I am pleased to share Gregory Aloia’s childhood money memories and insights on kids, money and financial literacy education.
ABOUT GREG – IN HIS OWN WORDS
I am a financial advisor and partner with Abacus Wealth Partners, a fee only financial planning & wealth management firm. I earned a BA & MA from the University of Notre Dame & a JD from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. A native of New York City, I grew up in central New Jersey in a 2-wage earner household. I work with clients to create structure & purpose for their personal finances.
WOOHOO – Valedictorian and Rocker
Leslie Girone: Please briefly share with us a little about yourself as a child, teen, young and adult and what has led you to your current career.
Greg Aloia: I attended Catholic primary & high school; generally earned high grades in school; and was the valedictorian in my high school class. I played keyboards in a rock band as a teenager. Generally outgoing in primary & high school, I became more introverted in young adulthood as the result of struggles in college and law school.
I have been with my firm for 20 years. The path to my current career (fee only advisor) was the result of experimentation in different field of financial services – non-profit fundraiser, trust officer, financial sales.
SAY WHAT? YES – TALK to YOUR PARENTS!
Girone: This a question we ask everyone. It is the question Sam asked himself prior to creating Sammy Rabbit and entering the financial literacy industry. If you could only teach a child one money habit, WHAT money habit would you teach them? Please explain why.
Aloia: Do not be afraid to ask your parents questions about money. In my family, money issues seemed to result in family stress, which resulted in unpleasant associations with money.
Girone: Did you have a money mentor or primary personal finance influence as a child or teen? If so, please share who it was and what you learned that still influences you today.
Girone: What memories do you have related to your first saving experience?
Aloia: I went to a bank with my mother for the purpose of opening a bank account for me, funded with cash gifts that I had received. Being in the bank created deep feelings of unease, to the point that I wanted to leave the building immediately.
Girone: Tell us about your first experience earning money? How old were you? What type of a job was it? How much did you earn? What did you do with the money? What did you learn?
Aloia: I did yardwork for a neighbor as a mid-teenager. I have no recollection of what I earned or what I did with the money. I assume that I had a bank account at that time. I really learned nothing from the experience, that I can recall.
AN EARLY MONEY MISTAKE TO AVOID
Girone: What was your biggest money mistake as a child or teenager?
Aloia: Not asking questions about money. Not being interested in money at all.
NO MATTER WHY – WASTE NOT WANT NOT
Girone: What was one of the smartest money decisions you made as a child or a teenager and why?
Aloia: I did not spend money on non-essentials, but this was more a fear-based decision versus a mindful knowledge-based decision.
A LESSON L-EARNED
Girone: Did you work while you were in college? Please share a little about how working or not working while attending college affected you, your studies, and personal finance choices including student debt.
Aloia: I worked during the summers while in college. My parents discouraged me from working while at college. Working did not affect my studies. I did not have student debt. The work was factory-based. The nature of the work helped me realize that this was not the type of work that I wanted to engage in for a lifetime. But it did not inspire me to seek more pleasant work the following summers.
Girone: At around what age did you realize “money was money” or that it had a value? Please share the circumstances or how the realization came about.
Aloia: Around the age of 10-11 I learned that money was a negative force in life. My parents bought property and built a house. That property developed unforeseen issues that created financial stress in our family. Around the same time, my father was unable to recoup a personal loan that he had made to a co-worker. Until well into adulthood, I associated home ownership with stress and unhappiness.
GOING AGAINST THE GRAIN
Girone: Cambridge University research indicates adult money habits are set by age 7. At what age do you believe parents should start teaching kids about money and why?
Aloia: Ages 10-11. You cannot develop money habits until you have real life experience with money and understand the concepts around money.
A TOUGH TABOO TO CONQUER
Girone: Did your parents talk to and teach you about money as a child? Please share a little about your experience on the topic while growing up.
And, if you have children are you talking to and teaching them about money? Please share a little regarding this.
Aloia: No, my parents did not teach me about or talk to me about money. (See above for details) I was really discouraged from asking about money.
THE ANWER IS – KNOW YOUR PERSONAL MONEY STORY
Girone: Why do you think it is important for kids and young people to learn about personal finance (and/or economics)?
Aloia: Young people need to understand their personal money story – how the messages they receive from home, school, religion, the culture affect how they relate to money. Once the money story is understood, young people can better understand how money decisions can be affected by their unique story. With more understanding comes the ability to avoid money mistakes & to take advantage of money opportunities.
Girone: Do you believe personal finance should or should not be taught in schools? Why do you believe there is not more personal finance being taught in schools? Please explain why or why not.
Aloia: Yes, it should be taught. It is not because: It does not fit in with the current overemphasis on STEM topics; Schools wrongly assume that the topic is addressed at home; Schools have a bias against what are considered “life skill” topics; College prep is the emphasis of most schools; Schools do not have the proper tools and protocols to teach it.
LEARN MORE ABOUT GREGORY ALOIA
To discover more about Gregory Aloia go to AbacusWealth.com/Team/Gregory-Aloia