Broker and trainer Justine Jimenez Garcia shares how the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) and its 10 Disciplines help Hispanic Realtors develop a path to personal wealth and optimal influence.

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I arrived in Miami, Florida, from Cuba, when I was six years old. That was many years ago, but I still strongly identify as an immigrant. As political refugees, we began our new life with very little. 

For many people like us, the desire to show that we “made it” financially meant we spent money on flashy cars, expensive clothing, designer handbags, etc. The return on investment for these purchases was small.

I learned from my association with the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals the importance of building personal wealth as a way to have greater traction in life and business.

These principles are captured in “The NAHREP 10 Disciplines,” which is part of the Hispanic Wealth Project. Gary Acosta, co-founder and CEO of NAHREP, is a vocal proponent of these principles as a path to personal wealth as well as influence, an important component of successful advocacy for Hispanics.

From being at the top of your profession to living below your means and minimizing debt, to investing in real estate and knowing your net worth, the NAHREP 10 also focus on staying healthy, prioritizing family and being generous with people less fortunate. 

I believe so deeply in these guidelines that I became a NAHREP 10 Certified Trainer and share these concepts with people locally in my community.

I also develop peer-to-peer mentorship relationships aimed at helping others set goals for improving their financial standing, public speaking skills and guiding them through their journey toward achieving the best version of themselves.

At the NAHREP at L’Attitude annual conference in San Diego on Sept. 22-24, I was excited to weigh in on the financial considerations of brokerage size during a panel discussion about “the barbell effect.”

The barbell effect suggests that very small companies with low overhead will be nimble enough to survive a slower market, and very large companies with strong balance sheets will also do well, but everyone else in between will have a tough time.   

Through my involvement with my local and state board of Realtors, I have spoken extensively to the leadership of Hispanic-owned brokerages to understand our collective needs better and open the lines of communication between our industry colleagues at large to promote greater understanding and inclusivity.

As brokerages, Hispanic-owned firms tend to be on the small and nimble side of the barbell.

The entrepreneurial spirit among Hispanics is understandable when you consider that many of us have had to start from scratch, with little personal or family wealth to serve as a business-building foundation.

As business owners, we knew we would be more in control of our financial destiny.  

That has certainly been the case for me, and I am proud of how far I have come since first setting foot in the United States.

While there is much to be done in terms of advancing Hispanic homeownership and personal wealth as a path to greater influence and advocacy, I am confident we are on the right path.

A Cuban immigrant, Justine Jimenez Garcia founded Countywide Properties ERA Powered in 1998. Her company specializes in REO (real estate owned) properties in Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties. In 2017, she became the first woman to be NAHREP South Florida chapter president. She’s also a national coach for NAHREP and serves on their corporate board of governors. She’s also highly active in advocacy work in the south Florida region. Connect with Justine on Facebook.

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