Erick Torres-Gonzalez knew his situation was different from many other teens in Milwaukee, living under one roof with 12 extended family members.
He saw how hard everyone in his family worked, and was no stranger to hard work himself, picking up shifts at a grocery store or working alongside his mother at her cleaning jobs. His family made up for gaps with food pantries and winter jacket giveaways, but the reason for it all was a mystery. Discussions about money with his family just didn’t happen.
“No one wanted to talk about how much money they had and where the money was going. You just knew there was enough to get food on the dining room table.”
Erick was concerned about his family’s future and wasn’t sure how to break free from their financial constraints.
Then along came Money Coach, Erick participated in the SecureFutures’ Money Coach financial mentoring program while attending Ronald Reagan High School. His Money Coach mentor demystified financial concepts and helped Erick put them into practice.
Erick then brought back what he learned to his family. What started as “tough conversations” on a taboo subject soon became teaching opportunities for Erick, ultimately helping his entire family.
“We’ve all moved out of that [small] house. Me and my mom have our house, my aunts and uncles have their house, my grandma has hers. Understanding financial concepts and the system helped us move on and break that generational curse – and turned it into a generational blessing.”
Erick is now a junior at Harvard University and his finances are top of mind, understanding what he can or cannot do based on his budget and long-term financial goals.
He knows financial planning is a lifelong process, and he credits Money Coach and his mentor with giving him the tools to know how to do it.
“If it wasn’t for the mentors teaching us exactly how to create a budget or going step by step over how to open a savings account, I don’t think I would’ve been able to do that on my own.”
There are so many teens like Erick who need the financial knowledge and skills to break the “generational curse.” With your help, we can ensure that every teen has access to financial education and mentorship to secure their financial future.