Hi there. Let’s talk about money.
This is NextUp: your guide to the future of financial advice and connection. The list below features 25 of the most compelling and inspiring experts in budgeting, investing, and achieving financial independence.
Together, the members of NextUp demonstrate that the face of financial expertise has changed—for the better. The next generation of money advice will come from people who center their own stories so that we can see ourselves in them.
Some are certified financial planners or professional advisors. Others are entrepreneurs or side hustlers. There are bloggers, podcasters, authors, and coaches. All of them share a mission: to break down barriers to financial literacy and hold themselves up as examples, however imperfect, of how anyone can build generational wealth.
Recently, with recession fears and stock market dips dominating the news cycle, we reconnected with these sources of inspiration. We passed the mic, asking each of our NextUp honorees to tell us their “money story”: the experiences and beliefs that sparked their passion for financial education. Their answers don’t just represent the future of money. They also remind us why it matters in the first place.
Take a listen. Get inspired. They just might be your next advisors.
How did Dyana King — “a regular girl from Arkansas,” as she recently put it — become that girl? The one with a $78,000 net worth, no debt, and a six-month emergency fund, all while earning less than $55,000 a year? With a budget, that’s how. No one budgets quite like King, a self-taught single mom of two who shares every last detail of her monthly income and expenses on her YouTube and Instagram pages (Starbucks runs included). She is a model of intentional living, knowing your “why,” and making every dollar—and moment—count.
It’s true, she used to be a public school math teacher. Lessons from Rita-Soledad Fernández Paulino typically include a lot of energy, a colorfully embroidered Mexican blouse, and un poco de Spanglish. When a health issue forced her into medical leave right before COVID, this mother of two in pricey Los Angeles used the time on bedrest to teach herself about financial independence. Now she uses her platform @wealthparatodos to deliver on the promise of its handle: wealth for all, including first-generation, LGBTQ+ familias like hers.
The first time Delyanne Barros appeared on NextAdvisor, she was a dissatisfied employment attorney with a side hustle. Now she’s a full-time entrepreneur with a podcasting gig at CNN and enough money to retire to Portugal, her longtime dream. How did the Brazilian-born Barros, who grew up undocumented in Miami, achieve all that by age 38? She did it by creating “Slay the Stock Market,” an online investing course that has earned her over $2 million dollars and status as one of the most influential investing coaches in the world.
“Money is like a knife. If you use it poorly, it can kill you. But if you use it wisely, it will feed you.” With sharp advice like that, Shang Saavedra uncovers the money mindsets that connect financial wealth to mental health. The creator of Save My Cents, Saavedra is a working Fortune 500 director, a mother of one with another on the way, a first-generation Chinese American, and a tithing Christian. Above all, she is a voice of calm, clarity, and compassion amid the anxiety of modern money management.
He’s not your average gym bro. While Jose Hernandez is lifting weights, he’s probably thinking about new ways to use social media to reach his target audience: people who are the first in their families to invest. Born in Venezuela and raised below the poverty line in the U.S., Hernandez got a shot at college through a baseball scholarship. When he started working in wealth management, he felt his talents were wasted on clients who were already rich. So he took a bet on himself and launched Financial University, his playbook for creating new family wealth.
When you think of creating generational wealth, think of Ellie Diop. This entrepreneur used a $1,200 stimulus check to buy a ring light, a new iPhone, and a web domain—and scaled her digital marketing consulting business to $1 million in 10 months. Here’s the kicker: She’s investing her newfound wealth in her four children, setting up custodial Roth IRAs that will make each of them millionaires by their 30s. Diop said it best herself: “You may not come from a rich family, but by taking action today and being consistent, a rich family can come from you.”
She was a teen mom. By 26, she was divorced and in $25,000 of debt. She tried to go to college four times, dropping out each time because of tuition or childcare costs. Though you may know her by her professional name, Broke Black Girl, Dasha Kennedy is a success story. Her struggle inspired her to launch a Facebook group as a safe space for Black women to learn about money. Today, that’s just one of the ways Kennedy connects and empowers women of color to build wealth and get out of debt.
She wants money, and she’s not afraid to say it. Jannese Torres is the creator of Yo Quiero Dinero, a podcast about passive income from a woman who lives it every day. Unfulfilled by her six-figure corporate job as a process engineer, Torres negotiated remote work long before COVID made it common, and she used the flexibility to launch a Puerto Rican food blog. Now it pulls in over $100,000 a year in ad revenue, just one of several hands-off income streams the entrepreneur coach has used to achieve financial independence.
Julien and Kiersten Saunders are a package deal. They’re the married couple behind Rich & Regular, a podcast and blog in which they talk about sharing finances with your partner, raising kids to have a positive relationship with money, and creating generational wealth. They’ll even tell you about the time they broke up over Kiersten’s spending habits. The Saunders are changing the perception of financial independence to include more regular Black families like theirs. “It is harder, but it’s still possible,” Kiersten
Getting laid off can actually make you a great career coach. That’s what happened to Mandi Woodruff-Santos in 2010, and since then she’s been working smarter, negotiating harder, and sharing her career resiliency tips on the podcast Brown Ambition (which she co-hosts alongside Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche) and with her MandiMoney Makers community. Behind the scenes, Woodruff-Santos has been a freelance editor and informal confidant for NextAdvisor, but we love to see her out in front as an example of professional excellence.
For many transgender folks, capitalism means oppression. That’s where K. Kenneth Davis comes in. This financial educator speaks mostly to his own community of transgender people of color, an acknowledgement that systematic marginalization must be called out and confronted directly. For example, as Davis recently said, the classic advice of “go to school, get a good job, pay the bills” doesn’t quite work when the HR recruiter is transphobic. Once Davis managed to learn about money and break the cycle of discrimination in his own life, he committed to spreading the word.
She is sweet, but she doesn’t sugarcoat. Bernadette Joy came on our radar in 2020, when she disagreed with a more established financial expert during a panel discussion. Rather than back down, Joy
Rebecka Zavaleta grew up in Los Angeles. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, Rebecka worked building startup products in financial and advertising technology. She founded First Milli to help more people to reach their first $1 million in net worth. Follow her latest work on Instagram at @firstmilli.
Growing up, Anna N’Jie-Konte wasn’t surrounded by financial literacy, never mind financial resources. But you can’t stop a determined New Yorker. After falling into wealth management by chance, she took ownership of the unlikely career path and founded Dare to Dream Financial Planning, a fee-only advisory firm dedicated to serving first-generation families like hers.
When you’re a Mexican-American living in Germany by way of China and the U.K., you learn a few things about money and culture. Oh, and visas. Vanessa Menchaca-Wachtmeister turned her love of travel into Wander Onwards, a business that helps people live, work, and get rich abroad. Motivated by six-figure student loan debt, Menchaca-Wachtmeister leveraged her background in tech to develop more than 10 income streams. Her goal is to retire with over $1 million by age 48, which will allow her to see more of the world while helping others make money moves across the globe.
Jeremy Schneider may seem like a typical tech millionaire until you realize that he lives on $62,000 a year and spends his time making emoji-based financial literacy lessons on Instagram. Schneider grew up middle class and became work-optional at 36 when he sold the internet company he founded. He put his $2 million payout into index funds and now runs Personal Finance Club, an education platform embodied by his typical sign-off: “invest early and often.” Schneider focuses on frugality, long-term thinking, and inclusivity — and is proud to give 25% of his profits back to his employees and 20% of sales to charity.
Pamela Capalad is the type of CFP you’d want to have brunch with. The founder of Brunch & Budget weaves her knowledge of money with relatable stories of debates she has with her husband, shameless transparency about her spending habits, and memorable takedowns of racial wealth gaps and tax shelters for the rich. Her work at NextAdvisor has focused on ways to build wealth for children, including tips for parsing the alphanumeric soup of 529s, UTMAs, I bonds, and more. Cheers to that.
For 10 years after college, Bola Sokunbi racked up an impressive resume with strategy roles at Accenture, Comcast, and Time Warner Cable. She saved aggressively, building $100,000 in four years off a starting salary of $54,000. But even with the best connections, Sokunbi never found money advice she could relate to—nothing that captured the hustle and passion of her mother, a Nigerian immigrant who started a business after raising four kids. So Sokunbi created Clever Girl Finance, a financial wellness resource that has spawned three bestselling books and a passionate community of strivers.
Kenneth Chavis IV’s attention to generational wealth may come from his mom, who had two children as a teenager, struggled with money, and ultimately raised one of the most recognized financial advisors in the country. Chavis is a certified financial planner and a senior wealth manager for a firm with $5 billion of assets under management. But it was his 3-year-old daughter Arabella who caught our attention first. As a model for Chavis’s wife’s hair bow startup, the young Arabella already has a Roth IRA from her earned income.
The daughter of Mexican indigenous immigrants, Maribel Francisco knows what it’s like to be first: the first in her family to attend university, the first to enter corporate America, the first to invest in the stock market. She also knows what it’s like to live on the streets and cope with a parent’s deportation. Now, with an international business degree and expertise in finance, Francisco is paying it forward with Our Wealth Matters, a fully bilingual resource where U.S.-based immigrants can learn to earn, save, and invest.
When some of the biggest tech companies needed a storyteller and community builder, they turned to Lyanne Alfaro. She directed content strategy at Nasdaq before her current role as a program manager at Google and external affairs lead of HOLA, its Latinx employee resource group. Through that work and on her own platform, Moneda Moves, Alfaro is tracing the evolution and future of Latinos as an empowered part of the American economy. It’s a path she knows well: She learned how to hustle from her mother and father, who launched a construction business in working-class Chicago.
Scroll through FinTok for any amount of time and you might run into Krystal Todd. She’s a Miami-based certified public accountant who grew up between two worlds: New York City, where her family lived, and Belize, where they were from. That childhood gave Todd an appreciation for the wealth-building opportunities America provides—and a BS detector that picks up the inequities, contradictions, and downright scams of the U.S. financial system. She gives her growing TikTok audience a healthy dose of each perspective.
A well-paying job is nice. For Daniella Flores, 11 different income streams is even nicer. It all started shortly before their wedding day, when Flores learned they would be laid off from the tech job they had poured all their energy into for four years. Since then, Flores has cobbled together dozens of sources of freelance work and passive income, documenting it all on I Like to Dabble, a resource for other queer and neurodivergent folks who want to end their relationship with corporate America.
Money isn’t a mystery for Dominique Broadway. She’s been obsessed with it since she was a kid selling handmade beaded bracelets. At 13, her father made her VP of his vending machine company. As an adult, she went broke starting her financial planning company, Finances De·mys·ti·fied, but ultimately figured out how to win in business by helping others learn to invest. Her daughter is getting an even earlier start: Broadway set up a five-figure
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The 25 Most Influential New Voices of Money | NextAdvisor with TIME – NextAdvisor