I was born and raised in Mexico. I graduated from New York University with a degree in International Relations and Economics. I'm a native spanish speaker and fluent in german; for the past 4 years I have worked strategic business development and sales roles in the United States, Mexico and Germany. I find alternative sources of energy fascinating especially when they involve waste management or wave power. I am currently working on an online intelligent platform that self-selects and recommends golf courses based on user behavior.
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, I was just able to meet with Hilaria earlier this week:
How do "retirees" provide for themselves in their community, is there a concept of "savings"?
Hilaria - No one retires, we can't! We have to keep working until we aren't able to anymore. Then our family will take care of us. My children will help me, they work as well. We don't plan far ahead financially, we just can't. I'm truly scared because I don't know what is going to happen to me in 1 or 2 years. I can plan ahead a week or 2 at the most. You just have to keep working and hope nothing happens.
How do they access capital for large expenses such as a school, library, machinery for farming, healthcare clinic?
Hilaria - Schools are free, the quality isn't good but they're free. We have to pay for some of the books that are required by the federal government but most of the books are free. We do have to pay for school employees that maintain the school, keep it clean and in decent shape. That is community organized. There is also a community health center which is free. The quality is also not good but it's free. There is no library, but we don't really need one. Owners of farms have to pay for their own workers. There aren't really that many machines but if the farmers do have them, they have to pay for these machines themselves.
Sorry it took me so long to get back to you, I wasn't unable to meet with Hilaria until early this week. I actually found some really interesting answers to your questions:
1) Does she know about any good and bad examples of behavior with finance from her friends/neighbors? Who are those people? How they behave in situations she saw or heard about? Why do they behave in that way?
Hilaria - As a bad example, the municipal president receives money from the government as well as loans from financial institutions. Everyone knows they get money but they are all so corrupt, they take the money and put it god knows where. They all get so much money but it’s funneled into their own bank account. He does use a little money to pave the streets in the community but that’s it. No job creation or facility improvements are made through him, in my opinion, a bad behavior of finance as it helps no one.
As a good example, Jaime. Jaime is a good man that puts people to work. He is a sort of informal leader in our community that is an entrepreneur. He made some money and know gives jobs to people and helps you out with loans if you need them, all in good faith. He doesn’t distrust you if you are from the community. He has a small ranch where you can work for money. He didn’t study anything, he started from zero and he came out on top, a very good person and great with finances. He also builds fences out of galvanized wire.
2) Who is the most financial educated person she knows in her community? How did he/she learn?
Hilaria - Jaime is the most financial responsible person in my community. I try to follow his guidance as closely as possible (I tried paying a visit to Jaime but he was not in at the moment).
3) What does it mean to her to behave in financially healthy way? Can she provide examples of situation in life, when it is important?
Hilaria - Any time I receive a payment, I have to make sure I spend it on the most important things, the necessities like food or improving my house. There normally isn't anything left after that.
4) Did she regret in her life that her financial education was not sufficient?
Hilaria - I think I have learned alot along the way. I wish there was more help from the government. Schools weren't helpful. I learned the most from my family and the people nearest to me. I also learned from experience.
5) What is something you would have done differently in terms of financial responsibility?
Hilaria - When my husband died, its customary in my community to host large parties where we invite everyone. We have to pay for everything, its a huge celebration. At the moment, it seemed very important but now I look at it as a waste of money. It was a large cost and although I did get to see everyone and the community paid their condolences, it put a heavy burden on my immediate family, myself and my four children. We had nothing after that. I wish I hadn't done anything. (Hilaria's husband was run over and killed while riding his bicycle on his way to work around 3 years ago. It was a hit and run, they never found the culprit).