I am the youngest of five children raised by a single mom. My father inexplicably walked away from the family when I was still quite young. While I was what most considered an “oops” child my mother always stated that I was the greatest oops ever. She was a remarkable woman without a college degree and yet, she did amazing things during her career at United Air Lines.
As you can imagine, we never had a great deal of money, but she was a master budgeter. Not a penny was wasted or an ounce of food thrown away. Ever! “Gregg, come eat this last spoonful of corn.” I can hear those words like it was yesterday. She was a Great Depression-era child and her approach to money was serious and stringent. My appreciation for a dollar and my discipline when it comes to finances can be traced right back to Janet T. Biro.
I will never forget shopping for school clothes and heading to the register to pay. She’d look at me and say, “I’m gonna pay now,” which became my signal to walk away and that the negotiations were about to begin. I can still hear her now, “Can I get 25 cents off these pants? There’s a thread coming off the jeans.” I remember being mortified at the time. However, that’s what a single mom of five kids had to do to make ends meet. You do tough things and you make tough decisions and that mentality has cultivated who I am today. As my mom would say, “You don’t plant peas and get corn.”
I have a vivid recollection of the invoice she presented me after graduating from Ohio State for every dollar I borrowed from her to pay for school. She offered these to me complete with the date, the amount and the check numbers! I remember saying to her, “Do you expect me to pay you back?” She said, “Yes, I do.” And I did – every dime.
I am the man I am today because of a wonderful mom. I could tell you a 1000 stories and I still wouldn’t begin to explain the mark she left on me. I can’t imagine a better training ground for a financial advisor than the life lessons my mother taught me. My hope is that, when you walk into a meeting with me, you’ll see the discipline she instilled in me. It’s a highly-underrated attribute for an advisor and I bring it to work every day as I serve my clients.
I lost my mother in 2012. She was truly my hero and I miss her every day. I love you, mom!