When Danny was eight, he and his mother moved to the US from Colombia.
Like many who come to this country to provide the best for their family, the move was not without sacrifice — in Colombia his mother was an accountant, in America she had to start out cleaning houses.
“Some days she would go to work after I came back from school. I wouldn’t see her for the whole day.”
Though their time spent together was limited, Danny understands that his story contains the stories of so many who come to this country as he did. “That’s just the way it is,” he notes. Watching his mother eventually become a qualified accountant in the US proved to him that he could accomplish whatever he set his sights on.
“I was grateful to be able to graduate with no student debt,” Danny said, but his family was not debt-free.
Danny got into Cornell on a full scholarship and his sights were set on engineering. From a young age he was naturally talented at math and curious about the sciences. “I always knew I wanted to be an engineer,” he mentions. “Because my mom was such a hardworking person, it inspired me to work hard as well,” he said and he did.
His mom’s credit card debt took him by surprise.
“I only found out about the credit cards 3 years ago,” and it had been piling up at a scary interest rate of 28% per annum. But he understands how easy it was for his mom to slip into debt.
“I empathize. If you’re in a hard situation, which a lot of immigrants are in, sometimes you’ve just gotta do what you’ve gotta do,” Danny laments.
Since Danny was about to graduate from Cornell and earn a good salary as a process-automation engineer in Houston, he was trying to strategize ways to lift his family out of this situation.
Like many students, Danny had never taken out a credit card in his name, the absence of a credit history and his mom’s poor credit meant that procuring a loan from a traditional bank was not an option. He had used ThriveCash that summer before to cover relocation expenses, so he reached out to Thrive’s co-founder, Deepak Rao.
Danny explained his situation to Deepak — he had a job lined up, he had just graduated with honors from Cornell, and in the period before his first job would start, he wanted to help out his mom.
“ThriveCash was able to offer me a rate that was much better than the banks,” Danny said. He highlights that “overall Thrive helped me save about $2,000 in interest fees.”
The ability to make regular payments led to a significant raise in his mother’s credit. So much so that they qualified for a credit card that allowed them to pay off the debt 6-months-interest-free.
“The debt is behind us,” Danny notes. “I am happy I have been able to help my family grow into people who save, and eventually, people who can invest.”
Danny is fearless. “When I first got to Cornell,” he asked himself, “what is the hardest possible subject I could study?” He knew he wanted to be an engineer, and from conversations he had with some folks in the two most challenging majors — Computer Science and Chemical Engineering — he chose the latter.
Grappling with one of the toughest subjects offered at Cornell taught him that no matter the task at hand, no matter how many hours, he would figure it out. “I am not afraid of anything,” Danny said. Danny made his mother proud when he would participate in national science competitions. Now he works for one of the biggest chemical companies in America. But perhaps more importantly, he knows the value of hard work, done with heart. Truly his mother’s hard work paid off.