Adina Chelminsky's grandfather left Poland when he was just 13 years old and unable to speak a single word of Spanish. However, when he arrived at the port of Minatitlán in Veracruz, he had no money, but he began to work tirelessly until he managed to open a tlapalería that, believe it or not, continues to operate in Corregidora in Mexico City.
“The most important thing I know about finances I learned from my immigrant grandparents who came to Mexico with nothing,” said Chelminsky in her participation in MoneyFest 2020. "My grandfather was a true entrepreneur because he knew that entrepreneurship was 50% sweat and not just having a 'millionaire' idea".
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Adina Chelminsky is not only an accomplished economist and entrepreneur, she is also the author of the popular finance book Cabrona y Millonaria . However, despite his academic training, he points out that the best lessons he has had on money management always come from immigrants”.
"People like my grandparents who came to Mexico in search of opportunities understand better than anyone how to handle money in a crisis, because they know how to face adversity and prosper in a world they understand," said the expert.
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Adina's two paternal grandparents, both immigrants, taught her five basic universal financial principles. "They not only left me with an unpronounceable last name [he says laughing], but also strategies that can be applied always and by everyone."
1. There is no asset more valuable than education: Whether for one or the children, education is one of the smartest investments that can be made because it is a portable instrument that does not lose returns over time.
“When I was born, my grandfather opened an account for me to pay for a master's degree. No BA, a MASTER'S DEGREE. This so that there would be no doubt about what I could achieve”.
2. "Whoever has a store to attend to it": And in the same way, whoever has savings and investments, keep an eye on them.
“My other grandfather was the smartest person to make investments because he was always informed. It taught me never to go into a business that I didn't understand or to sign a contract that I hadn't read.
3. Don't screw your kids and plan your retirement: “My grandparents came to Mexico and they knew they wanted to die in it. At that time there were no Afores or retirement plans, but month after month they saved for that moment, even if it was at the cost of a luxury”.
Adina pointed out that her grandparents always knew that they did not want to be a burden for their children when the time came and on the contrary, they always made an effort to have a dignified old age.
4. Finances are ALWAYS a family affair and especially a couple: Sometimes talking about money with your partner can unleash a pitched battle, but it is about being a team.
“There wasn't a time when my grandmothers didn't have a say in financial discussions because they ran the house. In those times, my grandparents had the last word, but they always decided between all of us”, Adina recalls and points out that especially in times of crisis, her grandparents were precisely a COUPLE , partners.
“Today there is a lot of financial infidelity, individual debts, hidden problems and half-truths. It makes me think that my grandparents were ahead of their time”.
5. There is nothing more patriotic than building well-being for others: Adina's grandparents lived committed to Mexico and providing jobs was always one of their most active priorities.
“As an immigrant you want to help the country that made you its own. There is nothing more patriotic than building well-being for others”.
It does not matter where we come from, Adina noted, whether from immigrants, born savers, born profligates, or parents who simply did what they could with what they had. “Learning from the past and the financial history that shaped us is essential to build your future.