Divorce fuels financial intelligence

By Colin Romaglia

I follow an Instagram account called “showerfeelings,” which posts thoughts and ideas. One that appeared this week still has my head spinning about financial technology in today’s society. The post read, “A kid born today could live an entirely normal life and never physically touch money.”

I do wonder if I were born today, would my relationship with money be any different? Currently, my friends and family would tell you I’m very mature with my money and know the value of a dollar. I’m an old soul in my character as well as with my wallet. I always carry cash around on me, I hand-roll nearly all my change, and save whenever possible.

These money morals were a product of multiple things throughout my life, but my parents’ divorce probably was the most influential. They separated when I was in fourth grade, and my parents were responsible for splitting all expenses for my older brother and me at a 60/40 percent split. This led to an understanding very quickly that things like a haircut, a new pair of shoes, or new toys were to be cherished, not asked for each week because of school trends.

I also became the designated “check-bearer,” bringing our childhood invoices to each parent along with a check when my brother and I moved houses every week. I can remember guarding this piece of paper with my life, using my imagination at a young age to believe that the envelope was some type of top-secret military message that had to get to our allies in time. It certainly made me second guess everything I bought as a kid, and financial arguments within our family were so repetitive it made my stomach churn by the time I got to high school.

It might sound awful now but let me tell you I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My parents’ love for my brother and me championed over any financial hurdle. Did they deny me cool basketball shoes in middle school? Yes, but what they never told me was that they were both saving tons of money to help put my brother and me through college. I’m currently on track to graduate Arizona State University loan free.

Between their excellent planning abilities, and my drive to save money throughout middle school and high school, I’m now ready to tackle the world with a clean financial slate after graduation.

I find myself with the awareness that money represents hard work, not numbers on a computer screen. My experiences with money during my childhood have allowed me to fully understand how much more fruitful picking up the check with friends is rather then buying the latest gadget, and I’m only 20.

I’ll never forget the day my dad told me, “You can always make more money.” He knew I was smart with money, but I think he said this as a constant reminder that although we need money to survive, if it drives your emotions constantly, you’ve wasted your days.

Colin Romaglia is a student at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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