Brittney Castro, woman in finance

How Latina entrepreneur Brittney Castro built a career on femininity in a male-dominated industry

Brittney Castro is a Certified Financial Planner and is a leading speaker, host, and brand ambassador who has worked alongside top brands like Chase, Mint, ETrade, CNBC, Gemini, AirBnB, Zoom, Altruist, Refinery29, and more to promote financial literacy. Today she shares her journey as a woman in finance and how she leveraged her femininity to build her career in a male-dominated industry. 

Hustling, role models, and growing a business

Brittney Castro, Certified Financial Planner, speaker, host, and brand ambassador. (Photo courtesy of Brittney Castro)

At the age of 22, Brittney began her career as a financial advisor straight out of college and by 28 launched her own business, Financially Wise Inc. Over those 15 years, she worked with thousands of clients on their financial journeys. In 2020, she sold her private practice to focus full time on speaking, content creation, and brand partnerships. She now also offers coaching services to help other financial advisors do what she did and grow their businesses online through social media, get paid speaking sponsorships, and market in a modern way. 

“A lot of times people are very knowledgeable in the financial world, but they really just don’t know how to market or do video creation that educates and inspires people. So that is my sweet spot. I think that’s where I operate the best,” said Brittney during the March 25th virtual panel, Latinas & Success: What It Takes to Make It in America.

Speaking on her journey as an entrepreneur and where she is now, Brittney said she is excited to have reached where she is now, where she gets to do what she loves. 

“It wasn’t always that way, you know, we have to hustle to put in a lot of hours and time and do things we don’t necessarily love. So I’m very blessed and grateful to be here now.” 

Brittney shared the struggles she faced growing her business at a young age in a male-dominated industry. Being “real” she said candidly, “It’s not easy. I self-funded my business. I wish I would have been a little bit more creative in the beginning and maybe got some sort of loan but I didn’t.”

She had to figure out her own path forward and learned a lot from her experiences as a new entrepreneur. Now she tells people not to shy away from funding and “go get that money!” 

“You just have to kind of figure out, are you going to self fund? Are you going to get angel investors, or a small business loan? Every Avenue takes work effort, you’ll probably get denied. So you have to have that kind of persistence. Stay resilient. There’s so many creative resources, you just have to find the right one for you.”

“I don’t really think there’s a destination because I’m just working every day on making myself better.” (Photo courtesy of Brittney Castro)

Another key lesson Brittney learned throughout her career is to embrace change and always be in “flow.” For Brittney, there is no end goal marker of success. She is constantly learning, growing, and evolving. 

“People would ask me years ago, ‘What does it feel like to have made it?’ And that’s a weird question to me because, yeah, you have success, and I think it’s very good to celebrate, I’m not saying not to embrace it and celebrate it. But I don’t really think there’s a destination because I’m just working every day on making myself better.”

Part of that growth mindset comes from mentors. Early on, as Brittney was first establishing her own company, she began to build her network and learn from others who were already doing what she wanted to do. 

“I would find women-focused events to go to, and I would just look at other women business owners, and I thought, ‘Okay, they, they’re doing it, I could do it too.’ But I also read a lot of books. I think that’s the power of mentorship, it doesn’t have to be physical in person, you can learn a lot from other people’s stories. And now we have YouTube or you know, social media, where you hear people’s inspiring stories through video.”

As Brittney read and connected with other women entrepreneurs, she was inspired and pushed forward along her own path. Those mentor figures really helped solidify the belief that she too could build her own business as a woman in finance. 

Watch the full panel below

Embracing femininity in a male-dominated industry

When Brittney began her career as a young woman in finance she faced pressures to change herself and downplay her feminine side. Navigating her space in this male-dominated industry was difficult as a 22 year old fresh out of college. 

“When I was just starting I would try to look like a man more. I would wear all black, I remember I’d put my hair so tight and a bun just so people would take me seriously. And it made me sick health wise, I was just always rundown and sick because I was trying to imitate someone else, instead of just being me, a woman in finance and leveraging my feminine power and strengths,” said Brittney. 

“Now I just think it’s so beautiful to be a woman in finance, like, do it my own way, create my business my own way.” (Photo courtesy of Brittney Castro)

Eventually she learned to fully embrace her identity not just as a woman but also culturally as a Latina in the industry and leveraged her identity as her niche when she launched her first business. 

Her manager at her first firm criticized this move to market her business specifically toward women, stating that it would be “stupid” to miss out on half the population. 

Brittney, however, knew there was a market for financial services catered toward women. 

“Every woman I talked to doesn’t relate to the financial industry, and I’m in the financial industry, and I don’t relate to any of these things and how they talk about money. So I literally built my first you know, company, Financially Wise Women with the focus of helping women and it was like, almost girly, in a way the color palette. I would dress more like feminine. I was just more me basically.” 

You might be interested: Latina tech entrepreneur Paola Santana owns her CEO title in a male-dominated industry

After fully embracing her femininity and focusing on helping women in finance, Brittney’s confidence grew and the success started to come and finally she felt like she didn’t have to be anybody other than herself. 

“Now I just think it’s so beautiful to be a woman in finance, like, do it my own way, create my business my own way.” 

Brittney finds that staying true to herself and not worrying about competition has worked best for her in her career thus far and she encourages other women entrepreneurs and professionals to stay true to themselves and not worry about what others are doing. 

“I just put my filters on and put my head down and work, I don’t really pay attention to what a lot of the people are doing in the financial world. That always works well for me, you know, because then I’m happier. And it attracts the right things into my circle.”

money managing, budget

Hate budgeting? Key money managing habits to thrive in business and life 

Budgeting, budgeting, budgeting! We’ve all heard about the importance of budgeting before, but many still overlook this crucial money managing practice when it comes to their personal and business finances. 

money managing, budget

Key money managing habits to make your personal and business finances thrive. (Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels)

Budgeting can look different depending on the area of focus. Your personal household budget vs your business budget will prioritize different things. However, at the core, there are also many similarities and the mechanics are the same. 

When you create a budget, you are planning your incoming and outgoing expenses. This core practice is the same for both personal and business budgets. 

Businesses and households that thrive know how to manage their money and keep their expenses in check. By implementing these money managing strategies into your life, you too can thrive and prosper in both business and life. 

Creating a personal spending plan

Often, budgeting begins in response to a financial crisis, however, ideally, budgeting is proactive, not reactive. Instead of being about damage control, it can be about monthly progress and strategic financial planning. 

By creating a personal budget, you and your household can better plan your spending and save for future emergencies or unexpected expenses. 

Budgeting also includes planning for major purchases. By creating a plan for purchasing big-ticket items, there is less potential for financial surprise and unexpected costs down the line. 

Entrepreneur, international speaker, best-selling author, licensed CPA, and a Chartered Global Management Accountant, Sharon Lechter shares key budgeting tips on her blog. Below are her tips to establish a solid personal budget, or as she prefers to call it– a personal spending plan. 

A personal budget should include the following steps

    • Establish your objectives (financial, lifestyle, etc.)
    • List all of your income sources (wages, investments, spousal support etc.)
    • Identify and list all expense categories (housing, auto, groceries, etc), broken into fixed vs. variable
    • Assign amounts to each spending category
    • Allocate savings
    • Account for fluctuations or one-time events
    • Track your progress and make adjustments if necessary

Managing your business budget

Business budgeting follows the same basic principles as personal budgeting, with a few additions. An accurate business budget will help you ensure your business has enough revenue to stay in business and continue to grow, while also giving you an in-depth window into how the business is performing and what to anticipate in the future.

money managing, budgeting, personal and business finances

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels.

Again, Sharon shares her expertise, laying out the core components to include in a basic business budget

Your business budget should include the following:

    • Your sales and revenue
    • Fixed costs (such as rent) and variable costs (raw materials that vary in price)
    • Debt service
    • Account for fluctuations or one-time events
    • Track your progress and make adjustments if necessary

One major difference between business and personal budgets is that in a business budget, forecasting is more crucial. For most people, predicting one’s monthly income is usually simple as income is fairly consistent from month to month. However, in a business, one must pay closer attention to their revenue forecast to plan for the months ahead. 

In a previous post on Latinas in Business, financial service and leadership expert Jesse Torres advised that business owners should sit down to thoughtfully estimate expected cash inflows and outflows. 

“Factors that to consider include the sales cycle, terms and discounts provided to customers, industry delinquency rates, and other factors that may affect the timing of incoming cash.

Similarly, it is necessary to estimate expenses and other cash outlays. This includes the timing of the purchase of equipment, raw materials, and supplies. It also includes the schedule for payment of salaries, taxes, and other day-to-day expenses.”

Business owners can utilize financial resources from SCORE, a national nonprofit support group for small business owners. SCORE provides a free budget template that business owners can use to manage their cash flow.

You might be interested: Financial matters are women reluctant to talk about money?

Budgeting for Unexpected Costs

One area where budgeting really pays off is when you are faced with sudden, unexpected costs. Most of the time, even without budgeting, we tend to know what costs to expect month to month in both our personal and business finances. You know you need to cover your rent, gas, utilities for instance and probably have that money set aside. However, will you be prepared for an unexpected expense such as a car repair? 

The SCORE blog offers budgeting resources to anticipate these unexpected costs and allows you to set aside funds to tackle these challenges when they arise. Marketing Content Manager, Lauryn Johnson breaks down the differences for anticipating unexpected costs for both personal and business budgets: 

At home: Those who are prepared will have sudden expenses covered by a portion of their budget, usually money set aside specifically for “incidentals.” Others may cover these expenses with their “rainy-day” fund. Either way, those who budget and save will be more likely to successfully navigate an unexpected expense without going into debt. The less prepared may end up having to charge the unexpected expense on credit cards, loans, or other high risk methods. 

In business: For most business situations, costs should be considered either fixed or variable. Much like your regularly budgeted personal expenses, fixed costs have to be paid regardless of your profitability each month. Variable costs, however, are where you should have a little more flexibility.

Implementing these budgeting money managing practices in both personal and business finances will help you thrive and prosper in all avenues of life. 

Adriane Medeiros shares investment planning strategies for financial empowerment and tips for success

We are proud to introduce and welcome our newest LIB Executive Board Member, Adriane Medeiros. Adriane is a Financial Services Professional with New York Life Insurance Company and specializes in life insurance and retirement investment planning. She is a great resource to our community, offering financial tips, seminars, and one-on-one appointments in financial and investment planning.

financial planning

Adriane Medeiros, Financial Services Professional and LIB Executive Board Member (Photo courtesy Adriane Medeiros)

Originally born in Brazil, she has lived in New Jersey for over 32 years and has a degree in Business with a minor in Economics and Finances, from Kean University in New Jersey.

Transforming lives through investment planning

Adriane has always had a passion for business and finances. In the early days of her career she worked for the Latino market of an investment banking company. However, after the 2009 recession, she decided to reinvent herself and pursue a career as a Registered Financial Professional.

As a Financial Professional, she works directly with individuals and small business owners and takes great pride in getting to know her clients personally one-on-one.

“I want to hear my client’s life story. Every client has a unique set of circumstances,” says Adriane, “and my approach is to learn as much as possible about my client’s financial concerns, so I can help them achieve their goals, and even transform their lives.”

This individualized approach enables Adriane to offer customized recommendations for insurance and financial products that help her clients achieve financial peace of mind.

“The most rewarding part of my career is being able to create lifelong relationships with my clients that are based on trust, service, and integrity!” she says.

Adriane with LIB founder, Susana G. Baumann (Photo courtesy Adriane Medeiros)

Trust and integrity are especially important in a field like finances. Adriane says one of the biggest obstacles she faces in her industry is that the Latino community in general does not trust financial institutions.

“Past experiences can be the reason for this distrust, and as a Latina myself, I understand the struggles that immigrants face, especially regarding financial planning” she says. “But unfortunately, when it is passed from generation to generation, it prevents Latinos from embracing opportunities to create and transfer wealth with something as affordable as life insurance.”

Adriane has seen business owners lose a lifetime of hard work and sacrifice due to lack of information and financial planning. Witnessing these hardships within the Latino community has further motivated her to help Latinos achieve financial empowerment and break the cycles of poverty and violence that are still present in Latino communities.

“My Latino clientele is very diversified, from undocumented, non-English speaking first generation immigrants, to highly educated professionals, but regardless of their background or net worth – It is my promise to treat them with respect and integrity. We work hard, and we all deserve to be a part of the American Dream.”

Life Insurance: Protecting loved ones when we are no longer here

In communities where financial and investment planning is not always the top priority, many may not think to consider a future without them in it when making plans or investments. Few want to think about such a subject as death, but it is a reality and life insurance is one key tool and investment planning strategy many can use to ensure their loved ones are taken care of later in life.

“When premature death strikes a family, it creates a lifetime of struggles and lost opportunities that can last for generations!” says Adriane.

Through her work she has seen the life-changing impact that investment planning can have on a family especially when it comes to unexpected deaths.

investment planning

Adriane at New York Life Executive Council, 2019 (Photo courtesy Adriane Medeiros)

“I always share my experience when I delivered a life insurance check to a young woman that had suddenly lost her husband. He was self-employed, and they did not have any assets, except for their home which still had a mortgage. My client’s widow was devastated and grieving, but she was extremely thankful that the life insurance death benefit would allow her family to stay in the same house so her children would not have to move to another school system. It also enabled her to keep a comfortable lifestyle and guaranteed that she would be able to afford a college education for her children later. All of that was possible because a few years earlier her late husband purchased a life insurance policy with a premium of less than $40.00 per month!”

A life insurance investment is an investment to protect your family’s future. Adriane describes it as “a love letter that protects our loved ones when we are no longer here to protect them ourselves.”

Creating a life of abundance and financial empowerment

However, when we plan for the future we must also plan for a long, healthy life as well, which is where Adriane’s other area of expertise comes in: retirement planning. Retirement planning is another important, but often overlooked, investment planning strategy.

“As immigrants, we are so eager to work and make a living, that we sometimes forget to live, and we fail to plan for our future,” says Adriane.

Retirement planning is especially important for women who face unique challenges in retirement.

“During their working years, among other things, women (1) usually earn less than men, (2) they save less than men, (3) they are more likely to take time off to be caregivers, and (4) they live longer than men (a 65 year-old woman has a 50% chance of living to age 91).”

You might be interested: Best use of PPP and other financing strategies for Latina business owners

Adriane’s goal is to help all her clients achieve a life of abundance and financial empowerment through investment planning so that they can support their families for generations to come.

Adriane helping out with Dikaion, a non-profit organization in Brazil that she has been involved with for over 20 years (Photo courtesy of Adriane Mederios)

“I love it when I can show my clients how to enjoy their lives during their working years, but also prepare for the unexpected and plan for the future! I see each appointment as an opportunity to educate and empower. I want people to be excited and fully engaged about their own finances because knowledge really is power when it comes to money.”

7 Tips for success

There’s no doubt we all want to be successful in our professional endeavors. If you’re ready to embrace a life of abundance, financial empowerment, and go for you goals, check out Adriane’s top 7 tips for success in business below!

Adriane Medeiros

Adriane at Hispanic Heritage Month Event (Photo courtesy Adriane Medeiros)

  1. Learn about yourself, and your paradigms!  The more you know about yourself, the sooner you will get rid of paradigms and negative beliefs that are keeping you from the amazing and abundant life that you deserve!
  2. Invest in you! Make professional and personal development priorities throughout your life, and please, pay attention to your finances.
  3. Take Care of Yourself! It is important to follow all the necessary steps to success, such as preparation, discipline, perseverance, knowledge, etc., but when we face challenges (and we all do) – you must remember that YOU are the most important resource in your business. You have unlimited potential, but you need to pay close attention to the warning signs when physical and mental exhaustion are hurting you and your performance. Remember to put your oxygen mask first so you can help others.
  4. Never give up on your goal! Sometimes we must change our plans, and adjust to our circumstances, but have faith that the universe is always working in your favor if you do not give up!
  5. Be profoundly grateful! Setbacks can be devastating, and we might not be able to look on the bright side when bad things are happening, but when we are grateful for everything else that we have, and for the lessons that setbacks bring us, we are actually changing our mindset. A grateful mindset restores our faith and makes us resilient!
  6. Create a Mission that aligns with your career or business! My knowledge and experience as a financial advisor has enabled me to fulfill my mission to financially empower minorities, and transform lives.
  7. Be generous with your money, your time, and your knowledge Always give to those that will never be able to pay you back.  When you start giving without any expectation of getting something in return, you have achieved an abundant and successful life.

Manifesting financial goals with Valerie Sanchez, co-founder of Divine Asset Management

Valerie Sanchez is the partner and co-founder of Divine Asset Management, a women-owned and led financial services firm which provides the tools and…

Brittney Castro financial planning

Brittney Castro creates a financial planning firm geared toward women

After years of working in the male-dominated industry of financial planning, Brittney Castro saw an opportunity to use her skills and create a company that caters toward female clients. Castro is a Certified Financial Planner and founder of Financially Wise Women, a Los Angeles-based financial planning firm aimed toward teaching money managing skills to women and couples in fun, easy, and simple ways.

Brittney Castro financial planning

Brittney Castro, founder Financially Wise Women (Courtesy FleishmanHillard)

Discussing finances can often be intimidating and extremely personal so it is important that clients find the right person they trust to work in a comfortable environment.

Brittney explains, “I wanted to work with clients the same way I talk about money with my girlfriends–in a smart, personal, feminine way that’s compassionate, fun, and non-judgmental.” Castro has become an expert in her field and has been featured on various media outlets such as CNN, CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Glamour, and Elle to name a few.  

Her success though has come after many years of hard work and dedication to her field.

Castro began her career working at a firm called Ameriprise Financial shortly after finishing college in 2006. From there she went on to work for an independent financial planning firm in West Los Angeles.

It was during this time that Brittney began to build her brand as the financial planner for women. Finally in 2012, Brittney took the plunge and created her company, Financially Wise Women. She craved the creative freedom that she could not find within the confines of the corporate structure.

You might be interested: Financial planning a must to face life events

Financial planning for women and beyond

Brittney Castro financial planning

Brittney Castro, CFP at one of her television interviews (Courtesy Brittney Castro (Courtesy FleishmanHillard)

Creating her own company allowed her to focus on her female clients and build an environment that was more personal and inviting unlike the ridged corporate environments of the mainstream financial planning world. 

Brittney describes the process of building her financial planning company as “an exciting journey” that has also come with great success and as well as “a lot of obstacles and challenges.” These challenges have not deterred her but instead have helped her grow stronger and wiser.

“Each time I was hit with a challenge, I persevered,” she said.  This perseverance and resilience has followed her throughout her entire career and has been one of her keys to success. Castro credits many of these resilient traits to her “Latina ‘spice,'” as she says. She celebrates her Latina roots saying, “My drive, resilience and hard work are all traits I find in common in Latinas and I am very proud of who I’ve become and the things I’ve achieved in life and business.”

Financial Education Ambassador

Brittney Castro financial planning

Brittney Castro at #WEALLGROW Summit (Courtesy FleishmanHillard)

When asked about a favorite moment in her career thus far, Brittney described her experience as the Chase Financial Education Ambassador. In this role, Castro has been able to help educate people, and specifically Hispanics, about the importance of credit and financial literacy.

This job has been an immensely rewarding experience for Brittney. “Growing up I always wanted my own business and to help people in life,” says Castro. After much hard work and determination, Castro has realized those aspirations.

Her advice to other Latinas aiming to achieve success in their professions is hard work and “just keep going.” Success is created through “a lot of hard work, dedication, and passion” she explains. “I have never seen an ‘overnight’ success because of the many years of behind-the-scenes work that goes into an ‘overnight’ success.”

She also advises to pick a career that excites you and that you are passionate about. “Enjoy it all!” she says. “Laugh and celebrate all the wins and challenges along the way as that is truly what life is all about.”

When she is not busy in the office, Brittney can be found working out, enjoying a coffee or smoothie, playing with her dog Arya at the local park, “and, of course, dancing.”

Saving for life events

Financial planning a must to face life events

We all face moments in our lives when we need money for life events: A quinceanera for our daughters, our children’s weddings, their education, traveling to see our families in our countries of origin but also, peace of mind for our retirement or long-term care.

Saving for life events

For years, I helped my elderly parents and other family members sending them money to Argentina, as probably many of you do. Although it was a great satisfaction that compensated for the geographical distance between them and our family, now I want to ensure that I won’t be a burden to my children when I grow older while being able to travel to see them as much as I can. (I have a daughter that lives in Argentina and a son that is here in the USA.)

As many Latinos and Latinas, I found it difficult to understand the way the financial system worked in the United States because we come from countries where saving and investing practices are culturally and practically quite different.

When Anthony and Gaby Privetera found out about, they reached out to me to contribute as a financial planner and a financial analyst to help our readers facilitate this task, learn through them and in simple terms the options we have, and how we can build a future for us, for our children and their children.

Through the years, I’ve learned that money is not a bad thing in itself; it is what you make with it that can be good or bad! In fact, I’ve learned that we can help a lot of more people when we have some peace of mind and some money in our pockets. Let’s work for the common good and bring abundance into our lives. Let me introduce you Anthony and Gabriela Privetera and their story.


Hola! We are Anthony and Gabriela!

We are excited about the opportunity to work with the fastest growing group of business women in the country who are making headway in so many different industries!

Anthony and Gaby Privetera's graduation at INCAE Business School in Costa Rica.

Anthony and Gaby Privetera’s graduation at INCAE Business School in Costa Rica.

Gaby: Anthony and I met in Costa Rica in 2009 while studying for our Master’s degree in International Agribusiness Management. I was coming from El Salvador and Anthony from the Dominican Republic. We met on the ride to school and have not been apart since!

Anthony: After completing our studies, we lived in El Salvador and traveled for work throughout Central America. We returned to the United States from Latin America in early 2014. Presently, I work at Morgan Stanley as a Financial Advisor and Gaby works at Accounting Principles as a Financial Analyst for their project at Bloomberg.

Gaby: Anthony is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who worked at FINCA International before returning to join his family financial advisory team. He helped FINCA –an organization that provides financial services to the world’s lowest-income entrepreneurs so they can create jobs, build assets and improve their standard of living– to write and administrate a US $6MM grant for an agricultural lending. Now he focuses on helping families and businesses plan for retirement and create formal financial plans.

Anthony and Gaby's Wedding August 19, 2012 in San Salvador.

Anthony and Gaby’s Wedding August 19, 2012 in San Salvador.

Anthony: Gaby worked for seven years at the Ministry of Agriculture in El Salvador where she out her skills learned as an economist into the Statistics, Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics Fields. She later joined the Japanese International Cooperation Agency where she helped governments in Central America to secure funding for infrastructure projects such as bridges, highways, waste treatment plants and geothermal power plants. Now she makes sure Latin American companies are properly portrayed in the Bloomberg media system.

Gaby: The Latin American population is expected to represent 20.5% of the U.S. population and hold between $2.5 and $4.4 trillion dollars in wealth by 2025, according to a 2014 study published by the St. Louis Federal Reserve. Financial planning is a critical tool we can use to make sure the money we work so hard for can become savings that will meet your needs for life events such as education and retirement expenses. Through his work, Anthony is committed to helping others build their own dreams here in the United States.

Anthony : Studies like the U.S. Department of Education’s 2010 report “Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups” and U.S. Department of Labor’s 2010 report “Disparities for Women and Minorities in Retirement Savings” show that Latin Americans are still not reaching the level of other groups in these important issues because cultural and language barriers are still an important obstacle.

Anthony Privetera Financial Planner at Morgan Stanley

Anthony Privetera Financial Planner at Morgan Stanley

Gaby: We want to help by doing our part in sharing information on these important topics. We will be posting articles that hopefully will clarify information on topics like contributing to 401(k) plans, managing your finances and your personal or business budget, and how to handle your assets once you are heading to the top so you can get there faster. In addition, you can ask questions to us directly either in English or Spanish –we are both bilingual– posting your comments and questions on site.

Welcome to, Anthony and Gabriela!