Have You Considered a Career in Finance?

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Everyone knows there’s money to be made in the financial services field. But there are many more reasons to consider a career in finance.

The industry offers diverse opportunities, a fast-paced environment, and lots of room for advancement. Are you creative and do you like to learn? Professionals in finance are constantly innovating—quick thinking, rigorous analytical thought, and consistent results are what will get you promoted. If this sounds like a good fit for you, consider these job titles (and their salaries!).

Asset Manager

Annual salary: $125,000

Employment projected to grow 19 percent by 2026

Asset managers are responsible for the financial health of an organization. They produce financial reports, direct investment activities, and develop strategies and plans for the long-term financial goals of their organization.

Actuary

Annual salary: $101,560

Employment projected to grow 22 percent by 2026

Actuaries analyze the financial costs of risk and uncertainty. They use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to assess the risk of potential events, and they help businesses and clients develop policies that minimize the cost of that risk.

Personal Financial Advisor

Annual salary: $90,640

Employment projected to grow 15 percent by 2026

Personal financial advisors provide advice on investments, insurance, mortgages, college savings, estate planning, taxes, and retirement to help individuals manage their finances.

Budget Analyst

Annual salary: $75,240

Employment projected to grow 7 percent by 2026

Budget analysts help public and private institutions organize their finances. They prepare budget reports and monitor institutional spending.

Accountant or Auditor

Annual salary: $69,350

Employment projected to grow 10 percent by 2026

Accountants and auditors prepare and examine financial records. They ensure that financial records are accurate and that taxes are paid properly and on time. Accountants and auditors assess financial operations and work to help ensure that organizations run efficiently.

Source: bls.gov

3 easy ways to meet your 2020 money goals

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latina woman sitting at desk with checkbook and paperwork

Chances are your goals for 2020 will include everything from becoming more physically fit and sleeping better to achieving new career ambitions and becoming financially healthier.

So how do we avoid these goals turning into empty promises? And when it comes to your money, what is actually realistic? There is no one-size-fits-all model for financial wellness. Instead, it’s about starting where you are, setting goals that drive behavior change, and ultimately following through.

Here are three things that you can do today to improve your financial future.

Cut unnecessary spending

Most of us have unnecessary expenses that we can cut. The trick here is to find a few expenses that you can live without that don’t negatively impact your happiness. For example, I need to be well-caffeinated during the day, and I enjoy a nice glass of wine after work, so obviously I’m not going to cut my coffee or alcohol budget. My friends, colleagues, and husband can thank me later.

That said, I enjoy running outside, and I have used my gym membership exactly once in three months. It’s time for that membership to go. In that vein, think of all of your expenses that are well-intentioned, but you’re not using. Or identify a free alternative, such as using audiobook subscription services or library apps instead of buying books. There are great services out there that identify your recurring payments. First, check with your bank to see if they do it, and make a goal to cut a few of those if you can.

And it’s not just the small stuff. The neighborhood you live in, public versus private school for kids, and whether you can cook (as opposed to eating prepackaged or takeout food) all have a significant impact on your finances.

Consider a side hustle

It’s never been easier to take on a side hustle. Getting started can be as easy as decluttering your closet and selling items you no longer use on eBay, driving for ride-share services such as Uber or Lyft, or putting your skills to work as a freelancer. While I don’t recommend it, dumpster divers are even seeing success selling stuff on Amazon.

The beauty of a side hustle is you can spend as much–or as little–time and money as you have. What matters is that you pick something that works with your schedule, skills, and maybe even a passion that you’ve ignored for too long. The key here is to be intentional. Use the extra money to accelerate debt reduction, or save for a down payment on a home to get out of the rental cycle.

Another often-overlooked side hustle is getting more money from your current employer. If you haven’t received a raise in a while or are killing it in your current role, consider asking for more money. Just make sure you are asking the right way.

Automate where you can and commit to cash

Good financial hygiene is crucial to your financial health, and this means avoiding late fees, overdraft charges, and other penalties. Where possible, automate any and all recurring monthly expenses, such as your mortgage, utilities, and cell phone expenses. Late fees add up and impact more than just your bottom line.

And although it may seem crazy, try committing to cash. Studies have shown that when we have to pull out cash to pay for groceries or other daily expenses, we’re more careful about how much we spend. Set yourself a challenge. Commit to using cash for a short period of time and see how it feels. You may be surprised by how much less you spend.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

For Latinos the Definition of What Makes a Family is Broader and More Likely to Include Very Close Friends

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Family and friends sitting at a dining table

A new nationwide survey conducted by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) concludes that for Latinos love is the top word that sparks the meaning of family and almost the majority (72%) include close friends in their definition of family.

This study examines how has the definition of family evolved over the years. Surprisingly, there were more similarities than differences regardless of age, parental status, ethnicity, race, gender identity, orientation or sibling status.

“Usually when you span such a broad consumer group, you find more differences than similarities,” said Lorie Valle-Yanez, head of diversity and inclusion, MassMutual. “But when it comes to the topic of one’s family, while everyone is different, at the root of it, it’s about the people we love.”

Key Findings:

  • Nontraditional is the new traditional. Their most trusted individual is someone not related by blood, adoption or marriage, said 77% of Latinos.
  • Tell someone you trust. From passwords to insurance policies to financial accounts, almost half of Latinos (41%) trust their spouse, partner or significant other with information about the whereabouts of their most important documents.  Furthermore, 33% of Latinos believe their spouse, partner or significant other will take care of them when they are older.
  • Leave your mark. Nearly half of Latinos (48%) occasionally think about their legacy or how they want to be remembered.
  • Dream big. For most (62%), future hopes and dreams was the most talked about topic at home when growing up, beating out discussions about going to college, financial situation and challenges, and physical, emotional and spiritual health and wellness.
  • Got my mind on my money and my money on my mind. Money matters is the top distraction (53%), concern or stressor Latinos face while working, followed by medical care, personal relationships and daily household management.

To find a local financial advisor near you, visit www.MassMutual.com.

Methodology

The MassMutual Chosen Family Consumer Poll was conducted by PSB Research in June 2019 via an online survey which revealed American’s evolving definition of family.  The survey comprised 3,000 interviews and polled 478 Americans who identified themselves as Latinos.

About MassMutual

MassMutual is a leading mutual life insurance company that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policyowners. MassMutual offers a wide range of financial products and services, including life insurance, disability income insurance, long term care insurance, annuities, retirement plans and other employee benefits. For more information, visit www.massmutual.com.

Does a Career in Finance Pay Off?

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desk with laptop, phone and pencil holder

Often requiring long hours and grueling days at the office, finance remains one of the highest-paying sectors in the U.S. economy.

Those who stick with it are rewarded with high pay and typically shorter hours as they move up the ranks in the industry.

If you’re looking for a high-paying career, browse through the following list:

Finance Jobs with the Highest Salaries

Investment Banker–
$81,000–$183,000
Investment bankers have a wide range of responsibilities that touch many areas of the financial industry. In general, investment bankers raise money for their clients by issuing debt or selling equity in companies for their clients. They also advise clients on investment opportunities and strategies, as well as assist with mergers and acquisitions. Typically requiring long hours and a strong work ethic, aspiring investment bankers must be tenacious in their approach to the job.

Equity Analyst–
$64,000–$164,000
Equity analysts are typically employed by brokerages or financial firms to analyze the value of a company’s stock and make financial predictions about a company. This type of research is accomplished through numerical and qualitative analysis of financial data, public records of companies, recent news and other information sources.

Financial Analyst–
$49,000–$89,000
Like equity analysts, financial analysts use quantitative and qualitative methods to study the performance of investments, such as stocks, bonds and commodities to provide investment guidance to businesses and individuals. Financial analysts also may advise companies on their financial strategy decisions.

Credit Risk Manager–
$67,000–$134,000
Credit risk managers develop, implement and maintain policies and protocols that help to reduce the credit risk of financial institutions. Their duties include building financial models that predict credit risk exposure as well as monitoring and reporting on credit risk to the organizations they are employed by. A highly quantitative job, becoming a credit risk manager often requires an area-specific master’s degree.

Director of Financial Planning and Analysis–
$113,000–$175,000
The director of financial planning and analysis is typically in charge of creating and overseeing budgets, long-term financial plans, analyses and predictions for a financial organization or team. This role often requires an MBA or degree in accounting or finance, and sometimes it is required that employees in this role are certified as an accountant.

Financial Freedom for Millennials: A Bucket List

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millennials discussing finances

By Molly Barnes, Digital Nomad Life

The 2007 movie “The Bucket List” told the story of two terminally ill men seeking to finish out all the things they’ve always wanted to do but never completed. The duo set out on their adventure with the intention to fulfill all their dreams before they “kicked the bucket.”

While most people associate bucket lists with experiences, you can apply the same concept to personal finance matters, as well. Essentially, you list all the things you need to accomplish in your financial life and then start making moves to get them done. According to financial experts, people should start to tick off money-matter items on their lists while they are still in their 20s and 30s. With this strategy, they’ll achieve financial freedom sooner than later because they’ve set themselves up for a less stressful future as they reach retirement age.

At this point, retirement probably seems a million years away, but now is the time to start thinking wisely when it comes to money. Check out our financial bucket list for millennials.

1. Live with roommates

Most millennials want to move out of their parents’ home but can’t always afford to do it. Why forego and miss out on the pleasures of autonomy you can enjoy living on your own? Get some roommates instead to help share housing costs.

When seeking roommates, always be smart and keep safety in mind during the selection process. Everyone, especially women, should stay away from listings on Craigslist and other platforms that don’t fully vet the people out who post these listings.

Once you’ve got your roommates in the house, aside from the financial savings you’ll enjoy by splitting the rent, you can make some great memories — or at least accumulate a few great stories to someday tell your family and friends.

2. Move to an affordable city

Sure, New York is the city that never sleeps, and Los Angeles sees a lot of action, too —but these cities are incredibly expensive to live in. Instead of struggling (even with the help of roommates) in an expensive city, consider relocating to a more affordable city with a lower cost of living. Kansas City, for example, is not only affordable, but it also offers plenty of great job opportunities and even boasts some of the shortest commuting times in the country.

3. Downsize and sell some stuff

We live at a time minimizing is en vogue, especially for millennials. Aside from being a trendy thing to do, selling off possessions you no longer need or want can net you some serious cash. Try selling clothes, unused gift cards, old electronics and gadgets, pretty much anything.

If you have old toys, video games, or other nostalgic items you don’t necessarily want to hang onto anymore, try selling these too. You’d be surprised at how well nostalgia sells! Set up an account on eBay (or another preferred platform) and get selling. Then take that money and save it or invest it so it grows.

4. Learn thrifty shopping habits

Even if you’re aiming to downsize, there will still be stuff you need. Instead of paying full price for new items, learn the art of thrifting by shopping at places like Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Habitat for Humanity resale stores. You can find great deals on everything for the home from kitchen necessities to furniture, along with personal items, too, such as clothing and accessories.

Other ways to save on shopping are to watch for sales, try extreme couponing, and follow discount sites such as Groupon for deals on things you want to buy. Also check out Craigslist and Freecycle to find freebies in your neighborhood.

5. Make a few investments

While making habitual changes can go a long way toward achieving financial freedom, you’ll want to find other ways to increase your bank account. Why not try purchasing some stocks and seeing what happens? Some online brokerage sites let users start buying with as little as $100 and make trades for $5. You can buy small amounts and see if you can aggressively make them grow. “Playing the market” is a unique experience that not everybody gets in their lifetime — and watching your stock’s values go up is a thrill.

6. Launch a business

Even if you’re holding down a full-time job, you can launch a business on the side to generate some extra cash and help build your financial future. It could be something as straightforward as buying a property to use as a vacation rental. Or you can build a brand in your spare time, you can market your business by creating a presence on social media and cultivating helpful business relationships. Sign yourself up to attend some trade shows to help establish a name for yourself.

Depending on your line of work, you may need to obtain a license, insurance, or meet other local legal requirements. Be sure to have your ducks in a row and do everything legally. Also, remember that you’ll need to file taxes as a business. An online calculator can help you make the necessary tax calculations.

Achieving financial freedom is a wonderful feeling! The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be that much closer to your ultimate money goals … and then you’ll be able to afford the things on your “other” bucket list.

Understanding Insurance Benefits

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No matter where you are in life, whether you’re just starting your career or nearing retirement, it’s important to understand the voluntary benefits available to you that can complement traditional health insurance.

While health insurance can help cover medical costs in the event of injury or illness, sometimes there are additional expenses your health care plan doesn’t cover. Voluntary benefits, such as life insurance, disability insurance and dental insurance offered by your employer or as portable options through a company like Colonial Life can help bridge the gap should an unexpected event occur.

“Even if an employee has to pay a nominal sum for a voluntary benefit like disability insurance or dental coverage, it can be well worth it,” said Sharlyn Lauby, president of ITM Group Inc., creator of the HR Bartender blog and contributor to Colonial Life’s WorkLife blog. “Think of voluntary benefits as those specialized, personalized extras that make your overall benefits package exactly what you’d like it to be.”

Benefits can be complex, but with the right information about the options available, you can make choices that best fit your lifestyle and budget. Consider these common voluntary options.

Life Insurance

While almost nine out of ten Americans agree most people need life insurance, just 60 percent said they have it, according to LIMRA’s Trends in Life Insurance Ownership study. With benefits typically paid tax free to your beneficiary, life insurance can provide peace of mind and help loved ones pay for funeral costs, cover living expenses, pay off debt, finance future needs and protect retirement plans. Policies are often available through employers, but you may lose the coverage if you change jobs. However, portable policies are also available that allow you to maintain coverage even if you change jobs or retire. To learn how much life insurance protection your family needs, visit worklife.coloniallife.com/calculator.

Disability Insurance

No one usually expects to get sick or injured, however, disability insurance can help protect your income and maintain your lifestyle if a physician determines you’re unable to work due to a covered accident or illness. Common conditions, such as pregnancy and childbirth, heart attacks, strokes, cancer and accidents, make up the majority of disabilities that lead to an inability to work. With short-term disability benefits, you receive financial support for a predetermined amount of time to cover expenses like a mortgage or rent, car payments, utilities and more, so you can focus on recovery.

Dental Insurance

Daily brushing and flossing can help keep your mouth healthy, but that’s not always enough as dental problems can lead to other health problems if left unattended. When you see a dentist for routine appointments and necessary procedures, dental insurance can help reduce the out-of-pocket expense. In fact, among insurance benefits typically provided to employees, 61 percent of workers view dental benefits as important, ranking second after medical insurance, according to LIMRA. Dental insurance provides coverage for regular cleanings and more extensive procedures like fillings, crowns, dentures and tooth removal. Some plans even offer allowances for orthodontic work like braces and retainers.

Accident Insurance

When an accident happens, one of the last things many people want to think about is how they’re going to pay the bills. You can prepare for the unexpected with accident insurance, which provides a lump-sum benefit—based on the injury suffered and treatment received—that can be used to help pay for expenses following an accidental injury, such as doctor bills, co-pays, emergency room fees, transportation, lodging and follow-up care.

Critical Illness Insurance

No matter your age or health status, a sudden illness could significantly impact your financial well-being, and health insurance may not cover everything. When a critical illness such as a heart attack, stroke or major organ failure occurs, major expenses often follow, and critical illness insurance can help off-set costs. In addition to your day-to-day bills, the lump-sum benefit can be used to pay for treatment- and recovery-related expenses including deductibles and co-pays, child care, travel and lodging, gym memberships and out-of-network treatment facilities and procedures.

Source: Family Features Editorial Syndicate

ALPFA’s Damian Rivera: The Power of Your Origin Story

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headshot of Damian Rivera, CEO of ALPHA

The journey from Spanish Harlem to the boardroom has been magical. I have the benefit of being able to look back at my 20+ years as a consultant for Accenture, along with my life growing up, to identify all of the “hard times” as a kid, which have made me successful in the boardroom.

As a Latino managing director in a global Fortune 500 company, I have always given back to my community, from serving on the board of non-profits to leading up Accenture’s Hispanic American ERG for six years. With all the experience I have gained, it is my mission to help others achieve their dreams.

With the opportunity of stepping into the role of CEO of ALPFA, I am honored and humbled to continue the legacy built by our members, countless volunteers, leadership teams from our professional and student chapters, and corporate partners that have made ALPFA what it is today. As I think back to my childhood growing up in Wagner Projects in Spanish Harlem, New York, in the 1980s, I can’t believe that in the same way the Latinx community helped give me opportunities in life, I am now in a position to do the same for others. What makes it even more exciting is I am not alone—I have an extended family of 80,000+ members focused on the same mission.

Everyone has an origin story, but the ability to really understand how your story gives you power is critical for Latinos as we strive to elevate in the corporate world. Hearing stories helps inspire, but knowing how your story gives you strength translates inspiration to action.

So, the question I usually get next is, “How can we learn to better understand our story?” There are four components/activities that I tell people to focus on: (1) Journey Line (2) Value Tree (3) Value Mantra (4) Purpose Framework. I’ll focus on the Journey Line and Value Tree here because they are the most critical. I recommend everyone develop their journey line, which is a drawing of your life, starting at any point going to present day. Your level of happiness is on the y-axis, and time is on the x-axis. As you think back on your life, you will plot out the highs and lows, and it’s in these moments that we learn our lessons of life. The high of highs and low of lows are where we build our character and grow the most. When people take time to develop the line, they start to see all they have accomplished and all they have persevered through to achieve success. Once you have done that, you begin to see the strength you have on paper. This is your origin story; it’s no different than a Marvel comic superhero. Once you have documented your journey line, you realize just as Superman had his hero’s journey, so did you. You may not be able to fly, but you definitely have developed your own version of superpowers in finance, accounting, or blockchain. When people work through this, they often have more confidence because it removes the impostor syndrome issues they encounter. They see their story and realize: I belong in the boardroom!

The second key piece is knowing your values. My values are legacy, opportunity, diversity, justice, courage, fortitude, energy, and industriousness. When people talk about being their authentic self at work, I believe that means sticking to your values. Through a person’s journey he or she will change. Everyone should be evolving as a person, and if you stay true to your value system, then you are being authentic as a leader. Know your origin story, enjoy your hero’s journey, and remember to help others along the way.

Wells Fargo Collaborates with Diverse Chambers of Commerce For Leadership Development Program

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Chamber-Leadership-Alliance-2019

Today an alliance of diverse chambers of commerce, in collaboration with Wells Fargo, launched a new Chamber Leadership  Development Program to support diverse entrepreneurs in the U.S.

The alliance includes the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Black Chambers Inc., the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation.

The diverse business communities represented by the alliance of chambers account for an annual estimated contribution of more than $3 trillion to the U.S. economy. The Chamber Leadership Development Program is aimed at educating and developing leaders of diverse state and local chambers of commerce to support diverse entrepreneurs. The program also will include university partners and will affect more than 400 chamber leaders through innovative programming designed to empower chamber leaders to better serve their local communities of diverse businesses.

“Diverse businesses are growing across the United States,” said Regina Heyward, senior vice president and head of supplier diversity at Wells Fargo. “Through the Chamber Leadership Development Program, Wells Fargo sees an opportunity to strengthen diverse leaders within the small business community and to support local chambers in capacity building.”

In 2019, the program will be offered to chamber leaders at the conferences of each of the alliance of diverse chambers organizations. The first session will be held at the US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation CelebrASIAN Procurement + Business Conference in Houston, Tx, June 4–5. It will be followed by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce International Business and Leadership Conference in Tampa, Fla., Aug. 12–13; the U.S. Black Chambers National Conference in National Harbor, Md., Aug. 19–20; and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce National Convention in Los Angeles, Ca, Sept. 28–29.

In addition to these in-person sessions, there will be two virtual sessions in 2019.

“The Chamber Leadership Development Program is an important step in strengthening our local diverse chambers across the U.S.,” said National LGBT Chamber of Commerce Co-Founder and President Justin Nelson. “With stronger diverse chambers in each city, we are able to provide more opportunity for local diverse business owners, concurrently strengthening local economies and increasing the ability for diverse business owners to scale their enterprises —underscoring our importance to the small business engine that makes the U.S. economy run.”

Ron Busby, U.S. Black Chambers president & CEO, noted, “The Chamber Leadership Alliance develops and empowers diverse chamber leaders while providing unique educational opportunities on how to grow and build their local organizations for the benefit of its small business community members.”

Susan Au Allen, National President and CEO of the US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation, said, “We are proud to be a stakeholder in the Chamber Leadership Alliance, a collaboration spearheaded by Wells Fargo, that addresses critical nonprofit business organization leadership gaps in our diverse business communities. Our shared vision is to cultivate chamber leaders who will become innovators, beacons, and change agents — thus collectively building a framework for sustainable business growth and success for our respective constituents and the wider community.”

Ramiro Cavazos, U.S Hispanic Chamber of Commerce president and CEO said, “The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is proud of our intersectional partnership with other alliance members, and we are excited about the benefits this will bring to all of our members. With sponsors such as Wells Fargo, we reaffirm our its commitment to Hispanic- and diverse-owned businesses to provide resources for our community that are just as timely as they are innovative.”

About the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce
The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) is the business voice of the LGBT community and is the largest global advocacy organization specifically dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people. NGLCC is the exclusive certification body for LGBT-owned businesses, known as LGBT Business Enterprises (LGBTBEs). nglcc.org

About the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.
The U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) provides committed, visionary leadership and advocacy in the realization of economic empowerment. Through the creation of resources and initiatives, we support African American Chambers of Commerce and business organizations in their work of developing and growing Black enterprises. usblackchambers.org

About the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
The USHCC actively promotes the economic growth, development, and interests of more than 4.37 million Hispanic-owned businesses, that combined, contribute over $700 billion to the American economy every year. It also advocates on behalf of 260 major American corporations and serves as the umbrella organization for more than 200 local chambers and business associations nationwide. ushcc.com

About the US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation
Founded in 1984, USPAACC promotes, nurtures and propels economic growth by opening doors to procurement, educational and professional opportunities for Pan Asian Americans and their business partners in corporate America, the federal, state and local governments, and the small and minority business communities in the United States, and the Asia-Pacific and Indian Subcontinent regions. uspaacc.com

About Wells Fargo:
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through 7,800 locations, more than 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 37 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 259,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 26 on Fortune’s 2018 rankings of America’s largest corporations. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.

NGLCC

For additional information, please visit  nglcc.org.

This new credit card helps build a credit score for people who don’t have one

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Petal looks at a person’s overall financial history to issue credit cards to people like immigrants and low-income Americans who often struggle to access them.

In his home country of Ecuador, Andres Mosquera felt pretty good about his finances. Mosquera, who has a master’s degree in business education, had two credit cards with a combined limit equal to around $20,000, and he never had any trouble paying them off. But around nine months ago, the 27-year-old moved to Long Island, New York, with his wife for a job in the insurance industry, and shortly after, they had their first child. Given his strong financial background in Ecuador, Mosquera figured it wouldn’t be too difficult to get a new credit card in the U.S.

That turned out to not be the case. Like many new immigrants, Mosquera quickly learned that his financial track record in Ecuador would not help him in the U.S.; from the perspective of the banks he applied to in New York, he had no credit history. “It was like starting all over again,” he says. To start building credit, Mosquera could only qualify for secured cards, which came with limits of around $200 or $300–nowhere near enough for a flight home, should he need one.

But his Facebook algorithm registered all his searching around on the internet about credit cards, and offered up an advertisement that proved useful: Petal, a new company that connects people with little to no credit history with a line of credit of up to $10,000. Instead of relying on the narrow criteria of U.S. credit scores, the company takes into account a person’s whole financial track record to determine creditworthiness. Mosquera signed up for the card last fall.

For Petal founder Jason Gross, launching the company last fall was all about extending credit to people who have previously been locked out of the system. For immigrants like Mosquera, lack of credit history in the U.S. makes it difficult to access a good line of credit (another company, Nova, is building out a product that would help immigrants bring their credit scores with them from their home country). Low-income people, especially those that are unbanked, often struggle to get approved, even for a low-limit credit card. A study from the U.S. Federal Reserve found that only 42% of people earning less than $25,000 per year have a credit card. Also, the fees attached to mainstream credit cards can be prohibitive: High interest rates on balances not paid off at the end of the month, as well as annual and overdraft fees, often end up adding to their financial pressures.To enable people to receive a line of credit without a traditional credit history, Petal analyzes a combination of factors: regular payments like rent (which New York State is working to incorporate into credit scoring), checking account cash flow, or history with prepaid debit cards or secure credit cards, like the ones Mosquera used when he first moved to the U.S. “People with no credit history in the U.S. are often treated like they have bad credit history,” Gross says. Petal’s approach aims to expand the criteria used to assess a person’s ability to manage a line of credit.

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

November is National Scholarship Month NOW is the time to start applying for scholarships

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SALT LAKE CITY–TFS Scholarships is the most comprehensive free online resource for higher education funding connecting students to more than 7 million scholarships representing more than $41 billion in aid.

It was founded in 1987 after Richard Sorensen’s father, an inner-city high school principal, bemoaned the lack of good scholarship resources for his students.

High school seniors now applying for college should also be applying for scholarships, according to Richard Sorensen, an expert with more than 30 years experience helping students find scholarships.

“College bound students should spend four to five hours a week looking for scholarships, starting in the fall of their senior year,” says Sorensen, President of TFS Scholarships. “They should think about finding scholarships like it’s a part time job.”

A scholarship, unlike a student loan, is free money and should always be the first place students look for help in funding their college education. The majority of the scholarship opportunities featured on the TFS Scholarships website come directly from colleges and universities, rather than solely from competitive national pools, thereby increasing the chances of finding scholarships.

“There are new scholarships posted on the site every month, each with different deadlines and time frames,” says Sorensen. “There is plenty of aid out there and a lot of it goes untouched. If a student is diligent, they’ll find it.”

TFS Scholarships also posts a new scholarship opportunity every day on its Twitter, Facebook and Instagram social media accounts (@TFSscholarships), making it easy to find new scholarship opportunities. “We call it ‘The Scholarship of the Day,’” says Sorensen. “Most of the scholarships are available for all students so if a student or their parents follow us, they will have the opportunity to apply for more than 300 scholarships every year from this source alone.”

TFS takes it a step further, digging deeper into localized scholarships. “If you wanted to go to Arizona State, for example, we have scholarships specific to that school,” says Sorensen.

Each month TFS adds more than 5,000 new scholarships to its database in an effort to stay current with national scholarship growth rates – maximizing the number of opportunities students have to earn funding for their education.

Once students have their scholarships in hand, how they manage them can have important implications. It is up to the student to inform the school of the scholarship.

“The truth is, the money is going to be sent to the school in most cases,” says Sorensen. “If the money is going to tuition and books, it’s tax free. But it is taxable if they use it for living expenses. And if students get more money in scholarships than their direct expenses, they get the difference back from the school,” says Sorensen.

The TFS website also provides financial aid information, resources about federal and private student loan programs, and a Career Aptitude Quiz that helps students identify the degrees and professions that best fit their skills.

Thanks to the financial support of Wells Fargo, TFS has remained a free, online service that effectively connects students with college funding resources to fuel their academic future. “Students trust us with a lot of their personal information and we respect that,” says Sorensen. “With TFS, they never have to be worried about being bombarded by spam.”

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IBM Latin America Executive Shares How She Developed Skills That Led Her To Success

LinkedIn

The Inspirational Executive Series consists of interviews with our executive IBMers to demonstrate how you can successfully build an executive career in this increasingly demanding market. Juggling work, life, and family commitments is a daunting challenge, but this series reveals how, with careful time management, flexible leadership, and a willingness to embrace challenge, IBM can support successful executives to succeed in every aspect of their careers.

Ana Paula has a 20-year international experience in the IT industry, and has devoted her career to strategic business development, operational excellence, change management of large and multicultural organizations and innovative leadership. Since joining IBM in 1996, Ana has held a series of leadership positions such as Services Director for Financial Services Industry for IBM Latin America, Vice President Software Group for IBM Brazil, and Vice President Software for IBM Greater China Group.

In 2017, she returned to Latin America as General Manager for the regional technology services organization. In July of the same year, Ana was appointed General Manager for IBM Latin America responsible for all the operations of the company in the major countries across South America and Mexico.

What skills and experience have you developed over your career to lead you to this position?

I started my career as a Sales Rep in IBM and have since done a number of roles which have enabled me to build on my skills and experience. Then I moved on to bigger accounts in the Financial Services Industry in our large office in São Paulo. I went from sales rep to business unit manager and after 10 years, I had an international assignment in the US as the Chief of Staff for our General Manager for the Americas. It was a great opportunity to see the company from a strategic perspective, develop relationships and a network that would help in in future roles and see how a senior executive of the company operates in their day-to-day.

15 months later, as the assignment finished, I returned to Latin America to our Services organization (Global Technology Services) running Strategic Outsourcing. This was my first job managing a full P&L with the mission to identify and develop new businesses, grow existing clients, approve investments, optimize cost structures. Certainly a very fascinating role given the breadth and complexity as well as the opportunity to manage a business end-to-end.

After that, I ran Software Group for Brazil with responsibility for all the software brands and services which opened the door for another assignment – Software in Greater China Group. Experiencing a whole different culture in a country so different from my own allowed me to significantly broaden my perspective, both professionally and personally. It expanded my horizons and made myself more resilient but also allowed me to develop something I have never experienced before…being vulnerable. Needing other people to accomplish the most basic things (like going to the bank), makes you humble and teaches you how to ask for help. I returned back to Latin America last year, first running GTS Latin America for a few months and then taking up the General Management role for the whole region.

What is your favorite thing about being an IBMer?

I love being part of a company that has had such an impact on the development and progress of humankind. IBM never stops doing amazing things, it is constantly evolving and defining the future.

Can you tell us about the work you do outside of your role as GM LA at IBM, for example the work with JA Americas?

I am a member of the board of JA Americas—a non-profit organization focused on the professional development of young students—which a very rewarding role I thoroughly enjoy. It is great to see the students develop as a result of our mentoring and advice which covers a range of topics such as the skills of the future and talent.

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