From Bad Bunny to smart money
The new SUMA Wealth platform uses culturally relevant financial health entertainment to educate and empower young Latinos.
Nota del editor: También está disponible una versión en español de esta historia.
Sisters Melanie and Mariana Montoya could relate when they saw SUMA Wealth using the demand for Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny’s concert tickets to shell out personal financial advice: Don’t spend what you don’t have.
“When Bad Bunny tickets were released, they were really expensive. The post suggested that if you bought them you should hold off on other big purchases,” said Melanie, a freelance graphic designer and video editor. “That’s using something super relevant for people our age to teach finance in a culturally relevant way.”
This content and approach makes SUMA Wealth a hit with Latino millennials and Generation Zers, said Beatriz Acevedo, its CEO and co-founder.
Launched in November 2020, SUMA Wealth seeks to make financial inclusion fun, accessible, and simple. With more than 175,000 subscribers already, they’re on pace to reach 500,000 by the end of 2021, according to Acevedo.
Created by Latinos for Latinos, the company’s TikTok videos, Instagram posts, and other content demystify budgeting, credit, saving, investing, cryptocurrency, and other personal finance topics while giving subscribers tools (the most popular is a rent vs. buy calculator) to see the impact of financial choices.
The Montoya sisters, @Educated.Hermanaz on Instagram and @EducatedHermanaz on TikTok, are now SUMA Wealth subscribers and content producers for the platform.
“There is nothing I know of like SUMA Wealth that’s touching the community and saying ‘this is made for you, you belong here,’ which is so powerful,” Acevedo said. She believes SUMA Wealth’s offerings can help the Latino community recover from COVID-19 and spark U.S. economic growth.
"We’re already an essential component of the U.S. economy, and our contributions will continue to grow into the future as the percentage of Latinos reaches 30% or more of the population by 2050.” — Beatriz Acevedo, SUMA Wealth CEO and co-founder
Although comprising 18% of the U.S. population, the Latino community has suffered more than half of all COVID-19 deaths, and 50% of Latino-owned business revenues come from the five business sectors losing the most in the pandemic.
“Latinos got the worst of the pandemic but offer the best of the recovery,” Acevedo said. “American prosperity will grow or sink with Latino prosperity. We’re already an essential component of the U.S. economy, and our contributions will continue to grow into the future as the percentage of Latinos reaches 30% or more of the population by 2050,” Acevedo said.
“Even small improvements in Latino wealth and financial savvy now will result in hugely disproportionate gains over time, and not how investments grow in value but from something I call the Latino Youth Effect: teaching one reaches many,” she said. “We know the young Latinos will share what they know with friends, family, and the entire community to support their overall economic growth and break the cycle of generational wealth inequality.”
“We want to help people with housing, we want to help small businesses, and we want to improve financial health. Through our support of SUMA Wealth, we’re really touching all three. We really need that financial knowledge in our community.” — Patty Juarez, head of diverse segments for Wells Fargo Commercial Banking
The latest addition to SUMA Wealth is the SUMA Academy, a series of free live events, webinars, and exclusive content underwritten by the Wells Fargo Foundation. Launched in April for National Financial Literacy Month, SUMA Academy offers courses on cryptocurrency investing, business lending basics, minority-owned business certification, and other financial topics.
In July, SUMA Wealth will launch the first of four Dinero Bootcamps to help 1,000 18- to 28-year-old Latinos in Los Angeles and their families learn everything from how to create a budget, understand a credit score, open a savings account, build an emergency fund, and plan for retirement.
Patty Juarez, head of diverse segments for Wells Fargo Commercial Banking, is among the finance experts teaching courses at SUMA Academy. Her latest course teaches small business owners how to maximize the chance of getting a small business loan.
“This work aligns so well with what we’re focused on at Wells Fargo,” Juarez said. “We want to help people with housing, we want to help small businesses, and we want to improve financial health. Through our support of SUMA Wealth, we’re really touching all three. We really need that financial knowledge in our community.”