Raydania Peña got her first taste of financial literacy when her family immigrated from the Dominican Republic to the United States. Her mother didn’t speak English, so Peña translated bank documents for her. The more she learned, the more she wanted to use her knowledge and skills to help others in her community navigate their finances, too. But she didn’t plan to build a career in insurance and financial services. In fact, she dismissed the idea the first two times it came across her path. The third time, however, she decided to give it a try and became an agent with New York Life Insurance Company.
Making a Difference
When she started out in the industry, Peña found her niche working with millennials and Spanish-speaking clients. Some of her first clients were young adults just out of college with $10 in their bank accounts. She loves seeing the work they both put in come to fruition as they gain a solid financial footing.
Peña believes that insurance agents and financial professionals should be patient, open-minded, and good listeners. “I really like being in my clients' lives,” she begins. “I love to hear how they got started in their lives and things that I can help them improve—even if it's just budgeting or how to calculate how much they spend a month."
One of Peña’s passions is finding solutions for people who don’t seem to have many options. She recalls one client she worked with early in her career, a woman who was just out of bankruptcy. She had no insurance, no savings, and no investment accounts. They started with a blank slate and worked together to craft a financial strategy—not just for the woman, but for her whole family as well. Nine years later, her client called back to tell Peña how grateful she was and how their financial guidance helped give her peace of mind*. “Every time I think of her, I see how much [she's] grown,” she says. “This is why I do what I do.”
The Value of NAIFA
In November 2022, Peña attended her first NAIFA National Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. She describes it as an amazing experience. “[It was] the first time I really got to see how NAIFA helps us financial professionals in terms of advocating for our clients and our businesses,” she begins. “It was so incredible to talk to politicians and be in D.C. at Capitol Hill.”
Connecting with fellow NAIFA members in Washington, D.C., reinforced to Peña the difference she makes in her clients’ lives and gave her a boost of energy to return to Boston with. The experience also helped her get out of her comfort zone and become more fearless, she says. “This career can be a little bit lonely—especially when you start off—but being a part of NAIFA […] really does make you feel like you belong,” she begins. “No matter if you have a negative ledger at work or if you're making millions, everyone makes you feel like you're an equal and they're so eager to teach you.” Peña says she’s always learning something new from NAIFA colleagues and feels comfortable asking questions.
Outside of the Office
When she’s not working, Peña loves reading, going to the beach, and spending time with family and friends. She also stays involved in her community, volunteering at her church and with Silver Lining Mentoring, a Boston-based organization that pairs mentors with children in foster homes.
Thank you, Raydania, for your service to our industry and association. We’re #NAIFAproud to call you one of our own.
*The experience of the person described in this material may not be representative of the experience of other clients.