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J. Money Explains Why Money is Only as Good as What it Can Do for You

We don't know how "J. Money" picked his fake name. It's actually a question we should have asked him... But the above picture may provide some insight into a man who exposes every bit of his financial life on a blog called At the very least, we know he likes doodling on U.S. currency, (which may or may not be a federal offense).

In this second installment of this three-part interview, J. tells us what he thinks about money, the millennial generation and how to have open and honest conversations about doing better with your benjamins.

How do you feel about the state of personal finance education today, especially for the Millennial generation?

It’s funny, you’d think I’d have a good pulse on this stuff after being “in the game” for so long, but I honestly do my best to not pay attention to what generation is doing what because at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter. What DOES is how you and I specifically are handling our lives we’re so blessed with having. Nothing’s changed with money over the past 20-30 years, nor has it in the past 2,000-3,000. And I’m pretty sure we all think the “younger generation” doesn’t appreciate stuff in general as much as we do because we’re all older and wiser now. The good thing though is that technology and information is getting better and better over the years so there’s no more excuses to not be savvy about something that’s important to you anymore - whether in money, or in life.

What is your favorite thing to talk about in the area of money and why?

Probably all the different tricks and hacks people do to save and live better lives. I’ve been on this “early retirement” binge recently checking out what that crowd is doing, and you’d be AMAZED with all the ways they cut back on expenses in order to live the lifestyle they want *now* vs at 60-something. It’s a bit extreme at times of course, but talk about a shift in mentality! It’s gotten me to re-think all my “normal” expenses lately, and in the past 3 weeks I’ve cut my cell phone bills by $100/mo, my car insurance by $30, and now I’m working on slicing up the dreaded cable/internet/phone bill most of us slackers have. I’m calling it my “challenge everything” project, and I highly advise others to try it out too.

What are some areas you think young adults struggle with when it comes to money? Why?

Understanding what money can truly do for you, and then getting motivated to *take action*. Everyone knows a million dollars is awesome, but it’s not awesome if you only see it as money. You have to see it as what it can do for you such as allowing you to be stress-free or work on projects or hobbies you care about, or spending time with family, or even retiring much much earlier than you knew possible (this will depend mainly on your expenses btw, not just how much you have saved up).

Money allows you to buy stuff, yes, but it’s more about the FREEDOM it gives you. That’s why we always ask ourselves what we would do if we won the lottery or inherited a ton of money one day. Yeah we would want some fancy cool stuff, but the REAL win is being able to do whatever the hell you want in life and not be forced to waste your time chasing money (ie a crap 9-5). The idea that we’re all striving to hit 60 or 62 or whatever so we can finally retire and “live the good life” is mind blowing as we should be striving for a better life NOW – not in 20 or 30 or 40+ years. All easier said than done, of course, but you need the mindset to then move on to the next stage – action. You get that game plan going now while you’re young and full of energy, and soon enough you’ll be able to take advantage of such freedoms if you hustle hard enough and start having your money work for you vs the other way around. It’s not easy, but it’s do able if you *care enough* to go after it.

Do you think money is a hard topic to discuss? Why? Or why not?

Yes if you’re around strangers, but no if you’re around friends/family. Though of course how detailed your convos are going will play a big part in that. I think deep down everyone wants to be able to talk about problems and wins with their money but it’s just so damn taboo still for some reason. More than sex even, really. Which is crazy because EVERYONE deals with money no matter what their status/age/race/etc. Even people who hate money have to deal with money – it’s all a part of the game. So why we don’t talk about it more face-to-face is beyond me. And I’m not talking about all the judging or bragging we tend to do either – but meaningful, helpful, conversations with money.

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