A Rich Life

Long Branch finance pro is helping people on both 'sides of the tracks'

Tony Frigoletto is something of a Jersey Shore boomerang. He grew up in Red Bank, moved to Pennsylvania with his family when he was in the fourth grade and returned to the area as an adult.

"The Jersey Shore is an eclectic, interesting place," he said of what drew him back here. "It has old and new; it's constantly in a rotating shift of the past and what's next. It has access to all that's good in life."

It is all of those things, of course. But for some here – anywhere, really – life can be a struggle.

"You can surround yourself with really nice things, but can't overlook the fact that there are people in our community who are less fortunate," Frigoletto, the CEO and owner of River’s Edge Wealth Partners in Red Bank, said. 

"There's only a short distance that separates people with a lot of means from people that don't have any. 'The other side of the tracks,' if you will. They can always be helped."

For every person who is able to dine out and enjoy the culinary experiences that Long Branch and the rest of The Shore have to offer, there are people who are scraping by. It's a reality that struck Frigoletto. "I think a lot of people teeter-totter between being lower class and being in a truly dire situation," he said. 

That disparity drove him to look for ways to help. It started with donating money but evolved into investing himself in causes that required more than simply writing a check. He did his homework and became drawn to Family & Children's Services in Long Branch. Their mission and longevity (the group was founded in 1911) spoke to him; the dedication and selflessness of the staff was the final selling point.

"The people that run the agency and work there, it's hard not to be impressed. The people in the trenches, the stress that they deal with, the content of the information that they're dealing with," he continued, his voice trailing off with a sense of awe. "For them to be effective at their job, they can't become numb to it. That would mean it's time to move on to another job. It's that sort of intimacy that you show to people that are having hard times that make them feel safe enough to tell you what's going on."

In his day job, Frigoletto and his team at River's Edge are trying to help people maximize their personal wealth and plan for the future, whether it's retirement or college savings. Fiscal literacy and getting clients to adhere to a plan are core values at his firm. The contrast between what he's working on during his 9-to-5, and the volunteer work he does, is not lost on him.

Through FCS, there are a number of outreach programs for people who are in need, but the holiday drive is one that sticks with Frigoletto. The event is structured to protect the anonymity of the person receiving the gift, and treats them with the utmost respect while saluting the courage it takes to ask for help when times are tough.

"I had a father come in one year, I won't forget it, he was in tears because he never thought he would be doing something like this," Frigoletto recalled. "He crossed his legs and he had socks coming through the soles of both of his shoes. He wasn't even the stereotypical kind of generational poverty. He was just hard-hit, hard times and was in the middle of a crisis just trying to figure out 'What the hell am I going to do next?'

"The guy's courage to get in line and take care of his kids. I think that's admirable."

On the other end of the spectrum, a similar desire to help is central to the mission at River's Edge. After 20-plus years working with a national bank, Frigoletto opened a family office in Red Bank. For his staff, building relationships with clients and fostering an environment of trust are the first steps toward reaching the goal at hand.

"The benefit of the family office is the personal connection with the staff. For people to really let you inside their lives and let you know the nuance of every challenge that they have financially or concern, that means something," he said. "That's kind of the glue of my office. It's filled with people who have a personal commitment to their clients. What they're doing is the same thing that people at FCS are doing, but in a different lane. They're not working with the same clients, but they're working with people that they’re dedicated to and they become great at what they do because of their dedication to helping people."

"They're working with people that they're dedicated to. And they become great because of their dedication to helping people."

“There's only a short distance that separates people with a lot of means from people that don't have any. 'The other side of the tracks,' if you will. They can always be helped.”

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