Meet the 29-Year-Old Bronx Dominican Immigrant That’s Teaching Financial Tech Start-ups How Real People Deal With Money

The Bronx is a borough of immigrants in a nation of immigrants that shape our country for the better each and every day.

One such individual is Wendy De La Rosa, who graduated from Cardinal Spellman High School in our borough (my alma mater and of course, US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s as well) and is currently pursuing her PhD at at Stanford.

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De La Rosa cofounded a nonprofit called Common Cents Lab, an organization that works towards helping low and moderate income individuals get a better financial footing in life.

But instead of relying on Artificial Intelligence and algorithms which she says is one of the reason some start-ups have failed, it’s all about psychology and behavioral science behind our relationship with money that drives her.

An article in Forbes writes of De La Rosa and says:

A self-described hustler, De La Rosa says her life has always been centered around money—or the lack thereof. At age 9, she immigrated to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic with her mother, settling into her grandmother’s small two-bedroom apartment in the Bronx along with ten other relatives. De La Rosa picked up English quickly (through school and the Cartoon Network) but had to retreat to the apartment’s one bathroom for needed quiet to finish her homework. And finish she did. She was valedictorian of her public elementary and middle schools and of Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx—the alma mater of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Meanwhile, De La Rosa’s mom, a psychologist in her home country, took what work she could find—as a hotel maid. “It was very hard to see your educated mom clean rooms. She sacrificed a lot because of me,” De La Rosa says. “I think that’s where I started to fall in love with financial decision-making, because when you are living in a certain circumstance where every dollar really matters, it becomes a topic of conversation.”

“I think I just see my family in every single experiment that I run. I lived through that. I know exactly what it means to be living paycheck to paycheck.”

Head over to Forbes and read the full article in this amazing Bronxite.

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