A Latina Money Expert's Tips For How to Successfully Prepare for Retirement

A lack of financial literacy poses a significant barrier for Latines in the United States, often hindering their ability to build equitable wealth. So we asked five Latina money coaches to offer their financial expertise on all the pressing topics you have questions about, from building credit to homeownership. This Women's History Month, we want Latinas to understand that regardless of their financial journey so far, they do have the power to improve their financial well-being for generations to come.

Personal finance and money expert Jully-Alma Taveras, known on social as the Investing Latina, is on a mission to help educate and introduce Latines — especially women — to the world of investing. Her expertise has gained her over 40,000 followers on Instagram, and she has a YouTube channel by the same name where she shares personal and career-focused tips and advice.

Growing up, Taveras was always interested in working and earning money. Her first job was at her parents' bodega before she went on to explore other industries, including sales, fashion, marketing, healthcare, and more. But money talks weren't something common at home.

"I did not grow up having money conversations in my immigrant household. The only memory I have is hearing my parents say, 'We can't afford that' — a lot!" she says. Taveras, who was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New York, experienced her own financial struggles, including having debt throughout her 20s. The lessons she learned are what later inspired her to launch her brand, Investing Latina.

"My struggles with money, my scarcity mindset of 'not having enough' and the desire to help others through their mental and emotional challenges is what inspired me to start Investing Latina," she tells POPSUGAR. "[I wanted] to teach others — especially women — how to become better at money."

Taveras shares that she wanted to create a safe space where she could teach foundational principles that could "only be good for women, our communities, and the world."

The wage gap for Latinas is 59 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. The difference in income is what often sets Latinas apart when it comes to saving for retirement, according to experts.

If you've ever felt threatened by the thoughts of retirement savings, you're not alone. How can one plan for future wealth when money in the present seems to be the primary focus? Based on statistics, the majority of millennials are still struggling to save for retirement, and Latines face unique challenges.

Research shows that 69 percent of Latinos in the US have no retirement plans through their employers and only 8 percent have savings from a private investment plan. In general, Hispanic households are 17 percent less likely than non-Hispanic households to have a retirement plan, per a report from the financial firm Morningstar. For older generations of the Latine community in the US, saving for retirement hasn't always been the priority. But that's not because they didn't want to — many aren't presented with accessible information on the topic.

Another major reason is that many are employed in a low-wage blue-collar or service industry, leaving them with little to no access to a retirement plan. Nonetheless, more and more Latines are getting informed and educated about money and their finances, and the importance of having a 401(k) or Roth IRA account. The National Bureau of Economic Research recently reported that from 2007 to 2019, Hispanics experienced a setback in mean retirement income but continued progress in replacement rates and reducing poverty.

There's also a cultural aspect in which it's common for the elderly to move into one of their children's homes. The Latine culture tends to have a family-first mentality, which often entails parents living with their offspring once they reach a certain state or age.

That said, it's never too late to start preparing for retirement — even if it feels like it's ages away.

"Getting started is as simple as opening your very first account," says Taveras. "Some examples are 401(k), roth or traditional IRA, solo 401(k), or a traditional brokerage. Go ahead and set up auto-deductions from your paycheck or checking account, and of course, be sure that you choose your investments so that money isn't just sitting in those accounts without being invested."

Below are some of Taveras's tips for how Latines can successfully prepare for retirement.

Start as Soon as Possible

No matter how young you think you may be, it's never too early to start planning for retirement. In this case, Taveras advises folks to start as early as their 20s — if it's possible — to get the most out of your money in the future. "Starting can be the biggest hurdle for many because there is so much unknown and it can feel intimidating," she says. "But getting started and putting in those very first $25 into a retirement account is how everyone starts. So just go for it."

Be Consistent

When it comes to retirement savings, consistency is the name of the game. You must remain committed to your investments to see a substantial sum at the time of retirement.

"Even when it feels like times are hard, you want to keep going and truly commit to an amount that you can afford and that you can stay consistent with on a regular schedule, like weekly or monthly," Taveras explains. "Sometimes you might have to make changes, but my advice is no matter how little you can put into your retirement account — still do it!"

Don't Obsess Too Much Over the Stock Market

We get it. Seeing your hard-earned money fluctuate can be extremely stressful. But investing is all about trusting the process. It may be easier said than done, but the overall goal is to invest your money and let it do its thing.

As Taveras explains: "The market goes up and down, and it can cause a lot of anxiety for newbies, so keep your distance, especially at the beginning, and just trust the process of compounding interest and the power of letting time be your biggest tool in building wealth steadily."

It's Always Good to Restrategize

Although you don't want to go overboard with making changes to your overall strategy, it's still a good idea to reassess your strategy and perhaps make small changes or adjustments to your approach as needed, especially if there are federal tax law changes that would affect your accounts and investments.

Start Preparing Before You Plan on Retiring

As mentioned above, the sooner you start planning for retirement, the better. However, even if you don't start up until five years ahead of when you plan to retire, you should be good as long as you come up with a solid exit plan. This way there will be fewer questions in the air and you will feel at ease and comfortable with the plan that best fits your lifestyle.

"Hire a professional who can give you an opinion, and it doesn't hurt to get multiple opinions so you can make the best choices for yourself, your family, and your beneficiaries," Taveras says.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: I am not a licensed financial advisor or planner. All content is educational, and not intended to be prescriptive advice. The information that is found here are my opinions and should be taken as such.

Natalia Trejo is a POPSUGAR contributor with over 10 years of experience covering beauty, fashion, entertainment, and lifestyle. Beyond POPSUGAR, she's written for InStyle, Elle, NowThis, and Hola! USA, among others. Her articles include shopping roundups and celebrity interviews, and she's covered Latinx culture, wellness, and red carpet events, such as The Met Gala, the Time100 Gala, the CFDA Fashion Awards, and movie premieres.