Chingona Revolution is hosted by Erika Cruz, a rebel who left a 6-figure tech job to pursue her own unconventional path to success by following her passion that led to her purpose. Every week, Erika will bring out of you that BADASS LATINA through her experiences to overcome self-doubt and family expectations and lead with COURAGE.
Most financial educators do not look like us, they do not have the same problems, and they do not share our culture. That’s why this week, we’re introducing you to my good friend, Gigi Gonazález. Gigi is a financial educator who knows what it’s like to be a first-gen Latina and build wealth with our circumstances in mind.
Giovanna “Gigi” Gonzalez is a TikTok influencer, financial educator, and author of Cultura and Cash. During The Great Resignation, she quit her 10-year corporate career to pursue her true passion: teaching financial literacy to young adults. Gigi teaches personal finance and career navigation for First Gen at various organizations and on her TikTok account @thefirstgenmentor. She was named 40 under 40 by the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement, “Latinx to Watch” by Hispanic Executive Magazine, and Top 25 Creator by Fast Company. In her free time, she likes to catch up with her favorite reality TV shows and cuddle with her dog, Bailey.
In this week’s episode, Gigi tells us how her book is revolutionizing financial education for first-gen Latinx. Because our cultural context is an important part of our financial journey. It influences our goals and mindsets and gives us the information we need to build wealth for us and for our community. Tune in to hear more about Gigi’s incredible story and her new book Cultura and Cash.
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Join the waitlist for Courage Driven Latina here.
Erika: Welcome to this week’s episode. We have a juicy interview in store for you today. It is emotional, informative, and inspirational, and this individual is none other than Then my good friend, Giovanna, also known as Gigi Gonzalez, Gigi and I met through TikTok actually before we had ever met in person. And Gigi creates the most incredible content and she’s just such a beautiful soul.
And today is. A special, special day for her. And I’m so honored to have her on the podcast. So let me tell you a little bit about Gigi. And then we’ll get into the interview. So Gigi is a TikTok influencer, a financial educator, an author of cultura and cash during the great resignation. She quit her 10-year corporate career to pursue her true passion.
Teaching financial literacy to young adults. Gigi teaches personal finance and career navigation for first gen at various organizations and on her TikTok account, the first-gen mentor. So make sure that you go and follow her. Gigi was named 40 Under 40 by the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement, Latinx to Watch by Hispanic Executive Magazine, and Top 25 Creator by Fast Company.
Side note, Gigi is also the reason that both Kat Del Carmen and I ended up on the front page of the New York Times because she is the one who gave the reporter, my contact info. So we owe it to her. So not only has she been making an incredible name for herself, she’s helping all of those around her as well.
In Gigi’s free time, she likes to catch up on her favorite reality TV shows and cuddle with her dog, Bailey.
Let’s get into this interview, which is so, so good.
Giovanna, Gigi, welcome to Ch*ngona Revolution podcast. I know that we’ve talked for, I want to say it’s almost a year that we’ve talked about having you on the show. And I really do feel like now is divine timing because today’s a very, very special day. But before we get into what that is. Welcome to the show.
Gigi: How are you? Thank you friend. Oh my God. I miss your face. I’m so happy to see you you know, I see you doing all the things and we’re both busy bees So i’m not surprised we hadn’t had a chance to do this podcast, but i’m so glad we finally made the time Thank you for having me on the show. I love this podcast.
Oh, thank you.
Erika: And you know, we love your work I’m saying we like the community You are really doing
Gigi: Like you’re, you’re living your, your purpose and the beautiful thing about
Erika: like your purpose. And as you know, like I used to talk a lot about purpose. That’s what my group program was, was about before we rebranded to courage.
And the beautiful thing about purpose is like, when you’re living your purpose, your purpose isn’t just for you. It’s also for others. And I feel like you embody that so beautifully. And I want to get into your, your story. I want to get into like how it was that we got here, but it is such a special day.
Can you tell us what’s happening today? Or what has happened
Gigi: today? You’re so sweet today. my debut money book, cultura and cash lessons from the first gen mentor for managing finances and cultural expectations is finally out in the world.
Erika: This is. An act of love from Gigi for us. And I just want to take it back.
Like, I really want to know how, tell us about little Gigi. Tell us about just like, how did you even get into money? What is your money story? How was it talked about in the home? And after you tell us a little bit about that, how did that. Influence the way that you engage with money as an adult.
Gigi: Oh my God.
Um, you know, I’m actually just starting my healing journey earlier this, last year. and I’ve never tapped into my inner child. So before I would tap into my inner child and I, I wasn’t really tapping into her, but now when I get these questions, I really feel it. so I’m much more in tune with it so I can give a very, very honest answer.
So, you know, the narrative I heard about money growing up was always. We don’t have enough of it. So don’t ask us for it. So what did that look like? That always meant that if we were at the store and we wanted like, I don’t know, a little candy or a toy, no, no, that was always the answer, right? Or, if we had a class field trip to go, I don’t know.
An hour away to some event, then we were not able to get money to spend on the field trip. we would just get like five bucks when like our other friends would get like, I don’t know, 20, 30 bucks, 50 bucks to spend. with, there was a scholastic school fair, which came, did it come once? Of month not once a month, maybe once a year twice a year out I think I thought you came twice a year.
I don’t know people remember but I was always excited because you know They would send the catalogs ahead of time and i’m like, oh I want to get that and these stickers and these gel pins And all this stuff and again i’d ask and the answer was always no. So anytime I asked for money I learned The answer was no.
what I also witnessed was my family frequently leaning on each other when it came to emergencies. So if they had a financial emergencies, they didn’t have enough financial security for them to deal with it themselves. So that meant borrowing money or asking money from family or even friends. and this new part is a little harder for me to, to share because I’m very close with my dad.
my dad’s my biggest cheerleader, but I used to work for my dad when I was a teenager. He has, a small, like a brincolina business, you know, like he rents tables and chairs and stuff. So he used to take me with him when I was like 13, 14, to go work with him and lift the stuff and all the things. I did it for about a year and he never paid me.
He never paid me. And he’s like, this is your responsibility. Uh, this is your contribution to the household as you know, the child. And I’m like, all right, that’s fine. But then my brother started working for him, a year later and I stopped working for him and my brother was getting paid. My brother was getting paid a hundred bucks a week.
And I asked my dad, I’m like, dad, how come he’s getting paid? And you never paid me. I asked you to pay me. And he’s like, well, cause he like lifts heavy stuff. Like you didn’t really lift stuff. I’m like, yes, I did. Dad. I got up at six in the morning to like wipe the chairs, like do all this stuff. And he’s like, no, you didn’t.
So he never paid me. He never paid me. And for years he paid my brother. So obviously that like. Machismo, you know, I, I was exposed to it at a very young age and it very much affected how I, I’m sorry, Erica. Yeah, you know, the only reason I’m not crying is because I’m Prozac’d out, girl.
Otherwise, I would be a mess right now, too. If you’re not watching the video like this.
Erika: I’m already like, I’m, I’m tearing up because I relate to you so much. And I’m so sorry that that happened to little
Erika: I’m so sorry. And like, I had so many similar experiences where like my brother just had different treatment than I did.
And it pisses me off to this day. And it’s why we do the work we do
Gigi: now. And we, and we tell our people do not take this shit, right? Because we had to deal with it and we don’t want them to deal with it. So, so yeah, I don’t know that I’ve particularly shared this story on social media yet, but cause I, you know, I’ve been focused on the book and everything, but it’s one that’s coming.
Cause women need to hear this message, especially Latinas. but yes, I mean, all these. affected how I interacted with money as an adult. it definitely led to a scarcity mindset because again, I was always told there wasn’t enough money. So there was definitely a lot of unlearning I had to do there to adopt a mindset of abundance, which is critical as an entrepreneur, which is what I do now working for myself, you will not be a successful entrepreneur if you still have those money wounds where you have that scarcity mindset.
So anybody here that. Is an entrepreneur, please work on your mindset because it’s so important. But, but yeah, with this scarcity mindset, the feeling was like, well, money’s always supposed to be hard. Money will always be a challenge. I will always live paycheck to paycheck because I was my normal. That’s what I saw growing up.
So. When I would get, offers for my corporate jobs, I wouldn’t negotiate because first of all, I didn’t know I was even allowed to, if anything, I was told, you know, to just be grateful and not rock the boat and, you know, have them take the, the, the offer away. and I’ve even actually been actively discouraged from negotiating now that I’m older and I know you’re supposed to negotiate, I will share with my family.
And they’re like, Well, isn’t what they’re offering good enough or aren’t you happy with, you know, so, so again, it’s them because they had more limited options where they literally didn’t have jobs where they couldn’t negotiate. and I learned that from my dad and it’s a very sad story that I did share on socials.
So I have compassion, I have compassion for my family. but it’s like very like misinformed advice for them to, to tell me that. So, so yeah, I eventually realized that I did not want to financially struggle. Like my family had, and I realized that because of, you know, them making the move to the States to give us a better life, like I wanted to honor that and live that better life and not continue the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle.
So I did a lot of work, I read a bunch of books. I had to break a lot of toxic money cycles, adopt different money mindsets. I had to learn how to live frugally, drive an older car, set financial boundaries, a lot of things that my family had never done before to finally build financial security for myself.
Erika: Thank you for sharing that. And thank you for being vulnerable. Because so many people I think like a girl, if you made me cry on the other side of the screen, imagine all the people listening that just like relate to both of that, to both of our stories about, you know, being treated differently because we’re female and Mexican homes are just like Latino homes.
So. Okay, you talked about reading books and things like that. I’m wondering how did you become passionate about personal finance? Was there like a talk you saw? What, like, where was the wake up call to get you to like really become involved in your own, taking ownership of your own financial journey? And Yeah, tell me that first, and then I have a follow-up
Yeah, so, The interest in personal finance very much came from me being sick and tired of struggling with money, you know? Because I felt like, a lot of my twenties were hard, I think, like a lot of people, you know? Because you’re starting life with limited support from family, on an entry-level salary, you don’t know how you’re supposed to navigate corporate politics.
It’s just a lot for a first gen professional. So I struggled a lot financially in my twenties. My twenties were very, very unstable. Even though I was making more money than my, both my parents ever had. My mom works in retail. Again, my dad has this little brincolina business. It’s literally a one, one man shop.
It’s just him. I still wasn’t. Doing well with money. And I’m like, how is this possible? Because I’m making more money than they are. I went to college and that was the whole point to make more money and have a softer life, but I’m still struggling. And that’s when I learned, Oh, it’s because I am not managing my money.
Well, and, the challenges that I had is, you know, I had like. Workplace burnout where I had to keep working because I didn’t feel that I could say no to my boss because I was scared that I would lose my job and I didn’t have any savings because I didn’t know how to build savings or having to stay with a boyfriend that was verbally abusive and again, not having the savings to move out and have an apartment of my own.
So having to stick around longer than I should have or living with A nightmare Craigslist roommate who had like substance abuse issues. And I was worried that she was going to like stab my dog in the middle of the night. Like it was, yeah, there, it was, it was just a lot of ups and downs in my twenties, a lot of bad situations that I couldn’t escape.
And they always led to money. It was always like, if I had savings. If I had more financial security, I wouldn’t have to struggle this much. And that definitely affected my mental health and gave me financial anxiety. So it definitely got to a point where I’m like, what am I doing wrong? Oh, it’s because I’m not managing my money well, let’s learn.
So that’s what very much sparked. The, the passion and the way that I taught myself financial literacy, I self-taught by reading over 50 personal finance books. I rented books or I checked out books from the library. I bought books online. once I started, I just couldn’t stop. I I’m like, I want to master this.
I have a question. Yeah, yeah, go ahead. Were any of those
Erika: books written by somebody who looked like us for
Gigi: us? I know, I knew you were going to ask that. Um, I’m trying to think of, of one. there was one. yeah, there was one at the time, but it was towards the end of my money journey. By that point, I had already mastered it.
And it was, we should all be millionaires by Rachel Rogers. Okay. the rest were mostly white. male, white males, some white women, Jean Chatzky, Susie Orman, but, yeah, if I had to put a number on it, I’d say 95 percent white for sure.
Erika: Wow. Okay. So as humans, you know, I’m sorry. Did, was there anything else you wanted to mention about the
Oh, well, I just wanted to share, yeah, that when I self taught myself financial literacy, I will also, I was like, okay, well, I know it. And now I have a plan and now I know what I’m going to do. But I also had this feeling of like, this is so unfair that some people get access to this information because their parents are able to teach it to them.
And like, my parents were in survival mode and they were brand new to a country. And like, they already had a lot on their plate trying to learn a new language, like dealing with racism in the workplace, like all being away from family, right? Like why would my parents teach me? The how the financial system works in the U.
S. When they have no knowledge of it themselves. Right? So I thought to myself, this is so unfair that not everybody gets access to this information, especially when money affects us all right. It affects what kind of health insurance we have access to where we live, what kind of groceries we can buy everything.
So I looked into ways to share my knowledge, my new. with my community. I literally Googled like how to teach financial literacy to others. And I came across a nonprofit called the YWCA and I volunteered there for almost two years as a volunteer financial educator.
Erika: That’s amazing. And this is all before creating content.
Yep. Okay. Okay. We’re going to get into the content in just a second. So, wow. That’s amazing. Okay. So as, as humans, we have this basic need to like, feel seen, heard, and validated credit to my therapist. Cause she’s the one that always like tells me this. Right. So, and our community has felt. unseen in the financial space until like recent years, right?
With like the work you’re doing and a bunch of other amazing women. Why is it important for us to feel seen specifically with like in the financial space?
Gigi: Oh yeah. Yeah. I had to hear the big side took. It’s so important because for my personal experience. When I only saw white people talking about money, and we touched on this earlier, right?
When you asked me how many of those folks were people that look like us. And I don’t know if I mentioned Rachel Rogers. She’s biracial. She’s half white, half black. So that’s still not a Latina. You know, we have a lot of shared similar struggles, but they’re not identical. Right. but it was still better than the white advice I was getting from all the other authors.
but yeah, I know from personal experience that when I only saw white people talking about money, whether it was. Susie Orman on her TV show or Dave Ramsey on bookshelves. that signaled to me that, financial literacy, financial security was not for me because those people didn’t look like me. So it felt like it was something.
Only white people do, and I didn’t, they weren’t talking about issues that affected the Latino community. So it was just really felt very foreign to me, which meant that I, for a long time, for most of my twenties, I didn’t bother to learn. So what that looked like is I got myself into credit card debt.
I was very passive with my student loan debt. I didn’t prioritize investing. I had no savings. Cause again, I didn’t know it was important. And I kept that paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, even though I had a pretty Decent salary. I had a median salary of 60, 000. So, that’s why I love the phrase, you need to see it to be it credit to whoever came up with that phrase.
That is not my phrase, but, that’s why I’m so proud of myself and all these other amazing women of color, that I’ve met through social media that are taking up space and showing up publicly, to normalize money conversations within our community, because, that’s the only way that. We become engaged, like when you see a curly-haired Latina talking about money and how 401ks are important, you’re like, Oh, maybe I should listen, you know, and, and I’m so proud to be able to do that for my community.
Erika: Beautiful. And so I feel like we’ve already talked about this around this, but you and I have talked about this and I’ve seen it as well on the website for your book about how the first-gen starting line is different than that of our peers. So tell us what you
Gigi: mean by that. Yeah, so that’s actually a whole chapter of the book and that’s actually the chapter, the first chapter, but basically the cliff notes of that is it’s very important for Latine, Latinos, first-gen Latinas, whatever you want to call us, right?
Whatever you identify with to understand that our money experience is very different than our peers. And the reason it’s important is because We’re behind in the race to financial security compared to others. And I hope that by unveiling that you are then motivated. To get with the program and catch up because we can’t catch up, but you have to be intentional and the way that I expose that we have, you know, a different starting line.
I actually do it through three archetypes once called privileged patty. The other one is called Average, you’re going to love it, Average Amy. And the last one is called First Gen Gina. So you’ll basically see the money experiences of those three characters and you’ll learn how money growing up or money in their college experience or even money as adults.
is very different than ours. And what that looks like is, you know, we didn’t get the financial education that a lot of these other people got the privilege of receiving at an early age again because our parents lived in survival mode and maybe their families a little bit more established and entrenched in the U.
S. Financial system. So they’re able to talk to their kids about what this is, what a checking account is. Oh, you got a new job. Make sure to sign up for your 401 K, right? All these important discussions. In addition to that, we also do not receive generational wealth. Like a lot of these people, I thought that only the one-percenters were the ones that received generational wealth, but, I’ve learned that even the typical white middle-class American receives some sort of inheritance or support in paying for college.
And that’s a huge leg up in life because the rest of us have to get ourselves into debt to achieve all these milestones. So we’re already behind, like I said, and then. I was gonna say, we also have, we also have additional increased family obligations that these other families don’t do, you know, privileged Patty and the average Amy’s, you know, their family supports them with money For the down payment for their first home or they help them pay for their wedding.
And for, or if the, you know, somebody passes away, old grandma Gertrude passed away. They get an inheritance of 10 K we’re like for us, like bitch, what inheritance? Like when my grandmother, who I love dearly, when she passes away one day, like I’m not going to get 10 K I’m not going to get anything, you know, if anything, we’re going to be heartbroken.
Cause we lost a matriarch in our family and we’re also going to be expected to pitch in for the burial costs. Yeah. So it’s just a very, a very different experience. and it needs to be acknowledged because, again, when we understand that we have unique money struggles, we’re more proactive about our money journey.
Erika: I love the archetypes. As soon as you started describing those, I got chills like all over my body. I had this physical reaction and I think it’s because it wasn’t until Like shortly after the pandemic that I really started to take investing a little bit more serious. And I started to really look at my own financial journey.
And the more that I get into it, the more I’m like, Oh man, like if I ever have children, like these kids are going to be set, right? Like just think about, yeah, the generations that are going to, going to come after us with like, I think you have like nieces and nephews. Or just yeah, yeah, just like the education that they get to learn from you right and like I have nieces and nephews as well and just like I was feeling I was recreating a solo 401k because then my business can contribute and then I can contribute as an individual and I had to do the beneficiaries.
So I put my niece and nephew on there and I’m like, these kids are going to be set.
Gigi: So as you were talking about like, so the
Erika: archetypes are so perfect. Cause you’re right. Like not only is there like the inheritance and generational wealth, but like the education and just the knowledge of knowing how to manage the money.
So how does your book go through that and cash support our community and taking charge of our financial journey. And one of my favorite, like. Phrases on your site is that, you know, it’s like without the
Gigi: jargon, I take a lot of pride in sharing financial knowledge without sounding like a finance bro. And you know, people may not know this about me, but I am a finance bro.
I worked in investment management for seven and a half years. I have a certification in investment performance measurement. So I had to learn all these. technical terms for my career. but I know that using that language with our community is very intimidating and can sometimes make people feel small and they’re like, Oh, I don’t get it.
So it must not be for me. So I take the time to translate. these very difficult terms into something more accessible that feels easier for people to understand. And that was a big focus throughout the entire book as I was writing it. And I would catch myself doing the technical hard terms. And I’m like, nope, rephrase it.
Try to think of like a metaphor or something. and it’s hard. It’s definitely a skill and not everybody can do it. and, and I 100% percent believe it’s a way to gatekeep information from people that need it. You know, these people that use the jargon, they’re trying to like flex something. Oh, I know these terms, I know those terms too, but I don’t have to use them to explain and help you understand money.
so yeah, so the way that my, that my book supports our community is again, instead of. All these other white authors that go straight into the ABCs of how to budget, how to build credit, all these things. I’ve, the first two chapters are very much dedicated to our cultura and our experience, because again, you need to acknowledge and understand that it’s different.
Once we’ve accomplished that, then I can tell you the ABCs. So again, the first chapter is understanding that we do have a different starting line through those three archetypes. Second chapter is called how our cultura affects our money experience and oof that one is a hard one It was a hard one to write and all my beta readers people that got access to the book before They said that one hit hard because there’s no other book in existence that i’ve read at least that talks about some of these issues of some of these toxic money habits that are so normal in the Latina community, but that really hold us back in our financial journey.
So, I do very much a deep dive into that. And then once I’ve done that, then I go into, more practical and actionable money tips. And, I’m like, well, how do you teach money in a book? Because you really can’t teach. All the things in one book, like it took me 50 books, you know, so I knew it wouldn’t just be one book.
So I said, how can I make an impact? And I’m like, okay, I’m going to focus on the first gen five is what I created for my framework. And these five. pillars in financial education are the ones that if you focus on as a first gen Latina, they will make the biggest difference in building financial security, real estate, crypto, all of this stuff.
You can learn it later, but the first gen five are very easy. They teach you how to build savings. How to pay off debt, how to build credit, how to invest, and I always forget the fifth one, Jesus Christ. You have to read the book, but there’s, there’s five. Investing, credit, budgeting, did I already say debt?
Yes. Okay, yeah. Oh, not in this course, but initially you did. Yeah, yeah. So there’s, there’s five. Again, I’m sorry. I forgot. I should definitely should memorize them. But, but basically that I teach you the basics of those so that you can build a strong, solid financial foundation. And the reason that these first gen five are helpful is because they take care of past you.
So for example, past you is debt. and then future you is investing, having saving and then having savings as current you. So if something happens to you right now, you need savings right now. You need an emergency fund right now. So, so it’s a holistic approach to money, which I’m very, very proud of. I
Erika: cannot wait.
So I just got the book, so I cannot freaking wait or else I would have told you what the fifth one was. So
Gigi: one of the
Erika: quick things I want to mention is that you. you know, as we were talking about, like, a jargon-free book, you do such a good job in your content already in breaking things down and making it simple.
And that’s why, like, your page is totally blown up. So I cannot wait to read the actual book because, like, if you do such a good job in your content, I, like, this book is going to change. So many lives, like, I just want to take a moment to acknowledge, like, this all started off as just an idea, right, and you have received a grant from TikTok to write this book, and now, like, you have the freaking book out today, like, Have you ever thought to say, like, the people who are reading this book now, it’s not even just changing their lives, it’s changing the trajectory of the generations that come after them.
That is massive, Gigi.
Gigi: I know, and I say that throughout the book, to keep the reader motivated, like, by you implementing these steps, not only are you helping yourself, But future generations and also past generations, like if you want to support your, your aging parents or siblings, right? So it’s, it’s not just about you, you know, we’re very communal.
So, so yeah, I know that our people are, are very interested in, in, in being trailblazers. We’ve been trailblazers on everything else, you know, so trailblazers with our money too. Exactly,
Erika: exactly. So you just shared with us that you were working in finance and I know that you quit your corporate job to be a full time content creator.
I think, were you still, whenever we virtually met, because we met through TikTok, were you still working? Had you quit yet? I had quit. Okay, so was it the finance job? That was the job you left, right?
Gigi: Yeah, in investment management. Okay,
Erika: so you left that job to be a full-time content creator. Can you tell us about the moment you made that decision?
And I’m sure it was accumulation of a lot of different things, but like, how did you have the courage to leave? a corporate job to become a full-time
Gigi: content creator. I was kind of forced to quit because, of the kind of job that I have in investment management, which is a very regulated industry. You have to get written approval for any outside compensation, outside of your nine-to-five with them.
So I submitted a request saying that I wanted to teach financial literacy classes in my community and it was immediately denied. It said it was a legal and a reputational risk. So I was not approved to do that kind of work. yeah, girl. And you know, I actually, my initial reaction was like, okay, I guess this is where this TikTok thing ends.
And I’m so fricking thankful that I had friends, family, even my, my spouse that were like, Hold on Giovanna like I think there’s something here. Yeah, like what I’m like, because I actually really like my job So for me, I wasn’t about to quit my job because I like my job. I liked my day-to-day I like my boss.
I finally had like a good boss and a good work culture Through my 20s. I really struggled with my career. So I was finally at a workplace where I felt good about my career Yeah, so it wasn’t an easy decision. But thank God that I had friends. I literally pulled me by the ear. Oh my god Yeah, they were like Not that you’ve always played it safe, this is the first time that you are financially secure.
You have, they’re like, you have savings, right? And I’m like, yes. And then like, if you have savings, you can take a risk and if it doesn’t work, go back to your old job, you know? Yeah. So, it was a very hard decision because like I said, I, I, it’s, it’s easy when you hate your job and you have a toxic boss.
Totally. You’re, yeah. You’re like, screw it. I’m outta here. I’m gonna build my own business. But when you actually like what you do, it’s harder. but I also had the privilege, of having savings and I shouldn’t, I don’t know if I should call it privilege because I’ve been, you know, doing a lot of work to build savings.
I moved from very expensive Southern California to Phoenix to save money. I was living very frugally, clipping coupons. So it took a lot of work and dedication to build those savings to be able to take that leap. But it was a pretty quick transition. Basically I started TikTok in March of 2021 and I quit in June of 2021.
Wow, three months later. Yeah,
Erika: the power of social media and the power of when you have like valuable information for the right group and the right audience and community. Yes, our community was thirsty
Gigi: for this. But also the community that encouraged me to explore this.
Erika: Yes. Yeah. I think if, you know, I, I’ve been asked, like, if you could go back and just change like one thing from when you were just getting started, what would it be?
And I would say community sooner. Right. Cause like for people like, I think community is just so beautiful. They remind you of who you are when you’ve forgotten, like they remind you of your power when you have forgotten your own power. And I like, this is a perfect example of your story right now.
Gigi: Thank you.
You’re so sweet. Thank you. So. You have
Erika: a really
Erika: endorsement for your
Gigi: book. Tell us who it is. I know. And it’s finally public knowledge today. I’ve been holding this in my back pocket for a long time, but I had to wait for the right time, which is today publishing day to share. I’m proud to share that, that my book it’s actually been endorsed by a lot of wonderful women that I admire and respect, but with the main one being the amazing Eva Longoria, the
Thank you. Yeah. Yeah. Damn. Especially. I know. And you know, a lot of people respect Eva because she’s a big player in our community. I mean, I have adored this woman. I felt I first started liking her when she was Gabby Gabrielle Solis in Desperate Housewives. I don’t know if you watched it back in the day.
I watched every single episode. And then I really fell in love with her when I saw that episode. She went back to college. She went to get her master’s to do Chicano studies. I don’t know if you know that about yes And at this point she was already an A list celebrity. This was after Desperate Housewives So the fact that she went back to school to do Chicano studies because she knew she wanted to be an advocate for the community I’m like This woman is amazing.
Like she didn’t have to do that. She could have just kept rubbing elbows with like the rich and elite and knock and turned her back on us. But she really wanted to educate herself on our issues to be able to really make an impact in the community. So, yeah, I’ve, I’ve adored this woman for 15 years. And the, the fact that she endorsed my book, that she knows I exist, it’s just.
I can’t believe it. I can’t believe this is my life. Tell us about the moment
Erika: when you learned, cause I remember you and I talked about this and you’re like, I’m trying to get it, like, to happen. And whenever I, like, saw your email and it was confirmed,
Gigi: I was, like, jumping for you. How did you react the moment that you found out?
You know what I’m gonna keep it real. Okay, you would think that yeah, I’d be jumping up and down With the endorsement, but there’s more to this. There’s more to this. So, I have actually gotten a Personal video like a minute and a half long video from Eva herself She DM’ed me a video. I don’t know if you ever saw it.
I have to share the story. It’s a whole story time I haven’t had time to share it, but she sent me a video that was like hi Gigi Thanks for being a supporter and she gave me advice like she is a personalized video for me So that was like when I was jumping up. Yeah Yeah, so that was that moment when I found out that I got the endorsement It felt different, and of course I was happy, of course I was grateful, but the reason it felt different is because to get the endorsement, I wasn’t working with Eva directly herself, of course not, she has a whole team, so I was basically dealing with Eva HR services, right?
Eva corporate. Yeah. which their team is wonderful. And I’m so thankful that they helped me get through to her, but there was a lot of vetting. Cause you know, she’s a A list celebrity. She’s not going to lend her name to anybody. So there was a lot of red tape and vetting as there should be. But again, it wasn’t as exciting as like directly hearing from her and getting a video.
So, so yeah, so again, it was a little anticlimactic, but, still super, super thankful and grateful. And I understand why the vetting has to happen. I’m a businesswoman too.
Erika: Yeah. And thank you for sharing that because sometimes like from the outside looking in, like people are probably just like, Oh my gosh, like she’s so lucky.
But you you’re sharing like the realness that comes from like. That experience of dealing with an A list celebrity who like we respect and love and we totally understand from being business owners why this is happening, but you’re sharing like the human experience as well of what actually happens there.
Gigi: Yeah, no, and she obviously if she could do it, she would because she’s a sweetheart and she sent me a DM, but this, this woman is booked and busy more than you and I combined. I know. So she has our team handle her stuff, you know, but, but they were fantastic to work with, but yeah, it was just a different experience than a personalized video.
Yeah. It’s kind of, it’s kind of hard to top a personalized video from your idol. You know?
Erika: Yes. Yes. Okay. Well, I want, I want to like. Tell people where to get your book, how they can connect with you. But you mentioned something earlier that I wanted to come back to. I think it was like the second question.
You said, you said a term that I hadn’t heard before, which is crazy. Cause now I’m like, have I heard it? But you said financial anxiety. And like, is this something that you talk about in the book or just something that you’ve experienced or something that you’ve seen within the Latina community?
Because I think that there’s like overall anxiety, right? Like both of us, I think being business owners, I really believe that being a business owner is like the biggest healing journey you could go on. Cause like depression, anxiety, like all the mental health stuff’s going to come up. But you specifically talked about financial anxiety and I think our community struggles with it so much.
So can you tell us a little bit more about what
Gigi: that is? Yeah, so I do bring it up I think three times throughout the book. I don’t, I am not an expert in this because the people that are expert in this are people that are financial therapists that are licensed to talk about this. I didn’t even know that was a job!
Yes, girl. Yeah, there’s very few of them, but they exist. Yeah, so they’re trained in helping people heal through their money trauma. Wow. So again, if you’ve been unhoused, if you’ve experienced food scarcity, if your parents were laid off and that was like a very traumatic time in your childhood, like that creates money wounds and that affects how you interact with money as an adult.
We form our relationship to money as early as the age of seven. Can you believe that? So that’s why it’s so important to examine what did I see growing up because what may have seemed normal to you and may not be normal right after you kind of uncover that in therapy or in community with others. So yeah, I’ve experienced financial anxiety myself.
not so much as a child because fortunately we never, you know, even though we didn’t have a lot of money, we never went without food. Thank God. Nothing like that. but as an adult in, in my twenties, when I was trapped in these bad situations with the bad roommates, that’s where I had the financial anxiety.
Cause I would like in a bank account, I had 300 bucks and I’m like, this isn’t enough to move out. I’m stuck here. You know? And it would give me a lot of anxiety in my chest that affected my sleeping, my mental health. I started getting hives. all that, those fun symptoms of anxiety. so yeah, it’s, it’s very common, unfortunately.
So I do sprinkle it throughout the book where I say, Hey, this is how it manifests. If this resonates with you, please seek the support of a mental health therapist who can help you heal your relationship with your money.
Erika: Wow. Okay. Thank you for sharing that. I didn’t realize that we form a relationship with money as early as seven years old.
Gigi: That’s a fact. You just like blew my mind. Okay. I’m so glad I asked that. Okay. That’s why it’s important. Yeah. That’s why it’s important to examine your relationship from an early age. Yes. Of what you remember. Yeah. Yeah. Because you can have the best education, financial education in the world, but if you still have that like hurt.
Yeah. Yeah. And I, and I know it personally, girl, I’ll tell you my husband, my husband, you know, my husband had the best, hello, me, the best financial educator that he could have. Cause he didn’t know no money. So I taught it to him. I taught him everything that I know and he learned. But he still wasn’t able to execute.
And we found out through therapy, it was because his parents used to fight a lot about money when he was a little kid. Wow. So all he remembers is like being scared of them fighting. My, my husband is very introverted. So that really affected him deeply. These fights, these adults that were fighting in front of him about money.
So that’s why he’s always avoided it. And even though he had good. He still wasn’t able to execute and move forward with his finances until he uncovered that in therapy. Wow.
Erika: Thank you for sharing that. Yeah. So important. Okay. Where can people buy your
Gigi: book? You’re so sweet. you can buy my book at all major online book retailers, or, it’s easier if you just visit my website, Cultura and Cash.
com because I have linked. Amazon, bookshop. org, Barnes and Noble, those links are all there. So just go to culturaandcash. com. You can also request it from your local library and they will order it for you or request it from your local bookstore. Amazing. And we will
Erika: have the link to your book website down below.
Gigi: you also have a something
Erika: free for the audience. Can you tell us what that is? And we’ll also be sure to link that down below in the show notes.
Gigi: Yeah, yeah. So, so it’s a free guide and it’s actually very nice and very nice like complimentary to the book. It’s a 10-step guide about how to talk to your parents about their retirement drama-free y con cariño.
And, the reason that I created this resource is because I know that that’s very much a struggle for our community that a lot of us struggle with. feel like our parents retirement plan or that we feel that we have to provide some sort of financial support in some way. And again, there can be a lot of anxiety about what’s expected of me.
Am I going to have enough money? Are my parents going to have to work till they’re 90? Right. So it’s a guide. That gives you some structure so that you can start having these discussions in a productive way instead of being told, no sala de enero, or right now it’s not the right time. You know, so I kind of give you guidance on how to face those objections and slowly make progress towards making sure that they have a stable financial future when they’re older, when it matters the most really, you know, they work so hard and you want them to live well and not be You know, panicking about money at that age.
Erika: Yes. And where can people, connect with you on social media?
Gigi: Yeah. So, yeah. So if I’m actually really active on TikTok, Instagram, and LinkedIn, all my socials are linked on my website as well as a free guide that I just mentioned. and my website is thefirstgenmentor. com. Amazing.
Erika: So I want to invite everybody listening.
If you took anything away from this podcast interview, take a screenshot. Share it on Instagram, on LinkedIn, wherever it is that you spend time and go get Gigi’s book. And also take a photo of
Gigi: it and share it with your
Erika: community. And if you download the free guide, tell us how that, like, send Gigi a message.
Gigi: Screenshot it, put it in your
Erika: Story so that other people can have access to it as well, y’all, because when we help other people in our community also have access to this, like, you’re also helping to change their lives.
Gigi: Gigi, thank you
Erika: so much. I’m sorry it took us so long to get you on the podcast, but I really feel like this was, like, divine timing.
What a perfect day to have you on. Happy launch day. Congratulations. I cannot wait to see you in person and just like thank you from the bottom of my heart and from our entire community, this labor of love because you are changing so many
Gigi: lives. Thank you so much. You know, it was really hard through several parts of the writing process because I had health issues.
You know, I had. a hysterectomy halfway through the writing process. And I had a very, very bad anxiety this summer. So there were a lot of times that I did feel like giving up, you know, I kind of felt like, Oh, I already know this information. Like, why do I have to write a book on this? But, thank God I had invested in a book coach that kept me accountable.
and helped me kind of get back on the horse and reminded me of why I wanted to accomplish this goal to make an impact in others lives. So, the same to you, I want to give you your flowers because you empower people to do the same as a coach, you know, to, to make the positive changes that there, there’s so many people that are stuck, right?
They’re stuck. And then they see you thriving, you’re beautiful, living your dream life. And that’s so inspiring to us. And we need to see more Erica’s, you know, doing the thing so that we can be it. So that we can be it, you know, so I’m, I’m very thankful for our friendship and for all that you’ve accomplished as well, Miss New York Times.
But that was thanks to you! It’s No, that was all you. It’s back over there somewhere. Yeah, that was I love
Erika: it. Yeah, but you made that intro and you always are always looking out for people in your community. And that’s like what I love about you so much. Obviously, your whole page is all about, you know, helping empower the community through finances.
But you don’t just do that. Like, me being your friend, you have connected me with so many amazing women and spoken so highly of me in rooms that I’m not in. And like, I want everybody listening. Like, if your friends are not rooting for you, Like you need new friends. You really do. Because people like Gigi exist, people like me exist, and there’s nothing more beautiful than having an aligned community around you.
Because like, even just what Gigi mentioned, right? With like, she was about to quit TikTok to stay at her job, and like, we would not be here right now
Gigi: if it wasn’t for her community. Yes. Yeah. And I would not have finished my book if I hadn’t invested in a book coach that cared about me and my mission. So, so yeah, it’s important to draw on community, higher support when you need it, because sometimes we can get stuck.
That’s just a part of being human. Exactly,
Erika: exactly. Gigi, I cannot wait to hug you. the next time I see you, I love you so much and I’m sending you a virtual hug and, we will definitely have to bring you back on the podcast to talk about your book writing process because I know a lot of people want to write
So we’ll be in touch for that. I’m so happy to share. I’ve, I’ve learned so much about the publishing industry and I want to make this information accessible the same way that I make financial education accessible because the publishing world is so freaking archaic, so whitewashed, and I want Latinas to have an easier time navigating the publishing industry than I did.
So yes, I would love to come back on and share all my insights on publishing and the book writing process for sure. Beautiful. Thank you so much. Thank you, Erika.