Aaron McPherson is a money coach who focuses on providing accessible financial education to the LGBTQ+ community. He believes that by helping folks build generational wealth, we can build power.
Aaron brings a wide range of experience into his coaching practice, having worked in fields ranging form higher education to tech start-ups. His breadth of experience informs his coaching and allows him to connect with clients on a personal level, the most important part of financial coaching.
Aaron currently resides in Santa Cruz, CA with his husband and dog.
When was the first time you thought about money?
I’ve thought about money in varying capacities throughout my life, but the first time I thought of money as stressful was when I was in middle school. As the youngest of four children, money was spread pretty thinly across all of us and our activities. My chosen activity of figure skating was very costly, so I constantly felt the strain that had on my parents and their financial situation. I’m incredibly grateful that my parents and family supported me in that endeavor, but I definitely held some guilt that I have just worked through processing.
As an adult I’ve constantly oscillated between being the overspender and the saver. Money can be such a tool and isn’t meant to be hoarded. So it’s tough to find a balance between saving, investing, and reaching our goals and using it to support ourselves and our loved ones.
Now I know money doesn’t have to be stressful. Capitalism and finance is a flawed system but I think as LGBT+ folks we can empower our communities and other marginalized communities to grow their wealth and use that as power.
What was your “aha” moment with money?
My “aha” moment was when my husband and I finally got out of credit card debt. When we paid off five-figures of credit card debt and didn’t have to pay extra towards those payments, I was able to step back and see how you can actually make money work for you when it’s not being sucked into never ending credit card debt. When we were in debt, it was this nonstop of feeling that it would never go away and it was something we had to live with. After paying it off, I realized you don’t have to live with that kind of debt, or any debt for that matter. That’s when I really got serious about getting our finances together to pay off student loan debt and prepare for retirement.
How has being LGBT+ impacted your relationship with money?
When I was a bit younger I used money as a way to make my life seem “perfect,” perhaps to overcome the feelings I had that I wasn’t enough because I was gay. This involved buying a bunch of furniture and clothes to make my life look amazing. This is in fact what got me into a great amount of credit card debt. As I have gotten older and I have become more comfortable with myself, that has fallen away. It definitely creeps in when I see people living certain lifestyles and feel the need to “buy” into that myself, but I have learned how to differentiate between what I want and what I’m being told by society to want to fit into a certain group.
As a white cisgender gay man I am lucky enough to have never felt discrimination in the workplace based on my identity, but I definitely have worked places where it didn’t feel comfortable to come out publicly. In those instances, I think the impact of my discomfort over my identity contributed to me not doing the job to the best of my ability, which has likely affected my career trajectory a bit. I’ve noticed that as I work in queer affirming spaces and with other queer folks that I am able to bring my true self to work which allows me to flourish.
What are your financial goals for the future?
Pay off student loans! The goal for that is September 2022, but aiming for earlier than that!
After that, it might be saving for a house or just investing more to retire early. I see money as a tool that we can use to help ourselves, our families, and our communities. So I am hoping that in the new year and once we are out of debt that we can focus more on setting aside money for our nephews and for giving to organizations that are important to us. I truly believe that giving (not for tax planning) should be a part of everyone’s financial plan.
Favorite LGBT+ business (online or ILR)?
I think it’s so important to support the LGBT+ businesses in our community, especially right now.
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