I have eight brothers and sisters.

My name is Yanely Espinal. I'm number six in line.

I knew that we struggled financially but, in college it was different. Everybody around me was not like me anymore. Everybody around me had money. I didn't want anybody to find out that I wasn't at least middle-class.

To play that part, I had to come up with the money somehow. I was using credit cards to do anything and everything.

After college, I ended up with $20,000 of credit card debt. I realized if I didn't do something about this, I will continue to perpetuate the generational cycle of poverty in my family. But I didn't know anybody who could talk to me about it.

So, I found this book called, "Women and Money". I'm getting this book. 401k, my Roth IRA, my HSA, my brokerage account, inflation and expense ratios. This is basic information. It's just crazy that I went through kindergarten, through the 12th grade, an Ivy league school, master's degree, became a teacher, and never learned any of the things in this book.

You know, if I'm the quote unquote lucky one, I'm the one that got the college scholarship. If I'm struggling like this, what the heck is going on with all my friends who didn't make it?

This is about how my finances got wrecked and how I fixed it. And if I could do that as a regular girl from Brooklyn, you can do it too.

Everybody feels like it's their story. Everybody feels like, "Oh, I'm going through this." "I'm struggling through that." It's not I'm, it's we. By doing something, by becoming an advocate, we can open up that gateway to financial education.

There are these negative cycles in our society. So we have to change that. The root of this conversation is money. Basic plain and simple, we're talkin' about money.

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