Financial literacy in schools is often informally discussed as essential and relevant for every student wishing to succeed after graduation. Yet statistics on students taking a school finance program remain extremely low. According to recent data from the non-profit organization Next Gen Personal Finance, only one in five college students in the United States receive instruction in a personal finance course before graduating from high school. Reducing the low percentages indicates that minority and low-income students are even less likely to take a course on the subject, according to the Inc. article. about the benefits of financial literacy training.
As Standard’s and Poor’s Global Financial Literacy Survey reported, a lack of financial literacy in schools quickly translates into an overall lack of financial literacy among adults around the world. Without understanding basic financial concepts, uninformed people are less equipped to make decisions about money management, saving, borrowing, using credit, and even digital banking. For those in the states who need to send money to relatives across the border to meet their basic needs, financial understanding and services gain even more importance.
Latin American FinTech Broxel, led by its founder Gustavo Gutiérrez, recently took the financial lead by producing a platform that provides financially manageable transfer payments, an integral part of the Mexican economy. In partnership with well-known actor and animator Mario Lopez, the message spreads on the platform which offers free processes with additional cutting-edge features.
Mario Lopez’s talent lies in his ability to represent a voice for the masses. He does this from a platform rooted in his Mexican-American heritage. He takes accumulated affinity with the brand and applies it to real-world financial challenges that have impacted his community for decades.
Transforming historically impactful challenges into current opportunities, ensuring financial independence and cultural inclusion are at the heart of Lopez’s current efforts. His work with Broxel helps the Mexican American community in the United States send money more efficiently to those south of the border at zero cost.
Remittances are essential for the Mexican economy. In the midst of the pandemic, immigrants have sent nearly $40 billion to relatives in Mexico, with numbers climbing to $51 billion by the end of 2021. Broxel founder Gustavo Gutiérrez explains: “ Technology erases borders. The idea of having free remittances is an economic disruption for the North American region and a game changer for millions of potential users. Remittances are used for essential needs such as health care, paying for food or having housing, and this initiative is the best way to thank the epic and daily effort of the Mexican community in the United States”
When Broxel approached Mario Lopez to communicate on the platform, he jumped at the idea of being an active voice and an ambassador. The Latino community is used to paying high fees for money sent. “Broxel Pay has a huge financial impact by saving people money by waiving fees,” he says.
Shaped by early beginnings
Lopez loves how the Broxel Pay app is a borderless solution that helps people save money. His commitment to hard work and saving money began at age 10 when he broke into the entertainment industry in San Diego.
“I am a child of immigrants, my parents are Mexican and they instilled in me a strong work ethic. They were blue collar, my father worked for the city and my mother worked for the telephone company. I I was a kid from the city of Chula Vista. I used to see Tijuana from my backyard and I loved it. I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s like I have one foot in both worlds,” says Lopez.
He continues: “I consider myself very American. But at the same time, part of my culture is very Latino. I think these two worlds can coexist and represent what America is. I love everything about America and my culture, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I have to hit you on the head with a tortilla to tell you about it. I think there’s a way to represent your community and be a good model.
The legacy is woven into the relationship between Broxel founder Gutiérrez and Lopez. When asked why Mario Lopez was the voice of Broxel, Gutiérrez looked at the camera, tilting his head and saying, “Why not?” Intimidating Lopez’s transcendent personality among neighboring cultures.
Entrepreneurship and branding
Lopez believes that entrepreneurship should be based on passion because it will consume your time and energy. He believes that the younger generation is particularly well placed to undertake entrepreneurial endeavors today more than ever. Even his 11-year-old daughter started an Etsy business, bringing him pride as a father. Creating his own brand is something he learned early in his career.
“In the beginning, I worked with Dick Clark, who took me under his wing and made me think of myself as a brand. He said to me, ‘Mario, you should focus more on the hosting because you not only have the personality for it, ‘are a natural host, and you could be on TV for the next 50 years.’ He mentioned how I could turn my work into recommendations and sponsorships, but emphasized the need to not stray from my brand.”
What is my brand? I follow the five Fs: family, faith, fitness, food and fun. It’s the umbrella of the brand, and my culture is also part of it. Being a host, whether it’s my nationally broadcast radio show, Access Daily, or Access Hollywood, puts me on TV every day. I try to be a friendly, comfortable place for people to connect and not sow discord. I never talk about politics or religion, even though I’m a man of faith. I’m in people’s business.”
The financial sector has been famously referred to as a great differentiator between the haves and the have-nots. However, with increased awareness and financial literacy within education, inequalities can have a starting point to reduce the gap.
In addition to formal learning efforts, individuals connected to cultures most in need will remain the hubs of a cure. With Lopez, through Gutiérrez and Broxel, there is now a platform to transform the financial experiences of Mexican Americans into inclusive opportunities that are imbued with dignity and community.
Interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.