Hey, Moron!

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I first heard the term “money moron” when I was listening to Farnoosh Torabi’s podcast, So Money. I think she was interviewing Scott Allan Turner who was explaining the mistakes he had made before he became smarter about his money–the time he was a money moron. I heard the term and I just fell in love with it. Pardon my nerdiness, but I just plain loved the alliteration and the implicit meanings behind those two words.

The term money is fraught with many meanings. To some, it’s a dirty word. It might be embarrassing and a little scary to talk about. I know for myself that when I was younger, I thought I was a cool person because I was going to be one of those people who wouldn’t care about it. I grew up thinking that money caused a lot of problems in the world and that the desire for it made people evil.

Me at 18: I don’t need money! I’m going to be poor but I’m going to change the world!

Yup, I was that much of an idiot.

To others, meanwhile, money means financial independence and freedom. Now that I’m older and facing my forties, I have come to appreciate money as a tool to achieve these worthy goals. Money itself is not good or bad. It is the meaning that people attach to it that corrupts people or makes them work positively for good.

Billionaires like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates have used their money to change the lives of people around the world. If you take it a step even further, many individuals gladly donate what they can to causes that they believe in. I don’t think anybody can fault them for that.

Me at 37: I am grateful for the money I have–not many people can say that.

And simply, too, money could just mean numbers: your income, retirement portfolio, your spending. It could be the negative in-flows and the drop off in your net worth. It means I spent more money this month than I wanted. It could also be that $1500 round trip ticket to the US to visit family and friends.

In essence, it is a word that represents a huge and exciting world.

To me, being a moron means you’re not informed about something, that you lack knowledge in certain areas. I would like to think that I’m smart, but I will gladly admit that there are a lot of things I don’t know. I can’t possible know everything: Wow, so many opportunities and ideas to learn about and implement!

And that’s what excites me. It means there’s always a way to make myself better. Even when I was young, I always loved studying, or reading, or just diving deeper into a world that I find interesting. I’ve always dreamed of being a professional student. If I could make money studying then I would do that job. Now, years later, I’ve also come to understand that acting upon that knowledge is just as exciting. Doing something about the information I’ve learned and applying it in my daily life not only gives me valuable experience, but is–in itself–another way of learning. 

Holy cow! Learning within learning, within learning.

Lastly, I added the sayonara to the term money moron to stress that I live in Japan and that my journey towards financial independence is deeply tied to this country. As an American expat (but really an immigrant), I am faced with many issues many other nationalities won’t face when they are living here. One of the things that still troubles me is taxes–Damn, you IRS! I dread dealing with my taxes, but that’s a blogpost all on its own.

I am on a journey, and I accept that I am still a work in progress. I will blunder–a lot–but at least I am taking steps to achieve financial freedom.

I’m so glad to have started.

I hope you’ll join me along the way and learn from my mistakes as well.

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