Ruben Ruiz, award-winning financial strategist and author, makes it his mission to help Hispanics create wealth and become financially independent. At a time when the Hispanic community is growing fast, encouragement and support are needed more than ever.
Ruiz concentrated on the Hispanic market in the greater San Antonio area, for more than 3 decades, teaching clients how to go about establishing a sound financial foundation, then building upon it to amass wealth. Still, he saw few Hispanic millionaires compared with the much larger numbers of Anglo millionaires.
According to the Pew Hispanic Center, Hispanic households have less than 10 cents for every dollar in wealth owned by White households. In fact, even the wealthiest 5% of Hispanic households have a net worth that is less than 1/2 of the net worth of comparably placed White households.
"Most Hispanics are second generation, born in the USA," Ruiz said. "If you’re not quite middle income, any discussions of money are based on being broke, being poor or it being a struggle. If we are brought up that way, that’s how we perceive wealth."
In fact, in a new National Council of La Raza report released in December 2005, almost half the national Hispanic population - about 20 million people - has not opened a basic bank account. Ruiz points to 2001 U.S. Census figures showing that a married Hispanic American family’s median income was about $40,000, while their Anglo counterpart’s annual income was about $60,000 - almost 50 percent more.
"About 98 percent of my clients are Hispanics from all different income and net worth levels,” Ruiz said. “I saw what was happening. I wanted to get the middle-income clients to quit thinking they’d reached their top goal. We have been brought up to reach Middle America and you’re set. You don’t have to think about or do anything else. You have arrived. And that’s not true.
“I wanted to motivate them to go to the next level," Ruiz said. “The aim of my services is to encourage Latinos to be financially independent and to realize that wealth is attainable for everyone with the right planning. What Latinos need and want more passionately than anything else for building wealth is a structured plan.”
Anyone can become wealthy, if they know the steps they need to take to effectively increase their net worth, and to find someone able to teach these steps. There are no real ethnic or cultural barriers to financial success, only those you create yourself or allow others to create for you. You can learn how to become wealthy and create your own blueprint. But you must always remember: “The final discrimination fight will be with your own mindset.”