In this episode, Adam and Carlton are joined by Ramona Ortega, founder of My Money Future, where she is helping typically underrepresented folks find and sustain success in their personal finances. Ramona talks about why she launched the companies she has, the challenges of educating previously financially struggling communities through content, and where she sees the overlap of Fintech and content heading in the future.
Highlights from the conversation:
Keep up with Ramona:
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Transcription generated by Otter.ai
Adam Vazquez 0:06
On today’s episode of Content Is for Closers, we have Ramona Ortega. Ramona is the founder of Wealthbuild.ai and My Money My Future where she is helping typically underrepresented folks find and sustain success in their personal finances. Before this, she was the Entrepreneur in Residence at Azlo, a corporate attorney, and a Director of the Human Rights Foundation.
Her impressive resume is matched only by the intensity with which she is helping her community, and she joined the show to share why she launched the companies she has, the challenges of educating previously financially struggling communities through content, and where she sees the overlap of Fintech and content heading in the future.
We got into a bunch of stuff, I personally enjoyed getting to know and chat with Ramona as a fellow boricua and I’m very excited to introduce her to all of you. So, without further ado, let’s get into my conversation with Ramona Ortega.
Put that content down. Content. The close is over. What’s your name? Content. That’s my name. You know why, mister? Because you drove a Hyundai to get here tonight. I drove an $80,000 BMW. That’s my name. Content Is for Closers.
Adam Vazquez 1:27
Alright, we’re back for Content Is for Closers. Have an exciting episode with Ramona Ortega that we’re very happy to share with you. I want to get into it, Carlton. Before we do, Carlton just reminded me, this is our second take of doing this intro because I forgot the first time:
If you are listening to this episode, if you’ve listened to it regularly, and you’ve enjoyed, you’ve heard all the interviews, we’ve done this with so many great guests, and you’ve gotten even one little bit of value, then I need you to do something for me. I need you to pause this episode—or don’t pause it, whatever—but right now, open up your podcast app, open up Apple podcasts preferably, or you can do it in Spotify as well. Go down and give us a five-star review. It’s so easy. You’re so lazy and ungrateful if you can’t do this for us. I’d rather you just not listen to future episodes if you can’t do this for us. We are at around 70, I believe. We need to be at 100 by the end of the year. That’s our goal. We’re going to keep pushing. I don’t want to hassle you on these episodes and ask over and over so if you could just go do it right now we won’t even have to bring it up again and it will be easier for everyone. So anyway—
Carlton Riffel 2:31
Tell the people what the prizes are if they can do it.
Adam Vazquez 2:36
Yeah, if you go in between reviews 70 and 100, if you go in and leave a review, whatever you leave, I will read here on the podcast for our listeners.
Carlton Riffel 2:50
As long as it’s G-rated.
Adam Vazquez 2:51
I would say you could get up to PG-13.
Carlton Riffel 2:53
Or if it’s PG-13, okay.
Adam Vazquez 2:54
Yeah, you could get into that, or I can edit some things. There are a number of ways you can go with this. You can be funny, you can flex your humor muscles on us. You can teach us something, tell us how terrible we are. That’s accepted.
Carlton Riffel 3:06
And you got to put a time limit on it. It can’t just be like—
Adam Vazquez 3:09
Yeah, I’m gonna read it. Or somebody smart (this is a business podcast) is going to advertise for their business. And that’s probably what I would do. And I would read that kind of like a free advertisement. It’s out there for anyone. So anyway, that’s out there. Go do it. Right now.
All right, Carlton, you heard this episode is Ramona. Even before we were off on air, you started talking about some of the things that it triggered for you in terms of thoughts, and I was like, “Please save that.” So what did this prompt you to think about?
Carlton Riffel 3:42
Yeah, so it was a really good episode. I think what she’s doing is awesome in not just the Web3 space, but just looking at ways that she can help people with lower-income find a way to make this more accessible because Web3, you’ve seen it, where it’s like something new every single day. There are so many things that are hard to know, like, am I throwing my money away when I do this? Probably. And there are aspects to it that feel a little bit like you’re playing the lottery. And so, with the lottery, people feel like they’re literally just wasting money. So I think what, what, that what she was talking about made me think of was, content is the one thing that represents something that’s the lowest barrier to entry, not just consuming content, but also interacting with it. And I think it’ll be interesting to see how some of these go into that.
Adam Vazquez 3:42
What do you mean by that “lowest barrier of entry?”
Carlton Riffel 3:42
With time specifically, if somebody is willing to pay money or to buy a coin, that’s, they’re not sure if they’re gonna win or not, in some ways, they’re throwing that away because the risk is super high. But if you can engage or spend time with and develop relationships in the context of content that’s not necessarily wasted. I think we kind of see it as, like, like some people, it’s just entertainment. But I think with Web3, you’re gonna see you see this with gaming already, people spending time engaging with content could actually be verified, and be used to make money or to develop some, some measurable amount of wealth or gain assets. So I’m kind of just shooting in the dark a little bit with the projection on that. But I think that’s some of the interesting that I see as a potential trend in the Web3 space.
Adam Vazquez 5:37
Yeah. Full disclosure, I’ve actually done we’ve done a handful of Web3 interviews and haven’t aired them because they felt a little rug pulley or they felt a little bit empty, in a lot of ways. And remoaners Obviously, does not feel that way at all. You talked about the lottery mentality, Morgan Housel talks about that in psychology of money. And Ramona is offering an on-ramp and off-ramp from that, like, I need to hit a home run, or I’m not gonna be able to pay my bills into a here is a sustainable way to both build wealth, manage that wealth, and potentially be a part of a new economy, whether you agree with Web3 or not, these communities for the most part, haven’t had access to previously. So that’s what I really appreciated about her ethos. And this falls in line with several other episodes that I would call content for good if you want to like this. She has a very similar mentality as Reuben Harris at Career Karma, Claire Sherelle at Topknot, and these are folks who are using content to not just pad their pockets. It’d be a force of economic good, but actually have impact on people’s lives. And that’s what I appreciated from the Ramona interview.
Carlton Riffel 6:47
Awesome. Let’s jump into the episode
Adam Vazquez 6:59
I got Ramona Ortega here from My Money Future and also Wealthbuild joining the show. Ramona, thank you so much for spending time with us.
Ramona Ortega 7:07
Absolutely. Happy to be here.
Adam Vazquez 7:09
I stumbled over myself there in the beginning because there are so many different places that I could have said your from or have done. And obviously, you’re working on a number of different projects across Web3 and making financial instruments more accessible inclusionary. But I would just be curious, how do you describe yourself? What’s the background that you tell people when you’re giving them to quick overview of Ramona?
Ramona Ortega 7:28
Yeah, I think the short answer is activist turned corporate lawyer turned technologist and innovator. And through that, I would say my focus has always been and probably will continue to be closing the racial wealth gap. I think that’s something that I’ve worked on as an activist. And when I say that I was 10 years doing international human rights work working on a number of Paul E’s that looked at sort of disparate impact and policies and particularly as they impacted economic policies. So that was a delegate to the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa in 2000 when people were talking about universal basic income and reparations and the wealth gap, but it was radical. Now it’s not so I later ended up going on to law school and working in corporate law, primarily insecurities, but also in bankruptcy, and worked on a number of really great cases really coming out of law school was able to work on made off and working on MF Global little bit. Had that experience, in the end, sort of inside the markets and capital markets and got a really great education both at Fordham and then also the SEC and in bankruptcy, and decided at some point that there was a real need and a missing gap in the market, particularly in FinTech. And this was 2013-14. We launched the first iteration in 2017. And again, that was very early fintech. Right. I would call it b1, a fintech. We are now B. So B, one being sort of dismantling the banking system, B to really verticalized thing. So things like betterment, Robo with the rise of the Robo advisor. And now I think we’re alongside really kind of Web3, we have, I think, v3 of fintech. And, for me, it’s it despite all of that we still haven’t quite solved one of the biggest problems, which is the racial wealth gap. You can build great products, but if they’re not built by and for a community or to solve a particular problem, that’s where the challenges come in and we’re not seeing as much impact as perhaps we should at this point in time.
Adam Vazquez 9:34
Yeah, and I think that’s where I think we can pull on in just a little bit of what you’re doing with Wellsville. I want to hear how some of those things, could potentially solve or hope to solve some of that gap but I have to ask you before that that is such a disparate background you started activism, you can see going into corporate law, but typically corporate attorneys and like bleeding tech innovation aren’t thought of in the same sentence. How did that happen for you? What made you curious and want to pursue that?
Ramona Ortega 9:59
Yeah, I’ve always just been a curious person. For a lot of reasons, I’m probably the least risk-averse person I know. I take very calculated risks. I’m not out here doing crazy things. But I will say that because of my background grew up in a very working-class very much sort of, from the neighborhood. And I feel like because I didn’t necessarily come from a lot, I have less to lose in some ways. I think you can go either way. Some people become very conservative and very risk-averse, I kind of went the opposite, which is, Where can I go? What can I do? And I think at this point in my life, too, I feel like I’ve accumulated enough experience to almost take on anything right at the mic. Very, I started actually, before I was sort of in human rights work, I was a journalist. And I think that the core that still continues to be fact in my life is like, I essentially, I’m a writer, and I’m a translator of things. And I think that works very well. So even with finance, right? I mean, I think throughout all of the stuff that you see on my money, and what we’re doing with wealth build, it’s about how do you make this relevant? Right? How does this affect real people? How do you translate information, particularly financial jargon and financial information into a way that people can really understand? And I think that’s something that I’ve, I’ve done well over the course of my career, and I think it’s something that continues to be very helpful. And what I’m doing around wealth building, especially in sort of the Web3 environment.
Adam Vazquez 11:25
Okay. So let’s lean into that a little bit. So you mentioned there, My Money Future is the company. Can you just tell us a little bit about how that started, what the intention was, and who you serve with that?
Ramona Ortega 11:36
Sure. I mean, we started initially in the stories out there, which is I started asking my colleagues who were other corporate lawyers, Latinas, kind of the 1%, right. I mean, really, there’s not that many corporate Latino here, some Australians. And so I would ask them, what are you doing with your portfolios? How are you investing? And I think the overwhelming response was, oh, I don’t know, I don’t know much about that. My husband does. My, my dad does that for me. Right. So if there wasn’t an ownership in that, and I thought, wow, that’s interesting because we’re smart bunch hear clearly. And, and I realized that because of how we go up, right, I mean, all of us, I think the Latino community in general, we don’t talk about money. But there are a number of reasons, including structural discrimination, we haven’t had that much money. I mean, talk about intergenerational wealth, we just haven’t had that experience. So, therefore, there’s no reason to be talking about it from our parents’ point of view. I mean, I can’t blame my parents so that you don’t, you can’t pass down what you don’t know. Right. And so I think for me, it was that was like, oh, there’s a really nuanced perspective here that no one in FinTech is capturing, and that it’s not about, oh, we have to dumb it down, or we have to, that these products aren’t for everyone. No, it’s that we need to be able to translate how these products help you build wealth, how to use them, why they’re important, how money is important to really achieve sort of your end goal, something I say a lot, and I’m writing a book, and part of what we’re trying to break down to some of these larger concepts. And it just money is just a means to an end. But you have to really understand what your endgame is. And it’s different for everyone. Some people want financial security at like all cost. Others want financial freedom, whatever that means. Some people want to live their best life with a brand new Louis Vuitton bag. Like, that’s fine. It’s your money, but how do you get there, right? And then how do you build that intergenerational piece? And it’s something we just don’t talk about. So when I started looking around and talking to people and realizing there’s a huge gap. The other thing is that we just have a demographic shift. And I mean, I feel like I repeat this, I’ve been repeating this for like the last 10 years. I’m like, it doesn’t know one, look at the numbers. This, this country is overwhelmingly going to be Latino very soon. And it already is in a majority of states. And they’re not necessarily immigrant Latinos. It’s not enough to just be like, oh, let’s put it in Spanish. But I think that’s not we’re talking about people like me, I’m third generation, fourth generation. It’s folks who’ve been here who are bicultural. In every aspect. It’s not just about Spanish, it’s about how we think about money, their nuanced behaviors, and, and norms in terms of the way we talk about money, the way we think about money, the way we think about retirement. I mean, I think most families and Latino families and I can even say having so many conversations, a lot of immigrant families, you don’t think about your parents in a home somewhere. We think about, oh, of course, they’re gonna live with my mom or my sister or some family.
That’s a huge thing. Like, my parents just went through this and conversations with other folks. Nobody understood that that culturally is expected for sure that that’s going to be the primary option, and then maybe something happens otherwise, but yeah, keep going back to your saying about translating. There are all these nuances, right, that that like, are just different.
That’s right. And so there’s there was an opportunity and so the first iteration of my money, my future was like, How can we just translate this stuff? So it’s a newsletter, it’s a media project, etc. Then it became very clear that no people want to actually know how to do this right? It’s not enough to be like, Hey, you should open up a retirement account, hey, you should start a brokerage account or get a will. It’s like, okay, but how do I do that? Because that’s the piece that a lot of these Fintechs miss. It’s not enough to make it just accessible. People don’t know what to do with a lot of these things, right? Or they’re like, Well, I don’t know if I want to buy universal or turn, who doesn’t turn to or financial advice? And if I can ask you, who do you turn to, Adam?
Adam Vazquez 15:25
I turned to my dad, and it’s part of the whole thing. Like, the other thing I think it’s beautiful about your translation (you’re using the word translation) is like, tes, there is Spanish to English, but there’s also, like you said, translating the fact that “our money is,” “my money is,” “my parents’ money is,” “I’m second gen.” There’s just a communal part of the way that we live. It’s not a good or bad, it’s just different. And so yeah, the way that I learned all of my financial habits, good or bad, or indifferent, were because that’s where I learned them from, and I just now as an adult, at 32-years-old, then I begin to learn, oh, there are other investment vehicles, other, etc. And most of that is not inherent in the way that we’re raised up. I don’t think for most of us know.
Ramona Ortega 16:13
You’re even lucky that you have a dad that you could talk to you about. Yes, right. I think the motto is if you don’t learn about it at home, which you did, but if you don’t learn about it at home, you don’t learn about it at school, that’s for sure. And I’ve talked to plenty of MBA students who have no clue how to start invest and manage their own portfolios, then you don’t learn about it. And the way you learn is by making all these mistakes with your money, and then being like, Oh, I wish I did this, I should have done that. And that’s sort of how I started the company originally, which was, what would I have told my 20-year-old self? What do people need to know? So that they are that they’re living their best life in their 40s and 50s? And that they’re not worried about money, and they’re not anxious about money? And the thing is, and having talked to so many people, especially with communities of color, we just start later, because no, we’re not talking about this stuff. And then there’s an intimidation factor of like, shame around not knowing. So feeling like, oh, I don’t wanna ask a stupid question. I don’t want to look stupid. I don’t know what that is. So I’m not going to engage in it. I mean, things like, I didn’t know what a match was. So I didn’t take it. Right, or cashing out retirement account instead of rolling it over. I mean, there’s all these things that I think people who have financial advisors, obviously, those financial advisors take care of that stuff for them. But my goal was always to be like, how do we become a financial advisor in someone’s pocket, so it erases the shame, it makes the products relevant to their life. So it understands that, for example, your parents might live with you or that you might be financially responsible for more than the people that live in your home. Right. So or, I mean, whatever it may be, we’re trying to take those things into consideration in the financial advice that we’re we’re giving or the guidance really because we don’t give it’s not traditional financial advice in the sense that we’re telling you where to invest. Right. Okay. I think some of this, I would say probably 70% of it is jargon. Most people just buy even when I said that random like, well, financial advice. Unfortunately, it has been codified as only stock advice. So when I say that people, oh, you’re gonna invest for me? I’m like, No. financial advice says many things. If you want a broker, or if you want to go that route, there are plenty of options, we’re not going to tell you what stock to buy. What we’re going to tell you is that, hey, you have a 401k? Are you matching it? Do you want to open up a brokerage account, this is why a brokerage account can be useful, this is how you can use it, you should have an IRA because everybody’s gonna leave a job at some point. So you want to roll that over. So you don’t have three or four retirement accounts sitting out there. Right? What’s the 529? What kind of life insurance should you get? At this point, still, there’s no tech company FinTech company that’s doing this at scale, what they’re doing is they’ll give you advice within their platform about, let’s say, investing. So you got some of the Robo advisors who will give you but they’re not as they’re not able to answer any question around money. And that’s the kind of thing that we’re looking at, right? The Siri of money, right? Hey, Siri, what’s “settlement” mean? What do I do with that money? My mom just passed away. The house is in my name. There are so many money questions that come up every day. And what we end up doing is going to our friends going to Twitter doing some research, but there’s no definitive place where we’re like that we trust that we can ask these questions without kind of either a sales pitch or feeling like, do I trust this information? Or a lot of people already know this. But, for example, if you have life insurance, you can get some financial advice, but it’s those people that are selling the products. Yeah, there’s an incentive. We don’t have. I mean, obviously, we have an affiliate marketing model, which is the norm. I mean, everyone’s doing that now embedded in their own structures, but we don’t have to. That’s not the point. Right. And I think that what we were able to do now, especially with the rise of AI, and blockchain is bring those components together and to really fulfill the original mission. Ready to do that in a new company for a number of reasons. But we’re really excited about what we can build with the new technology and the kind of transparency and governance and really trying to create a community around money. That’s, that’s larger than just the Latino community. When we talk about the racial wealth gap, we’re talking about women, we’re talking about Latinos, African Americans, primarily because we’re the ones who are most affected. And we’re also the largest demographic, right? So if we can fix that, then then the rising tide, right, we will see a one, we can see that moving the needle, and I think that’s the goal.
Adam Vazquez 20:35
I want to get to how the new solution (using the blockchain, using AI) works, but I’d be remiss if— Most of the folks who listen to this are marketers, are operators themselves, and so what’s really interesting about your story is you started as a media play and then at some point transitioned into this tech platform. It reminds me a lot of Career Karma, at least starting with your podcast in the medium. They flipped as well. How did that transition happen for you? And sort of why did it happen? Is it just like you kind of saw the gap, or what?
Ramona Ortega 21:08
You talk to your users, I think one of the things that make us and particularly close to our users that there was spent a lot of time talking to people, I’m part of the community that I’m trying to serve, I was solving my own problem, one, and all my friends are my customers, my network, my family, I’m all around me. And because I, I’m so passionate about solving for this, I can literally all strike up a conversation with wages, where I’m at, I’m like, Hey, did you start to talk about money and so much information because it’s such a neat, I don’t have to go and validate like whether or not people need this, that it’s so clear, right? I mean, how many subreddit groups on personal finance, how many influencers on TikTok? Now talking about finance, right now, it’s become the norm. And so I think once we had an A, we used to do a lot of live events. And so we had a big event in Los Angeles, which was an all-day event. Like, 200 women come out. And I think it was then that I realized, Oh, this is much bigger than an immediate play, that people want to know how they want to know what to buy, and then as soon as they answered that question, they got another question. Oh, okay. So if I get my credit, then if I want to buy a house, what should I do there? So it’s like, no, they really do need a place where they can just get all their financial advice in one place. And so it was, it was really clear. I mean, I would say probably like, eight, nine months, and that I was like, Oh, this, this needs to be more than just this plate. And then, for a number of reasons, including like, I mean, I don’t have to tell you funding for women of color, especially back when we started. I mean, it was terrible. It’s still terrible. I mean, it’s less than 1%. So we actually haven’t moved the numbers that much. I think more people are aware of it, but I don’t think it’s actually changed anything. This takes me to Web3. In some ways, it was like, What can we build that has the least amount of resistance in some ways, right like that we can, can independently, either fund and or engage with people in a different way, a different metric system. And, and also, because I’ve also been a blockchain fanatic for many years. I mean, in fact, we took about 2015, I think it was, we took a group of developers, folks of color to an Aetherium hackathon. And we went second place. And that was because I was like, we need to be in this space. We need to be here because it’s happening. I mean, I was like, cryptocurrencies are going to happen. Like that’s not even. Right. Right. And I had bought, I bought Bitcoin early on, like, it was probably around 2012. So I knew because one of the reasons I was interested in it as I was like, it’s going to get regulated. At some point, if I go work with sec, I’d be interested had enough something that works along these lines. So I started buying stuff in a box theory. And then we won second place when I realized like, the blockchain was really where it was going. I was like, Oh, the smart contracts or legal stuff. Come on. I mean, it’s just a no-brainer. And we won second place for a project, which may be at some point I’ll pick up again, which was persona ID. And the idea was really, about how do you distribute public benefits on the blockchain? And Mark my words, cuz I’m sure someone else will think. So and so the when things still when things started, really, I think, shifting into kind of Web3 maybe late last year in terms of not just nerdy folks talking about but like, Okay, this is actually happening. Like, my mom’s asking me what an NFT is, I was like, Okay, it’s time. I’ve also been very involved in cooperatives. I mean, again, back to my sort of very, like liberal beginnings, right? It’s like, how do we form cooperatives and companies that really help workers, right, especially low-income workers. So we had worked with a bunch of organizations doing domestic worker organizations forming cooperatives. This I mean, a Dow is a perfect cooperative. Yeah, I mean, so it’s interesting because so much of what we do in FinTech is not new. It’s the experience part. It’s making it more accessible, right? I mean, none of the stuff that we’re doing in FinTech is all that new. It’s just we’re creating more accessibility to technology, and then bringing down those barriers. And the same thing with the Dow. It’s very interesting. And I would say my only. So one thing that I’ve noticed lately, and I’ve been worried about, is the rapid sort of increase of derivative blockchain. I guess, just projects initiatives, that it’s moving so fast, and consolidating so quickly. I mean, granted, when we’re in the universe, the metaverse of blockchain and Web3, it seems like everyone’s talking about it, it seems totally normative, except that that is an echo chamber, right? Literally, it’s why like 1%, if that granted billions of dollars being put into it, but my point is that I go back to how does this change people’s lives? Like, seriously, how does this change? Who cares? And we can do all this, we still can’t seem to send money across the border for cheap, get XRP exists? Right? Because like, we’re not solving it for real people into the tech. So what I’m really looking at is like, how do we have these cases where we prove out what it’s what the value is to a normal person? A working-class person.
Adam Vazquez 26:19
Yeah, and I think that’s where I’m most curious about what you’re doing with wealth build, which is you can explain it. But essentially, you’re free. Would you have been working on before onto Web3 onto the blockchain? I guess, two questions. First, you talked about moving to Web3 to give yourself access or give others like you access to funding? Do you have any concern around… So like, yes, it’s more accessible in the sense that you could just sell NFT for function or you could reach out. But at the back of that, like you said, it’s consolidated around the same old faces in terms of the— Is there any concern there?
Ramona Ortega 26:55
Sure. There’s tons of concern for me that so and I could see I’ve done tons of articles around this, like kind of crypto promo particular. So I want us to be in it. Because I think we need to be there, if we’re going to use it in ways that are going to solve our problems. So that’s one. So the way that we’re doing that is we’re, again, it’s a combo, there is a little bit of web two on the platform. So our chatbot, goalies member chat, but it’s the accessible part, right? It’s saying, we can actually build at scale, a chatbot, that is a Siri for money, we can do that, that’s now a possibility. We can raise money independently in some ways, using NFTs as a subscription, right? As an access point. And then that NFT, in and of itself becomes valuable, or at least we hope, right? Like every NFT, you want it to increase in value, we will also be rewarding people to by taking action on the site. So when you update your budget, when you go through one of our money maps, that’s what we’re calling the plans. When you’re taking action on your money, you’re also earning our own token, that token can then be sold or have some liquidity on the chain, eventually, and you’ll have some ownership stake. Right? And we’re still figuring that out. Because, again, it’s gonna be a true Dow, that particular piece won’t be a true Dow, but there is, with the NFT, what kind of rights, whether its products, roadmap, building community, and ideas that like once we have that infrastructure in there, then we can start to bank the unbanked. I mean, to me, I don’t need to become a company just to do that because this is what I love about the chain, and all of this sort of AI and all of these new technologies, you can really bring all of that together, right, with API integrations with sort of scalability issues, there are so many things that you can do together on one platform. And so I think that, again, you’re right, that there is a fear that we might miss out, miss out on folks who really need us who, who even that kind of access is not enough. And so there are things that we’re thinking about, right in terms of just the platform itself, and the technology and making it not making it too complicated. I mean, you even know this, I mean, you can even just say oh, I have a wallet now, well, you have a meta mask wallet, are you on the poly chain? Are you on this chain? Are you bridging? Are you stinky? Like oh my god, and I’m pretty smart and it’s overwhelming.
Adam Vazquez 29:27
Oh, and especially for the Latino community or I’m sure all of those words are just mental blocks that are going to most friction between me and actually using the product so that’s where your bot is so interesting to me because I don’t have to know necessarily anything about that, but then I’m sure maybe it can or maybe will help me and teach me how to use those things along the way.
Ramona Ortega 29:52
So when you’re engaging even as we think about so when you sign up for example, and you get an account, etc, and you want to participate In the rewards program, and again, we’re used to rewards, right? We understand that like, Oh, he’s already on Accardi, etc. But in this instance, you’ll be getting tokens. And even that, so it’s not like they’re like, it’s not like you’re like, Oh, you have to buy, it’s like, no, if you sign it every time you sign in, you’re going to get one token, every time you take this, I was gonna be asked answer a question because we’re also creating a database, right of information that we can aggregate and feed into our, our AI in our machine learning, you’ll get rewards. We will make it easy also for people to understand like, oh, okay, this is a token. And then I trade it in for cash. It’s like going back in the day, we went to Chucky Cheese and got their little tickets, and then you got it. I mean, again, it’s how we frame stuff. I think the problem is that, and this happens in finance all the time, people want to think they’re smart. They’re like, Oh, hedge funds liquidity. Well, he wasn’t part, I get it, I was part of it. But it’s the end of the day, that stuff is not that complicated when you break it down. And so our goal, and really our responsibility is to break it down so that it becomes accessible. And I’m always and I’ll be the first one to say that I’m very big on having skin in the game. As people interact on our platform, they are getting skin in the game, they’re going to have a crypto wallet, that will be essentially automated because it will open it up for them to the platform, you’re going to earn some tokens, they might buy an NFT if they want to, that’ll make it simple for them to understand that the NFT is giving them a membership. It’s just a membership thing. That’s Yes, it is like you pay for a membership, or you buy this NFT. And it gives you but hopefully the value creation, which is part of why I love the idea of this way. And wealth being the name of the company is like buying assets. They’re buying an asset in and of itself. Right. And I think that’s something that’s hard for a lot of Latinos look back in when I started my money. My future one of the reasons why was that we had just seen the numbers, the data coming out of the last crash, right where you had over 50% of black and Latino communities lost their wealth because they were so there was so embedded in the real estate market, right. So almost all their wealth was tied up in their home, and that’s great. That’s very natural. It’s something that we see all the time like dinos, you do what you know. And we know real estate, meaning like we’re like, oh, you buy a home, you pay for it. And then you go buy another home, right? It’s the kind of, for us, that’s always been the aspirational intergenerational wealth pieces that you go and buy a home, and then maybe buy two, that’s fine. And real estate should be part of your portfolio. But the reason that so the white community essentially was able to rebound from that crash was that they had diversified. So yes, there was some real estate, but there were also all of these stocks and bonds and equities, and those all came back. And so like that’s the key is that how do we start diversifying? Our portfolios and getting into the spaces? And I do think I already see a lot more Latinos in crypto. I will say this, though, I think I’m very, I’m still very skeptical that we have to be careful. You don’t want the last thing we want is to bring people into crypto to buying NFTs that are like $10,000, and then all of a sudden thing has no value. Because there’s no point right? People that have been in these spaces, they have money to lose, let’s be honest, they have money to lose. So this is not for somebody who’s risk-averse.
Adam Vazquez 33:16
Anybody could be and that’s what I love, too, about what you said about coming in and teaching even that idea of buying an asset, like my personal story, in 2014, I first bought eat crypto, and XRP. Coin and little tiny bit, right, like nothing. But like, someone convinced me that I should try this thing. And actually, they sent me $100 worth of it. And then so you just but you learn like okay, this is now an asset and it grows. And it’s worth investing a little, at least some percentage. But while all the basics, my point in saying that is like even just teaching that asset collection mentality that grows over time, like if you can do that by saying, Hey, your membership, to your financial advice groups, and you think about it that way. And also along the way, you’re learning that there are other things that are worth, investing in that are not just ecetera, like, that’s where I think the bridge between content and actual financial building is so powerful and can be leveraged with Web3, we’re not going to go with what you’re building specifically. It gets me excited for our community.
Ramona Ortega 34:16
You asked that question, so how do you move from content to product, essentially? One of the things that I noticed— We were early, obviously, like I said. We had focused on content and then were building the product and we got a lot of people like, oh, you can’t do both. Like, nobody will pay for content anymore. Content’s dead. Blah, blah, blah. And it was interesting because then, as you’ve seen, and I’ve been in it long enough to see lots of these companies grow, and I’m like, oh, that’s interesting because they’re all focused on content now. The product isn’t enough. The product will get somebody in and if it’s good enough, they’ll stay. But at the end of the day, they want more.
Take Butterman for example. Great product, Robo advisor for those who don’t want to think about turning on blah, blah, blah. But at the end of the day, they had to get into different places. They had to go 360 Right. It was content. It was old. Have a 401k for small businesses. Let’s bring on real financial advisors. We have always thought about being 360. The problem is that a lot of venture capitals want you to do one thing, right? And they don’t understand integration. And we knew for our community, we didn’t have content and just had a product, it’s not going to be the brand I want it to be. I just know it won’t. Like it has to be about a brand. I think those are very, they’re very community-oriented. And they’re very dedicated to brands.
Look at Wells Fargo. They screwed up many times and let them know that most of their mortgages are with Wells Fargo. So part of that is like, how do we build it and I think the content, both, again, content wildly not, we’re talking about live events, engagement strategies, one on ones, I’m literally on podcasts or speaking, like, every week. And I think part of that is because people want to hear from someone that looks like them, sounds like them, and has the same story. Because that builds that kind of trust and authenticity. And I talk a lot about this around authenticity being the new currency in marketing, and you can’t buy that. You can’t buy it. And so you can, whether you put money towards an agency, or you bring someone on, you can’t just like can’t make it pink, you can’t just put it in Spanish. It has to really be authentic. And I think that I’m seeing more of that, which is great.
Adam Vazquez 36:19
Just to add to that, when you layer on the blockchain part, it becomes even more important, both in the sense that in some ways, you could argue that almost all of Web3 at the moment is content. I mean, there’s function, but its content to start with. And then secondly, everything is verified. Right. So the old playbook of pretending or playing the wrong, that’s too harsh of a word. What I mean, like, using through promoting promotion, that really doesn’t work, especially when the community becomes more educated is able to look just like a layer deeper into what’s happened. It’s always been true, but it’s like becoming even more highlight.
Ramona Ortega 36:54
Right. And I think people I mean, even when you think about influencer marketing, like, that’s something I kind of hope goes away in some ways. And I think that with Web3 or blockchain, I think it will because what happens, we want to make people owners, you want people to have a real stake. And I think that’s the key is that, again, whether it’s doing a dour, NFT, or whatever, what you want is to have people truly invested in your brand. And right, they want to have a voice. And so we have a number of creative ideas around how we’re going to build that out inside of the platform and using the token. So that’s the other thing you’re building well, as you’re taking action as you’re engaging, because then the more and obviously, that then creates network effects for us, which is more people using the token, it has its own value outside of our universe.
Adam Vazquez 37:45
Ramona, this has been great. I appreciate you so much explaining all of this and going into this deeply with us. As the last question, there are a million things we’ve talked about, and you have your company, all the things, but in terms of promotion in terms of content, what has you most excited right now as you’re going forward in getting the word out there about your new business?
Ramona Ortega 38:03
I think what has me excited also has been nervous, which is the possibility of really being a truly Web3 company in finance that is applicable to real people. Right? There’s tons of sci-fi out there. Very few of those sci-fi companies, though, like I can explain to someone and be like, Oh, this is what you This is how it benefits you. I mean, between B1 finance, yeah, there’s, there’s tons of great application. But what I want to create something where people like, oh, I get what they’re doing. And that makes sense. And I could use that and get it all of these things that we’re talking about. It’s blockchain, it’s Web3, it’s participatory, transparent, all of those things. But I want to make a real use case in finance for all of this. And that’s my challenge, and so it gets me very excited. The money Metaverse that we’re trying to build out is totally possible. Let’s see, though. Let’s see what the challenges are in fundraising as a woman of color in Web3. I mean, we already I’m already hearing, ether just had their conference in Denver, and I’m already hearing that there was like, where all the women were the women of color.
Yeah, it’s gonna be super interesting to see, as you said. There’s definitely a lot more talk around it and the importance of it, than really ever and so now we have the tools to facilitate that. But we’ll see if it actually ends up coming through. I appreciate you so much for spending time with us. Where can people follow all the stuff that you’re working on and follow you?
Yeah, the best way to follow is just to go on Twitter @dinero_diva. You can follow me there. You can still follow the My Money, My Future Instagram account. It’ll be rebranded a little bit, but we’re gonna continue that brand element. We really see My Money, My Future bringing in more of the media stuff. We’re also launching a new campaign, so follow us on Instagram to get news about that. That’s called the Thrive campaign to really focus on solutions for closing the racial wealth gap and I’m happy to be back when we’re launching to tell you more.
Oh, yeah, we’d love that. That’d be great. I’ll do that for sure. Well, thank you so much, and we’ll catch up with you. Thanks so much.
Carlton Riffel 40:10
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