Elaine King Fuentes Founder & CEO of Family and Money Matters™ knows that money plays a large role in the happiness of a family. That’s not to say that all families need to be wealthy; instead, it means that families need to understand how to make the most out of the money they have. Elaine works often with families immigrating to the US from Latin American, and in this interview, she shares some of what makes her a trusted financial expert so that families everywhere can benefit from a healthy relationship with money.
Q: Thanks for taking the time to sit with us, Elaine. First off, please tell our readers about yourself. What sort of cases do you handle in your practice and which ones are you most passionate about?
A: I serve mostly couples needing to get onto the same financial page, families that need to plan for the rising generation and business owners planning for governance structures to solidify the business of the family. I work with Families living in the US and in Latin American.
Q: How did you become interested in this topic?
A: I think it is in my DNA; my parents were very young when I was born and their parents were too; so financial management was an art (skill) in my family. Growing up in Peru when inflation was over a hundred percent, going to school in Mexico during the 80s crisis, starting my career around the 90s crash in NYC, studying in Asia around its own crisis in the late 90s, and surviving the 2008 US crisis made me realize no one is free from a cycle and we are responsible for our own financial health. Planning does not give you a bulletproof vest, but it gives you a cushion to weather the cycle of the storm and make money a positive force.
Q: How should one choose a financial planner or know if they need one?
A: One needs a financial planner at least once a year to ensure that your finances are being matched to your goals and to involve the family in this process. There are a lot of excellent professionals out there that can help you with your finances. The key is to learn to differentiate when you need one over the other. And the scary part is that there is very little regulation on tiles, so anyone can be called a financial planner, advisor or consultant. However, there are Certified Financial Planner™ professionals who have to go through a rigorous process and abide to strong ethical rules that ensures fiduciary duty (putting the client’s interest before its own or institution it represents).
Q: How does your background help serve families?
A: Besides growing up in Latin America (and as a US immigrant), I obtained my the CFP® certification in 2004, I also have the Family Business Advisor™ that helps me work with family business, the Certified Financial Divorce Analyst™, that helps me evaluate consequences, I am also a Supreme Court Family Mediator, which helps me with communication, a UM Coach certification with ICF which helps me to listen better, a postgraduate in Family Therapy which helps me connect the family as a system and dynamics and an MBA which helps me see the family as an enterprise.
Q: How can international families prepare or adapt their financial life when moving to the United States ?
A: In my book “Tu Plan de Vida en Estados Unidos” I talk about how to adapt financially to the United States, how to find a job and culturally how to improve the experience of living in a different country with different traditions. It is very important that a family reviews the best practices as soon as possible to accelerate their success.
Q: What do you feel are three of the biggest ways in which immigrant families fail to manage their money in Latin America and US?
A: Lack of communication. It is incredible how as human beings our actions come mostly from love and purity, and some of the time these actions are misunderstood due to unclear objectives and planning. Three things: lack of communication, goals and an action plan.
Q: When it comes to saving for college or retirement, what are some things many international families do not consider?
A: For both college savings and retirement, there are tax saving vehicles some may not be aware of or others may not take advantage of; but instead wait for the day that there are “savings” to start an account, and that day may not come soon enough. Savings is not a set event; it is series of weekly actions that become habitual. The power of compounding: there are so many advantages of saving a little today than a lot in the future.
Q: How do you incorporate the entire family into your services?
A: The family is a system that can be powerful together. We work with parents and children 10 and over and do exercises together around the four strategies. We plan together for things they all want, like something in the house or an experience as a family. For younger children, we have a program just for them
Q: What is the best feedback that you have received from your clients?
A: “You saved my marriage” is one I will never forget, “The program changed my teenager’s spending habits from spending to wanting to save for college with his allowance” is another one that made me smile. And one that warmed my heart was “My life transformed because I now see money in a productive not destructive way”. Here are more: http://familyandmoneymatters.com/testimonial/
10: How can our subscribers reach you for a consultation?
A: I would love to work with your subscribers, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me directly at 305-432-3000, and also visit our website www.familyandmoneymatters.com. Social media: @elainekingfp
Thank you, Elaine, for sharing your knowledge with our subscribers. This is Elina signing off until next month’s spotlight interview. Have a great month!