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Paco de Leon

Personal finance expert and author of Finance for the People

The secret to being a successful freelancer | The Way We Work, a TED series
  • About Paco de Leon

    Paco de Leon is the founder of The Hell Yeah Group, a financial firm dedicated to helping production companies and creative agencies with making educated financial decisions. Drawing from her personal experience working in various finance sectors from small business consulting firms to major banks, de Leon shares straightforward, holistic advice for all things finance related. 

    De Leon has appeared on the TED stage, sharing the secret of financial success for freelancers and inspiring people to understand complex financial concepts through her hand-drawn artwork and illustrations. An eloquent and engaging speaker, she has spoken with various organizations such as California Center for the Arts, Intuit, Shopify, and WeWork. She is also popular with universities, helping students understand budgeting and saving for college and beyond. 

    Paco de Leon is also the author and illustrator of Finance for the People. In this practical and approachable guide, de Leon helps readers change their relationship with money, navigate their financial life, and leverage their finances to build wealth. Her work has been published in The New York Times, NPR, Bloomberg, Vice, and others. She also writes a monthly finance advice column, Taking Stock, for Refinery29. De Leon also hosts the podcast Weird Finance which explores the often intimidating terrain of money, finances, and economics and how these invisible forces shape each person’s ideas about themselves and the world around them.

    Contact us about booking Paco de Leon for your next event.

  • Speaking Topics

    How to Think About How You Think About Money

    Paco de Leon explores the numerous internal and external factors that influence our relationship with money. Together with the audience, she explores the universal truth that “people are weird about money” and emphasizes that getting to the root of that weirdness is essential in rethinking our relationship with our finances. Through her hand-drawn illustrations, De Leon also provides decision-making models that help the audience find and focus on areas where they have control, and teaches them how to leverage the power of making little shifts in our perspectives to see ourselves and the world in a new light.

    Five financial habits to help you have a better relationship with money

    Paco de Leon explains the five most essential and important financial habits to start implementing to improve your relationship with money.
    1. Commit to weekly finance time
    2. Separating your non-essential spending
    3. Think about how you think about money
    4. Save/invest a portion of everything you earn
    5. Practice appreciating what you have

  • Video

  • Praise for Paco de Leon

    Praise for Finance for the People

    Paco de Leon wrote a book on finance that makes me both excited to learn and ready to take action. De Leon’s take-no-shit attitude mixed with illustrations and metaphors ranging from whiskey to explain inflation to plants to explain student debt makes this is one of the most approachable financial books I’ve ever read.

    Refinery 29

    Part therapy, part finance 411, this how-to is a great way to approach financial literacy.

    New York Post

    Finance for the People is a potent mix of deeply practical and wonderfully empathetic, with a much needed dash of cynicism about our financial systems. You will be better off in your financial life for picking up and reading this book.

    Erin Lowry, author of the Broke Millennial series

    Taking a more hands-on approach to personal finance, Finance for the People asks readers to reflect on their beliefs and experiences with money in a variety of exercises and includes more than 50 illustrations and diagrams to make the concepts accessible.


    Every generation has its definitive money guru’s book handholding upper-class, middle-aged Americans through the complicated terminology and mathematical formulas of personal finance. Yet many of us do not see ourselves reflected in those books. Finance for the People is different—it’s a soothing balm and some needed real talk to those of us who are tired of being told that oat milk lattes are what’s standing between us and homeownership or a healthy relationship with money. Paco de Leon actually sees systemic inequality, cognitive biases, childhood insecurity and deep fear as the powerful forces that hold so many people back from their financial destiny. This book is funny, practical and will remind the reader that like with all things worthwhile, being good at money requires intention, an examination of our beliefs and past experiences…and ultimately just showing up for ourselves.

    Aminatou Sow, New York Times bestselling co-author of Big Friendship

    Finance for the People: Getting a Grip on Your Finances is a refreshingly original contribution to this crowded field, and one her fellow millennials will find especially valuable as they contemplate the decades of decisions that will shape their financial futures…Dealing with money is one of life’s inescapable realities, and for most people there will always be some amount of pain associated with it. Having a friendly guide like Finance for the People can help the journey become both more bearable and more profitable.


    Many people are interested in how to make money—and how to keep it. But money can be a a taboo topic, so conversations are not held in the open, putting financial health at risk. Author de Leon…provides essential tools for reconfiguring readers’ financial existence…The author’s empathy and humor throughout the book provide a digestible roadmap for the financially perplexed. A must-read for financial planning.


    [De Leon] is at her strongest when explaining how emotionally charged money can be, attributing anxieties around it to “gaps in information” and “inequality,” and assuring readers how empowering it is to have a handle on one’s financial situation. Often-funny drawings help to illustrate the points, and De Leon’s breezy tone marries well with her practical advice. Readers beginning to tackle their personal finances will find a welcome guide in de Leon.

    Publishers Weekly
  • Books by Paco de Leon

  • Media About Paco de Leon

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and Availability

  • 212 572-2013
  • Paco de Leon travels from Los Angeles, California

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