Yesterday, I discovered that I was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Chris from Money Mozart. I got to know Chris and his blog after he tweeted out this post I wrote for The Penny Hoarder. Needless to say, I’ve been a huge fan of his writing ever since.
So if you haven’t checked out Money Mozart already, please do yourself a favor and get lost in his blog for an hour or two.
And a HUGE thank you to Chris for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award and letting me join in on the fun 🙂
Questions from Chris:
How do you define “retirement”?
For me “retirement” would mean reaching a point in my life when my time becomes my own. The end of mandatory work. Reaching a point in my finances where I’ll have the ability to dictate my own choices without having money be my primary concern. It doesn’t mean that I’ll stop working. I think it’s just having the freedom to either pursue a retirement lifestyle, or continue to work in a career that I personally find more fulfilling without worrying about my salary.
If you could go back in time to give your younger self a money pep-talk, what would you say?
Oh man. I’m still in my early 20s, so I know a lot of people would say that I’m too young to have made any major financial blunders – and they’re right. But I’m still so mad at my younger-self for having been SO careless with money.I’ve been handling my own finances since I was shipped off to boarding school at 14. I had full responsibility over the money my parents blindly wired over to me during that time. They had no way of really checking how and where I was spending all my money. Even though my parents always told me to save my money for emergencies or important purchases, I would blow everything away on food and clothes. This careless spending of mine got progressively worse in College. So if I could go back in time, I would tell myself this:
“PLEASE STOP SPENDING SO MUCH ON CLOTHES. PLEASE. You shouldn’t take pride in having more clothes than anyone you know. It’s not cool that you never have to repeat outfits. Also, stop offering to pay for your friends every single time you’re in a good mood – it’s going to make things weird for you later when you finally decide to stop this habit. Just please, for the love of God, focus on school and invest in yourself to enrich your life instead.”
What is the biggest financial mistake you’ve ever made and how did you learn from it?
Blowing through $10K in 3 months during my first semester of college. I mention this briefly on my About page, but none of this money was spent towards my dorm room or meal points. It wasn’t like I spent it on designer items or that I decided to buy a shelf-load of new Apple products. I spent it on excessive eating out, traveling whenever I felt like it (I wanted to explore America!), and just buying a load of useless crap that I never actually needed. This was pretty much the turning point that changed me into the reformed spender that I am today.
What is the most unusual thing you’ve ever done for money and/or the worst job you’ve ever had?
The most unusual thing I did for money was translating K-Pop songs into English for non-Korean fans. For $5 a song, it was the easiest gig I ever had. Most of the lyrics weren’t even meaningful in any way. Stuff like, “robotronic, electronic lover heart” or “I am I am stupid stupid for you” Deep stuff 😀 Their dance moves are pretty sick though, so I can’t knock that.
The worst job I ever had was when I worked as a translator at the front desk of a department store in Korea. I was required to wear high heels, a super tight skirt suit uniform and red lipstick. Oh, and did I mention that we were never allowed to sit down? Sure, they had chairs set up for us (because legally they have to let us sit down) but that was just for show. My manager also told me that my voice was too low to be considered “feminine” so I had to raise it a few octaves higher. As a result, I was speaking in a shrill, high-pitched tone to greet customers. It was mortifying. So a few unhappy weeks and several blisters later, I noped the heck outta there. The pay was pretty decent though. I made $16/hour working 5 hours a day just for standing and smiling at people. There were rarely any English-speaking customers so I was pretty much just there for display. But it was still horrible. Never again. *shudders*
You inherit $100 million cash, tax-free. What do you do with it?
I would first invest in my standard of living. Buy things like a moderately priced home (the more expensive the house, the more upkeep and taxes it will require) for myself, my parents and little brother. I don’t need THAT much money to be happy honestly. I don’t have any debt (which I’m incredibly thankful for) so I would probably invest in continuing my education. I’ve always wanted to go back to school, but the only thing that’s been holding me back was the fact that I can’t justify the tuition costs. I’d also make sure to develop a solid business plan that would give me both financial security, and generate income so I could live doing what I love doing (See answer to question #1). Nothing crazy. And of course I would invest a small chunk of the money.
Lastly, I would donate 75% of the $100m to various causes that support education and learning. My dad runs an NGO for ethnic minorities and he’s always wanted to build a school for them. My mom also spends a lot of time teaching English to illiterate women and children from underprivileged backgrounds. So naturally, I share the same passion and vision they hold. It would be incredible to be able to use this kind of money to improve our future generations. Sorry if my answer sounds kind of cliche, but it’s true.
If you had to move or retire to anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I spent most of my life traveling back and forth between different Asian countries. I would probably continue to do that. In fact, that’s actually what my grand mother does. She spends a year or two in one country, then moves. She only rotates between 4 countries depending on where her family and friends are, but she seems truly happy and content with this lifestyle. I suspect I’ll be the same way. I can’t seem to stay in one place for long, so this will probably hold true for me even during my years in retirement. At the very least, I’ll be traveling back and forth between Korea and Hong Kong – the two places I consider home.
And Here are the people I’d like to nominate next 🙂
Here are your questions to answer!
- If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
- What would constitute as a perfect day for you?
- What’s the music that you most feel for?
- What is something that you never skimp on or is totally worth the splurge?
- What is your favorite thing about blogging?
And to those of you who just want to answer any of these questions for fun – please feel free to do so in the comment section! 🙂