Giovanna Gonzalez helps her peers build wealth

As a first-generation transfer student from Southern California, Giovanna Gonzalez didn’t have a lot of resources to navigate college or start a career. Her experience inspired her to want to help other students like her.

After graduating with a degree in business economics, Gonzalez started building her digital presence, trying to reach her target audience of first-gen students and early career professionals. By offering financial tips on social media, she amassed nearly 200,000 followers and 3.5 million likes on TikTok, more than 14,000 followers on Instagram and roughly 6,000 on LinkedIn. She was named to Fast Company magazine’s Creator25 list as one of five up-and-coming creators to watch in 2022.

As a well-known influencer and first-generation wealth builder, Gonzalez shares her tips on living a financially healthy lifestyle.

“In my late 20s, I started gaining interest in personal finance since, personally, I felt like I was not maximizing the money I was earning,” Gonzalez says. “Once I immersed myself in learning everything there is to learn about personal finance, I realized that everyone needs this information.”

Gonzalez hosts virtual courses and financial literacy workshops for employee groups and at universities, helping other first-generation students understand personal finance — like making a budget, building credit and investing.

Now, she wants to take it to the page. With a $50,000 TikTok Latinx Creatives Grant — she was one of 10 recipients in 2022 — Gonzalez plans to write a book on personal finance for a first-gen audience.

“I read over 50 personal finance books, and they all had some cultural aspect missing,” Gonzalez says. “For example, a go-to tip in these books is to find a sustainable used vehicle. But, coming from a Mexican family, you can get teased if you don't have the newest car in town. My book will be written through the lens of a first-generation wealth builder.”

Giovanna Gonzalez ‘11 / Courtesy photo