AT A PARTY last night a new friend asked, “So how do you like being a money expert.” I had to think about it. At first, I think I mumbled something about it being fun and changed the subject.
But the question lingered in my brain….how do I like being a money expert.
I realized that I don’t.
I love something else. I love learning about money. I love the fact that I’ve learned enough that I can now focus what I learn on contextual pieces (how a place a stop loss effectively on a volatile small-cap stock….or how to title and treat property in an IRA). That thrills me to no end.
Then I realized that it’s like this no matter whether it’s you, me, money or cars. We all share this trait about many subjects in our lives.
I’ve found that I love the act of “discovery” in everything I touch. Right now I’m on this crazy health kick. I’m realizing that I’ve never known much about nutrition or proper exercise. I’ve always eaten about half-healthy, but only because I generally know what’s good for me. I also work out, but only because I think it’s fun and I know it gives me energy.
But I’ve never really dug down to find out what really makes sense.
The funny thing is, we all avoid the “science” of some of these topics, don’t we? I mean….health and fitness….what could be more important? Why am I stuck, at 46 years old, on running a good marathon when I really should be thinking about the chemical makeup of ME? It seems like it’d be fun to explore, but it also feels like it should be obvious. Why wouldn’t I study that?
To me, it’s the same with everything finance-related. Money is so important to our everyday existence….why wouldn’t I study it? It seems foolish to not know how a mortgage works, or why I might prefer permanent insurance to term (even though the gurus tell me that one is “bad” and the other is “good”). There are scenarios where everyrthing fits. Doesn’t it make sense that I’d know those?
Once again, it seems obvious….and fun.
You might be thinking….yuck. What could be fun about money? I don’t know….you start with how a mutual fund works and build. Eventually you even figure out how to make tax forms sexy (read: The Art of Enjoying Tax Forms)
I understand completely that I can’t know everything about everything. There are some areas of my life that I will never know much about. My home’s heating and cooling system will always be a mystery to me. Anything to do with electricity or plumbing will always include me paying a guy who is WAY smarter than me about those areas.
…but still, I don’t have time to sit around wallowing in being “an expert” in stuff I already know. There’s far too much out there I don’t know….but really want to know. (On this topic, read Life is Too Short to Be Lazy at iHeartbudgets)
So, I’m ready, new friend. If you want to ask me again I promise to give you a better answer. “I don’t like it at all. It’s the pieces I don’t know about that turn me on, not the ground I’ve already crossed. It’s what’s coming next.”
What’s next for you to discover?
Photo: Alan Cleaver