Learning from Financial Mistakes, Adopting a Hustle Mindset

By Jorge Narvaez of @Realitychangers


As part of my partnership with CreditWise® from Capital One®, I am excited to share my financial journey with you all. I want to be sure my kids learn from my mistakes and understand the importance of developing good money and credit habits from a young age, which is also a good ongoing lesson for me even as an adult. 

When I was 16 years old, I learned that I would become a father. At the time, I was living in my parents’ garage, the floor had no carpet and I slept in a twin bed with my now wife. I knew right away I had to find a way to support my little family. I was determined to get out of that garage and move out. I dug deep and worked hard to make a change.

I eventually became the first person in my entire family to graduate from high school and college. I attended the University of California San Diego. The college workload alone was brutal, and then layering on the loans and a young daughter made college the hardest years of my life. In the end, it was all worth it. Graduation was a major turning point; I knew I was ready to take on the rest of my life. 

So fast forward a few years and here I am, 33 years old with three children, in a much better (not perfect) financial situation. I’m far from out of the woods, but the difference is now I am more determined than ever to take the steps necessary to improve. My mindset is better, my determination is sharper, and my heart is where it needs to be.

Now my priority is to teach everything I’ve EVER learned to my wife and children. My two key pieces of advice for my children are to adopt the ‘hustle’ mindset and to learn about managing their finances from a young age. 

The ‘Hustle’ Mindset

Growing up, I didn’t understand the importance of managing and understanding my finances, and this wasn’t something I was taught. Learning and understanding money was at the bottom of my list of priorities, but I knew I needed to become financially stable, so I joined the ‘hustle’ culture from a very early age. I started selling snacks, stickers and CDs at school and around my neighborhood. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it and ended up being a great ‘salesman’. I loved my first taste of financial independence. It was motivating to make my own money and in turn I was able to help my family when they needed support.   

Naturally, when my daughter was young, I started teaching her how to have a ‘hustle’ mindset too. She began selling her own snacks and got really good at it. She STILL hustles today! She now uses her artistic and photographic talents to do photoshoots at her school WHILE selling snacks. Talk about a dual income!

Financial Skills to Start off on the Right Foot

Even after graduating college, I STILL lacked financial knowledge and struggled with my money. I didn’t have the right tools to set myself up for financial success and didn’t know where to start. l struggled with understanding the connection between good credit and financial freedom. 

I applied this ‘hustle’ mentality to improving my finances. I started to learn as much as possible about my credit score (still learning!), budgeting, loans, credit cards and more to make sure I am making smarter decisions than before.

My experience teaching myself about finances and credit is exactly why I partnered with CreditWise. I want to help others learn about the valuable and free resources available that can help them avoid the same challenges I faced. I use a number of resources to help understand my finances and where I stand, but one of my favorite free tools is CreditWise. CreditWise helps me understand, improve and monitor my credit.  It also offers suggestions to help me improve my score. I always share the suggestions with my family so we can learn together.

One of the biggest responsibilities as a father is to teach my children the financial basics, I wish I was taught at a young age. My wife and I are currently showing them how to budget, balance a checkbook and soon, understand how to responsibly use credit. The hustle is important, but now I must make an even BIGGER effort to understand what’s beyond the hustle! I really hope you will download CreditWise to help you keep track of your credit because deep inside, we’re all hustlers! 


Jorge Narvaez,

Jorge Narvaez is a father of three and vlogger behind @Realitychangers. Jorge is a first-generation graduate of high school and college. Just before college graduation, Jorge's YouTube cover of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros’ song “Home”, with him and his daughter singing went viral. Within days millions of people around the world took notice and exploded their fanbase, which now has over 800K followers across their social channels. Jorge is originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, grew up in San Diego, California and currently lives there with his family. He actively participates in speaking engagements, communicating life lessons and hopes to pursue long-term additional leadership roles that benefit the Latino community as well as the global community as a whole.