Breaking Through Life Barriers and Finding Financial Abundance

In this episode, Maggie chats with Jennifer Ramirez, the Founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit organization & Rise. They discuss how Jennifer broke through adversity in her own life to become debt-free and start her own business.

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Jennifer Ramirez is an Entrepreneur, Blogger, Author, and Founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit organization & Rise (pronounced and rise). Subscribe to the & Rise website for event information and updates at To read her blogs about Family, Relationships, Dating, Money, and Women’s Empowerment, visit

To join the Money Circle Community, visit

To learn more about Maggie and her coaching and speaking services, visit

The theme music is called Escaping Light by Aaron Sprinkle. The podcast artwork design is by Maggie’s dear husband, Dan Rader.


Maggie Germano 0:07
Thanks for listening to the money circle Podcast. I am your host, Maggie Germano and I’m a financial coach for women. I’m passionate about helping women improve their relationship with money so that they can take better control of their futures. Part of that journey is making personal finance education more accessible and less judgmental, which is why this podcast exists. Each week we’ll discuss a new financial topic to help you explore how you can make a difference in your own financial life or in society as a whole. If you’re interested in diving deeper into issues like income inequality, debt or money, shame, check out my new money circle community. In this safe feminist space women gathered to talk about money without fear of being judged or shamed. We will break down shame and build community and safety for everyone so that you can find the support you need to gain control over your finances. Visit to learn more and to join the community today. I can’t wait to see you there.

Hey there, and thanks for listening. I’m your host Maggie Germano. And this week I’m chatting with Jennifer Ramirez, who is an entrepreneur, blogger, author and the founder and executive director of the nonprofit organization & Rise in Chicago. In this episode, we talked about how Jennifer worked her way from being a single mother who struggled with debt to being a homeowner and business owner who is debt free. If you want to learn how Jennifer pushed through her own barriers in life to end up in a better financial situation and flourish. Please keep listening. I hope you enjoy.

Welcome, Jennifer, thanks so much for being here today.

Jennifer Ramirez 1:51
Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.

Maggie Germano 1:53
Okay, so why don’t you start off by telling us a little bit about who you are and what you do.

Jennifer Ramirez 2:00
Sure, no problem. So my name is Jennifer Ramirez, and I am a author, blogger, entrepreneur. And I also am the founder and executive director of & Rise. & Rise is a nonprofit organization that provides personal and professional development workshops to women, and also women in power men events. And it’s an organization that empowers women to be the ultimate versions of themselves, no matter what adversities they have faced in the past. We also provide our like vision is to provide single mothers with tuition and supplies and childcare assistance, as well as providing domestic and sexual abuse survivors with therapy and counseling free of charge.

Maggie Germano 2:46
That’s amazing. That’s so many wonderful services that I know are really, really vital for so many people.

Jennifer Ramirez 2:53
Yes, thank you. Yeah. And also to I forgot to mention, whenever you purchase tickets through Android 100% of the profits go back to the organization. So it just goes back into like either helping, you know, the missing a sexual abuse victims or helping, you know, getting somebody through college. So that’s wonderful. And how did you get yourself into this line of work? Yes, so I got into this because I’ve been a single mother, pretty much since pregnancy and also I am a sexual abuse survivor. I was abused at the age of seven by a very close family member. And I had my daughter when I was 21. So I was young, and I made a lot of mistakes in my young adult life, and I made very many consciously bad decisions. And I didn’t really realize honestly till like the last few years that a lot of those decisions that I made were attributed to my trauma that I endured when I was growing up. So like I said, when my daughter I was 21 when I had her, and my daughter’s father never helped me financially or any other type of way. But no financial assistance. I really was on my own financially, mentally and emotionally. And that also took a really big toll on me. So I because I wasn’t receiving any financial assistance, I was super poor, living paycheck to paycheck. I also lived in a really bad neighborhood. For anybody that lives in Chicago. I used to live in Logan Square before it was gentrified. So it wasn’t the most desirable place to live. And I literally lived on a street where there was like a gang war going on, there was like a drug drug war actually going on. So there was always shooting and always some type of mess in the street. I got to the point where I didn’t like even want to leave my house because I just didn’t feel safe anymore. And on top of that, I was in a lot of toxic relationships with a lot of bad men, because I didn’t love myself and I had low self esteem. I had a negative, negative attitude towards life just because I think of like everything I’ve been through and I was I was definitely in like a victim mentality at the time. So also So I got myself into $25,000 worth of credit card debt as well because of, you know, all the struggles and living paycheck to paycheck. And that was really hard for me to deal with just because I am like a person that’s always been really good about money. But at that time, I just I just struggled so much, and I just got in that $25,000. And it was just like a rut that I felt like I was just like, never getting out of it. I was just stuck.

And so all those things that I had went through, really helped me to realize that that wasn’t the type of life I wanted to live. I knew that I was meant to do like great things. But I was kind of like just stuck, like, how do I get out of this? I just was like, you know, in order to make a difference in your life, you’re gonna have to make very drastic decisions or, you know, decisions, you’re gonna have to do things differently than how you’ve been doing because what you’ve been doing has not been working. So I started educating myself on money on how to get out of that credit card debt, then that’s when I realized that I was only paying my interest because I was paying only the minimum payments, not realizing thing that I was only paying interest. So like I was paying about I, since my balance was so high, I was paying about almost $300 just an interest. And that was like what I could afford at the time. So I didn’t realize that that’s all I was paying it. I didn’t realize why my debt wasn’t going down. I was like, I’m paying and paying, but it’s never going down. I didn’t understand why until I started educating myself. And then I learned that and then so I started, I also started going back to school, I think around I can’t even remember the year 2012 ish, something like that. And I received my associates degree in 2012. Actually, that’s when I graduated. So I was in school before that. And then by the time I was 30, I was 100% debt free. I finally put all the things that I learned into play. I actually started like consolidating, consolidating my own debt instead of paying somebody else to do it for me. I kind of saw the way they did it. So I just took it in my own hands to do it myself. And I also started investing in real estate. I purchased my first condo when I was 26. And it was cheaper than anything I had ever paid in rent before. So it allowed me to really use that extra money that I had and start putting that towards my debt. And then so like I said, By the time I was 30, I was 100%. Debt Free, which was like a huge, huge, like milestone in my life just because it just allowed me to do a lot of other things with my money. And that’s how I got into real estate. And then, yeah, so the reason that’s my like, little background story, but that’s kind of how Andres got started. Because I wanted to have an organization that I needed when I needed it. Like I remember literally being at work googling, like, single mother help in there was nothing out there. So I always said, One day when I’m rich, I’m going to start a foundation for for women and you know, I’m going to help them because I know what it’s like and it sucked and and then just last year, I was like, Why do I have to wait till I’m rich? I’m not worrying rich. So I’m like, Why do I have to wait till I’m rich? I could just do this now. Like I think I’m capable of doing it. We got you know, I got a lot of great feedback from the events that I was doing. So that’s kind of how it all came about. I just wanted to be the organization that I needed or that person that I needed when I, when I really needed it. And that was when my daughter was really small, I really struggled a lot financially. So that’s how & rise came about.

Maggie Germano 8:14
That’s an amazing, ya know, it’s amazing story too. And I find that most of the time when I’m talking to women who are starting their own businesses or their own nonprofits, it’s usually because, you know, they went through something and they see, I don’t they like I don’t want other people to have to keep going through what I was going through a loan. And so they create the solution. And it sounds like that’s what you’re trying to do as well.

Jennifer Ramirez 8:42
Just creating a community where, because here’s the thing that I’ve found, a lot of single mothers just constantly feel alone because we are doing everything on our own. And unfortunately, a lot of the single mothers in my community that I know they don’t get any like I hate to say it, but most of them don’t. Don’t even get child support. And if they do, they’re not getting a lot. And there’s probably a handful that get the amount that they’re supposed to get. And they’re, they’re fine with it, which is not good. Like, you know, so I just wanted to create a community to like a women that know what you’re going through not telling you, you’re not alone and us just talking back and fourth of what we’ve gone through, like, I’d like to talk to my community about what I’ve gone through and how I overcame it. And I hope that that helps them to you know, just, I think sometimes just knowing you’re not alone is just a huge difference in its own.

Maggie Germano 9:31
Oh, God, I’ve seen that too. Like, because if you think you’re the only one going through something, it can feel like it’s a personal failing, like you did something wrong versus like certain systemic issues in place or, you know, like such a circumstance of what is happening. And when you see other people that are going through the same issues, and you’re like, Oh my god, there’s like a whole group of us and I’m like, It’s not just me and I’m not alone. And I don’t have to be angry at myself.

Jennifer Ramirez 10:04
Because what’s happened I’m for to knowing that you’re, you know, like, even with my sexual abuse, I honestly used to feel super alone about it until I started meeting. You know, when I started in rise, I started meeting a lot of other sexual abuse survivors, and I’m like, Oh, my God, I didn’t know how many like it’s really, really an alarming number of how many sexual people that you know, it doesn’t even have to be raped. Just any type of sexual type of assault. It’s happened to so many women and it doesn’t just happen to women either. It happens to men but men are even more less likely to talk about it because it’s kind of like stigmatized or whatever. So yeah, I actually want to one day hopefully work with men because I know that it’s, it’s definitely something that happens in that community. But I don’t think there’s a lot of things like there are for women with when it comes to sexual assault, but maybe one day in future

Maggie Germano 10:54
Yeah, I hope so. And I mean, like you were saying, the more we talk about it, the more Have that have that shame can kind of be eliminated because you can understand over time like it’s not your fault, Nins, you’re not alone, there is support out there there is help you can get you don’t have to be stuck necessarily in like the trauma without support. So it’s great that you’re creating spaces to be able to have those conversations.

Jennifer Ramirez 11:22
Thank you. Yeah, I’m very proud of it.

Maggie Germano 11:26
And what does that usually look like with all the different services that you are offering and the events that you’re doing? What does it usually look like the kinds of support that you’re providing to people?

Jennifer Ramirez 11:38
So I usually add the it’s it just depends on the type of event it is. If it’s like a, for example, I just did a it was a sexual assault prevention education for a long name event on Wednesday night. And that was just talking like just talking to people and just bringing awareness of like what what to do once Somebody discloses to you what to say what not to say what the red flags are, that your child may be, you know, experiencing some type of something inappropriate doesn’t necessarily have to be like sexual abuse, but just you know, so I wanted to provide that education. So I do bring on different types of experts, depending on what I’m teaching. So I had a sexual and domestic assault like intervention specialist with me on Wednesday night. But then when I do other events, like a professional development events, for example, I’ll have like a professional, you know, that’s going to teach something. So I have an event next week, and it’s about sales funnels. So I have somebody that’s like an expert on that. I’m no sales funnel expert at all. But you know, just having an eye I want to always provide value in high quality value to whoever comes to our events. And I’m a person that like I really, you know, care about. Just making sure that everybody that comes to my events leave better than how they came in or leaves with some type of That’s gonna make them better, you know, or, or have some type of value that they leave with.

Maggie Germano 13:06
Yeah, no, that’s great. And I like how, how many different types of things you focus on to. So it’s not like, it’s not just the single mother aspect. It’s not just the sexual abuse education and prevention, but there’s also the like, the sales things related to like having a business and things like that. And so all there’s like, lots of options for different people who have different needs.

Jennifer Ramirez 13:30
Yes, exactly. Yeah. And that’s kind of what I wanted to create was like, higher level and more like, basic level, like, you know, I think, eventually, one day we’ll have like, more like resume writing for entry level women and maybe like, you know, going back into the workforce after having kids or something like that. And then something more advanced like the sales funnel, people who are entrepreneurs or have their own businesses, I kind of want to hopefully be able to cater to everyone as much as I can, but you know, I have to have a focus Yeah. I want to help everybody.

Maggie Germano 14:03
Yeah, I was gonna say it can get like really exciting. And then you’re like, Oh my god, I want to work on like, all of these different things, but sometimes it’s like, okay, I’ll start here. And yeah, like move over here.

Jennifer Ramirez 14:13
Exactly. Yeah, pretty much. That’s where I’m at now.

Maggie Germano 14:17
And so what was kind of that moment for you? When you realize like, okay, I don’t want to be in debt anymore. I don’t want to be living paycheck to paycheck like this anymore. I just don’t want to be making you like stuck in certain situations, but also making certain decisions. What was sort of that catalyst moment for you?

Jennifer Ramirez 14:38
I’m like, I don’t that’s a good question. I can’t think of like them the moment but I just think I just one day just is like, I am tired of living this way. You know, and even with the relationship just with guy feels just like why am I like, why am I doing this to my you know, I’m dating these people that I kind of know aren’t good enough for me, but I’m just like, I don’t want to be alone. And I feel like that’s not that’s a lot of people’s, not even women, just everybody like we just sometimes we don’t want to be alone so we just settle for like, well, they’re there they’ll do and it’s like no you shouldn’t do that because you’re you’re limiting yourself and you’re possibly blocking something better from coming to you by being with that maybe you are overlooking your soul mate because there was somebody who deep down know it’s not going to work out with but you don’t want to be alone and you’re you’re missing out on other things in life, you know, so I think I finally kind of came to that realization at one point and I was just like I said, I knew I literally always just tell myself, you want a different outcome? You have to make a different decision and I used to like almost tell myself that that daily, like, Did you do this before? What was your decision? Okay, how did that work? Don’t make the same decision like I literally but it takes practice. It’s not something that comes overnight. So like change doesn’t come overnight. You have to want it one and you have to like work at it every day and same thing with like, healing sexual abuse, you have to work at it every day, if you just kind of like, keep burying it inside, it’s never gonna, you know, be solved or at least make you feel better about it. Like, you have to deal with it daily and kind of like, face it daily and say, like, kind of come to terms with whatever you’re feeling. And it’s okay to feel sad, mad, whatever. But you just have to come to come to terms of why I’m feeling this way. Okay, because I went through this and it took me a very long time to figure that out. But that’s also why I want to help women because maybe it’s just maybe then just hearing this podcast or reading when you know, something that I wrote will just help them realize it sooner than waiting till they’re, you know, 10 years later, like me when I finally figured it out.

Maggie Germano 16:40
That makes a lot of sense to me. Because I mean, I totally agree that like, if you don’t hear from somebody else that like, Oh, you know, this is probably happening because blah, blah, blah, you know, whatever it might be. You might not realize it like you might not have the self awareness that it needed. To actually shift even just like you were saying with relationship choices and things like I know that I, I had to have that little bit of an epiphany several years ago too.

Jennifer Ramirez 17:09
Oh, yeah, it’s usually what I hate to say. But it’s usually when something like really bad happens, where you’re kind of like, that’s your epiphany moment where you’re like, Okay, you know, I shouldn’t be doing this or this doesn’t feel right. And that’s why something that I also like telling my stories is that I used to, you know, that intuition or whatever you call it, some people call it God, I call it you know, call it intuition, whatever you want to call it, your little voice inside. I conscience consciously ignored it for many, many years, because I didn’t want to hear it. And that was a big mistake. And that’s why I made so many mistakes, because that was my like, inner, whatever conscious or whatever telling me Don’t do that. And I felt it in my gut, and I knew I wasn’t supposed to, but I ignored it pushed it down, and pushed it down. And that’s what got me into so much trouble. And it wasn’t until I started listening to that voice again, that everything started changing. So believe it or not, it’s just it’s so it sounds so scary. Simple, it really is just listening to that little voice to those, you know, and us as women, we have that women’s intuition you have to listen to we’ve been blessed with it for a reason. And it’s there to be listened to. And I feel like when you ignore it, then it just snowballs into bigger, bigger problems, you know, so you have to listen to that voice really important.

Maggie Germano 18:18
Yeah, that’s really good advice. So related to getting out of debt. So you mentioned that you at one point had $25,000 worth of credit card debt. And I know just from my experience with coaching folks, and just being in the financial realm, in general, it can be really easy to get into that situation, especially when you are living paycheck to paycheck. When you are a single person taking care of a child and and doing all that on your own. It’s really easy to have that happen. So So how did you How were you able to start that journey to actually start paying that down?

Jennifer Ramirez 18:58
Yeah, so the first step I took was educating myself googling things Google is free guys like, is what I tell everybody there. Google has so many free resources, even YouTube, like everywhere you go, you can really find the answers. Go to a credible source, of course, just go to like some random stuff. But like, education, I started reading books on finance, like investing how to get out of debt, I started reading articles, I really dug deep and out because I was really determined to get out of debt. So that was the first thing that I did. And I know nobody is going to like this answer. But I used to spend 100% of my income tax checks and paying off my debt. As soon as people get their income tax checks, they want to just go splurge and buy which I totally understand because you’ve got all this extra money and it’s kind of like your first instinct to want to go Oh, the things that I can’t normally afford, let me go buy them but you’re doing yourself a disservice. So let me start over. If you’re not in debt, that’s totally fine. However, if you’re in debt, you shouldn’t be splurging, anything you should be paying off your debt. That’s a mistake I used to make when I was younger as soon as I would get the income tax checks, I just blow it out, you know, whatever, like food or like clothes for the baby or whatever. But I eventually stopped doing that. And I started using 100% of my income tax checks towards my debt and that helped even more and then you know, now the balance is $4,000 less or whatever it was, you know, and if it’s that much of like a simple thing, I think it’s totally worth it. And also, it just brings like your when you see that number change, it motivates you more, and that’s what it did for me it’s that’s kind of like what I did. And oh yeah, that’s what I was gonna say sacrifice like it’s worth to give up one income tax check or maybe let’s say three years worth of income tax checks, and to be debt free. Like being debt free is like the most free being amazing feeling and it’s worth it. Though. Give up those three years worth even if it’s five like it’s just you’re you’re doing yourself a like Good thing in the long run, a lot of people like to think short term instead of long term and you have to think of the light at the end of the tunnel, it might seem like forever, but think about it this way, the time will pass. Regardless, the time is gonna pass regardless of no matter how much time it’s going to take you to pay down those debts and all that stuff. And like I said, reading, educating yourself and even, I guess, if you have the means to hire an expert, but you can, you really don’t have to, you can do it yourself. You just have to take the initiative to find the answers. You can Google anything. So that’s what I did it. And then also, once I started getting out of that, I started learning how to invest my money. So

Maggie Germano 21:45
that’s great. Yeah, I totally agree with what you were saying about using, like your tax refund. You know, that’s usually a big piece of it is finding a windfall where it’s like a bigger chunk of money that you wouldn’t normally have and being To use that to get a balance down, so that those interest payments can go down a bit too, because that’s usually like you were saying earlier, can make it really, really tough to make a dent.

Jennifer Ramirez 22:11
That’s how credit card companies stay in business guys.

Maggie Germano 22:15
Exactly, yeah, the myth of paying the minimum payment is it hurts a lot of people and it makes them rich.

Jennifer Ramirez 22:23

Maggie Germano 22:26
And so how did homeownership play into this journey that you were taking? And how were you able like while living paycheck to paycheck while taking care of your child while paying down your debt, going back to school, all of those things, how are you able to buy your first first home?

Jennifer Ramirez 22:45
So I actually got a bit lucky in a sense because I purchased my condo in 2012. So there was still the aftermath of the 2008 recession. So home prices were still fairly cheap at that. So I bought my condo really cheap. And it was my mortgage was way less than anything I had ever paid in rent. And I think this is the case regardless, even nowadays, if you were to purchase something, your mortgage is more likely to be less than rent, just depending but so that really allowed me extra space, all that extra space that you know, I wasn’t paying in the rent anymore. Like because my mortgage is so low. I just started using that extra money that I had towards all the debt that I had. And that’s kind of how I, I did the income tax. I did that, you know, and it really helps pay off that debt. And that’s what helped me. I mean, it took me a long time, but it definitely helped to go faster for sure. Yeah, so by the time I was 30, I was 100% debt free and it was the most amazing feeling. Very, very, very worth all the sacrifice that I went through for sure.

Maggie Germano 23:55
That’s great. And I think an important piece to take away from that too, is what you say About how it took a while, but you kept at it and you did it. And I think some people and I think this might also be because of some some of the people in the like personal finance realm where it’s like, if you just do this you can like pay it off in a year pay it off in two years and that’s just usually not possible especially for people who are living paycheck to paycheck and have responsibilities. So it’s okay for it to take a long time to get to where you want to end up being and often that’s necessary in order to get there and you just have to keep doing it and like you were saying keep the light at the end of the tunnel. Yeah, in your vision.

Jennifer Ramirez 24:41
And consistency is key. It really is in everything not just trying to get at that it’s an anything you have to just keep at it. And like I said, the time will pay us regardless of just go for it. It’s worth it.

Maggie Germano 24:53
Yeah, I like that. I like how you’re saying the time will pass no matter what so like whether you’re paying down the debt or not paying down the debt. Time is gonna go by. So you might as well if you can be making those different decisions so that you can be in a better place in five years than you were when you started.

Jennifer Ramirez 25:09
Yeah, somebody gave me that advice when I was in school because I was like, Oh, I’m gonna be like 35 at a time. And they’re like, the times gonna pass regardless, so just do it. And I was like, I love that that’s like, such a great way of looking at it because it’s true. Like you either gonna let those seven years pass and you do nothing or you’re gonna go to school those seven years and at the end of the seven years, you’ll have you know, your degree. So that’s what what I did. It does seem like such a like a fart time away, but it really does go by really fast when you’re when you’re busy.

Maggie Germano 25:42
That’s what I was gonna say when you have so many things to be thinking about and focusing on it. The time does fly.

Jennifer Ramirez 25:48
Oh, yeah, definitely.

Maggie Germano 25:52
So what would you recommend to other single moms who feel like they’re in a situation similar to yours, whether They’re in debt, or they would like to be homeowners or, you know, whatever their goals might be, what are some pieces of advice you would offer?

Jennifer Ramirez 26:09
Yeah, so um, so as far as like, that goes, I would say be frugal. And just, if you don’t have to spend it Don’t I know you want those pairs of videos, pretty pair of shoes or heels and, you know, the nice clothes and all that stuff. But if you don’t need it, don’t spend it. Even vacations can be put on hold, especially if you have some type of goal that you’re trying to reach. So let’s say you have like a, you know, I want to save $10,000 in two years or something, well, then don’t go on vacation, because that’ll probably be a lot of money that you could put towards that goal. And then also, I would say, educate yourself. Like I said, there’s a lot of free resources on Google YouTube. There’s all types of books out there. Amazing books, by the way, that I’ve read that have really helped me actually I’ll mention one that really changed the way that I view money. His Rich Dad, Poor Dad, I don’t know, I’m pretty sure you’ve read it. But that really changed my outlook on how money works and everything like that. Another thing, get rid of those credit cards, if you don’t, if you don’t need them, get just get rid of them. I have like one for emergencies. And that’s it like I don’t it because it’s so tempting. You just have like, yo, well, I just have these credit cards sitting here like staring me in the face, and it’s very tempting to use them. So if you don’t have them there, then you won’t think about them. And like I said, if you don’t have it, don’t spend it. So if you want to buy that thing that’s worth 500 bucks, but you don’t have it in your bank account, but you got 500 on your credit card. Put the credit card away, don’t spend it if you don’t have it, just don’t spend it. And I would just say just work hard be consistent. student and I What else do I have written down and save for a rainy day? If you can. I know. I know. It’s hard if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, like I was I wasn’t able to save anything. But if you can save a little bit of something, even if it’s five bucks a week, like or five bucks a month that’ll eventually grow to something at the end of the year. So think about it that way, you know? Yeah, I mean, and don’t give up. Keep going, ask for help. That’s what I would recommend to everybody because that is something that I didn’t do. As a young single mother. I was very, I’m very independent. I’m very also proud person. So I was too proud to ask. And had I asked my life probably wouldn’t have been as hard as it was. So that is something that I do tell people like, just ask for help if you need it, because again, nobody knows you. You need help if you don’t tell them. So that’s a big thing. And I kind of look back and I’m like, I wish I would have not been so stubborn and just told people that I needed more help me know.

Maggie Germano 28:50
So yeah, I mean, I yeah, what you just said like how people don’t know you need help unless you ask that that’s a really good takeaway too. And so what are What are some of either like the services resources, friends, family? I don’t know, like, where are some of the places that you wish you would ask for help from that you recommend other people do?

Jennifer Ramirez 29:12
Um, honestly, my family I didn’t, that I don’t have a huge support circle or anything like that. But I wish I would have like, let them know how bad I did. I was struggling even financially, they never knew I never told them because I just I think I’m the type of person I’m just used to doing things on my own anyway. So I don’t want to like stress out other people with my problems. And I think just us as women were those natural caretakers you don’t want to, like bother other people with our stuff. So that was something I think if I would have probably reached out and and said, hey, look, I’m really having a hard time like, Okay, give me 50 bucks or can you help me watch you know, my while I go to school, or I think if I would have taken those actions, my family would have been like, Yeah, but I never did that. So Nobody even offered, you know, so I mean, I think I was waiting for them to offer. And that’s not that’s obviously then happened. So that wasn’t a good route to go.

Maggie Germano 30:12
Yeah, that makes sense. I mean, I I totally hear you, like, a lot of people, especially women kind of suffer alone, they guess like, especially if there is shame associated with the circumstances to you think like, Oh, well, this is my issue. Like, I need to fix it like nope. And

Jennifer Ramirez 30:32
that’s where I struggled because I was like, Well, you know, my sisters were both married and I was like, I was the only single one and you know, and I already felt like my family kind of like looked at me different because I didn’t have a husband and I don’t know so I was just like, I don’t want them to. I think it was like a ego thing. Like I don’t want them to see struggling because they’re gonna be like I told you so or something, you know. So I think that’s another reason why I didn’t say anything. But again, I was young at the time too. So that was the earliest mentality, you know, or you think you know everything and certainly did that.

Maggie Germano 31:06
So yeah, no, that’s great advice to asking for help from family, if you can from friends and from organizations like yours with the educational resources and other services that you’re offering, because I’m sure there are lots of opportunities out there now, especially as like, yeah, now we’re Yeah, we’re just like talking about things a little bit more being a little bit more open about needs and support and the community that is needed to help people through things. So yeah, I like that advice of just asking for help when you need it.

Jennifer Ramirez 31:39
Yeah. And I forgot to mention, obviously, & Rise helps women you know, in these issues, and we also do like what we call support circles. So that’s like, just coming together in a circle. It’s completely safe, no judgement and just talking about whether it’s our abuse or trauma or like you know, women do with Just so many things on such a broad level, like, postpartum depression, body image issues, you know, eating disorders, just so many things, I’ve met women that like have fears of having kids, or you know, fears of not being able to have kids, there’s just so many things that we have issues with and we don’t really talk about it again, because we don’t want to bother other people with our, with our problems, you know, and I think just knowing that there’s organizations like mine out there, because mine isn’t the only one but there are a lot like these out there for women that help you in these types of things. And I just want everybody to know that and raise like, welcomes everybody, and we can talk about whatever and there’s no judgement. I’ve been through it. I’ve done a lot of really dumb things in my time. So I do not judge anybody just because I’ve probably done bad or worse at one point.

Maggie Germano 32:54
That’s Yeah, that’s good to know too. Cuz like the judgment i think is a big piece that people fear, whether it’s It is money issues or trauma that you’re dealing with or anything else. It’s you know, you’re afraid of feeling judged and feeling like shunned. And you make assumptions around that. So it’s good to hear that you really center that non judgement.

Jennifer Ramirez 33:17
Yeah, absolutely. Because that’s how I used to feel like judgment all the time. And that’s why I didn’t also probably ask for help, because I was scared that there would be like, Oh, my God, or you know, what they think or say? And I think that’s what a lot of people worry about.

Maggie Germano 33:32
Yeah. So is there anything else you want to make sure listeners take away either from your own experience with getting out of debt or buying a home or starting your own nonprofit, anything you want to make sure people know?

Jennifer Ramirez 33:49
And yeah, so as far as like money goes, I know how like discouraging it can be when you look at your debt, and you see that it’s like a high amount and you’re just Like it can be very overwhelming you could just I could see people just shutting down automatically and be like, it’s never gonna happen. So forget it. Like I don’t think that way there’s a way out there’s always a way out of something. So like I say, though you have to be consistent and you have to want the change you have to be willing to work for the change and that’s like an anything like if you want to lose weight, you have to be willing to do the work so it’s not going to happen on its own just because you want it you can’t just wish it and it’s going to happen you have to work at it. It can be done though know that it can be done and you have to be patient and you have to be consistent. And like I said the time will pass anyway. But the end result is so so so worth it. Very worth it. And that goes in anything. My advice is that you’re not alone. And don’t feel like you are here because there are a lot of other people that are going through what you’re going through, if not 10 times worse. I know when I’ve talked about my sexual abuse like I thought I had a bad with them. When I hear other people’s story, it’s like, Whoa, okay. Not at all. But you know, and it’s not a competition of whose traumas worse or whatever. But the point is, is that there are people out there that understand you and that are there to support you, you’d be surprised at how many women like, have been so supportive of what I’m doing and just willing to help and it’s just such a beautiful thing. I love it. And I didn’t ever think that this would come out of, you know, having this organization. But yeah, so don’t give up. Keep working at it, and it will happen. You just have to work hard and like I say, you have to really, really want it and get that right mindset. And being positive, positive mindset is everything because if you think of things always, you know, the glass half full, then you’re gonna have glass half full results. So you have to really believe in it and want it and like I say, I always talk about law of attraction speaking into existence, I will get out of this debt. You know, I will you know, I will graduate from college. I will, you know, be rich on Monday. You know, just Speaking it into existence. And I think that in itself just helps with the mindset and like keeping you going and keeping you motivated. And like I say, being consistent with paying your debt down if you paid down and it motivates you to see that balance going down, that’s kind of like almost an addiction, a weird addiction where you’re like, Oh, I want to just keep paying it down until it gets to zero. So that’s what that would be my advice and just don’t give up. We’ve all been through things and you’re not alone.

Maggie Germano 36:28
Thank you. That’s really that’s a really great takeaway. Is there anything you’d like to promote to listeners whether it’s virtual events you’re doing right now or other things going on with you?

Jennifer Ramirez 36:38
I’m actually going to be launching a new business soon. This is going to be for me, I’m doing a one on one coaching group coaching and mastermind courses for single mothers who are either thinking about leaving their nine to five to be it become an entrepreneur or for women that already like a couple years into their businesses but are overwhelmed with family and kids and running a business. So I’m going to be doing business slash life coaching. And yeah, and that’s it and then just keep up with our website. We have I post all the events on there. And I keep it up to date. And so that’s www dot women rights that org.

Maggie Germano 37:20
Great. Yeah, and I will link all of that in the show notes in the show notes as well. Is there any other way folks can get in touch with you aside from the website?

Jennifer Ramirez 37:30
Yes. So you can reach me directly at [email protected]. Like I said, the website is or you can visit us on Instagram. Facebook and Instagram are both @womenriseChicago, and then our Pinterest pages @andrise in the I think YouTube is under & Rise or, like I said, you can message me directly, visit the website. You can message me through there too. I do everything. So no matter where who you message, it’ll be me.

Maggie Germano 38:13
Great. So yeah, like I said, I will put all of that in the show notes so people have easy access to you. But thank you so much for coming on and sharing your story. I know this will be really inspiring to a lot of you. I really appreciate you having me on. It was fun. Great.

Thank you so much for listening to the money circle podcast this week. If you like the conversations we’re having here and you’d like to go even deeper. Join the new money circle community. In this safe intersectional feminist space. We will break down money shame and build community and safety for everyone so that you can find the support you need to gain control over your finances. Visit to learn more. And to join. If you’d like to get more connected with me, subscribe to my weekly newsletter at to learn more about my financial coaching services, my speaking and workshop offerings or just to read my blog visit You can also follow me on instagram and twitter @MaggieGermano. I look forward to hearing from you. Bye bye