What is your earliest or most impactful money memory?
That’s the question host Ilona Limonta-Volkova asks every guest on her podcast, “Money Memories.”
Ilona shared her family’s own story in a recent episode. “I was born in Cuba. My dad is Cuban. And my mother is Russian,” she explained. “I was born during a period in Cuba, it’s called the Special Period.”
The Special Period was an economic crisis in Cuba brought on by the dissolution of the Soviet Union, starting in 1991. “My parents realized that there was kind of no future for us as a family there, as long as that was going on,” she said.
They wanted to move to Russia, where her mother was from, but they weren’t allowed to leave Cuba — the borders were closed.
“And so my mother said that we were going on vacation. We actually bought round trip tickets, but it ended up being a one-way flight,” she said. To avoid raising suspicion, they couldn’t sell their house in Cuba. “So my parents just had to make an arrangement with friends to be like, ‘Hey, do you want to take this? You want to take over this house?’ And pawn a lot of our possessions.”
They didn’t stay in Russia long. (“My father is Black,” Ilona said. “I guess most people know there’s not a lot of Black people in Russia.”) They won a green card lottery, and moved to the U.S. when Ilona was five, eventually settling in Louisville.
Given that family history, it’s not hard to see why Ilona was interested in how childhood impressions of money can shape our financial decision making later in life. She’s spent her professional career in the finance industry, and says she realized quickly that to most people, conversations about money and finances are taboo. Her podcast is designed to challenge that.
“I don’t have all the answers,” she said. “That’s why I ask a lot of questions. I love hearing people’s stories.”
I think you’ll love hearing the stories on Ilona Limonta-Volkova’s podcast, too and I’m excited to announce that “Money Memories” is now distributed by Louisville Public Media. There are 24 episodes so far, each around 15 minutes long, and if you want to make sure you never miss one, here’s how to subscribe: Apple | Spotify | Google | RSS
If you produce a podcast and you want to learn more about distributing it through Louisville Public Media, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Money Memories” is a podcast on a mission to make money conversations less taboo — one memory at a time. Each week host Ilona Limonta-Volkova and a guest discuss how their earliest money memory affected their professional trajectories and molded their relationship to personal finance.