The Little Trampoline Inside All of Us

You know what’s funny? Our political candidates.

You know what’s funny in a GOOD way? Bill Murray :)

concert hall kennedy center

(20 mins before show time at The Kennedy Center)

I had a chance to watch him be honored at this year’s annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor sponsored by Capital One (thanks for the tix, guys!), and with all the guest comedians that showed up I hadn’t laughed that hard in quite a while.

Jimmy Kimmel was there, along with Bill Hader, Aziz Ansari, David Letterman!!, and Miley Cyrus – who made both a surprise appearance and a surprise flub – forcing her to re-sing her entire act over again which was all kinds of confusing… (though admittedly, she actually had a decent voice!).

After the event, we even caught a glimpse of Mr. Groundhog’s Day just feet away:

bill murray paparazzi

(Goes right for the food – hah!)

But my favorite part of the evening was when he gave his acceptance speech at the end. He made us laugh throughout, of course, but the focus was actually on how GOOD it is to just be alive and experiencing everything around us. He called it this “little trampoline” inside of us and he got pretty sentimental about it:

“There’s this little trampoline that’s inside of you that bounces. It’s something that makes you care. It makes you care about other people. It makes you care about yourself. It comes to you, it lands in you, and then you bounce it back out to other people. It’s always coming to you, and can just keep bouncing it out. Look at each other. Look at who we are. Look at how we are all together here right now. Alive. That’s pretty good, right?”

And with the crowd surrounding us that night (I was the only one NOT wearing a tux) the amount of good fortune in the room was pretty evident. Even Aziz Ansari was quick to point out just how not diverse the room was at the event ;)

As fun as the evening was though, this post isn’t about Bill Murray or Miley’s singing or any of that glitz. It’s about getting as much as we can out of life, and using *our finances* to help make it happen.

capxtalk finances

A few weeks earlier a different event held by Capital One occurred – #CapXTalk: Reimagining Finances – and they brought in a bunch of popular millennial bloggers to explore the roles that technology and money play in our day-to-day lives. And particularly, how we should be thinking about it all as companies connect to an ever-changing consumer.

You can see the recorded live stream of it here:

Reimagining Finances: Financial Realities That Inspire
New Ideas, Innovation and Education

There was some great lines in it – mostly coming from other financial bloggers that you know and read too! – and I thought it went perfectly with today’s theme:

“We need to not only talk about numbers when it comes to money, but the things that make people happy.” – Jake Fuentes

I love this one because it’s such a great reminder of what *money* is for at the end of the day: to improve our quality of life. It’s a very emotional thing, and the more we talk about what it can buy in terms of happiness, the better. It doesn’t always have to be about “stuff” all the time!

(Btw, I had no idea who Jake Fuentes was until now, but I’m really REALLY digging his stuff… He was the founder and CEO of budgeting app, Level Money, if anyone remembers/uses them?)

“I wish I had known to take the risk and invest in myself sooner.”
– Erin Lowry

I just got off a Skype session talking to a college class about blogging and building stuff online, and at the end of it the professor (who you may also know!) asked me to give one last piece of advice before I left. I rambled on about a bunch of stuff, but the main focus I kept coming back to was to *take risks now* and work on the stuff you dream about while you’re young and don’t have to answer to anyone.

Yeah it’s not the greatest financial-wise starting out, but if you can a) get used to living on less and b) pour your heart into something you actually *care* about, then the odds go VERY MUCH into your favor that you’ll end up finding the income streams as it grows. Entrepreneurship isn’t for the faint of heart, but what better time to invest in yourself than right out of school??

(Btw – this can be applied to any of us. Especially those in between jobs, or going through big life changes, or really anyone simply in a rut and wants MORE out of life… Take a (calculated) risk or two and bet on yourself! Who else is worth more?)

“Your income is driven by YOU, not just your employer”
– Stefanie O’Connell

True on SO many levels, and something Stefanie herself exemplifies if any of you know her from her blog, The Broke and The Beautiful Life (or, I guess now rebranded to I wish every last person starting out in the workforce – or anyone really – would stop and engrain this into their heads because it’s so important! We don’t have control over everything, but we have a lot more than we tend to want to acknowledge!

It’s no coincidence that the most popular articles on this blog come from our Side Hustle Series. People want to take ownership of their lives, and setting up multiple income streams puts you right on the path of acquiring it! It doesn’t matter how, or where, this income comes from so long as it’s legal (hah), but the truth is it’s all directed by US, and if we don’t take control of it no one else will do so for us.

“If you have money to “waste,” use it to better
your mental health.” – Erin Lowry

I love this so much because it *gives you permission* to spend some of your money, which is something that most financial “experts” rarely promote. But not only that, to do so in a way that’s more productive and aligned with your values.

Tim Ferriss of 4 Hour Workweek fame recently made waves with this “wasting money” mentality, but I enjoyed Erin’s take on it more over at her blog, If it sounds familiar, I also shared it on Rockstar Finance the other week.

But in a nutshell, if you’re going to be spending your extra money anyways, why not put it towards better improving your quality of life? Not everything has to be saved or invested all the time – it’s okay to re-invest in yourself too.

“Nobody’s in charge of this world.” – Jake Fuentes

This was my favorite clips of the entire event, and one which Bill Murray himself fiercely believes:


We make up our own futures and what we can – or can’t – do with them, and it’s made even easier by living in one of the freest countries of the world. We still have to FIGHT for what we want or else we’ll never achieve anything – financially related or not – but the potential we all have is just off the charts.

You combine that with the little trampoline inside of us, and, well, life becomes pretty amazing – and fast :)

PS: I also learned that Capital one will be launching Banking Cafés in the future!!! Can you imagine? Hanging out at a coffee shop that’s ALSO a bank?? A nerd’s dream, haha… So long as you actually like the bank :) (I use Capital One for all my biz accounts, btw, which is why I’m partnering with them on all this stuff. It’s sponsored, but not as random as it looks!)

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  1. Vicki@Make Smarter Decisions October 31, 2016 at 6:28 AM

    How cool you got to be at the Kennedy Center! We watched it and had some great laughs too! Love this line – “the potential we all have is off the charts” – great advice for the start of a new week!

    1. J. Money October 31, 2016 at 6:44 AM

      You know it :)

  2. Band of Savers October 31, 2016 at 7:16 AM

    Thanks for these reminders and little nuggets of wisdom. If I had the opportunity to give advise to college student I would have also suggested that they use that time to get adventurous and start learning how to pursue dreams. The older you get the more responsibilities you have and the harder it becomes to break off and do what you want to. I took the safe route and now that I have two kids and a house I have a much harder time convincing myself that I should branch out because it is more risky to drop everything to start something new but would take me away from the family too much to start something when I’m not at work. This is why I am so focused on hitting FI, so that I can have the freedom to branch off and pursue the dreams that I want.

    1. J. Money October 31, 2016 at 9:44 AM

      Agreed! And something I dropped hints at approximately 37 times throughout the whole chat, haha… Now hopefully they’ll listen, even though it came from an “old person!”

  3. Full Time Finance October 31, 2016 at 7:37 AM

    Good collection of wisdom. I especially like the bit about “No One in Charge of the World”. When I first entered the business world I viewed the people in the executive suite as something special. Something if I worked hard I might earn. Over the years what I learned is while they may make more then me they are not really in charge. Even they have bosses, and it’s just mo money more problems at that level so to speak. More politics, less time to spend with family, did I mention more work politics. I’ve since decided to step off the corporate ladder climbing about where I am now and be happy with what I have, I still work but I don’t need to be CEO to feel successful.

    1. J. Money October 31, 2016 at 9:42 AM

      Hell yeah!!! Good move!

      Seems like it gets worse and worse the higher you climb from what I hear… I only made it up to entry-manager level, but that was enough for me :) (Although being self-employed you end up being the boss of *everything* which is probably my least favorite part… I just want the fun w/out the responsibility, is that too much to ask? ;))

  4. Apathy ends October 31, 2016 at 7:38 AM

    Sounds like it was a pretty awesome event they put on

    The more experiences I read about in non-traditional jobs the more I wish I would have done something earlier – your advice to the classroom is spot on and something I wish was presented early and often.

    I haven’t checked out capital one in awhile, but I am liking what I hear from some of my favorite blogs lately – they must be doing something right

    1. J. Money October 31, 2016 at 9:40 AM

      Me too! I has no idea how many different – non-9-5 jobs there were out there. I don’t know if I was entrepreneurial enough back then to go for it, but it certainly wasn’t something talked about much growing up… It was always – get good grades, go to college, get a 9-5 job. Still very much believe in college, but if I could go back (and had my same brain now!) I totally would have done things differently.

  5. Matt @ Optimize Your Life October 31, 2016 at 7:43 AM

    Love Bill Murray and love the Kennedy Center. (My wife and I went to see John Oliver at the Kennedy Center recently and I was surprised that comedy actually works in such a large and formal venue.) The little trampoline idea is an interesting one to turn over in your mind.

    On the “Nobody’s in charge” and “There are no rules” ideas: I recently listened to an episode of Malcom Gladwell’s revisionist history podcast ( that talked about how sometimes the people that are the most successful are the ones that can step back and challenge the rules and the way everyone else does things.

    1. J. Money October 31, 2016 at 9:38 AM

      I agree 100%.

  6. Miss Mazuma October 31, 2016 at 8:07 AM

    I’m so glad you wrote about this event! Being a Chicago native I love me some Bill Murray. And I love the perspective that there are no rules! I used to take the term “beats to her own drum” as a negative but now I am proud to be where I am rockin my own tune!

    Also, ING used to be what Capitol One is now. I don’t know if they were acquired or how it went down (I’m guessing someone here does) but when it was ING I worked at their first bank cafe in Chicago…for a week. It turns out banking and 9-5 weren’t a good fit for me. :) I’m glad to see they are revamping that idea. As I remember, wifi was free and coffee was cheap…it may be the next Starbucks for finance folks!

    1. J. Money October 31, 2016 at 9:37 AM

      Ooooh nice!! One of my top 10 jobs is to work for a bank one day just to be around money more – and especially to see if I can find rare coins/bills that people turn in as a collector :) – but I have a feeling it’s much more fun in my head than in reality, haha…

      Totally forgot about ING too! Used to be the hot spot back in 2008/2009 when I first started blogging.

  7. Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor October 31, 2016 at 8:16 AM

    I absolutely agree that it’s important to talk about what makes people happy in addition to crunching the money numbers. Sometimes I feel like it’s off-topic to start talking about happiness, or friendship, or marriage, but in the end people want to know how to be happy. And as you’ve said many times, money is just a tool that can facilitate that goal. So it’s not really off-topic at all!

  8. Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies October 31, 2016 at 8:28 AM

    Teaching is my trampoline! I’m so fortunate. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I am so lucky to love what I do. It’s not that it makes my job easier. Sometimes caring so much actually makes things harder. But figuring out what drives us and inspires us is so important. And I really do think we need to talk more positively about good spending. I had a goofy idea to see if anyone wanted to share their best money spent after I did a post on it. I now have guest posts through December! :)

    1. J. Money October 31, 2016 at 9:34 AM

      Yes!! Caring almost always makes things harder because you invest so much of yourself into it whether it’s a job or a person etc. But sooo much better to care than to live life aimlessly so great job sticking to it! And speaking of best money spent, so far it’s my Starbucks coffee I’m downing right now haha…

  9. Mrs. Picky Pincher October 31, 2016 at 9:33 AM

    This was the little dose of positivity that I needed today. Money isn’t the goal–it’s always been a means to an end. You just need to figure out what your “end” is. For me, it’s being able financially independent so I can retire early. After that, it’s all pure freedom, baby. :)

    1. J. Money October 31, 2016 at 9:47 AM

      So glad to hear, PP :) And I of course agree!

  10. Amanda @centsiblyrich October 31, 2016 at 10:11 AM

    The whole college degree leads to a solid 9-5 which leads to 40 years of work, retire and die was so ingrained in my head when I was in my 20’s and early 30’s. I didn’t even consider doing something different or starting something of my own. Now, I do believe it’s never to late to start, but I do wish I had known then what I know now. I love that you (and the others mentioned here) are encouraging young adults to take risks and realize their potential.

  11. Mr. PIE October 31, 2016 at 10:34 AM

    Great write up and important reminder on what we can achieve with the right mind set.

    Now the only place I don’t want to see that trampoline bouncing hard is the S & P 500 chart. I’ll take a boring and gentle slope upward there!

    1. J. Money October 31, 2016 at 10:37 AM


      Or better yet, only take nose dives before we hit “buy” every month ;)

  12. Stefanie O'Connell October 31, 2016 at 10:41 AM

    I wish I was in on that skype session you had with those college kids. Would love to hear more of YOUR nuggets (though I guess I get to read them 3x/week ;) ). Thanks for sharing mine!

    1. J. Money October 31, 2016 at 1:59 PM

      It was a cool event you got to be a part of :)

  13. Fiscally Free October 31, 2016 at 10:56 AM

    This content is good and all, but it loses some of its shine when I realize it’s sponsored by a big bank.
    I’ve seen Capital One sponsored posts on a number of sites recently. It seems like they are making a big push for the blogging crowd.

    1. J. Money October 31, 2016 at 2:05 PM

      Yeah, lots of banks/products/services trying to get our attention as bloggers (and smartly too :)). I turn down approximately 97% of all offers that come across this desk, but if it’s something I like and fits well w/ my audience – especially from a company I use myself – I’ve got no problem spreading the word… Most of which I’d have done for free anyways – hah.

  14. The Green Swan October 31, 2016 at 11:20 AM

    Sounds like an awesome event! I’d love to see Bill Murray live and sounds like he had a great message. If everyone spread a little more joy every day the world would be quite a better place.

    I also like your message to the class, being more adventurous and willing to take risks young.

    A piece of advice I’d want to give is to develop positive habits young. Habits have a tendency I’d sticking and starting good financial habits early can make a huge difference throughout their long lives.

  15. Done by Forty October 31, 2016 at 11:58 AM

    That’s rad that you got to see Bill Murray. His character in Caddyshack is still one of my all time favorites. Hey, Lama!

      1. J. Money October 31, 2016 at 1:56 PM

        Haha yup!! Brilliant!

  16. Joe October 31, 2016 at 12:04 PM

    Awesome! Bill Murray is one of my favorite actors. The Bank cafe sounds cool. Our bank has free coffee and a place to work, but it still feel like a bank. The cafe area needs to be bigger. :)

    1. J. Money October 31, 2016 at 1:57 PM

      Well that’s still pretty cool! What bank is it?

  17. ZJ Thorne October 31, 2016 at 12:12 PM

    I love the Kennedy Center so much! How cool that you were able to hear about the little trampolines inside of us all. What an opportunity.

  18. Money Beagle October 31, 2016 at 12:33 PM

    Bill Murray is a national treasure.

    1. J. Money November 14, 2016 at 1:44 PM

      Haha, yeah he is.

  19. Finance Solver October 31, 2016 at 10:33 PM

    Wow the fact that you got to be a guest really shows a testament to how far you’ve come, J$. Truly inspirational! I’m hoping those college kids really took your advice. I know when I was in college and I had a guest speaker, it was more about how interesting the speaker was rather than what I could learn from the speaker. Hopefully they realize taking your advice makes them better than 99% of the people in the world!

    1. J. Money November 14, 2016 at 1:51 PM

      Same here when back in school :) I did my best to keep it real and *exciting* for them, so hopefully it helps! Sometimes you just need to hear it from someone else – and particularly those around your same age or at least ideals.

  20. Paul November 1, 2016 at 8:39 AM

    I always feel that little trampoline in my stomach after a meal at taco bell.

    1. J. Money November 14, 2016 at 1:56 PM

      Oh jeez, haha…

  21. Free to Pursue November 1, 2016 at 9:08 AM

    The trampoline image is powerful. Coincidentally, I just referenced Groundhog Day yesterday…serendipity or the trampoline effect? No one will ever know.

    Very cool that you were addressing a class (in the UK?) recently. I think they were able to relate to a guy in his thirties BECAUSE of the mohawk. So nice that you’re doing that kind of stuff.

    “Your income is driven by YOU, not just your employer” – Stefanie O’Connell. So true, even within your current company, if it’s big enough. To HR’s dismay, I hunted for the jobs I wanted in the company and negotiated my salary. Salary ranges be damned! Anything is negotiable, as long as the other party wants what you’re offering.

    1. J. Money November 14, 2016 at 1:59 PM

      You know it :)

      (And Groundhog Day is one of my favorite movies ever!)
      (And Groundhog Day is one of my favorite movies ever!)

  22. Beth November 1, 2016 at 12:40 PM

    I like the “Nobody’s in charge of this world” quote. Because it’s true. The only limits are the ones you put on yourself. This post is the same sentiment that has been heavy on my mind for weeks now. Recently I have been acutely aware of people who aren’t doing things they should do or say they want to do because of other people. They are pointing fingers at other people saying “well, I smoke because you stress me out” or “I don’t care about saving money because you aren’t doing what I want you to do” —- These are things that I have actually heard and it infuriates me. This post again reinforces that you should look around you, be happy you’re alive and healthy, appreciate it and do what makes you happy.

    I went on such a tangent – I apologize!

    1. J. Money November 14, 2016 at 2:02 PM


      We’re all that way up until some point of our lives, but man – they need your help getting out of that nonsense! Such a negative way to live :(

  23. Fisher November 1, 2016 at 6:59 PM

    Cap1 has has cafe banks in Boston for years now.

    1. J. Money November 14, 2016 at 2:03 PM

      Wha??? Are they cool?

  24. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank November 6, 2016 at 7:37 AM

    There are really no rules. It’s up to us what kind of life we’ll have and what money decisions we do.

  25. Centsai November 14, 2016 at 3:48 PM

    Congrats on being honored, that is amazing! I loved all the quotes you mentioned, especially “We need to not only talk about numbers when it comes to money, but the things that make people happy”! It is important to budget and save money, but your happiness and mental health are both important too!

  26. Liz November 26, 2016 at 8:06 PM

    The reason why I resigned is to be a freelancer so that I can drive or determine how much I earn because when I was working for an employer, I always got the same income every month. When I became a freelancer and set up the range of income I could earn and which is higher, I felt I made the right decision.