Diverse Group of people smiling and standing togetherThe topics and discussions at the AFCPE® Symposium encourage financial professionals to serve diverse populations at scale with empathy. In fact, many of us attend the Symposium year after year to enrich our understanding, expand our diversity mindset and gain exposure to real life examples. 

How is the session on Cultural Wealth in Immigrant Families relevant to us as individuals and to Financial Education Design and Practice?

From my experience, working with the immigrant community is not only about patterns and numbers. It’s always about real stories of real humans.

This is why I was impressed with the session held by Catherine Solheim, Miguel Quiñones, Jaime Ballard, and Scott Marsalis from the University of Minnesota, which aims to help practitioners interact with and educate immigrant families. By understanding the individual’s ecosystem and acknowledge community cultural wealth as a supplement to more traditional ways of regarding wealth in financial counseling, we can advise clients more effectively.

What are examples of Cultural Wealth in Immigrant Families?

The authors define several types of cultural capital based on Yosso’s Cultural wealth model (Yosso, 2005), to enhance well-being and positively influence wealth growth:

    • Aspirational Capital – Hopes and goal setting despite barriers are family-based
    • Familial Capital – Resource-pooling and shared housing / serial homeownership
    • Resistant Capital – Collective growth (knowledge, skills) by challenging inequality
  • Social Capital – Support from peer and community resources (eg. Lending Circles satisfy both financial and belonging needs)
  • Navigational Capital – Learning to navigate through social institutions can be passed down to help others in their community 
  • Linguistic Capital – Communication experiences in more than one language / style; can make financial information accessible to their networks 

How can you integrate Cultural Wealth ideas in your work for short- and long-term results?

Here are three examples to get you started:

  • When discussing life and financial goals and potential actions, start by acknowledging and celebrating the client’s types of capital as defined by their community. Expand analyses such as budgeting and saving to include multigenerational, international, and extended family members in collaboration with your client.
  • Employ a long-term view in discussing financial wellbeing with clients, by considering all available assets (house ownership, savings, non-traditional capital). 
  • Go beyond the initial ask and help clients navigate pervasive issues that increase their anxiety and are outside their comfort zone. The solutions can be effective on the spot and enter the collective conscience of the community for similar situations in the future.
    Examples: call an institution together, help them get access to institutions that recognize financial trauma and offer culturally relevant services that reduce stress or offer to do a role-play for talking with a loan officer. 

Integrating Cultural Wealth ideas in our work helps us understand and address the immigrant family and community as one client entity – whether we work with one individual or entire families. As a result, financial counselors will be able to apply diversity, equity, and inclusion principles in their day-to-day work, including with immigrant communities, as a core value of the profession. 

What can you do next?

Curious to learn more? If you attended the Symposium, you can read the paper and listen to the presentation here. Share examples of how you are applying your learning with your fellow AFCPE® members through the Connected Community. Visit the Connected Community to request to join the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force. 

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