A few weeks ago, Gail Vaz-Oxlade offered to send me a promotional copy of the first episode of her new show Money Moron. As a fan of all of Gail’s shows, I didn’t hesitate to send her my mailing address. Of course I want to see the new show before everyone else does! And just like her other shows, I loved all 22 minutes of it.
Before I tell you why, let me backtrack a bit.
I remember when Gail started tweeting about this show last year, before the first season had even been taped. She described the show (one person nominates a partner/family member/friend who doesn’t know how to manage their finances), mentioned the title, and asked people to submit nominations via email. In reply, several people tweeted her and scrutinized the name of the show for using a word like “moron”. Back then, I could understand where those people were coming from. The word “moron” may seem offensive and/or make people feel stupid. But, you know what? It’s no worse than the title of her other show, Princess, and both words are perfect definitions of the attitudes people portray on the shows.
Unlike Princess, where the nominees were people who felt entitled to have whatever they wanted whenever they wanted it, Money Moron features people who simply don’t bother to try and understand how money works. The premiere episode tells the story of Deanna and James, a couple who has no idea how to prioritize their goals, financial or otherwise. After getting engaged, the couple decided to move into her parents’ basement, so they could pay down their debt and save for an extravagant wedding. When Gail asked how much progress they had made with those two goals, the answer was simple: “not enough, that’s for sure.”
This continues to be a theme, throughout the episode. Together, the couple has a number of goals they want to achieve in their future. Unfortunately, they have no plan of action and, as a result, no idea how difficult it will be to turn their dreams into realities; one of the tasks Gail had them complete proved this tenfold. When asked to create a wedding budget they could both agree on, the couple seemed happy that their final total ($19,100) was less than $20,000. But when Gail pointed out how long it would take them to save up and pay for the wedding with cash, Deanna’s joy quickly turned into tears.
“Did it ever occur to you that the things you want might not be realistic? Is a party really worth a year and a third of [your] life?”
Although I’ve never planned a wedding, nor do I plan on it, the first question struck a chord with me. Up until the day I was finally maxed out, everything I wanted seemed realistic. The most common phrase out of my mouth was something along the lines of, “I’ll pay it off one day,” as I continually swiped for new things, nights out and rounds of drinks for friends (all on me). I didn’t say that because I felt entitled to those things; I really, truly believed I would pay it off one day. And I have (almost) but it’s taken me two freaking years! Did it seem worth it at the time? Sure. Has it held me back from doing other things I want to do? Yes. And that sucks. I was a total moron!
The moral of this particular episode is that couples who plan on settling down together need to talk about money. By being honest with each other about your past, your current financial situation and your individual goals, you can combine your goals and start working on them together. I can’t wait to watch the next episode, so I can see who is nominated and why. What I love most about the concept of this show is that Gail’s solution to cure a “money moron” is to make them do the simplest but most meaningful tasks: track their spending and create a monthly budget. It’s that simple, people.
Oh, and if you’re wondering who nominated this couple, well… you’ll just have to watch for yourself.
Money Moron premieres this Friday with back-to-back episodes on at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST on Slice. If you want a special sneak peek, tune in Thursday at 11 p.m. EST/8 p.m. PST!