This month, we talk to Lyanne Alfaro, who lives in Chicago and founded her own company, Moneda Moves to share stories about money and culture to empower people to create generational wealth.

YouTube video

What I see happening in Alfaro’s story is a realignment of career and values post-pandemic. You have an educated Latina, employed at a Fortune 100, fully engaged in “solopreneurship.” She seeks to bring her career closer to home to focus not just on professional growth but on personal growth as she works with her parents on their joint financial future. She told me, “I felt bad living my semi-best-life in New York while they were getting older and having [life’s] complications. But I also get the privilege of helping build our financial future together, and that’s an important reframe.” Alfaro has written about this experience in detail in Hispanic Executive.

Speaking from my personal experience, as an immigrant, as a male child, born to educated parents that were far more successful in the professional world than I will ever be, I find it extremely interesting to think that her parents will actually listen to her when I know that mine would not. Nor would they ever consider taking direction from me. In my Mexican home, the children would never be allowed to lead the economic futures of their parents.  

Sergio: Please describe your childhood home?

I lived in a very small third floor pseudo apartment. My parents and I lived there and my uncles and aunts lived below us. I was six years older than my brother and I had a caretaker role with him. We had a strong nuclear family and emotionally we had what we needed but economically, there was still some need. My parents shielded me from that. I remember that we had a yard and we would have carne asadas and we would get the kids piñatas for when we had parties. The neighborhood was very Mexican working class. We had paleteros and nopaleros in the streets. It was called, Hermosa. My parents really worked hard to have me assimilated and integrated and focused on the educational system. My parents didn’t want me worrying about what they were worried about. My mom was a teacher in Mexico and my father was in construction. As for my identity as a first gen, I became very American and I made that leap through the educational system. My parents put me into a lottery system school when I was in 2nd grade and I learned to really love writing. It was a journey through my all Mexican neighborhood by night and the all white school neighborhood by day, I always found myself somewhere in-between.

Sergio: When did you begin to fantasize about prosperity and did you tie your vision to an image of a home?

I did not think about a fantasy of a home very much. I thought of prosperity more in terms of my career. I think learning to read and write and having teachers believe in me was what drove me to consider a career in writing. I did not think about money until only recently but I saw that my mom traded her career as a school teacher in her village in Mexico for economic opportunities for my father in the United States and I assumed that I didn’t want to have to make those trades in my future. As a woman, I demanded having the choice to take my career to the heights I wanted for myself.

Sergio: What inspired your fantasy?

I was obsessed with storytelling and the school paper and young authors and I was going to events where I would sit next to Roger Ebert and I would write film reviews for the Chicago Tribune when I was in high school. Being in the same room with him was very meaningful for me. It expanded my world of possibilities. So, more than anything, because writing and reading were fun to me, I wanted a career that was fun and filled with joy and play. I guess prosperity to me was probably that; Fun, Play, Joy! Up to my early 20s, I was visualizing myself and my life in this way. 

Sergio: What does your home look like present-day?

My parents became homeowners just before the housing crash and I noticed that life got better for them. I also noticed that they had to watch their grocery spend a lot more closely but they had more space and there was this great tree in front of their house. I was in the fourth grade when this happened.

Today, I just moved back from New York where I have been living after my first leg of my journalism career in NYC. I live alone in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. It is a 40 unit apartment building, new build, elevators, semi-glossy. It’s yuppified but there are plenty of remnants from old Chicago. It’s very vibrant and it gets loud and rowdy on the weekends. I am currently renting. I decided to come home from living in New York during the pandemic, I worried for them and wanted to be close to them. There was looting, there was this food desert reality. I feel a sense of duty to them. It has been quite a transition from the pandemic. I came back to work with my parents on some of our financial realities. I felt bad living my semi-best-life in New York while they were getting older and having these complications. But I also get the privilege of helping build our financial future together, and that’s an important reframe.

Sergio: Why do you qualify it as a semi-best-life?

Well, because it was the pandemic.

Sergio: When did you start your company, Moneda Moves?

I am a full time employee at Google but I have a business, Moneda Moves, as of 2022. I have three revenue streams coming in from Moneda Moves: Consultation, Speaking Fees and Writing Contracts. I have a Newsletter and a Podcast and it’s a slowburn that I am nurturing in a very thoughtful way. I’ve had multiple offers to buy Moneda Moves and scale it like a media vertical but right now I am being very careful with my baby right now. Additionally, I am having an event in the coming weeks where I am hosting my community to talk about getting funding to founders. That to me is upper case Work. My upper case Work gives me my purpose.

Sergio: Is there a connection between your former fantasy and your current reality?

I am a writer and I get to play, have fun and experience joy so yes, I think I connected my fantasy to my reality. I do plan to purchase a home in the future but I’m not sure exactly where just yet. The ultimate connection between fantasy and reality is getting to be good while doing good, not just for myself and my immediate family, but my broader community, inclusive of BIPOC entrepreneurs, dreamers and doers. 

Sergio: What else is on your mind?

The Insider piece you reference paints quite the bleak picture on homeownership, but I wonder if this report is worth mentioning as well which notes that new homeownership since 2014 was driven by nonwhite groups. Also some interesting stats on the Latino cohort.

Sergio C. Muñoz is a Mexican banker living in Floral Park, CA. He is the owner of Intelatin, LLC. His work has been published on PBS and in ReVista, the Harvard Review of Latin America, Studio 360 and...