Spotlight on Latinx Achievement: Jessica Aliaga-Froelke
Tell us a little bit about yourself / background and your role at Hispanic Solutions Group?
I am Peruvian by birth, raised between mountains and valleys in the highlands of Peru with deep indigenous roots on my father’s side. I learned not only to love but also to embrace my roots. My community is very dynamic, instilling entrepreneurship from a very young age. My father is an independent journalist and from a very young age, I was exposed to all the economic, political, and social difficulties in my country. I was always involved in issues of social justice and the fight against the dictatorship.
I always had many entrepreneurial concerns when I opened my first business at 17 years old. I had a business apart from my full-time job. I learned to fall many times, now I fall carefully. I consider myself an entrepreneur with a social conscience. I love doing business and constantly learning. I am an eternal student and I love to read a lot. I am inspired by the nobility, humility of the people, and honesty of character. I am still involved in activities focused on democracy and indigenous rights in my native country.
What inspired you to create this consulting agency that focuses on financial health?
One of the things that caught my attention was the level of indebtedness of Latinos, especially student loans. I was disgusted to know that there are children who have debts greater than $50,000. I saw debts of up to half a million dollars. The worst thing was knowing that the same system encouraged you to acquire debts that 95% do not understand, especially minorities. The other issue is the level of poverty in the community. Despite working so much, it is impossible to reach a level of well-being economically and that happens at all socioeconomic levels.
The system can be very perverse if you don’t have the resources and financial knowledge. Unfortunately, there are no companies that focus on Latinos because of the complexity and it takes hard work to get it right. When my first clients saw immediate results and we saw their lives change, it motivated us to keep working hard. We decided to create a YouTube channel to benefit our clients. The Credit Channel provides free information so that people can have options and learn about credit laws. We know that there is systematic abuse that disproportionately impacts immigrants and minorities.
At Hispanic Solutions, we help repair credit as well as educate and train so that people can get better interest rates and become financially independent. Many people assume that because they have good credit that they do not have to do anything else to improve it. That is why our concept is to educate clients about their credit score which is a critical part of their lives.
What is the best advice you can give to our community in terms of finance and/or wealth development?
You have to be disciplined because it is very easy to get into debt. You need to be realistic and learn to make your own budget. You need to save with intention and spend 20 minutes of financial education a day or a week will help you enormously. We are such a tough and hard-working community that we don’t deserve to give up our lives for 20 or 30 years to end up ill or impoverished because we never made a plan.
Why do you think the work of LatinoLEAD is important for our community now?
The work they are doing is enormous. We are very proud of Irma and LatinoLEAD for bringing freshness, strength, passion, and conviction for the betterment of our community.