First-Gen Money Mondays with Gigi Gonzalez: Being the First-Generation

Posted by Viviana Vazquez in Brown EconomicsOctober 6, 2021(Last Updated December 20, 2022)3 min read
Key Takeaways
  • First-Gen Money Mondays guest Gigi Gonzalez shares her experience as a first-generation American and daughter of Mexican immigrants.
  • Self-advocating in the workplace will help you get ahead in the workplace as a first-gen.
  • Many first-generation college graduates are responsible for creating wealth for themselves and their families. 
  • Establishing financial boundaries is essential for first-gens, especially when encountering cultural clashes.
Are you ready to make some real money moves?

On the first episode of First-Gen Money Mondays, host Viviana Vazquez chatted with Gigi Gonzalez, founder of The First Gen Mentor. Gigi is a first-generation American, first-generation college graduate, and first-generation white-collar professional. She is widely known as a Financial Educator on TikTok, with a mission to help other first-gen BIPOC (Black and Indigenous People of Color) on their wealth-building journeys. Gonzalez has also been a featured speaker at FinCon (2021) and currently has a book in the works. 


During the first-ever First-Gen Money Mondays episode, Gigi spoke to Viviana about a multitude of topics relating to the first-gen experience. Below are three key takeaways from her chat. 


Self-Advocating in the Workplace


As a first-gen, you have to speak up, and you have to ask questions. Self-advocating is what got me ahead in the workplace.

- Gigi Gonzalez


As a first-generation white-collar professional, Gigi shared her experience navigating the working world. She explained that she struggled with growing professionally as the first in her family to enter a corporate work environment. Her struggle was not related to being a hard worker. Instead, she struggled because she didn’t know how to showcase her skills to her managers.



Photo Credit: BigPixel Photo /


After being in the workforce for a decade, Gigi learned from the experiences she’s had in her professional career. After learning the ins and outs, she now understands and teaches others how to navigate corporate America as a first-generation American. Her most important piece of advice to younger first-gens is to speak up and ask questions because what helped her get ahead the most was self-advocating for herself and her work.


Recommended Read: Adulting 101: Finding A Job


Building Wealth for your Family


“When we build wealth, it's not just for ourselves; it's for our families too.”

- Gigi Gonzalez


One of the most anticipated topics covered in Gigi’s episode was building generational wealth as a first-generation American. As Gigi stated during the Instagram Live session, many first-generation college graduates are responsible for creating wealth for themselves and their families. 


Gigi shared that her money knowledge came from personal experience and finance books. Her parents never spoke to her about money growing up. After she graduated from college, she had a lot of debt, yet was expected to contribute financially as the breadwinner in her family. She learned to establish financial boundaries but still contributes when her family is in financial need. 


Recommended Read: Getting Ahead When Your Family Isn't Wealthy


Mexico-U.S. Culture Clashes


“I had to master financial boundaries, especially because of the cultural clashes of being from a Mexican collective culture and learning from an individualistic American culture.”

- Gigi Gonzalez


Establishing financial boundaries is essential for first-generation immigrants and Americans, according to Gigi. However, many first-gens avoid setting boundaries because their home culture may differ from the American individualistic culture. This was the case for Gigi, coming from a Mexican collectivist culture and family. She eventually learned to embrace a balance between the individualistic culture in the U.S. and the collectivist culture in Mexico. 


family picture


Her advice to other first-gens is to master financial boundaries and learn to challenge the cultural norms that you may be used to following. Of course, it is always noble to help family members in financial need; however, it should not be an expectation.


Recommended Read: The Importance of Setting Financial Boundaries with Family and Friends


As viewers left comments during the live session, many expressed being able to relate to Gigi's immigrant story and financial journey. Gigi shared her personal experience and all of the lessons she’s learned from those experiences. 


Download the CapWay app (iOS/Android) or visit our Instagram page to watch the full episode.


What did you think about Gigi's advice to first-gen immigrants and children of immigrants? Can you relate? Please share your thoughts with us below!

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