This is part of a sponsored collaboration with Prudential and DiMe Media. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Finances are important. Yes. Never have they been more important to us than over the last two years. That’s because during that time we have been building our public relations firm, Big Oak Tree Media, here in Houston, without the convenience of a paycheck from a 9 to 5 job. To say it’s been more than a little nerve wrecking at times is just the beginning. There were so many things we didn’t know when we set out on this new venture.

One of the areas where that’s especially true is our finances.

We knew the road to financial independence would not be an easy one, and we expected to hit more than a few bumps on the road. What we didn’t expect was that our lack of knowledge on simple things like how to register our business for tax purposes could make such a huge difference at the end of the year. The self employment tax is no joke, let me tell you. But that’s the thing – we’ve realized – that nobody teaches you about this stuff in our community. At least not in our families or the education system we grew up in. I didn’t take an economics class until high school, and even then what we learned had little to do with everyday wealth-building techniques or practices, much less with building a long term financial legacy.

Those are things we have had to learn on our own, not too often the easy way. I guess that’s why they call it the school of hard knocks, right?

The business of finances. Our journey so far as Latino entrepreneurs.

But we are resilient and we are always optimistic. The 80-year-old millennial activation at the Prudential booth during Hispanicize 2018, this past April, confirmed it to us in Miami. It was just one of a series of creative experiences available to attendees during the week-long annual event where Prudential was once again a signature sponsor. There was also an artist booth where local artists from Miami were hand-drawing self portraits of attendees. While they were sketching they were having a conversation with their subjects about how they envisioned their lives once retired. Anjelica and I had the pleasure of having artist Nicole Salgar draw our portraits. We loved her work so much we insisted on being photographed with her as well. That, for me, was one of my favorite moments in Miami. Mainly because it made me remember once again why we are even building all of this to begin with.

The business of finances. Our journey so far as Latino entrepreneurs.The business of finances. Our journey so far as Latino entrepreneurs.

I mean as funny as it sounds, even though everyone at Hispanicize 2018 was there for business, I don’t think a lot of us were consciously thinking about our long term goals. Doing so, for me at least, gave me a greater sense of purpose for being there again this year – and once again as an ambassador for Prudential.

Over the last several years we have gotten to know the Prudential team and the company a whole lot better, and we appreciate their efforts to create more financial awareness and education in the Latino community. The conversation about money is not always an easy one, but it is so important. And I’ll be honest, as a married couple who’s in business together, we still have disagreements about money all the time. The difference is today we are much more on the same page about our personal and business financial goals, and that makes the process of working towards a happy medium much easier.

The business of finances. Our journey so far as Latino entrepreneurs.

We talk about our business and finances so often in our household that our son is pretty comfortable talking to us about his short and long term financial goals as well. He is only 15, but I think it’s definitely a step in the right direction towards at least trying to better prepare him for whatever he wants to do in the future.

The business of finances. Our journey so far as Latino entrepreneurs.

As Latinos we are innately entrepreneurial. It’s called GANAS, the previous generation will still say.

We want to now meet those ganas with the know-how to make achieving our financial goals even more accessible, for ourselves and for the generations to come.