dominican Republic to the United States when I was 9. I lived in underserved neighborhoods and underprivileged neighborhoods; in New York it’s called the Bronx. My family was very frugal and had to figure out how to make ends meet.

Even though I’ve been blessed with the knowledge to manage my money well and how to invest it, I still struggle with the feeling of needing to save my money.

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

A: I would tell myself to read the book The Automatic Millionaire and The Millionaire Next Door by David Bach. I read it when I was 21, but I wish I would have read it sooner.

The main concept is that growing wealth is not about your income, it’s more about how you manage your money: how you save it, how you invest it. It made me realize that even though I’m an immigrant I could figure out how to manage my personal finance and be successful.

I wish I would have been able to change my perception earlier.

Q: What is your top tip for budgeting?

A: I learned from the book Automatic Millionaire to always pay yourself first. I would say to make it a habit to put some money aside for yourself before you pay any bills. You should make it an automatic deduction to your savings account when you get your paycheck. Back in the day the government would allow people to take care of their needs and pay taxes with whatever money they had leftover. They realized that they weren’t getting any money, so they flipped it to get their taxes at the beginning. I recommend you do the same, put yourself at the top like the government and pay yourself first.

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

A: I recommend starting to save money and invest as soon as possible.

From the minute that you’re able to put money away you should because the sooner you start the better – money compounds aggressively over time so it will grow. Even if you don’t know what you’re saving for, do it because eventually you will realize your reason.

For example, I was saving and investing money, but I didn’t know exactly why. Eventually I realized that I didn’t enjoy my job and it clicked for me — I was saving for my freedom, for my independence to do whatever I want to with my life. Thankfully, because I had started to save and invest early, I was comfortable quitting my job in corporate America and starting a business. So, it’s good to have that money as a safety net to give you peace of mind.

Q: Is there anything you would like to add?

A: People need to know that it’s easy to start investing your money in this day and age. Open an investment account, deposit some money, and start buying stock in companies you like. I also recommend learning about ETFs and index funds – which can set an excellent foundation for an investment portfolio.

It is also important to know that not all companies we know and love can make profitable investments. You have to take the time to do your research and your due diligence to make educated decisions and increase your chances of profitability. These are the types of things I teach in my courses.

Education is key! However, the process of getting started is relatively straightforward. There is no excuse to get started on this journey.

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