The American personal finance system relies heavily on credit. And, for many new immigrants, that’s not a good thing. Credit scores, calculated by credit agencies and regulated by the federal government, tell lenders whether you’re reliably paying your bills. But the credit history that my parents built for more than two decades in Malaysia doesn’t translate to the US – and getting one here can be a long journey.
The lack of access to mainstream financial services and products also leaves some immigrant families vulnerable to predatory actors who offer high interest rate loans or impose costly fees with onerous terms. These unauthorized service providers often lure immigrant consumers with in-language marketing and familiar cultural norms but do not disclose their terms clearly to customers.
It’s important for immigrants to build a strong savings foundation in order to achieve financial wellness and create wealth for themselves and their family. Getting started on the right foot requires making some crucial financial moves, such as opening a bank account, creating a budget, and starting to save for emergencies.
These first steps will set your family up for long-term success. If you need help getting your finances in shape, sign up for a free 30-minute personal finance coaching session here. We’ll work with you to develop a plan that can help you reach your goals in the next six months and beyond. new immigrant finance