Did you know more than 1 million millennials have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts? Ramona Ortega does. And she’s doing something about it.
Ramona Ortega is the founder of My Money My Future Inc. (or MDMF, from the company’s Spanish name, Mi Dinero Mi Futuro), a comprehensive online financial planning platform and daily newsletter dedicated to empowering Latinx people to manage their money with confidence and build wealth in the Latinx community. Not only has this culturally-focused approach proven to be beneficial for Latinx people all over the world, it has also provided them with a personal, accessible, and applicable service to be passed down for generations. Not every community handles money the same way, and Ortega knows that. So it’s no surprise that when she turned her knowledge into leverage, she found success.
But it wasn’t easy. Ramona is a mother who went to law school in her 30s to make a career transition. Like many others, she knows there is no shortcut to success when it comes to juggling domestic and professional duties. Ortega swears by three essential skills that helped her make it as an entrepreneur: the resilience to get back up after failing; the motivation to always do more with less; and the passion to keep focused when things aren’t going well.
Ortega’s resilience, motivation, and passion are what allowed her to succeed in the predominantly white, predominantly male financial industry. The lack of diversity in places like Wall Street encouraged her to launch MDMF and work towards serving over 40 million people of colour. Ortega thrives on client-consumer relationships and believes that consumer insight is the most effective way to solve problems and generate wealth. MDMF emphasizes personalized financial advice and culturally relevant content, all on a single platform.
By concentrating on a multicultural millennial audience, Ortega hopes to convert MDMF into a lifestyle brand that blends financial education with financial management. Her first piece of advice for millennials is to start investing early, no matter how little is actually invested. The size of the investment doesn’t matter, but rather the length of time.
Unfortunately, there’s growing evidence that most millennials don’t know how to manage their money. Since 2008, student loan debt in the US has soared 84%, with 40 million millennials paying off student loans. What’s even more frightening is that, according to Bloomberg, the average balance for each student loan borrower has grown by 74% in the last decade, mushrooming from $15,000 per person in 2004 to $27,000 in 2014. This swelling debt has the potential to sideline many millennials, causing them to miss out on their biggest advantage – time – as well as things like employer 401K matches. For a generation dogged by low credit scores, a little bit of sound financial advice certainly goes a long way. And Ramona Ortega is working hard to help raise young people’s financial intelligence.
Tasnia Nasar | Contributing Writer