Caribbean and Diaspora Personal Finance Experts

When I started on my own journey to pay off debt, save and invest, I binge read many personal finance books, and blogs by mostly American-born and bred experts.

Although the financial principles they shared were usually universal, there’s nothing like getting personal finance knowledge from people who share your cultural background and have overcome obstacles like supporting extended family, while tackling a mountain of student debt, navigating the permanent residency and  F1 Visa immigration processes or building wealth in Caribbean countries where practical personal finance information on investing and increasing your net worth is hard to find.

To that end, I’m happy to share these 15 personal finance experts in the Caribbean and the Caribbean American Diaspora you should know.

Melinda Belle

Barbados, West Indies

Melinda Belle Astrape Finance

Melinda is a Barbadian with more than a decade of experience in the field of accounting and founded Astrape Finance to bring transformation to your money and life through education sound planning and advice.

On top of personal and business finance consulting, Melinda created the Lampy the Lighthouse: Earning & Spending educational series and coloring book for children, authored My Money & Me and hosts Money Matters with Melinda broadcast to discuss educational personal finance tips.

Learn how to improve your money life over at

Abena Cannady

St. Lucian Heritage, USA

Abena CannadyAbena Cannady was determined to graduate from college debt free and worked full-time during her undergraduate studies in economics.

Not only did she graduate student loan free, but with a jump start on investing and well positioned to seize the opportunity to start her first business.

Abena views personal finances as a construction project and founded Finances Under Construction to provide practical and implementable tools, tips and resources on managing money, dumping debt and entrepreneurship for young adults.

Learn all about creating a blueprint for your money over at

Felicia Blaise

Haitian Heritage, USA

Felicia Blaise is the resource plug for Millennials who want to spend less and travel more.

As a new graduate living on her own, she found juggling her living expenses, settling into a new city and student loan payments all at once, a major challenge.

Through creating her own money management system, Felicia was able to pay off $7,000 of credit card debt in 7 months, save up a financial cushion and put money towards the thing she loves the most: traveling.

For the real-life cheat code to spending less and traveling more, check out her money management tips and savvy travel hacks at

Yanely Espinal

Dominican Heritage, USA

Yanely Es[inalYanely Espinal grew up in a family of 9 siblings and immigrant parents from the Dominican Republic, with very little money.

By working hard in school, she won a full ride to Brown University but still ended up finishing college with more than $10,000 in student loan and credit card debt.

She taught herself about credit and money management, is now completely debt free and saves half of her income.

Learn about savvy money hacks, plus credit and spending tips from Yanely’s video posts on her website

Jamila Souffrant

Jamaican in the USA

Jamila SouffrantJamila leveraged her money saving habits and financial savvy to purchase her first investment property, as a recent college graduate, in what is now one of Brooklyn’s most popular neighborhoods: DUMBO, New York.

Using that same money saving mindset, she was able to save $85,000 of her household income in one year and now, Jamila and her family are on the journey to financial freedom in 7 years or less.

For inspiration and tools to launch your own journey to financial freedom visit

Kara Stevens

Antiguan Heritage, USA

Kara Stevens

After Kara Stevens clawed her way out of $65,000 of debt ($40,000 of which she paid off in two years), she founded The Frugal Feminista to use what she learned about herself and money to help black women manage emotional health, build wealth and live a juicy life.

Kara prides herself on providing authentic, kind and thoughtful content on her blog, that tells the truth about how brown girls can strengthen their relationships with themselves and their money.

Learn how you can be happy, wealthy and brave over at

Claudia Russell

Jamaican Heritage, USA

Claudia RussellClaudia Russell believes that personal finance doesn’t have to be complicated, confusing or risky and is passionate about addressing the pressing problem of the lack of financial literacy affecting this generation’s communities of color.

She created Ms. Engineered Wealth to provide financial education that equips young professionals of color to increase their financial IQ and leverage their college degrees and high paying jobs to invest and build wealth for their own families and communities.

Get empowered, educated and informed over at

Kenishia S. Mais

Jamaica, West Indies

Kenishia S. Mais is a Jamaican entrepreneur and financial educator who is passionate about personal finance.

In 2013, after Kenishia’s entire financial life collapsed, she regained her financial footing and got her money back on track.

Out of that experience, she founded Thriving Dollars – a Jamaican-based digital community empowering 20- to 30-somethings to create their ideal financial lives.

Kenishia is convinced that with the right tools and resources, everyone can live a life they are proud of.

Find out more about the Thriving Dollars community at

Kara Perez

Dominican Heritage, USA

Kara Perez

Kara realized that her lack of financial education was crippling her when she found herself broke, unemployed and saddled with student loan debt.

She then made the decision to tackle her largest financial challenge: her student loans.

Kara became obsessed with increasing her financial literacy, and figured out how to pay off just over $25,000 in student loan debt on a $30,000 salary.

With the financial knowledge she gained and the empowering experience of paying off her student loans, Kara founded Bravely, a community that provides financial tools to help women bridge the gap between their dreams and their realities.

Learn how you can live your best life as a self-identified woman over at

Steven M. Hughes

Jamaican Heritage, USA

Steven M Huges After spending several years educating himself about money and turning around his own personal finances, Steven M. Hughes founded Know Money, Inc., a non-profit organization committed to creating money-savvy youth and young adults across South Carolina.

Know Money, Inc fulfills it’s mission through strategic partnerships, program development, financial events and workshops to build the foundation for self-sufficiency and generational wealth.

Steven is a Certified Financial Education Instructor and was named a Best & Brightest 35 and Under by Columbia Business Monthly and 2015 Global Shaper by The World Economic Forum.

Read up more about Steven and Know Money, Inc. at

Patrice C. Washington

Belizean Heritage, USA

Patrice C Washington lost her successful 7-figure business in 2008, then rebuilt her financial life by reconnecting to her purpose and reinventing herself.

She is one who believes in straightforward personal finance and founded Real Money Answers to provide tools and resources to help move the masses from debt management to money mastery.

On top of the tools and resources she offers on her website, Patrice is a best-selling author of three books and a featured money expert on the Steve Harvey Morning Show.

Start mastering your money over at

Cherryl Hanson Simpson

Jamaica, West Indies

Cheryl Hanson Simpson

While working at a leading financial institution in Jamaica, Cherryl Hanson Simpson started a personal journey to discover money success.

By learning positive financial principles, she transformed from a carefree spender to an avid saver and successful entrepreneur.

In 2008, Cherryl founded Financial Smart Services out of her desire to empower others towards personal and financial enrichment.

She has been featured as a personal finance columnist for the Jamaica Observer Online and is the author of The 3 M’s of Money: How To Manage Multiply and Maintain Your Money a guide on creating financial and entrepreneurial success.

Get into Cherryl’s smart money gems at

Natasha M. Campbell

Jamaican Heritage, USA

Natasha M Campbell

Natasha M. Campbell learned about the importance of money when she decided to strike out on her own at the age of 17.

Although she took the time to map out her financial needs, separating her wants from her needs became a serious challenge.

When her daughter was born, prematurely, at 27 weeks, Natasha realized she did not want her financial mess of maxed out credit cards, a non-existent budget and zero dollars in savings to be part of her daughter’s story. So she got to work, together with her husband, to pay off $18,000 in debt, save $16,000, improve credit scores and purchase a home, by their daughter’s 1st birthday.

Motivated by her own journey, Natasha created to empower mothers to live happier, financially healthy and fulfilled lives.

Wilson Muscadin

Haitian Heritage, USA

Wilson M

From an early age, Wilson learned valuable financial lessons from his father and built a solid foundation for financial decision making from the personal finance books that were required reading in his home.

Once he got to college, though, he quickly realized that many of his peers never learned or discussed how to manage money.

This fact was reinforced further throughout his 13 years in the financial services industry: the gap in financial education for young professionals continued to persist. To fill that gap Wilson created a forum for young professionals to learn and discuss money topics in simple language.

Join the discussion and “Reject The Status Quo” over at

Sandy Smith

Jamaican in the USA

Sandy SmithSandy Smith was in $121,000 of debt from her closed retail business, personal and student loans and owned absolutely nothing.

By establishing S.M.A.R.T. debt payoff goals, haggling directly with credit card companies, negotiating her own debt consolidation and leveraging a side hustle as an Amazon seller, Sandy was able to pay off $50,000 of her debt in less than two years, while being unemployed.

Throughout her debt payoff journey, she has used unorthodox methods, like opting out of Christmas gifts for her family and investing in rental properties with money from her 401k, to pay down her debt fast.

Sandy is on a mission to get herself out of debt and help others do the same, faster than they think is possible.

You can jump on board over at her website,

Who are some other Personal Finance experts in the Caribbean and Diaspora people should know?

~Melisa Boutin

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