It’s possible for a Latinx immigrant to build wealth? Yes! You have probably been through anxiety, stress, or frustration with all the barriers for immigrants in the financial system, and the lack of readily accessible information. Regardless of whether you are an immigrant, an undocumented Latinx, or if you have some kind of temporary or pending status, you can build wealth on your financial journey, it is within your reach. It’s time to advocate for yourself.
In this episode, Adina Appelbaum, a nonprofit immigration attorney, and financial coach, shares with us her interest in helping Latinx immigrants and why she became an immigration attorney. She shares the most frequently asked questions about immigrant finance, and how building wealth is within their reach.
What you’ll learn about in today’s episode:
- How Adina’s interest to become an immigration attorney came to be.
- Two major barriers impacting Latino immigrants and their finances.
- Most frequently asked questions from Latinx immigrants.
- How building wealth is possible for undocumented Latinos.
- What Latino immigrants should know about finances.
Adina is a non-immigrant, but she comes from a Jewish refugee family who arrived to the United States a couple of generations ago. The immigration experience was always part of Adina’s life, even in terms of money mindset. Hearing a lot about this immigration experience made her aware of the struggles undocumented people face.
Today, she is an immigration attorney and works with recent immigrants. Adina’s husband, Mauricio, is an immigrant from Ecuador. They met in Mauricio’s country while she was working with the refugees there. They are navigating the financial system in the U.S. because not much information is available about immigrant finance.
Two Major Barrier Faced by Latinx Immigrants
In Adina’s experience, a major barrier any Latinx immigrant person faces in the immigration system is not being able to afford a lawyer because there is no public defense system in immigration court. This is the reason people are unrepresented and instead represent themselves against a government attorney before a government judge.
A second barrier is the fees, to go through the immigration process is expensive. The need to send money abroad regularly doesn’t help to have the money for adequate representation nor the immigration fees. Another point to consider is the scarcity mindset in immigrant finance caused by the way Latinos have been treated in the U.S., which affects the way they view themselves with money and building wealth.
Most Frequently Asked Questions from Latinx Immigrants
As an immigration attorney and as a financial coach, Adina receives many questions about the immigration legal system, and about immigrant finance such as, whether an undocumented Latino is allowed to invest, questions about managing money, paying off debt, budgeting, and building a credit score. She explained to us that there is a lot of confusion about how to invest if it’s possible to invest as an undocumented immigrant, or if you have a kind of temporary or pending status.
Building Wealth is Possible for Undocumented Latinos
It gets really hard to build wealth if your budget stays small. Adina encourages people to start side hustles or start online businesses. She likes to think about how undocumented Latinos can become more financially empowered when generating income on their own.
Adina explained that generally, all immigrants can invest. For example, DACA recipients have a social security number, which means they have access to financial products like bank accounts, credit cards, investments as any citizen would. Tor people who don’t have a social security number, there is an individual tax identification number or ITIN. This is an alternative kind of ID number you can get with the IRS if you’re not eligible for a Social Security number. Not every bank, investment firm, and credit card company will accept an ITIN, but a lot of the national ones will, and several types of financial companies will allow you to use that to invest.
Advocate for Yourself to Build Wealth
According to Adina, the financial system and economy are driven by people who have more financial options. To get there, you have to advocate for yourself to learn about finances, start investing and find ways to increase income. If you don’t feel like you need to build wealth, or don’t believe in capitalism, think about the impact it has on the wider Latino immigrant community. At the end of the day, if you’re building wealth, you are building power for your community, and giving people more options in the future.
Resources From This Episode:
Adina’s website: immigrantfinance.com
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The post, Immigrant Finance: How to Overcome its Barriers | HDM 263 appeared first on the Her Dinero Matters Podcast.