Tanya Menendez is the Co-founder and CEO of Snowball, an online platform that helps you tackle debt and investing through free personalized recommendations and affordable coaching. Menendez co-founded Maker’s Row, an online marketplace that helps democratize American manufacturing for small businesses. Menendez has been included in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 List and named one of People en Español’s Most Powerful Latinas. You can follow Tanya @makertanya and Snowball @asksnowball.
Latinas are the most underpaid demographic in the United States. They typically earn only 53 cents for every dollar earned by a white, non-Hispanic man and must work nearly 23 months to earn what white men earn in 12 months. This means you should be negotiating harder and saving more than what you are automatically saving for retirement.
There’s a saying in Spanish, “La costumbre es mas fuerte que el amor.” The same can be said about your approach to money and power. We stick with what we know. We are afraid of the unknown, and we can be afraid of our own power. It can be more comfortable to stay middle class or working class, because it’s what we know. Let’s change this!
You should seek wealth, not status. Wealth is having assets that earn money while you sleep. Status is your place in the social hierarchy. In practice, this means ignoring people playing status games. Will having brunch or an expensive vacation make you happy? Possibly, but if all you think about is status, being comfortable and enjoying the moment, you may be left with no savings and nothing for your children. Seven in ten Americans can’t even afford a $1,000 emergency.
The steps to wealth
Becoming a millionaire is not crazy or unrealistic. You might be surprised to find out that millions is actually how much the average person needs in order to retire. Let’s say that you are 25 years old, make $60,000 and live as an average person would. Depending on your lifestyle, you’ll need anywhere from $1.5 million to $2 million dollars to retire. And working until you die is not a great retirement strategy! What’s more, you also want to plan for your future family, and possibly have extra money to contribute to issues and campaigns that make a difference in the world.
What are some examples of ways that millionaires think?
- They plan for the future, years and decades ahead
- They buy assets that appreciate over time like real estate and stocks
- They monitor expenses
- They budget for the short-term and long-term
- They build knowledge on wealth creation
- They start investing early — but know it’s never too late to start
The first step toward thinking like a millionaire is getting out of the day-to-day mindset and making room for long-term planning. This doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of happiness or luxury. But it does mean you need to plan out how much luxury and short-term impulses you want to give into, and how much you want to contribute for your future.
Next, you’ll need to create a vision for your future and shift your mindset toward building wealth for the long-term. Try to envision your future financial life without restriction. For example, in the short-term, it could be simply feeling relaxed and confident about your finances. Keep going, and imagine feeling proud to be able to pay for your future child’s education, in full, without question. Keep going, and maybe it’s setting aside a down payment for an apartment or being able to quit your job and take some time off before you find another one. All of this is possible, but these lives are built one step at a time, and you have to be both patient and determined. Each time you reach a new financial milestone, you’ll keep gaining confidence to get to the next one, and the next one.
From an early age, we have been socialized to imagine cultural milestones, such as our wedding day, and to think of how big our family will be. What will your dress look like? How many people will be at your wedding? How many kids do you want? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to spend time envisioning these markers, but we should also approach building wealth with the same creativity and enthusiasm.