The Foreign Language of Financial Literacy | Natalie Torres-Haddad | TEDxDavenport

The Foreign Language of Financial Literacy | Natalie Torres-Haddad | TEDxDavenport

hola niihama muhabba Shalom Bonjour hello why is it we learn foreign languages well chances are we know at least one person that we can converse with and that was definitely the case for me as I was born in El Salvador and I was raised in Los Angeles so in LA we can find at least one person we could speak language with and my parents understood in order to become fluent in a language we had to practice it daily and that was the case for us but I'm here to talk to you about the foreign language of financial literacy thinking literacy doesn't that mean to read yes and chances are if you're literate in a language you're most likely not fluent in it as well more than half of Americans feel they don't know what financial literacy is or they don't even incorporate it into their conversation and that was definitely the case for me I actually grew up in a poor neighborhood but I had a happy childhood up until the age 10 where everything changed not just for me and my family but the communities surrounding us when the LA riots hit Los Angeles it hit us in the worst way we were living in a community where people were already struggling to get by and I remember I could no longer play outside I remember my parents put bars on our windows because they were afraid things would be stolen and blocks from where we lived I remember seeing a grocery stores restaurants mom-and-pop shops that not aware only looted some of them were burnt to the ground seeing this as a kid had a major impact on who I was and trying to figure out what's going on it was a very scary time but the worst part is I didn't know how I could help so the best thing I could do was volunteer so I did at a local pantry in our neighborhood and I remember this day so clearly I was so excited because I recognized someone that was coming towards us like oh yes I can help you I'll bring you your groceries but this person his face had not the same interaction I was feeling at that moment time I gave me a wave little smirk and his head was slightly tilted down as I remembered he had just lost his job and obviously he didn't have financial planning he didn't have emergency funds and he was there to get groceries for his family and he wasn't the only person I saw so it was definitely something that shift my awareness of I need to learn about money I need to know how I can help my community the best thing I could think of is I need to go to college so I did I decided to study got two majors in business one in finance and one international business but unfortunate for me I wasn't really taught what financial literacy was and unfortunate for me I learned it in the worst way so going into my second year of grad school I had just taken out another fifteen thousand dollars of student debt another loan which on top of the debt I already had on top of the credit card debt because I was heavily targeted while I was in college on top of a mortgage that was responsible by myself because I was a first-time homebuyer on top of we were going into our fourth year of the non profit I had found it and we'd helped over a thousand girls and all of a sudden I had this heavy responsibility that I wouldn't be able to afford to keep this going and then I lost my job because this was two years after the market crash my world started to change drastically and you think that was the worst part but it wasn't I suddenly found myself depression was an understatement not only was I crying all the time I had many sleepless nights I found myself in an acute psychiatric hospital a mental hospital after being there for 30 hours I wondered how did this happen to me oh my gosh what did my family thinking I felt so hopeless I felt so ashamed I felt alone I felt like I was drowning in debt and there was no way out of it and I thought I should know better lucky for me I was out in 36 hours and I had a moment of clarity there was a whiteboard and gave me five steps to let me know I was going to be okay which I'm going to share with you shortly but now let's go back to financial literacy as a foreign language why I say it's a foreign language it's because we have to practice it daily over 70% of college graduates will tell you they don't know what financial literacy is they don't feel equipped to manage their money let alone deal with their student debt over 40% of married couples fight about money and the national average shows that most households will hold about $30,000 in debt so we're definitely a country that's not talking about financial literacy let alone how to manage it the five steps that helped me was the very first one that will definitely help you one is become aware that you are not alone I gave you this assistance for a reason we're not alone we need to start having this conversation as a child it's easier to learn a language as opposed to when we're older and so we start having that conversation daily and when we come aware it's okay I'm gonna mess up and if you do mess up you can turn to people number two you need to take action now no matter where you are financially and what that means is start taking action by maybe taking 20 minutes out of your day to learn something about financial literacy because financial literacy like I said as a language it's an evolving language there's acronyms there's formulas there's math involved so take the time to learn maybe one or two at a time 20 minutes of your day for example FICO score we've heard the many times what does it mean what does it stand for you know it sounds for the Fair Isaac corporation what does it mean to you as an individual well chances are if you have excellent credit you're most like you're going to get the job because they will run your credit you're most likely going to get that apartment because they will run your credit if you have excellent credit most likely you'll get a better interest rate on your home loan that's exactly what I tell my students just think about it if you're an A student and you're an F student is there a difference definitely so taking the time to understand and tweak it 20 minutes out of your day number three incorporate new resources I love that right now everybody seems to be singing that hook by cardi B I know you know it if you hear me say it I don't dance now I make money moves right it puts us in this mood and you're like huh she's talking about financial decisions she's talking about money moves right so guess what if we start incorporating music something that makes us happy think about it when you learn the alphabet you sang it it was easier to remember ABC obviously so if we start incorporating music that talks about money the situations the difficulties the mistakes you might make how to avoid those can make it easier incorporating these new resources can be shows podcasts documentaries movies just doing this daily can transform everything before I get to step four I want all of you to close your eyes and I want you to remember the first time you saw your parents paying their bills or whoever was in charge of your bills what did their faces look like what expressions that they have on their face you can open up your eyes this is what I saw guess what that's a sense of frustration and anxiety and unfortunately for most of us that's the first interaction we have with dealing with money so we need to understand that we can't do this alone so we need to get some support which is number four get support you can talk to a CPA get a financial planner get a financial coach attend workshops attend conferences there's even anonymous workshops you can attend getting the support will not only keep you accountable and reach your goals but I'll remind you you're not alone and that you're gonna make mistakes and that's okay too because as a kid we're told it's all right you didn't say that right or you didn't really use it right you'll you'll learn eventually and just think about it when you learn the alphabet did we learn it all in one day no it was you learn one letter then you learn what it means you somehow implement it every day and practice it you make some mistakes and you repeat the process so knowing that you're gonna not once again have someone with you and walk you through the process could feel less scary and yet we'll learn something new the last one five is probably the hardest one for most is be patient with yourself be patient with yourself like I said as we're adults learning this new language can be very frustrating and just taking those steps can get rid of the guilt some of it some of the feeling of shame having that conversation with not only your kids but in our schools as young as five years old and younger to college so we can prepare ourselves for a better future as I stand in here in this auditorium giving a TEDx talk I have to tell you I just recently lost my grandmother and I'm proud to say that I am her wildest dream come true and I would have never thought that sitting back in that hospital you're watching you are your ancestors wildest dreams come true no matter if you're facing financial hardship if you're feeling overwhelmed or depressed together we are limitless together we can not only change ourselves our communities we can really change the system as my hopes is one day financial literacy will no longer be a foreign language it will be a universal language thank you [Applause]

30 thoughts on “The Foreign Language of Financial Literacy | Natalie Torres-Haddad | TEDxDavenport

  1. This presentation is from the heart. We all love stories with a happy ending. Natalie's presentation takes you through some very tough moments, however because of her determination and plan she changed her life and now is changing the lives of her audience members.

  2. Great story and amazing advice. Thank you.
    I wish I would have seen this video when I first started college. Truly Inspired.

  3. Loved this! Thanks for being so brave and sharing your story. I think we should talk about the intersection between mental health and personal finance more often!

  4. Loved hearing Natalie's story – so real, so open, so relatable- exactly what an audience needs. She so beautifully mixed her personal experience with facts to help people understand why their situations occur and what tools they need. Go Natalie!!

  5. If only more of us had heard this growing up. Unfortunately many of us didn't but I am so proud to hear Natalie sharing her story that I'm sure a lot of of us can identify with ourselves or with those close to us. I have been fortunate to hear her connect in person with young college students and educating the next generation is the key. Thank you Natalie and keep up your advocacy for financial literacy.

  6. So many great ideas and advice given regarding finances. I didn't know finance groups existed- such a great idea to keep us accountable. Also, the ease in which you speak and give your experiences makes it real and relatable. I understand now that Financial literacy is not learned in one day, rather it is a language that I must practice and implement daily. Thank you!

  7. What an amazing story. Financial Literacy should be a mandatory subject taught in school. When we don't talk about money we make mistakes and those mistakes can set us back years. Thanks for sharing your story and message. ❤️💰

  8. Natalie! Thank you so much for sharing such an empowering story. This resonated with me so much I started crying towards the end. You are so inspiring! It truly means the world to me that you are from Central America and have a similar background as myself. Thank you again for your story and for being an outstanding role model.

  9. Natalie I love this! You did amazing, spoke so eloquently and shared some real pearls! Proud of you!

  10. Thank you for sharing your story and passion to improve financial literacy for all. Beautiful message!

  11. So refreshing to hear empowering talks about finances as it can be such a taboo topic to speak of. Thank you for sharing your story and for your passion and willingness to inspire others!

  12. Such an important topic for our classrooms, for our families, and our communities. Thank you for sharing!

  13. Thank you for sharing such a great talk! It’s definitely important to be financially literate, something I know I am not, but have been motivated to start doing so.

  14. So powerful, every minute of this talk Natalie shares something that makes us think or makes us feel. Thank you for sharing your story and your willingness to empower us with financial literacy. Must watch.

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