Ten Money Questions for Gina Trapani
Gina Trapani is the editor of Lifehacker.com. Lifehacker is one of the more useful Gawker Media sites because it offers “life-altering” tips for managing information and time… and time is money, right? I asked Gina a few questions about personal finance, consumerism and her history with money.
1. Do you agree with the proverbial saying that time is money?
Time is whatever you make it, whether that’s a paycheck or dividend, or strong bonds with friends and family, self-actualization, art, or just plain and simple relaxation. I write about productivity because time, in my opinion, is one’s most precious resource. We’ve got a limited number of minutes on our trip between cradle and grave, and it’s a matter of spending them well.
2. What is your most significant memory about money?
My first and most important money memory is going to the neighborhood bank with my Dad to set up my first savings account. I must have been about 8 or 9. When the bank lady handed me that passbook, I felt so grown-up and important. It explains why I’m a saver and not a spender.
3. What is your worst habit around finances?
Despite mostly being a saver, I eat out too often. I’ve got a taste for spendy coffee drinks and smoothies. Also, as a freelancer, I’m terrible at chasing down clients for payment. It’s an unpleasant – but necessary – part of the job. I guess that’s three bad habits!
4. You have been quoted as saying, “A blog is like a garden – it needs constant tending and watering.” Can the same be said about finances?
The exact same thing can be said for finances, or anything that grows and changes over time. I’m big into “set it and forget it,” but when you’re building investments, saving, or planning for life events like babies and home purchases, your money plan has to be constantly re-evaluated and tweaked. I try to automate the dull stuff – like the monthly Visa payment – so I can expend my money-thinking energy on longer-term vision stuff, like “Where do I want my retirement account to be in a year?”
5. If you could buy one thing right now what would it be?
A beach home in southern California where my family could watch the sun set over the Pacific from the comfort of the living room every single night.
6. Do you and your wife see eye-to-eye on money?
For the most part. She’s a saver, like me, which is nice. We both have to work up to making a big purchase, but we have a hard time agreeing on them when it does come up. I’d like a cinema display for my computer; she wants a plasma TV. I want a little hybrid, she wants an SUV. It makes for a LOT of discussion, and big delays on those purchases.
7. I was snooping in your del.icio.us bookmarks and this item was tagged in the consumerism category: Interview with the creator of Buy Nothing Day. Do you think BND can make a dent or difference in our consumerism culture?
What I love about BND is that it’s so radically counter-cultural in an advertising-soaked age. When first-graders can recite the McDonald’s jingle but don’t know the first president of the United States, there’s a problem. But it’s so easy to become complacent and oblivious to it, because hey, that new iPod’s just SO COOL. I like how just the concept of BND can make folks stop and think about how much they consume and why. (This message was brought to you by the editor of a web site that’s funded by advertisers who want you to buy their stuff.)
8. What did your father teach you about money?
He taught me the value of money: to respect it, to save it, but also not to let it become the focus of your life.
9. On your personal blog, Scribbling.net, I learned that you were once an elderly care giver and a summer school teacher. When is money most important — when you’re young or old?
I’m not sure yet! I’ll tell you when I get old.
10. Does money buy happiness?
Read other Queercents interviews in the Ten Money Questions archive.