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A Q&A with Broke Millennial

   Posted On: June 25, 2013  |    Posted In: Millennials  |     Posted by: Broke Millennial®

Hi Loyal Readers and Newcomers,

This week I’m taking a little detour. Next week we’ll be back to the important financial topics, but this week I asked for questions from readers. Now you can get a bit more of an insight about the woman penning #Broke Millennial.

Why did you start Broke Millennial?

The idea came to me one night while I was speaking with a friend of mine. She had never been taught how to handle money and as a result just overspent and hoped she could make ends meet when it came time to pay the bills. Then it dawned on me, many millennials seem to have a head-in-the-sand approach to finances because they were never taught to be financially literate. It’s my hope this blog can help some people begin the journey to financial literacy and feel empowered about handling money.

Do you consider yourself financially literate?

Yes and no. I’m debt-free, understand budgeting, financial basics, have started saving for retirement and live well within my means. However, there is still so much left for me to learn. I’m specifically focusing on learning how to invest.

How old are you?

I’m 24.

What is your response to media criticism towards millennials?

Sadly, stereotypes often stem from grains of truth. There are certainly millennials who embody the “lazy, entitled narcissists who still live their parents” cliche. If you don’t happen to know at least one of those millennials then kudos for finding internet on that deserted island you must be stranded on. However, we’re growing up and beginning to come into our own. In terms of financial literacy and fiscal responsibility our generation still has a ton of learning to do, but we’re starting to find our footing.

I know social media has allowed us to have a warped definition of the word “friend” and we seem to think everyone cares what we have to say, but you can’t honestly tell me if Boomers had those tools at their disposal they would’ve been less likely to take selfies and Instagram their food.


One of the best articles I’ve read on this subject came from Fortune back in January.

 A new generation has hit the workforce. They are “impatient at being kept in the wings. They want to get out there on center stage. They want to be heard.”

They tell stuck-in-the-mud employers that they want “fulfillment from their work” and “they come with high hopes acquired at college for improvement of the environment and of society, and they insist that their companies work actively toward such goals.”

They have “a high degree of self-confidence” and they want personal projects — volunteer work, etc. — to “count as a plus rather than a minus on their employment record.”

Just another trend piece on Millennials in the workforce? Nope, an article by Judson Gooding from the March 1971 issue of Fortune.

Grumbling over younger workers: A time-honored tradition, Fortune.

I would also encourage anyone who hasn’t read Joel Stein’s article to obtain a copy. Just reading the few paragraphs they give you without a paid subscription doesn’t do the article justice. Those parts are also meant to rile you up and encourage you to keep reading. Too many people just reacted to the cover.

Where are you from? 

Ugh, the worst question ever. I’m a former expat/TCK and lived in Asia from ages 10-18 when I moved back to America for college. My family continued living in China until I was halfway through my senior year of college. I usually just tell people I’m from North Carolina though, it’s easier.

(After this photo shoot I never felt pale again.)

How did you end up in New York?

I moved to New York for a job. Three weeks after college graduation I packed my bags and moved here to be page for a popular Late night talk Show. These days I work for a public relations agency.


(I felt pretty comfy behind that desk. I can also seriously rock yellow leather sleeves.)

What did you major in?

I double-majored in journalism and theater.

If you like money so much why didn’t you major in finance or business?

1) Math has always intimidated me (I refer you to my Impassioned Plea for Understanding Compound Interest).
2) When I went to college I wanted to be an actress (a stage actress not a famous movie actress).
3) My interest in money has blossomed since venturing out on my own and becoming completely financially independent.


(The Governator’s hands were a tad too big, but Marilyn’s were a pretty perfect fit.)

Follow your passion or money?

Always a hard question. At this point in my life I’ve largely chosen job security and money. I also haven’t figured how out what passion I’d love to follow. My passion for acting dampened considerably in college. Instead, I know there are certain life elements that will make me happy and I’d like to find, or create, a job that fulfills those categories. But to broadly answer the question, if you’re young, without dependents and not in oppressing amounts of debt then follow your passion for a while.

What are the three things you splurge on?

Travel, travel and travel. If they have to be different things then travel, nice shoes and presents for loved ones. I have a list on my phone of gift ideas and will frequently buy Christmas and birthday presents months in advance.

Do you plan to have kids and, if so, how are you going to pay for their college education?

I do plan on having kids and to adopt at least one. The desire to adopt (regardless of my biological abilities to procreate) has a lot to do with my background living overseas and visiting orphanages around Asia.

The question shouldn’t be, how will I pay for their college educations, but will I pay for their college educations? I don’t think parents have an obligation to pay for their children to go to college (let the debate begin). Personally, I plan to do what my parents did and have my children be responsible for 50% of their college education (read my story here). Hopefully they are able to largely fund their education with scholarship, like I did or consider the military like many of my family members did.

Johnny Moneyseed also has an interesting thought about how to fund a child’s college education (it’s what my Grandfather did for his nine kids) – Giving Your Children Free College Tuition.

Is debt a deal breaker? 

It can be. If he has massive amounts of student loans and doing his best to pay them off and not incurring more debt, then no. If said person doesn’t have a plan to pay off debt and continues to live outside his means then absolutely it would be a deal breaker. If you don’t get this reference then we can’t be friends.

What are you listening to?

Right this second? You Ain’t Dolly (And You Ain’t Porter). 
In general my musical tastes are a bit unrefined for most folks. I listen to a lot of country and a lot of 80s hair bands. Frankly, I couldn’t tell you the top ten most popular songs on the radio right now.


(Gosh, work can be so hard when you have to watch Ashley Monroe open for Hunter Hayes at Webster Hall.)

What’s your favorite TV show & movie?

Oh dear. I can give you a top five list. 30 Rock, The Office, Parks and Recreation, How I Met Your Mother and Justified. Those are all shows I’ve re-watched on more than one occasion.

Favorite movie is the 25th Hour. I’m also a sucker for every sports movie ever made and far more likely to pick an action flick over a rom-com when I go to the movies/Redbox.

Current Netflix Recommendation: Warrior

What’s your pet-peeve?

When people end a sentence in a preposition. As a result, I’ve received this birthday card no fewer than three times.

IMG_2185 IMG_2187

What’s your favorite smell?

I’m a sucker for candles and I’m partial to anything with a beach scent or scents with names like “clean cotton.” But natural scents? Freshly cut grass.

Where (and when) do you want to retire?

Truthfully, I don’t have an goal age for retirement. My goal is to find a fulfilling career by the time I’m 30.

Location wise, I can’t image a point in my life I’ll want to stay in one location for longer than five years. However, if I have to settle in one place it would probably be in North Carolina, Georgia or Cairns, Australia.

Feel free to ask any other questions in the comments section and I’ll be happy to answer!

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27 responses to “A Q&A with Broke Millennial

  1. Did you pick up another language on your Asian adventures? I’ve never been to Asia, so it would be interesting to see a post about your experiences there.

    1. Hmmm, certainly a lot of money stories to tell about both Japan and China. Perhaps those will come out in the future. And unfortunately, I’m not fluent in either language.

  2. Great to learn more about you. These are good answers. Where in NC are you from? I know that is a loaded question, but I wanted to make it easy. I currently live in Raleigh.

    1. Before we moved overseas I lived in Gastonia (outside of Charlotte). My parents currently live in Charlotte, so that’s where I “go home.” I’ve never actually lived in that house though.

  3. What a great chance to learn more about you! I think your goal of finding a fulfilling career by age 30 is admirable and, with intentionality and action, completely feasible.

    I also completely agree that too many people reacted the TIME cover about millennials rather than the actual article. There were lessons worth taking from that article, which were largely overlooked, and that I chose to write about

    1. Thanks, Rebecca. Love the rebranding!

      I remember reading this response and appreciating you had actually read the article. It cracked me up to see so many people write angry posts about it with a disclaimer they actually hadn’t finished the piece.

    1. Thanks!
      Are you an expat/military brat?! Or just moved around a lot? And what’s your answer?

  4. I love the juxtaposition of the quote from 1971. It sounds like older folks just always hate the antics of the new generation. A timeless tradition.

    1. I’m sure we’re going to do the exact same thing in 20-30 years. Looking forward to digging up that Joel Stein article when the time comes!

  5. I felt so old when you said you wanted to find your dream job by age 30 lol. Thank you for such a thoughtful “interview” Ms. Millennial.
    p.s. our taste in music and TV couldn’t be more different lol. I’m top 40 teeny bopper for life 😉

    1. A lot of people aren’t insync with my music tastes. At least when I’m in the North! Peach is all about R&B and hip hop which makes for a rough road trip experience.

    1. If I had lost The Office, 30 Rock and Parks and Rec in the same season I would’ve gone into mourning for years.

  6. I’ve never really picked up on the “preposition on the end of a sentence” thing, so I couldn’t say if it bothers me or not. I think I’d prefer to remain ignorant, because once I knew how to pick it out it would probably bother me forever.

    I love Parks and Rec. That has to be one of the best shows ever made (besides the 1st season).

    1. Remain ignorant! People love to end sentences in “at!”

      And yes, first season is rough but I always suggest people power through for character context.

  7. Very interesting. I love posts like this. I’m hoping to find a career that I love by the time I’m 35 (30 now so I need to give myself a little time). I think I know the direction I want to move in, but it’s all depending on where live takes me between now and then. I’ve always thought that I’d want to adopt. Bf wants biological kids so we might do a combo of both biological kids and adopted kids (maybe one and one-I don’t want it to sound like we’re trying to raise a football team).

    1. I’ll adjust the timeline if I’m not there by 29.

      Peach wants biological kids so if I end up with him and assuming we could have kids we’d do a combo.

  8. What a treat to meet the Broke one….Great insight as always. You are a great role model for other millennials and as someone who cares a great deal about Financial Literacy- you are such a breath of fresh air (or candles)- and debt free in 2013 is really an accomplishment..

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