From Teaching Students To Changing The Law & Prioritizing Requiring Personal Finance Education w/ Yanely Espinal

Episode Number: 324

Episode 324: From Teaching Students To Changing The Law & Prioritizing Requiring Personal Finance Education w/ Yanely Espinal

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From Teaching Students To Changing The Law & Prioritizing Requiring Personal Finance Education w/ Yanely Espinal

Yanely Espinal, personal finance educator, advocate and new author, joins the Journey to Launch podcast to discuss how she is changing the law one state at a time, why money needs more nuance, and how we can address systemic issues for real change. 

Yanely has a successful YouTube Channel with over 50k subscribers, a new book, “Mind Your Money,” and professionally focuses on personal finance curriculum, teaching students, teachers, and professionals about financial literacy.

We also chat about the hurdles Yanely faces within the political system vying for mandated personal finance education, navigating migrant remittances with empathy first, if she still sleeps in a hammock, and more.

In this episode, you’ll learn more about:

  • The ways Yanely persuades lawmakers to prioritize requiring personal finance education for high school students 
  • Why upskilling teachers is not only needed but necessary for teaching personal finance effectively in 2023 
  • How to navigate remittances with your siblings, support loved ones without giving cash, and the importance of therapy and behavioral economics
  • The nuances of personal finances in immigrant families, addressing broader systemic issues for change + more

You can watch the video to this episode below or by clicking here.

Connect with Yanely:

Connect with me:

Yanely Espinal 0:02

I really don't like that people are like they personified money as if money was a person and they had a personality and they had character traits. It don't money does not is just going to make you have the ability to amplify because you have more financial resources to do more of the things that make you who you are.

Intro 0:19

T-Minus 10 seconds. Welcome to the journey to launch podcast with your host jameelah. So frogs as a money expert who rocks her talk, she helps brave juniors like you get out of debt, save, invest and build real Whoa. Join her on the journey to launch to financial freedom five, four, three, two, one.

Ad 0:50

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Intro 2:56

If you want the episode show notes for this episode, go to journey to or click the description of wherever you're listening to this episode. In the show notes. You'll get the transcribed version of the conversation, the links that we mentioned and so much more. Also, whether you are an OG journeyer, or brand new to the podcast, I've created a free jumpstart guide to help you on your financial freedom journey. It includes the top episodes to listen to stages to go through to reach financial freedom, resources and so much more. You can go to journey to to get your guide right now. Okay, let's hop into the episode.

Yanely Espinal 4:32

just said yes, early 2023. We just got Indiana, Indiana

Jamila Souffrant 4:36

and she also is the author of a brand new book. Mind your money Welcome back. Oh, and by the way, he went to the same middle school always have to shout that out. We did fill up a Skyler in Brooklyn. And so I'm excited to have you back on and talk about your projects and all the amazing work you've been up to.

Yanely Espinal 4:54

Thank you so much. I love being back on honestly. While the first conversation was definitely more about like a person Final thing, now that the book is out, and I've been doing a lot more work in schools, it's like more than personal. It's like this legacy building kind of work. So I'm so glad

Jamila Souffrant 5:07

to be back you I mean, you are making like changes. This is the kind of work I love seeing because I know that kind of what we do on the personal level and sharing it through podcasts and blogs, and even courses, we put the responsibility on the person to make changes, right to take like that self responsibility, right, which is important. Yes, I wholeheartedly believe in that. But then there is another side to this right, there is change that needs to not just happen from the inside out and bottom up, but change that needs to happen from the top down right from the government in our systems you're making like and helping to make that change. I'll talk more about the work you've been doing with requiring personal finance to be a class in high school and what you've been seeing so far on your journey here.

Yanely Espinal 5:54

Yes, so this work has been probably the path of almost two full years of my life. So it's definitely a pivot. Because before I was just working on like curriculum, activities, and videos and projects and homework assignments and tests that teachers could use if they wanted to teach a personal finance class. Now, some schools require this, some schools don't, and it looks different state by state by state. So within the past two years, what we've done is essentially created a an affiliated organization called ng PF mission 2030 fund, that kind of like it just puts a stake in the ground, it's like very clear, like, we can't just keep waiting for the laws to change, we have to take an active role. And so to do that, we need to meet with senators and representatives in all of the states that don't already have a high school graduation requirement for personal finance, and find out which of these senators and representatives are serious about getting a bill introduced to require it. Because the reality is a lot of people think having it offered alone isn't enough, just like an offering a course that some students can elect like is an elective class on the schedule. Like that's enough, because they have access to it. But but the organization and GPF mission 2030 funded, like, access is not enough, it's got to be guaranteed access, which means it's not just there, you are definitely going to take it before you graduate, because it's a required class. So that's really the work we've been doing is going state by state and saying, let's look at the research. Like for example, in your state, about 70% of students are taking personal finance before they graduate. What about the other 30%, they just don't get it, what they don't deserve it. They don't need it, like they need it, and they deserve it just as well as much as the 70% that are getting it. So why don't we make sure all kids are getting this class, it's a little bit of a challenge, just because every state is different. So some states will be jumping on board to support Yes, we can get this done. Let's get everybody, all the leaders and all the politicians to work together to make it happen. And other states, it'll be like, Oh, but some there are some concerns, then it kind of creates challenges, because you have to like convince everyone that even though there are going to be challenges, there's a greater good at the end, you know, the light at the end of the tunnel, getting it done is going to do more good for more people than whatever the challenges that we might have to deal with would imply.

Jamila Souffrant 8:05

Yeah, so what have you learned to be you are in the ground in the trenches. So not only have you taught this and created the curriculum, but now that you're implementing this and trying to make it law, you've seen what works with kids, teenagers at that. And it's hard to get teenagers secure. I mean, it's hard to get adult secure. Even if it's impacting them, it's just, there's bigger things in their lives, they feel like they need to focus on or they just want to ignore or not deal with it. So what have you seen that works with teenagers that can be applied to someone listening, who wants to talk to their kid or to themselves about learning how to apply personal finance to their life and having it succeed?

Yanely Espinal 8:40

Yeah, so we actually do collect a lot of data. Because when you when you imagine walking into the room, talk to a senator or representative, they're busy, they got a lot of people coming, knocking at their door, calling them tweeting at them, emailing them, telling them, this is the law, this is what the law should be, this is what I want to see happen. And they have to prioritize those requests and those issues from their constituencies to kind of figure out what they're really going to get done. They can't do everything. So in order for us to like make sure they prioritize what our financial education issue is, they have to see that it's data back that research shows that it is effective. So we actually do collect a lot of that research and gather it together. And one of the main studies that shows that it is effective, not just actually helping students learn how money works, and basic money management skills, but also changing their behavior. Because the biggest criticism that financial education industry has gotten for years is that even if the students get a 90% on their test, they don't change the behavior, the actual behavior they're doing with money don't change. That's not true anymore. Depending on how you teach the class and the type of engagement that you do. It can actually change behaviors. So there's one study called just in time, which shows that if you teach this when the students are 14 years old, right, they're 14, they can't drive a car yet. They're not 16 They can't get a license. They're not looking for car insurance or trying to get a car loan. They can't even take out loans yet. So You're teaching it at a point where it's not the right time because they can't apply what they're learning immediately into their life. But if you push it over to like junior and senior year of high school, now they're 1617, some of them are 18, they can definitely get a car get a driver's license, they're going to have to shop around for car insurance or car loans to get the best rates, they need to understand that their credit score is going to matter. They need to understand basic things, comparing interest rates, and understanding all of these connections around the long term implications of a loan and in your name, missing a payment, and all these kinds of things. And not only that, but they're excited about those topics. Another topic, like when you're a junior, or a senior you're thinking about if you're going to go to college. So if you are, you're going to have to fill out your FAFSA. So why would you teach them how to fill out their FAFSA, when they're freshmen, they're not going to do it until their junior and senior. So really teaching these topics, when it's just in time means like, they are about to use it right away. So they're going to apply immediately after the lesson ends, as opposed to having to just store it in the back of their minds and hold it for a few years. By the time they actually do it. They're gonna be like, Oh, I forgot, I forgot what we learned in that class two years ago, because they didn't use it right away.

Jamila Souffrant 11:06

Right, right. And the just in time, again, that works for everyone. Most people are like this. And I'm like this, right? Like, if it's not, if I don't need it, if it's like a business topic, or something I'm like, That's interesting, but it's not something I need right now. So I'm gonna put it on the table. And I think that's how most people operate is when they need the information, that's when it will help them most, or that's when they'll pay attention.

Yanely Espinal 11:27

That's right. And it's tricky, though, because then it's like, oh, well, for example, a topic like retirement, you try to teach them about retirement, they like retirement, like that's what all people and they're thinking that's so far away. So the way that you teach it is that if you don't start now, you will not be prepared for retirement. So really emphasizing the what they need to do today in order for them to be okay later, because if they think of this as a thing I'll worry about later, then already off the bat, you haven't prepared them to think about this properly. So it's also about the framing the hope that you use, the types of stories that you tell so that your students are actually like at the edge of their seat and not like falling asleep snoring in the background class. Because the reality is that our attention span is getting shorter and shorter, because of Tiktok, and Instagram and YouTube shorts, like the way the internet is moving. It's like you have to get me in 30 seconds, or I'm out. So it's harder.

Jamila Souffrant 12:19

It's hard for us as adults. So imagine the kids and all this information overload that they get. I think it's really great to start the conversation, obviously around money early. And because you just wonder when you think back, like why wouldn't this be a required subject? Because not knowing about these things in high school and going into college and then getting into adulthood is how a lot of people get messed up. Right. They they take taken out more student loans, and they needed mismanaging credit cards. I can't imagine why you'd get pushback on making this a requirement.

Yanely Espinal 12:54

You know, I'll tell you, it's different in every state. So I mean, I just honestly think it's a general education system too, because I think a lot of people don't actually understand how a political system works. And that some things are federal issues, and some are local. So education is not a federal issue. If it was, it'd be very easy for the President or anybody to just wave a magic wand and say, everyone, no matter where you live, you have to teach this class, you have to, you know, this is required for graduation. But education is a local issue, which means it's state by state by state. So in New York, for example, if didn't state of New York, you could be learning one thing. And in the state of Massachusetts, you don't even learn that because the state decides what needs to get taught for high school graduation. And what are requirements and what are not requirements, what are like more just like electives, or it could be offered but it doesn't have to be taken. So because of that, imagine trying to get a job done that you have to do 50 times, you have to get 50 states on board. Now right now, we're recording this early 2023. So there's 19 states that already have a full semester requirement. A bunch of the other states, they say required, but when you look at the actual language of the bills, or of the reg of the actual legislation, it says it's required to be incorporated into the curriculum. So that means that you could take a business class or like entrepreneurship class in high school, and two weeks of that class, they will show you about budgeting, and then all sudden, that checks the box for the requirement because it was incorporated. It does meet the language, right? The legal language. So it's kind of like a little bit of that legal stuff and making sure we read the bills to see like, are you getting away with just doing a project about banking and calling that a financial literacy requirement? Like it needs to be 18 weeks minimum or more, where you're just learning about personal finance. So you're not sharing this topic with another course like marketing or business because, or economics because the reality is, those are all different. And personal finance includes banking, budgeting, credit, insurance, taxes, investing, paying for college careers, like how are you going to teach that in a week? How are you going to squeeze all of that into two weeks? It's not possible. So we really do need to continue advocating for this full semester, which is 18 weeks minimum of instruction in all of these financial topics. And that's where the challenge comes in, because now you got teachers that are like, how am I supposed to teach this when I also have all these other things that we need to teach them? And there's all these requirements, like, the school day is only from eight to three, like, what are we going to add? Make the school day longer, like we can't do that the teachers union is not going to like that. So you kind of have all these players, the Department of Education, the teachers, union, the teachers, the parents, the students, the administrators, the lawmakers, the bankers union you got, so there's so many players involved, it's kind of like we think about too many cooks in the kitchen type of thing. So you got to convince all of them to get on board with the same bill. And once everybody says yes, then it moves forward. So that's kind of what the challenge is.

Jamila Souffrant 15:47

That makes sense. But then quite frankly, you have teachers, I mean, I'm sure they have to go through maybe a curriculum themselves to learn how to teach this. But I can imagine there are teachers, because I have a lot of teachers who listen, and they're like, I don't even know like, I'm still working on my personal finance. Right. And then now I'm expected to go teach this subject. So I think that there's probably a feeling they may have a gap in terms of what they feel like they can do and teach because a lot of adults are struggling to understand this, too.

Yanely Espinal 16:14

Oh, yeah. Not only are those struggling to understand it, because they never learned it. But also because even if they did learn it is changing every single day. Like, there are things that exist today when it comes to money that didn't exist five years ago, 10 years ago. So how are we supposed to keep up that thing? So there's five things that we have put together on what we call the five principles of effective legislation, right? One of them is that it has to be junior senior year, like we talked about, because it's just in time. The second thing is that it has to be a transition period, you can't just tell teachers tomorrow, you have to start teaching this as required, like they need time to plan to learn to prep. So you need to give a two or three year timeline before it actually goes into effect. So that's the second thing. The third thing is teacher professional development training, you need to have in the bill in the law, like it needs to be written clearly how these teachers will be upskilled. So they can actually be confident to teach the course and have the competence and knowledge to teach it. So that includes them learning about things like crypto, if they don't understand that when their kids raise their hand like Oh, Miss, what about crypto? They're going to? I don't know, I know what that is. Don't ask me about that. And then the students are like, Man, this teacher don't even know what crypto is how to teach me about money. So we have to get the basics of these newer topics. trendier topics like buy now pay later. And trading platforms and investing apps, like teachers need to know about these things, even simple things like Cash App, and Venmo. Some teachers never heard of these things. And mind you, the students are using it left and right all day long. So we need to get everybody like on the same page in terms of 21st century relevant financial education. That's what's effective. You can't teach things that are outdated from like 10, even 510 years ago, because it's not relevant, it's not relatable, the students are going to look at you like you are an alien, because you're talking about something that's not realistic for them. So instead of balancing a checkbook their checkbooks, we need to be talking about how to reconcile your online bank or your mobile bank account. And so you know, and the more tools and technology that comes out, the more teachers have to keep learning. So it's kind of like some teachers even will say, this is a lot of work, like I gotta keep learning. And it's like, yes, but the more you do, like, think about it, like on the job training, like the more time goes on, you have to keep upskilling, you can't, otherwise your skills are going to be obsolete in five or every five or 10 years. So the bill has to include language around training teachers, so that they're actually ready and knowledgeable to teach this class with confidence.

Jamila Souffrant 18:34

And not only for the like teachers to teach it to the kids, I think the motivation if I were a teacher, and I knew there was a workshop for me to help me with my finances, when I get excited about it, when I see changes, then I'm excited to teach it to you know, my family, and then my students. So I love that that that definitely is part of it. I want to talk a little bit about your journey from becoming with it in the classroom, to transitioning to working for a company that helps build the curriculum to now what you're doing, right. I know you talk a lot about this ebook, which we'll get into, but I love how you just bring a really raw and authentic perspective that a lot of people don't talk about maybe just because they're unaware to the conversation. So talk a little bit about merging that like transitioning and making the transition you made. And then like how money has played a role into those transitions.

Yanely Espinal 19:26

You know, actually, I think, I love the framing of your question, because that's actually how it happened. Like I started working, I left the classroom I started working in financial education, nonprofit and like start thinking about how to support teachers, right, I had just been a teacher. So I understood intimately what teachers need to do their job better. Especially being obsessed with personal finance. In my own personal life, I could make the connections between teaching and personal finance. One of the things that happened right away was I noticed that there was a disconnect with how financial education was being taught. It's like a one size fits all. template is like okay, this is how you're going to teach this in every classroom, and it can't be like that you have to personalize it to the students that you're teaching. Because in the Bronx, financial education is going to look very different from how it's going to look in Oklahoma, or how it's going to look in Milwaukee or how it's going to look in, in Palo Alto. Well,

Jamila Souffrant 20:15

not to even just interject, because you just said something about cars. And when you're talking like, you know, kids, like talking about cars, and I grew up growing up in New York, right, like, even though like, there are a lot of cars here, it's not like a normal thing for like a teenager to have a car in New York City growing up in New York, like, so even that conversation or the goals if even though I'm sure they want one, they but is when they're so used to transportation, and now Ubers, and like getting on the bus, that it's like for them, like that's a different conversation about what they're motivated by,

Yanely Espinal 20:44

boom. And I love that you said that, because like, Girl, I'm 33 years old and got no driver's license still to this day, which is very embarrassing, and I'm working on it, I promise. But it's just like, I never needed a grown up in New York City man like, and that's the thing about my books are like that connection that you were talking about with my experiences. And then the stories, they can't be pulled apart. Like I always tell people with like graphical images like is like milk and coffee, like when you when you combine them, you can't take them apart again. And for me, that's how I felt about my personal stories. And my experience growing up in an immigrant family in New York City, being below low income, like all of these things, I feel like they're missing from so many of the books and the podcasts and the resources that were like, you know, people like you and me, when we got into personal finance, we listened and took all that information in red everything we, you know, you get so obsessing, you're like, I just want to learn more and more and more. But you're the piece that's missing is where you are missing from that whole narrative. Like it's like, but they're not talking about any of the things that I lived growing up, you know, so like the first page of my book, you're gonna see a story about me screaming in the backyard about my mom going to a welfare appointment. And my sister got so mad at me. So when she called me in the house that she knocked me over the head and was like, Are you stupid? Why he telling everybody on the block real loud that mommy's on welfare you you're making everybody know, like our business. And it's so funny because like, you know, Bushwick where Skylar is like, everybody was on welfare back in, we all want government assistance. All the kids got free or reduced lunch, it was a title one school like, and almost all the schools in the neighborhood were the same way. So it was this interesting psychology around like, Oh, we're ashamed of being poor. But like, everybody, we all were in that struggle together. So what is it about, you know, money that and in our cultures, that makes us come to America and immediately feel like there's this shame, there's this guilt, there's embarrassing, you know, narrative around like talking about it, so it dissuades us and we convincing each other like, we just don't talk about it, act like you got it, but don't talk about it. And so I felt like we needed to just straight up, name that and address that in which I do in the first two chapters of my book with, which is a lot about mindset and culture and my experiences growing up. And then the second piece of it is connecting that directly to systemic issues that needs to change. Because the reality is, like you said, like, you can change all you want on a personal level. But there's two approaches that have to happen at the same time, in order for something to get done, the personal responsibility, which is kind of from the bottom up, and the top down systemic change, and they meet in the middle to actually create change. If you're only doing one from top down and not expecting anyone to take personal responsibility, that ain't going to work. If you only expect people to take personal responsibility and not getting any support from the top down with systems in place, then it's not gonna work. So I really think they both have to be happening at the same time. And that's why I wanted my book to do to like be a fusion of these personal stories and personal finance and really looking at it from a personal level, but also the systemic change that needs to happen. And highlighting both at the same time.

Jamila Souffrant 23:40

It's beautiful that I loved how you said you can't take apart the personal story and experience and then the financial education part or experience part of it, because you're totally right. When you talk about everyone, maybe in the neighborhood, even though you're everyone's similar, probably similar in terms of on government assistance and income levels. But they still aren't talking about it. But yet still, there is a need. I talked about this too, as I'm editing and finishing up my book, just the inequity and social implications of showing our wealth or showing that we are okay, you know, in a country or in positions where you don't necessarily feel valued and how. So you can just say, but you can't expect people to just listen, when you say, don't buy that you shouldn't want that luxury item. It works for me, it's just I just need some people to acknowledge that difference. You don't have to always solve it because it's deeper than us. It's bigger than us. But I think when you were talking about this way, someone who may be apprehensive because I don't want to tell someone just telling me who has no clue about my background and my immigrant story and or growing up poor or just right at that middle class level, telling me that oh, it's easy. Just do this. And this was like, there's more to it. So I love that you bring that into this conversation. Yeah,

Yanely Espinal 24:57

there's so much more to it and like it Even just one simple thing, I'm thinking off top, my head is like the experience of like budgeting, right? Like, everybody's always, like pay yourself first. And like, you make a budget like this and do things this way. And it's just like, again, cookie cutter template type of advice that we all get when we start learning about money and personal finance. And in my book, I'm like, one of the things that I never saw mentioned or never, you know, witnessed conversations around in the space of personal finance is when your budget includes things that are not your traditional cookie cutter type of category and a budget, like remittances, you know, and I put in there a line about how I watched my mom stretch her dollars to reach the Caribbean, somehow, some way she never had money, but somehow she always had to send money to her sisters and brothers to my aunts and uncles in the Dr. And I watched her do that. And somehow I learned about budgeting. It's just from so many different books and websites and articles and podcasts, never ever mentioned anything about remittances. And yet when you read the statistics, they're like, oh, communities of color and low income communities. They don't fund 529 plans. They don't invest for their retirement. They're underprepared. And it's like, why? Because you weren't sending money to your native country. And they were so the 529 money that you put in every month into your kid's account. My mom was sending it to her sisters who live in the mountains of the Dominican Republic, which you can't like, do it. All right. And so I think I wanted to make sure I had a book that showed what the reasoning behind why some of those struggles, like why is it that my parents are underprepared? Sure, you can point your finger at them and blame them. But at the end of the day, it's more nuanced than that. And we got to give people credit for doing everything that they can with what they know. But ultimately, being involved in a system that just doesn't really equip them to do it. All.

Jamila Souffrant 26:43

Right, right. Well, you define vermin, someone you kept talking, I just want you to just define it just for anyone who's not familiar what that means.

Yanely Espinal 26:51

Yeah, so I talked about that the word was new to me, I mentioned in the book, like, I didn't know there was a word for this, but there's a whole word for it, which is the word remittances, which means that you are sending resources generally going to be money, financial resources, to your native country, when you're not from originally from the US. So that would be a lot of immigrant communities who send money back to Jamaica, to Mexico, to Dominican Republic, to their families, because while they're living here, as Americans, they came from a native country and still support the family that they have back there, whether that be their parents, their siblings, you know, other kids, they may have back there. So it's this constant like having your right foot on one land in your left foot here in the US and constantly trying to financially be supporting your life here while also your like your family's life back home. And remittances is something that's very common, I just don't think I grew up ever knowing there was a word for that would just be like, you know, sending boxes of stuff and money to the Dr. was a normal part, you know, of our of our life.

Jamila Souffrant 27:45

Yeah, well, it's, I mean, I didn't know there was a word for it either. Until getting into the space and learning all the words that you began to learn that you didn't know existed for the things we were already experiencing.

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Jamila Souffrant 28:51

So talk about someone who's experienced that I think, who helps organize, you know, probably makes good amount of money compared to maybe some other family members. And there's probably a lot of people listening because I imagine if you're listening to this podcast, you are that already or you're striving you're well on your way to being that because you're educating yourself and you're taking that personal responsibility part of things. But how do they balance though rising and making more and managing their money? Well, so that there they are okay, but then also not feeling like they're leaving their family behind or creating boundaries that may be harsh, that they may not have done before, but they need to in order for them to succeed.

Yanely Espinal 29:30

Yes, I mean, I will tell you, there are two things that made a drastic difference in my life and my ability to be able to help and mentally and financially be able to deal with it. Number one was making more money. And number two was therapy. So for me, I feel like when I felt the guilt and the shame and embarrassment of not being able to like retire my parents at 29 years, you know, when I was 29 years old like that, that felt that didn't feel good. Like I obviously want to be able to do that but go ahead therapy and talking openly about like my situation? And what are my thoughts processes with all of this, like, you realize that it's not realistic for you to put the weight of the world, the weight of your entire family on your shoulders, and that you can only do but so much. But you have to find out what is that but so much? What is that? How much money is that? How much time is that? How many resources can you actually realistically offer, and be real with yourself about what it is, and then do that, like, go full into that be that because that's what you can do. And you can only focus on your locus of control what you can control, right, which is limited, let's be real, we can't control everything. So for me, it was being honest about what I can and cannot do. No, I cannot retire my parents. No, they can't come live with me like that's outside of what I'm comfortable with in my boundaries. But what I can do is put a line item in my budget every month to give my mom and dad some money, and help them set up a budget. And honestly, I've even gotten to the point where I've taken over their finances completely. And I set up all their bills on auto pay. And I collect the money that they get from their Social Security benefits. My mom gets Supplemental Security benefits, and the money that my siblings and I put together, and then we give them their weekly allowance. And I set up online bank accounts for them. They got their first debit cards ever at the age of 60. My mom was 63. And my dad was 71. So me being a resource for them doesn't have to look like just me giving them you know, million dollars like that. I think we have to change the mindset around what does it look like to support your people, because for me, that means showing up for them, helping them navigate financial decisions and choices. And honestly, online bill pay, which is something my parents couldn't set up for themselves, but has been a huge relief to them to know that they don't have to call up candidates and to pay the electric bill didn't have to call up. It just it just gets paid out of the account. And there's money in there because we've set it up in a way where money is constantly inflowing like the structures and systems can be a huge help and provide the stress relief that you want to provide with your family, even if you can't provide that with an envelope full of cash. So I think I had to change my mindset about what it looks like for me to help mommy and Bobby. And also to get others involved. I can't do it all alone. But thankfully, I come from a big family. I have eight brothers and sisters. So we all get on a zoom call and we all organize. Okay, what's what's going on right now, I think we're going to need to up the contributions this month because we need to do construction, or because something happened. And you know, we just have to openly talk about these things. So that it's not, it doesn't have to be this weird, secretive, mysterious, negative thing. And that takes time. And I think that that takes like working on it through I would say therapy because that's what worked for me. But whatever works for you in terms of getting more comfortable talking openly about this stuff, which can really be very much taboo, and can be awkward to talk about, especially money with people that make different amounts and things. But I think the more you normalize it, the more you do it, the more it becomes like a positive and happy thing because like when I jump on zoom with all my siblings, and we throw up a spreadsheet with the budget, we're all smiling, like, okay, like we're doing this, we're doing this for mommy and Bobby, like we're taking the stress off of them. And that's the best gift you can give to your parents with anybody in your life has to take stress away from them when it comes to money.

Jamila Souffrant 33:04

I love that. First of all, I'm impressed as you said eight altogether.

Yanely Espinal 33:08

Yeah, nine of us. I'm the I'm one of nine. So I have four brothers and four sisters love me.

Jamila Souffrant 33:14

So nine all together. And I'm sure you know I have a sibling siblings always have their things and their whatever. But I'm impressed that the nine of you have come together to do this. Because I feel like sometimes it's two people coming together and they they're not able to do this. So how, how would you navigate in a situation where maybe a sibling is not participating? And not just because they don't have it? But because they are just there is not a priority for them? How do you let go of that resentment or expectation from them? What what what would you do in a situation like that?

Yanely Espinal 33:46

Yeah, I mean, I'm gonna be honest, like, there's nine of us, a couple of them are a little too young, one of my little brothers joined the military recently. And he No honestly is just getting started with his own adult life. So he can't really contribute like that much. And, and that's fine. Like, I think what I try to do is just, like lead with empathy, and like put myself in this situation, okay? Be their age be in their situation. Now, I don't have children. So immediately, I always have to think about my siblings, I have kids, I'm like, first of all, I will not understand that they have to do so much for their kids that I don't have to worry about financially. So if they can't put in this month, or if they have to put in a little less, like, I am going to give all the grace because again, I'm using empathy to understand that their situation is extremely different from mine. And we all have very individual circumstances. So I think it's just really trying not to assume the worst about somebody who may not be putting in as much as you feel like they should be putting in and just do you worry about you, what are you putting in? Are you doing the most that you can? And if you are then that's it again, Locus of Control. I can't control somebody else, but I can definitely control what I'm doing. And if I feel like I'm not doing enough, where can I do more? And if it's not financially, maybe it's time or resources or a quick checking in a phone call, right? Like, again, I'm just trying to figure out what I can do and not be so judgmental about what others are not doing what they're doing. Actually, I put in a whole quote from Beyonce in 2020 foot COVID, there was like a virtual graduation ceremony that you to put on. And Beyonce spoke, she was the keynote speaker for that convocation ceremony. And for the graduating class of 2020, she put in there her words were, don't worry about what somebody else is doing what they're not doing, worry about you, you be it, you go do it, I took that those words, and I put it in my book, because I feel like that's exactly the kind of energy we all need to be putting into our own personal financial situations. But also, when we're trying to support others, focus on what I can do, because we're so quick to look at what somebody else is doing or what they're not doing, or they're not doing as much as me. And, again, what does that doing, bring negativity, and it's not helping you get to the end goal, which ultimately is for you to help relieve the stress off the people that you love.

Jamila Souffrant 35:49

You talked before about therapy, and I know your book is based on the internal journey it takes to transform money, I'd love to talk a little bit more about that. And what else you found to help internally someone feel like they can accomplish whatever dream or goal that they have for themselves. Like because money will most likely be the helpful part of that the fuel to help them do that. So how do they start to change their mind around what's possible for them?

Yanely Espinal 36:18

Yeah, I mean, I think it starts with, who is your mind to you like your mind has a little voice? Everybody's mind has a little voice, right? And who is that voice? Is it a voice of positivity of reason of, you know, being helpful? Or is it a voice of negativity and irrational jumping to conclusions and being, you know, snotty and manipulative and negative? Like, I think we have to first just be honest about the majority of my thoughts, that little voice in my brain like, is she a little angel on my right shoulder or little devil on my left shoulder? Like which one? Is it just name it and don't feel bad about it? Because the reality is, we're just doing an assessment right now we're just trying to figure out, what are we hearing in our in our mind, right? Once you can name it, okay, I got a little devil on my left shoulder in my head. And she's really nasty and mean, and every time I try to say, I'm going to change, she's not united, I'm gonna change, please, you're gonna do the same thing you did yesterday, because you know, you're no good. So when you start to hear that, like, now you recognize it, the first step is to be able to name it and recognize that it's not what you want it to be before you can even change it. Because there's a lot of people that are in denial about the fact that the voice in their head is not helping them move forward. So I think therapy helped me acknowledge my thought patterns and just name when I was being negative, judgmental when I was, especially when I was focusing on other people, because I'm a Virgo, I'm a little bit of like a perfectionist, and which means I hold other people to high standards, too. So I'm quick to like point other people and judge and therapy kind of helped me realize, like, you gotta reel that in, that's not helping you or them, and just, you know, checking myself when I feel like I'm having those thoughts. So, first thing is identify that voice. And then the second thing is start trying to acknowledge when those thoughts happen, so that you can create a new thought immediately after, because if you have one negative thought, and then you immediately recognize it was a negative thought, you can think three, you can force yourself to think three positive thoughts immediately, it's like triple the positivity on purpose. And the more you start to do that, and at first, it's weird, it's awkward, it's like, cumbersome, because you're like trying to pick your thoughts, and then try to change them. And it's not natural, I'm gonna tell you right now, it's not natural, but it's work. And if you do it, your brain, that little voice in your brain will literally change, it will be a new voice, and you'll actually be able to, like, ignore the negative stuff, or it won't come up anymore. So I feel like for me, that was multiple years of a process of working on my own thoughts, especially with money, because I would tell myself, like, Oh, I'm not going to do this with my and then later on, of course, I would do it anyway. And so I had to really get serious about why am I doing this, like if I don't believe in myself and hold myself to a high standard, who's who's going to do that for me, like, nobody's going to do that for me. So I have to really be that tough person on myself. And it can be tough love, it doesn't have to be tough and nasty, right? I think that's the key here. So when it comes to money, it's very much tied with your mental health. I think that your mental health is number one, because it's going to affect the way you think about everything, and especially infiltrate your thoughts when you're starting to plan around money or make changes to your financial habits. So I would say that's the key. And for me, one thing that helped me with that was just learning about behavioral finance, or behavioral economics is more accurate behavioral finance is like your psychology when you're investing money in the stock market. Behavioral economics is your thought process with all money decisions that you make budgeting taxes, and thus saving everything. So we ever economics is more of like a science around what happens in your brain when you're using money and thinking about money. And for me, that's why my chapter two of my book is all about the behavioral science, the behavioral economics because that once I started learning about it, I realized oh, that happens to me all the time. Like I'll literally justify in my mind why it's okay for me to buy this even though I have two three of the same ones at home and once I started to pick up on these biases that have names, kind of like naming like a remittance, like putting a word to it, now you can actually identify it, name it and call it out and check yourself and start to change those behaviors.

Jamila Souffrant 40:10

I love that. I mean, when I think about how powerful I was, like, I'm thinking about sports now. And suddenly, like the greatest athletes aren't anyone who's really good at what they do. And especially the ones that they say, like, I was not the most talented person, like I was not the most athletic. What, what allowed me to succeed above my friend that actually had the skill set was that I was determined, like, my mind would not let it go. And I just, I just feel like, it's one of those things, if you if you can really understand and work on, it's not gonna be perfect. But if you can understand how having a strong mindset how mind over money minding your money, is it because I know it sounds like, well, physically, I want more money, like I want to do the action, like, just tell me what to do. So I can have the thing and this is like, no, but first, it's like who you are and what you think and who Who do you need to be to then have the thing. And so I just think I love that we're focusing, and we're talking more about that. And I find that more people are more least maybe it's my personal finance friends, like you are talking more about it with our communities, because we do realize that that's, that's one of the main differences. I saw a clip of Gabrielle Union. And recently and she was talking about, like, she still lives in a scarcity mindset. With Dwayne Wade, he makes I don't know how I know, he makes a lot of money, she makes a lot of money. But she still feels that it's not enough that ship something doesn't go right for her, like, is someone gonna be able to eat? And I'm like, look at that, like, still at that level of wealth. She still is feeling like it if something happens is not enough.

Yanely Espinal 41:49

Yes, yeah. That's the deep psychology, that deep psychology.

Jamila Souffrant 41:54

And I know that it's an ongoing, like conversation and journey. But even if someone were to give you like millions, right now, it's not going to fix all the internal things happening inside of you. Right? Are you gonna start that? Yeah,

Yanely Espinal 42:10

actually, I was gonna say is the opposite of fixing you, it just keeps you the same. So when you make more money, you do more of who you are with your money, you do more of what makes you who you are with your money. So if you're a messy person, if you're messy, when you get more money you're gonna do you're gonna be more messy, because now you have more money to be more messy with, if you fix that, and you are actually in a person in a place of abundance and health and like happiness, and you know what's enough for you and you feel like you're financially confident and be able to make savvy choices. When you get the money, you're going to execute on the money in that way. Because that's who you know, that's now who you are. So when you're an evil person, and you have malicious intentions, and you want to step on people for your own profit and power, when you get more money, you will continue to do those things with the money, the money will enable you to do more malicious stuff. So I really don't like that people are like they personify money as if money was a person and it had a personality and it had character traits, it don't money does not is just going to make you have the ability to amplify, because you have more financial resources to do more of the things that make you who you are. So work on you, and then get the money. So you can do more of the things that make you you and that will ultimately allow you to be your fullest self. But if you're not your best self yet, and the money comes, the money is gonna go you're gonna use it in the wrong ways and or misuse it. And so I really do agree with you like you kind of have to do the you part first and then get the money for you after because if it comes in the wrong order, we know what happens. We seen all these people who win the lottery, we end in the money's gone, we see all these athletes who go bankrupt, we seen the stories, we know what happens, why the internal work wasn't done.

Jamila Souffrant 43:50

When you're not like moving forward, right? So you have your book, and you're still doing your work. How you seeing your career, like the next step, and not to like put because I also too sometimes people ask me like, what's your next step? And I'm like, I don't know. I'm just like,

let me get this book out. First,

let me get the book out. For you. I just love to see the natural progression of you merging. I think when I looked at the title of your, your last episode, it was yeah, it was how to pay off debt and merge your talents with making money because we focus a bit on you paying off your debt and then turning your passion for talking about money into your your brand must be helpful. And then I love to see now your transition, or you know, you must be helpful. And then how you have now even professionally are doing personal finance, right in the professional. Big way. And so what for you, if you could lay out the next natural progression? What does that look like? What are you excited about? What's going on? Yeah,

Yanely Espinal 44:46

well, I mean, offline a little bit. I was telling you about this, but I just feel like I'm at this point where I'm so excited to build out projects and be particular about choosing projects that allow me to really have fun with the work that I'm doing because ultimately I I have the privilege of being able to do a job that I love, like I enjoy what I do. I love making content. I love helping teachers changing education system, I love speaking, like so the more I can do those things more, I realized like, I'm just I'm so blessed, because I know so many people personally in my life, and also just in general, that don't love what they do. They just see it as a way for them to have financial security, to be able to provide for their family. So they just show up, they do the work, they come back, they don't love what they do. And so when you do love what you do, you have to recognize that that's a privilege. That's a blessing us, you know, you're lucky not everybody has that. So a, I'm naming that and recognizing that, and then be I'm saying, Okay, well, now that I have that, and I appreciate it. I'm so grateful for it. Let me lean into it. Let me double down on that, like, let me do more of the things that like honestly, I would do it if I wasn't even being paid for it. Like what are the things that I would do, even if I wasn't being paid to do them. And for me, that's sharing more, right? Like, for me, I'm very much concerned with serving others, like my family has always been, that's just been instilled in me like you always are of service to others. And my mom, you know, she always tell us like she never had anything but somehow if she had a little chute always share she would always give to others that's just in her nature. And I think I just got that from her, trying to help everybody like when I created my YouTube channel, I was like, I want to be ms be helpful, I want to help people like literally made my name that because that's just it's in my nature to be of service to others to you know, the teacher in me. And so for me, like that means showing up to more in person events, conferences, COVID was rough. Like, I feel like now that we're kind of able to do more in person, like, I want to really be in that. So, you know, in 2022, I got a chance to be on stage at fin con. And that was awesome. Like the biggest audience I've ever spoken in front of in that like fired me up, I want to do more of that like so. Now I'm going to be doing more in person conferences, specifically targeting women, specifically targeting low income youth and urban youth and specifically targeting first generation students that are the first in their family to go to college, that those like that's kind of like my onion, I think about like layer one like women millennial and Gen Z women like layer two, like teens who are the first generation that are going to go to college for the first time in their family, because I realized that those are the things that for me, are I'm uniquely qualified to talk about those experiences and to be super valuable for those types of people. Because we share that experience. And I have so many lessons that I could pass on from that. But I mean, I don't want to just be doing stuff just to do it. So like marketplace, like they reached out to me, they want to do a podcast specifically for teenagers 100%, I'm gonna do that project, because I would do it anyway, like, I'm already trying to get public schools to have more financial education. So if we could create a podcast that teachers could use in this in like in the classroom, in schools, or a sign up for homework, like, that would be amazing. So it's all the work I'm doing is kind of in support of like this main core mission that I have, right, which is to continue to support the next generation of learners of women of first generation Americans who really are the ones that kind of don't see themselves reflected generally in finance, and to begin to share with them like, Hey, your story is is included in this, you can see yourself in this too, you belong here, you fit here, your path is just as viable as anybody else's path. I think that's where I'm at right now and just trying to do more creative projects. So like hosting the marketplace, podcast, publishing my book, partnering and speaking and being on the road, one of the things I'm toying with this idea of actually being on the road doing like a tour. So I don't know if it's gonna be like a bus or like a van or something, but to travel city to city and actually do a speaking tour. That includes going to schools and visiting students and sharing copies of my book and just answering their questions like that. The truth is, these teenagers have so many questions, and they don't know who to ask. Because, honestly, most of the time, they're not encouraged to talk openly about this stuff. So I just love being able to go into a classroom and sit on a desk and be like, alright, ask me anything like, what do I want to know? And what they ask is so like, there's so juicy, they have really good questions. They just again, they don't know who they're supposed to ask. So they usually keep it to themselves. But when you show up and say ask me anything they do, they asked me everything and anything. And I love that. Like, that's where I feel like I'm doing the work I'm supposed to be doing is like in those moments. Yeah.

Jamila Souffrant 49:09

I mean, you I'm smiling so hard, because I feel like you were just a breathing example of someone who is following their unique path and who is really doing what they love. And so not only is it benefiting you, like you have the resources now for yourself and your family, but it's helping other people. And the opportunities keep are coming to you. And you're working for them. But they're coming to you. It's like, you know, the meeting in that middle that we talked about, and I just love that for you. And I feel like it's just a great example, for people to be be yourself. Like, be yourself when you you talk the way you talk. You have the experiences that you may be embarrassed about those little things that you're like, I don't know if I should share that and it's like someone wants to hear that from you. Someone is dying to hear that little story that you think is annoying or embarrassing or Uh, no one would care about maybe something with your upbringing, or having to share whatever, share it. You just never know what what what can unfold from that? You know, please, I'm talking more about where people can find more about you and the book and also alive. So if someone is interested as a teacher listening or a student, like how they can get more information about your programming to the school that they're in?

Yanely Espinal 50:20

Yes, let's do it. Okay, so first things first, you can buy mind your money, anywhere where they sell books on Amazon and Barnes and Noble definitely will have them, the book is out officially may 30 2023. So on or after that day you can buy just by searching mind your money anywhere online. And secondly, you can go to my website, if you want to just like get tabs for me to be kept up to date with like, where I'm going and where I'm where I'm speaking and what I will be visiting and projects that I'm doing, you could just sign up on mis be mi, SS V helpful. And then you can follow me on social media. Of course, that's the same name on all socials must be helpful on every social media channel. And then if you're really interested in getting involved with financial education, advocacy work NGP Next Gen personal finance is what the acronym stands for. So n GP is the website, they have a bill tracker on that website where you can actually see if there's active legislation in your state right now, if you want to testify, you can literally show up at the state capitol and speak to the Education Committee on the Senate side or on the representative on the House side. And you can tell them like, Hey, my name is Blanca Blanca, I live in zip code, blah, blah, blah, I'm in your constituency. And this is what I think I think this bill needs to be signed into law, I think everybody in this committee needs to vote yes. Because this, this, this and this. So your your voice can be on public record as a person giving testimony providing testimony in support of legislation to promote financial literacy and get it required in schools, it's just a little bit of a clunky process, because sometimes they like decide to add it to the agenda like the day before. So you kind of have to be watching the bill and looking at how it's moving through the process and like, just be ready like to pack a bag and go like any day. So it's kind of annoying, because only certain people can actually, you know, do that. But if you are willing and you want to keep track, we have a bill tracker on NGP was website that will tell you every step of the bills process along the process. And you can also download we have like a whole advocacy toolkit. So if you're a teacher or a parent, and you know that your school doesn't require financial literacy for every student, you could download a free petition template and you can pass around a petition to your community, to your students in all your school, to the parents to the teachers, and start a petition to get your school to require it regardless if the state requires it or not yet. So there's different things you can do to advocate like from a grassroots level kind of working your way up, because we're working from the top down. But we need everybody, like we said before, to kind of go bottom up too, and we meet in the middle with success. So definitely check out the advocacy toolkit. And then of course, just you know, reach out to me if there's any questions about my work about my book about speaking about education work, like I'm an open book on social media, and also just you know, in general, I love talking about this stuff. So if you do have questions, don't be shy to reach out.

Jamila Souffrant 53:01

And is there a curriculum that a teacher can download? Like if they want to teach something in their class? Would they get at the same website?

Yanely Espinal 53:07

Yes, I love this question. Because yes, the answer is yes, it's 100%. Free. So and GPF is a nonprofit, it's a 501 C three, and it's in there was a financial endowment put in place. So kind of like Harvard and Yale, they have their endowment funds, which they're never going to run out of money because they basically just spend a tiny percentage which they earn an interest each year. That's how an endowment works. And that's how ng PF is funded. And it was created by our co founder Tim Renzo. So the money is always going to be there to make sure that you never have to pay for the lesson plans for the curriculum for any of the professional development for teachers. So if you're a teacher, you listening right now, there's free training, I teach some of them I teach investing advanced investing in cryptocurrency basics to teachers, I've taught 1000s of teachers already in the past couple years, and then you get a certification. It doesn't really do mean, it's not like an official like degree or anything. But it's just a way for you to say like, I've studied this topic, and now I have the confidence and the knowledge to teach it. So you can take as many certifications with us as you want. They're all free. There's also some like on demand. So you can do in pajamas in your bed with tea on a Sunday morning. That's like an hour of information about like what's Buy now pay later. What's an eye bond? What's Robinhood like, you can just learn little things like that to help you teach better. And all of this is for free on NGP

Jamila Souffrant 54:19

Oh my gosh, I'm gonna be linking all that in the show notes. And then this is my last random random question. This is this is really random for people listening, but I feel like you talked about this. You shared this online. So do you still sleep in a hammock?

Yanely Espinal 54:34

Yes. Oh my gosh. Okay, so my boyfriend and I have we have an even bigger hammock. We have a double XL caught in Brazilian hammock. But I'll tell you the truth. When we moved to Miami it kind of got a little harder to keep doing the hammock because when we live in our old apartment, we actually put nails right into the nails but like giant hooks right into the walls. And so the hammer hung from one wall to the other wall across our room and then I have it on a YouTube video for everyone to see what the heck you shoot. Talking about, there's a YouTube video with my boyfriend and I where we show it and it's so comfortable. But when we moved to Miami, the apartments are built like they're poured concrete. So it's not the same. You can't like put stuff into the walls. So we had to buy a hammock stand and the hammock stand is like a giant metal U shape that you then hook the hammock into, and I'm not gonna lie, it's a different, it hangs different. So it's hasn't been as comfortable for us. So we like we'll alternate like between like our little mattress and then like the hammock. I felt like I should have given a little preface but yes, your Natalie and her boyfriend, like they didn't have a bed before they just sleep in a hammock. And I was just so

Jamila Souffrant 55:38

perplexed and intrigued by what she said, from where you were like wait. So now we'll have to link the video to the hammock, the hammock video, I'll let you know

Yanely Espinal 55:50

which one it was. But in reality is like actually it started happening because he was having back pain. And he was like looking up on Reddit to every rabbit hole on the internet. And it said the best thing is two things. One is to lie down on the ground like flat on the floor, or like those Japanese cots or like quality Itami mats where they're super thin, so that your back can actually you could get the spinal alignment and you will get rid of that back pain. But the second thing was a hammock. So we tried both of them. He got it to Tommy mattress and a hammock and we ended up just liking the hammock better. It felt like taking a long nap in paradise. And so we just kept it but these days, we definitely go back and forth a bit more. And we have to figure out the comfort with that hammock because that the way it hangs, it's just it's not as it's not as comfortable as

Jamila Souffrant 56:31

they used. I just love it. I love it. All right. Well, you Natalie, thank you so much again, for coming back on the show. I know that this will be a blessing to someone, maybe everyone who listened. So thanks again.

Yanely Espinal 56:41

Thank you so so much fun.

Ad 56:46

Oh, don't forget, we are giving away a copy of this week's guest book. So if you want your chance to win, go to journey to for more details, and make sure you're following me at journey to launch on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Outro 57:03

Don't forget, you can get the episode show notes for this episode by going to journey to Or click the description of wherever you're listening to this. And you can still grab your jumpstart guide for free to help you on your journey to financial freedom by going to journey to If you want to support me and the podcast and love the free content and information that you get here, here are four ways that you can support me in the show. One, make sure you're subscribed to the podcast wherever you listen, whether that's Apple podcasts, that purple app on your phone, your Android device, YouTube, Spotify, wherever it is that you happen to listen, just subscribe so you are not missing an episode. And if you're happening to listen to this in Apple podcasts, rate review and subscribe there. I appreciate and read every single review. Number two follow me on my social media accounts. I'm at journey to launch on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And I love love love interacting with journeys. They're three support and check out the sponsors of this show. If you hear something that interests you, sponsors are the main ways we keep the podcast lights on here. So show them some love for supporting your girl for and last but not least, share this episode this podcast with a friend or family member or co worker so that we can spread the message of Journey to launch. Alright, that's it until next week, keep on journeying journeyers

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