Nely Galán, a media entrepreneur, self-made financial guru and New York Times bestselling author, now teaches financial literacy through her new bilingual podcast called “Money Maker/Mi Mundo Rico.” The podcast was launched in March and is expected to produce 100 episodes through the Money News Network (MNN) website.
The podcast is available on Spotify and Apple Music. Episodes are released on Wednesdays and Fridays. Listeners are treated to content related to various topics, such as business advice, goal-oriented lessons and personal stories from special guests. With the release of this new project, Galán hopes it will empower Latinos to create a legacy of generational wealth for future generations of Latinos.
Listeners can expect to learn about financial management skills and hear stories of guests who have overcome business and financial obstacles and yet achieved success. Special guests such as actress/singer Adrienne Bailon-Houghton, real estate advisor Rod Watson, MNN founder Nicole Lapin, tattoo artist Kat Von D, personal finance expert Suze Orman and television host Daisy Fuentes are featured. Guests share their own personal stories and how they overcame obstacles during their journey. What stands out most about this podcast is its bilingual feature, which means that both English and Spanish-speaking listeners have access to Galan’s content.
Podcast listening among Latinos in the United States is on the rise and will continue to gain a following with this type of medium. “59% of U.S. Latinos 18 years and older have ever listened to a podcast, a high mark for the measure,” according to a survey study by the Latino Podcast Listener Report 2022 conducted by Edison Research. There has also been a rise in Latino audiences in the U.S. that listen to podcast content in both English and Spanish. The study also stated that “just over 51% of U.S. Latinos have ever listened to a podcast in English and 33% to a podcast in Spanish.”
Before becoming a podcast host and businesswoman, life wasn’t so easy for Galan. At the age of four, her family left her native Cuba and relocated to Spain for about a year. The following year, Galan’s family immigrated to the U.S. Her experience as an immigrant became the main motivation for the work that she produces and what fuels her career. She was the first Latina President of Entertainment for the U.S. Spanish-language broadcasting network, Telemundo, which is owned by NBC Universal. Galan is also an Emmy Award-winning producer for more than 700 television shows that include all genres in both English and Spanish, produced through her multimedia company, Galan Entertainment, which is based in Marina Del Rey and launched in 1994.
“She’s been ahead of her time since she created Galan Entertainment, a production company dedicated to producing Latino-themed content for U.S. audiences,” said Gabriel Reyes, founder and president of Reyes Entertainment. Reyes has known Galan for over 20 years; the two colleagues worked together in Hollywood. “I’ve known Nely Galan since she gave me my first job in Hollywood. I was immediately attracted to her magnetic personality and her work to raise the profile of Latinos in the entertainment industry,” he said. Reyes also represents Galan through his entertainment communications agency, Reyes Entertainment, where he hopes to continue to support her work for the Latino community. “I have worked with her throughout all these years, and I am proud of all she has done and continues to do to uplift Latino and multicultural communities for visibility and financial empowerment,” he said.
In Hollywood, Galan is known as the creator of the FOX reality series “The Swan,” which was sold in many markets across the world. She has also helped develop “Crystal Empire,” the first telenovela to be broadcast in both English and Spanish, which was a collaboration between FOX TV and the Mexican mass media company, Televisa. She was most notably a contestant on the first season of the NBC television reality series “The Celebrity Apprentice,” where she raised $250,000 for her Count Me In charity, which focuses on developing women’s entrepreneurship.
As a writer, Galan is the author of “Self Made, Becoming Empowered, Self-Reliant, and Rich in Every Way,” which was first published in 2016 through Spiegel and Grau/Random House. Galan’s main purpose for “Self Made” is to empower women to have a “self-made mindset,” which requires them to take financial control of their lives. The book features a variety of stories of women entrepreneurs, goal exercises and useful financial tips and tricks that range from saving and making money to finding “hidden money.” It is currently available in both English and Spanish for bilingual audiences. “Self Made” has also transitioned into the “Becoming Self Made” community network, which offers resources and webinars for all women to connect about becoming entrepreneurs and share success stories.
Galan also does advocacy work through her nonprofit organization, “The Adelante Movement,” which focuses on its mission to empower Latinas to become entrepreneurs. According to the organization’s website, “Adelante accomplishes this through a series of programs designed to provide Latinas with the tools to become moneywise, successful entrepreneurs, and wealth creators for their families and communities.” The nonprofits also provide virtual webinars and resources, which give a sense of community to all sorts of women interested in entrepreneurship.
CALÓ NEWS recently interviewed Galan about her new podcast on the importance of teaching financial literacy within the Latino community.
Responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.
NELY GALAN, VENICE BEACH, AUTHOR & MEDIA ENTREPRENEUR, CUBAN-AMERICAN/LATINA
WHAT SPARKED YOUR INTEREST IN BECOMING A FINANCIAL GURU? WHAT LESSONS HAS YOUR WORK TAUGHT YOU?
I didn’t know when I initially decided that I was going to be a financial guru, but I realized something. When I got asked to do “The Celebrity Apprentice,” at the time, Donald Trump had a lawsuit with a bunch of Latinos. They wanted a Latina who could speak back to Donald Trump because he is very tough. I have worked with NBC, we have sold them Telemundo, and they knew that I was a tough girl. When I did the show, Donald Trump yelled at me in every episode, and I put him in his place in a very professional way. I guess I was shocked, and this is what sparked something in me that I got literally hundreds and thousands of letters from women, Latinas, Blacks, Asians, asking me, “How did you learn to speak truth to power?” I didn’t even know what that meant at the time. They would say to me, “Did you go to Harvard?” And I said, “No!”
In fact, I didn’t finish college; I started out as an intern and worked my way up. All of these women went to the companies that they worked for and invited me to speak at the companies where they worked. I didn’t even know how to speak. I felt that I was a hidden figure; I worked behind the scenes, running a company and a network. I was very Latina but dealt with mostly Americans and not Latinos so much in business.
When I was on “Celebrity Apprentice,” it’s like the world discovered me, and then I went to all these companies and heard what all these women told me. They said, “All we want is to be authentic.” Authentically Latina, authentically Black, authentically Asian, but we also want to be mainstream. I have worked with very wealthy people. I have learned to ask for money. I have learned to make money, and I have learned to invest money in real estate. The second thing is that I have learned to find my voice, to really speak up, and to really advocate for myself. I realized that for those women, finding someone who looked like them wasn’t Beyonce or JLo. Someone who is a real woman with a real job is powerful for them.
That was the beginning of my idea—not so much to be a financial guru, as to share the stories of women who want to become like them. Instead of continuing to work, I went back to school. I have a master’s degree and a doctorate in clinical psychology. In that journey, I had to write a dissertation, and that’s when it all came together for me because I was sitting on corporate boards where they were telling me that Latinas were the number one emerging market in the world, the number one shoppers in America, the most important economic force in the country and that Black and Asian women followed them. If you combined all multicultural women, they were going to own the economy in the U.S. at least in the next 100 years. In psychology school, I was learning about all the issues that Latinos, Blacks and Asians had, particularly women. I definitely came up with a hypothesis: If I can empower these women economically and in terms of their voice, how would it change the psychology of these women and the psychology of the generations that would come after? It was while writing that dissertation that I started to have a real idea. The final straw for the real idea was when Sheryl Sandberg came out with “Lean In.” She then asked me to interview her for an event with Latinas. I said to her, “Sheryl, your book is not relatable to Latinas because you went to Harvard, you had three jobs, and you became a billionaire.” We had to fight for every penny, we had obstacles, immigrant parents, we couldn’t go to college and all these things. I remember thinking: Somebody has to write that book. I didn’t really want to do it, but I felt that I was literally being called to do it. I just did it.
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO FORM THE BILINGUAL “MONEY MAKER” PODCAST?
I actually had two of the worst years of my life because I live in California and my mom got very ill in Florida. I dropped everything and came to Florida to help my two parents at the end of their lives. It’s been a very sad and difficult journey to see your parents, at the end of their lives, go through everything they have to go through. As much work as I did, I was a New York Times bestseller, and I traveled the whole country to teach women, but I took two years off. Two young women who are doing a podcast at iHeartRadio in the finance space decided to do what I did for so many years, and start their own company, Money News Network. They realized that young people needed financial literacy, and they really went and found a lot of young influencers in the money space to be part of a podcast.
Coincidentally, when my book came out, I did a podcast with one of them. She remembered me and called me, to which she said, “Nely, I really want you to do a podcast, and you reached out to a lot of women, especially minority women. This is for everybody—all young people, kids your son’s age. You’re kind of like an older person, but you have great life experience, and most of us are influencers. You have actually lived it.” When we talked, I thought to myself, instead of me doing everything, I’ve always done everything. I am tired. I have been taking care of my mother. Why don’t I align with two young entrepreneurs? I said to them that I would love to do it, but it’s very important for me to do it in Spanish because I’ve been very saddened by a report from last year from both the Aspen Institute and McKinsey & Company. It said that Latinos have had the worst two years economically in 40 years because we did not go after the PPP loan, or all the loans, grants and everything else during the pandemic. To me, it was really hard to do a podcast that I had to do twice, but I also realized that one of my superpowers is that I’m very good at translating simultaneously. I’m very good at English and Spanish. I am constantly doing research, even for myself, my son, and our family, to build an abundant legacy, a generational wealth for Latinos. So again, it was one of those situations where I felt called to do it.
I think that a podcast is, as I realized, a very intimate relationship between a podcast speaker and a podcast listener. It’s almost like you get to hear in your ear someone telling you their secret, and I feel that I lived a long time. I’m in my late 50s, I’m a mom, and I’m someone who has really had a tough, powerful story, and I really hung in there. I tell all young people to become friends with older people because we don’t want anything from you. We have been there, we have done that. All I want is for these girls, who are entrepreneurs and are starting Money News Network, to succeed. They were smart to call me because I am only going to help them.
HOW IMPORTANT IS TEACHING FINANCIAL LITERACY TO THE LATINO COMMUNITY?
I think it’s super important for me and anyone else who wants to teach each other financial literacy because we are numerically the largest minority. We have the biggest buying power, and yet we are living like we don’t have any power at all. We’re not using our numbers, our buying power to demand what we deserve when money is being given out. In fact, we don’t even apply for it. The reason that this podcast is important to me is that on the English side, I’m interviewing Latinos, White, Black, Asian, Jews, everybody. And in Spanish, I’m interviewing Spanish speakers. I don’t want only Latinos to listen to Latinos. Black people have found their voice quicker than we have. Asians have beaten us. Even though we’re different kinds of Latinos, Argentinians, Mexicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and Colombians, we are not united, and it screws us up. We don’t realize that if one person has a hit book, a hit movie, or anything else, there’ll be more Latino hit books. When we don’t support Latinos, we’re screwing ourselves.
NEARLY 5 MILLION BUSINESSES IN AMERICA ARE LATINO-OWNED. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU OFFER THEM?
The most important thing is to first start a side hustle: drive an Uber, Lyft or an Airbnb room in your apartment. Then lower your overhead because, to become an entrepreneur, you have to have the goal of saving two years’ worth of money and a good runway of cash so that you can then start something bigger. We have to sacrifice in order to do bigger things. The money we save from our side hustle and lower overhead is the beginning of becoming “self-made.” In this country, we have to register our businesses as “minority-owned businesses,” which makes us ready to apply for all the government and corporate contracts available that will scale our businesses.
Many Latinos don’t know that our government has tax incentives for us. Federal and state incentives are like coupons to help us buy real estate, cars, appliances, and equipment for our business. All we have to do is Google “Tax Incentives 2023,” which come out at different times throughout the year, and take advantage of these benefits our government has to offer. If we don’t follow up, we are leaving money on the table. There are loans from the federal government through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and there are also statewide loans and grants that we don’t apply for. There are government-funded agencies like “Service Corps of Retired Executives” (SCORE) that answer your questions about all the possible things available for small business owners and online banks like Lendistry, which offer loans for minority small businesses. It’s important not to start businesses that are already saturated. The emerging businesses today are in health-care and businesses related to elderly-care, which are dominated by Baby Boomers and the richest population in the country. Selling things online is always popular, especially if you know how to market on social media. Also, think about where you live, there are cities where you can live cheaper and do better. Google “emerging cities.” Sometimes it is better to be a big fish in a small pond and get rich quicker. My podcast, “Money Maker” in English and “Mi Mundo Rico” in Spanish, is about financial literacy that will give you the “know-how” to embark on a prosperous life journey. I invite you to join me on the Money News Network. I am going to help you follow the money, the grants, and the small business loans, every week at the latest. I do not want to die without seeing my community have the economic power it deserves based on our numbers and buying power.”
FOR ANY LATINO WHO IS INTERESTED IN MAKING MONEY, WHAT ADVICE DO YOU GIVE?
I think the most important thing is to lower your overhead, get a side hustle, take the money from the side hustle, and save it. I know this might sound psycho to a young person, but you have to save two years of salary. Because when you have two years of salary, you have the ability to decide whether you want to be an entrepreneur or whether you want to invest that money in real estate. What do you want to do to get to the next level? First, in order to get there, you have to lower your overhead, which means if you have to go live with five people, you can’t drink Starbucks every day or whatever. You have to save two years of salary; that’s where I began. That’s my number-one piece of advice.
WHAT IMPACT DO YOU WANT TO LEAVE BEHIND IN YOUR COMMUNITY?
WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR LEGACY TO BE?
I want Latinos to understand their economic power in this country and learn the system of money through financial literacy, so they too can fully participate in the benefits the federal government and the tax system offer in order to achieve the American Dream. I want to help Latinos and other minorities become financially literate and build generational wealth for themselves and their families. I want to show people that we have to build a legacy of wealth that passes generationally on to our children and their children. That’s what the Black community is doing in America, and that’s what we need to do. Look at me, I have a podcast in two languages. All of us who speak two languages should be making double the money. We should have businesses in English and Spanish. We have everything going for us to win, but we don’t. We can do it. I want us to know that we can be the number one group of people in this country. The most powerful and the richest can still be good people.