Five Questions With: Travis Escobar

Travis Escobar is president of Millennial Rhode Island. The young professional group on Thursday is hosting a discussion with Coastway Community Bank on the topic of financial literacy. The event will start a 6 p.m. and be held at Coastway’s downtown Providence branch at 180 Washington St. For anyone interested in attending, details can be found here

Escobar talks with Providence Business News about why Millennial Rhode Island wanted to hold the event, why it’s important for younger Rhode Islanders to think about finances and how it’s impacted him personally.

PBN: Can you tell our readers a little bit about your upcoming event?

ESCOBAR: Our Financial Well Being Workshop is part of a joint event series with Coastway Community Bank to help more millennials in the state become financially secure. With tax season upon us, we felt it this was the perfect time to start the series.

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PBN: How did Millennial Rhode Island get connected with Coastway Community Bank?

ESCOBAR: When we opened a bank account for Millennial Rhode Island, we knew we wanted to choose a local credit union. I’ve known Claudia Cardozo, who is the community development manager for Coastway, through mutual networks and she connected with our group. Claudia is community minded and is passionate about educating more millennials about the importance of managing your finances. Working with Coastway has been a great partnership.

PBN: What topics will be discussed?

ESCOBAR: Topics that will be discussed are financial planning, establishing and using credit, repairing poor credit, determining ways to reduce debts and/or save money, and apps that you can use to help you reach your goals.

PBN: Why is it important for young professionals to be thinking about these issues?

ESCOBAR: Our generation is saddled with unprecedented student-loan debt and stagnant wages but we want the same things the generations before us had. We want to own homes, start businesses and have enough money put away for retirement. It’s important for our generation to be as proactive as possible with making our money work for us and not the other way around.

Also, I’m happy that in Rhode Island, we are not the only organization working to educate millennials on financial literacy. United Way of Rhode Island Young Leaders Circle and FountainHeadRI have also been working to create programming around financial literacy for millennials.

PBN: What can young professionals do better in managing their money?

ESCOBAR: I am in no way an expert on managing finances. Growing up, we didn’t talk about managing money in my family as we really didn’t have too much money to manage. Also, financial literacy isn’t part of our K-12 education curriculum. As a result, from college to early in my young professional career I made some really poor financial decisions. I was making more money than I ever had before, yet finding myself at a $0 balance far too often.

What turned it around for me was starting to talk about financial planning with friends, seek advice and start creating a plan. There’s plenty of resources online and apps to help you. I think as people, we tend to shy away from talking about our finances when we should be talking about improving our finances often. So, if you’re having trouble managing your money, my advice would be to seek help, start a dialogue with someone you feel comfortable with and sit down to draft a financial plan that works for you.

Eli Sherman is a PBN staff writer. Email him at, or follow him on Twitter @Eli_Sherman.