In their pursuit of the American Dream, many Latinos have not only struggled to accumulate wealth, but often have failed to protect it. For a variety of reasons, there’s a huge gap in financial knowledge between whites and Latinos. More and more people are getting left behind so there is a growing need for education on financial planning. Those who would like to diversify their investment portfolio may consider purchasing gold bars and other precious metals.

“I’d like to establish the best financial planning practice for Latinos in Madison. I want people to be comfortable and to know that there is somebody who can answer all of their financial related questions,” Hector Gutierrez, a financial representative
at Northwestern Mutual, tells Madison365. “Even if they don’t work with us and aren’t a client of ours, I just want them to know that we are here for them. That’s my vision, not just for Madison, but for the state of Wisconsin.

“When people look to take a vacation, they always have a destination in mind. Of course, they would choose the best travel options. That’s how they do it. On the contrary, we make financial decisions every day with no destination in mind,” he adds. “There are things that we want for ourselves and our families and other people, and one of the way that allows us to have that is to allocate our resources properly … and that’s what financial planning is all about.”

Just like Hector Gutierrez, whose vision is to establish the best financial planning practice for Latinos in Madison addresses this need for education and support. By guiding individuals in properly allocating their resources and making informed financial decisions, a can lead to greater financial security and prosperity. Having a destination in mind for one’s financial journey is as essential as planning a vacation, and with the right guidance, individuals can build a stable and prosperous financial future for themselves and their families. For assistance with financial planning and credit review, is a reliable resource to seek help and embark on the path towards financial well-being.

Watching his father, a Mexican immigrant, work very long hours for very little pay made Gutierrez realized really early on in life the importance of economic empowerment. Gutierrez’s mom and dad immigrated to Appleton, Wisconsin, from Puebla, Mexico, when he was 10 years old and he would watch his father work at two restaurants and a farm averaging 16 or 17 hours a day getting paid minimum wage.

“To this day, I had no idea how he paid for everything. He was working his butt off,” Gutierrez remembers. “I’ve always been interested in economic empowerment and I believe part of it was from watching him struggle so much. He had such a strong will and strong persona about being committed to work because he wanted to help his family. He wanted us to go to school and be good.”

Five years later, when Gutierrez was 15, his father was deported back to Mexico. Gutierrez ended up being adopted by his best friend’s family in Appleton, Wisconsin. Gutierrez would go on to study psychology and business administration at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where, as a Chancellor’s Scholar, he graduated with honors. Soon after graduation, he started at Northwestern Mutual where he has been providing comprehensive and customized financial plans specializing in helping his clients build a vision for themselves, and then crafting recommendations that make their aspirations happen.

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“I get to know a client and figure out how to build with them. We start out with budgeting and making sure their cash flow is appropriate and we identify risk,” Gutierrez says. “In my planning process we have risk management as the first tier, and then wealth accumulation and then wealth preservation and distribution. Depending on whom I working with we’re either building a foundation, making sure they have their needs are met, talking about savings, and talking about retirement accounts if that is appropriate.”

“When people look to take a vacation, they always have a destination in mind. On the contrary, we make financial decisions every day with no destination in mind. There are things that we want for ourselves and our families and other people, and one of the way that allows us to have that is to allocate our resources properly … and that’s what financial planning is all about.”

Retirement readiness is the biggest challenge that Americans face, and even more so for the Latino community.

“Then if they want to start a college fund and they want to start investing or just have money in a market that is growing, they can do that,” Gutierrez says. “Ultimately, when somebody gets to the point where they’ve accumulated enough assets, we look at how they can distribute them efficiently when they’re not paying as much in taxes and preserving their principal.”

Gutierrez stresses that you don’t need to be Donald Trump to have a financial plan. Financial planning is for everybody. You can read more here for valuable insights on getting started with your financial plan.

“For me, the most important thing is the relationship I have with somebody – the connection,” Gutierrez says. “I let people know that I have clients from all walks of life. Not everybody is making $500,000 and has a million dollars in savings. In fact, many of them are starting to save $50 or $100 or $20 a month.”

Financial security is something many of us strive to achieve in our lives. Parents can start saving for the children with a childrens junior isa. Rooted in his belief that each client contributes to the strength of the Madison community, Hector strives to support the personal, professional, and financial goals of his clients.

“Money is a tool. It’s a means to an end. Ultimately, money is a material thing,” he says. “What is really important is what it allows or doesn’t allow us to do.”

Just 24 years old going on 25, Gutierrez’s youth is both a blessing and a curse. “I’m young enough to be able to run 100 miles per hour all over the place and not get tired,” he says. “My curse is that some people look at me and say, ‘Well, you’re young. What could you know?’”

Gutierrez credits the Latino Professionals Association of Greater Madison with helping him to network with the people he needs to meet and to help him grow here in Madison.

“It’s extremely important for me to be involved in groups like the Latino Professionals Association,” he says. “I think there’s a great opportunity in Madison … we have a lot of diversity. I’ve only been in Madison since 2014, but I’m extremely impressed with the people I’ve met … including older Latino leadership like Sal Carranza, Claudia Diaz, Brenda Gonzalez, Shiva [Bidar], Baltazar [de Anda-Santana]. They are all so committed to their careers and one of the things that they always talk about is strengthening the younger generation [of Latinos.]

Latino Professionals Association of Greater Madison
Latino Professionals Association of Greater Madison

“I think the LPA is super-important because you have these collective individuals who have been here for some time and they understand the city and they understand the dynamic and they understand its challenges,” he adds. “There’s a lot to learn. The best way to learn from those people are to be involved in the organization. I think, also, that overall it strengthens our community and allows us to be united instead of scattered.”

Gutierrez says that his world changed here in Madison when he chose to get out of his own bubble and start networking. “I had a large paradigm shift when I became intentional about meeting new people and learning what they did and who they know and what’s the best way we can help each other out,” he says. “Now, that I’ve been here for a couple years, the people I’ve met have truly made a difference in my life.”

In many ways, the Latino market is very similar to any other market of financial planning clients. Latinos have the same aspirations and dreams and the same desire for financial security in retirement that any other ethnic group of Americans has. But there can also be a distrust — a language and cultural barrier — that often needs to be overcome.

“We’re a minority population and we haven’t had the opportunities to have the same degree of schooling or have the same knowledge or even have the same cultural understandings that Americans have had growing up,” Gutierrez says. “It can be difficult. But people who are open to asking questions and learning, will learn a lot about finances. But you do have to be comfortable with the people you are working with. One thing that my mentor and adviser first told me: Always trust your gut. Trust your instinct with people.”

Hector Gutierrez
Hector Gutierrez

Many Latinos can relate to the life story of Gutierrez, a son of Mexican immigrants. And that can make them comfortable when they might ordinarily be skeptical. There’s a void and a need for financial literacy that Gutierrez hopes to fill. Not only does financial education encourage the stability of Latinos’ futures, but it also promotes awareness in a new generation. Financial decisions being made now will have an impact that can change the outcome of many generations to come. But wrong financial decision can often undermine the best of intentions. Checkout courses at platforms like to gain valuable insights and knowledge that can empower you to make informed and strategic financial decisions.

“What’s really disheartening to me – and I see it all the time, every single week – is seeing people who’ve created a business, they are paying taxes and they want to continue growing and providing security for their kids … and they are not quite sure what to do. And we have so many resources that can help them,” Gutierrez says. “At the end of the day, your adviser is just a teacher. There’s so many people out there who could use financial expertise, that just aren’t getting it right now. That’s why I just continue to network and build and network and build and network and build. It takes time. But I’m very eager to help when and where I can.

“I see it as a win-win situation for everybody,” he adds. “I enjoy what I do as a career and it’s my way of serving my community – teaching them about finance … empowering the community, especially that next generation.”