Who would have guessed that getting in financial difficulties can turn someone in a financial expert! It happened to Astrid Lopez.
The Lopez family immigrated to the U.S. in the late eighties from Bogotá in order to escape Colombia’s political, social, and economic unrest, and live in a safer environment. Astrid and her husband pursued the economic opportunity afforded them and opened Elite Sports Soccer, Inc., a retail business selling soccer clothing and accessories like their shop in Colombia. Having built a successful business in Colombia Astrid enrolled in Women’s Initiative, where she learned how to do business in the U.S. Eventually Astrid’s family business helped pay for her childrens’ college tuition, purchase a home in San Francisco, hire eight part-time employees and open a second store.
In 2014, their new landlord discussed plans of using their building for a different purpose when the lease ended. Astrid’s family entered a period of crisis. They worried about the future of their business constantly. If they were to close the store, she wondered, would they be able to afford to sign a lease at a new location or pay off her mortgage and children’s college debt? They considered selling everything and moving back to Colombia.
Fortunately, a friend encouraged Astrid to study finance. She enrolled in a seminar, which made her eager to learn how she could save her business. She soon realized how much she would need to work in order to plan for retirement and accumulate family savings, which she did not have at the time. She continued her studies, earned a license as a certified financial planner and started a financial coaching business.
Astrid enrolled in Renaissance’s Women’s Paso a Paso class in 2016. She appreciated learning business concepts in her native language and the comfort of being with peers with similar cultural backgrounds. She said the class was “like fresh water where I could reminisce my early years as a business owner and share my knowledge with classmates, reexamine my values, and look at how I can improve upon my new financial consulting business.” Astrid enjoyed the empowerment classes and positive class environment, which gave her the confidence to know that anything is possible with sufficient preparation and planning. As a result, she is now conducting market research, researching the competition, organizing her finances and building strong relationships with clients.
She became passionate about educating individuals and business owners on the importance of budgeting, savings, investments or retirement plans and organizing business taxes. Although she works with clients of all backgrounds, she especially enjoys working with Latinos and confronting the cultural barriers they have to offer lessons on the value of financial planning. She strives to reach as many families as possible so the number of parents passing financial literacy down to their children is tremendous. Finally, she wants to make sure that small business owners don’t go through 26 years of being in business without financial planning like her family.
Today Astrid stands without fear of what the future will bring. She plans to keep Elite Sports Soccer, Inc. operational as long as she is able. At the same time, she will continue to build her clientele for her financial consulting business and grow her own financial investments. Renaissance is proud that Astrid is now a consultant in Futuros Seguros, our financial empowerment program for Latino women.