With SecureFutures, Nathalia is breaking down barriers

It’s a challenging year to be a college student, but Nathalia hasn’t let it slow her down. She’s taking 16 credits as a sophomore at Marquette University, working 20 hours a week, and is already saving for a down payment on her first home.

What put her on the path to such ambitious goals for a 19 year old? Her inspiration is from her parents. Her skills are from SecureFutures.

Nathalia participated in Money Coach, SecureFutures’ financial mentoring program, during her senior year at Carmen HS on Milwaukee’s south side.

“I didn’t really realize how important it is to budget, to save, to pay things on time,” Nathalia said. “After Money Coach, I learned the importance that money has in investing in yourself now and investing in the future.”

Nathalia’s parents immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico more than 20 years ago, and she attributes her drive and determination to their example. She’s seen how much they’ve given to ensure that she has every opportunity to succeed, as well as the challenges they’ve overcome.

“That’s where I get a lot of my motivation from: my parents and their sacrifices,” she said. “There’s been a lot of discrimination that they’ve faced, and they still do face that.”

Studies show that immigrants often lack equitable access to financial institutions and services such as banking and credit. According to recent data from the FDIC, 16.2% of non-citizen households and 24.4% of Spanish-speaking households do not have a bank account, compared to just 5.9% of U.S. born households.

Money Coach and SecureFutures’ other programs aim to break down barriers that block full access to financial knowledge and inclusion. What Nathalia learned in Money Coach about how to understand and manage her finances has impacted not just her own future but her family’s as well. Not only is she able to pay for her education and save for future goals like her first home, she is also helping to support her family now.

“If I hadn’t done Money Coach, I wouldn’t know how to save or budget out my paychecks,” Nathalia said. “The things that I learned allow me to help my family.”

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nathalia was able to draw on the emergency fund that she started during Money Coach to meet some of her family’s immediate needs. She values being able to offer support to the parents who have given her so much.

“In a lot of my low times, they’ve taught me to not give up no matter what,” she said. “What I do, I do for them.”

You can help break down barriers for teens like Nathalia and their families.

When you invest in SecureFutures, you invest in financial inclusion and economic stability for our communities. Give today.

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