Money Trees and Magic Machines
It’s that time of the year again. Grinning faces, retail therapy, adults skipping to the bank, fat wallets. Yup, you guessed it…it’s tax time. While many are singing the tune of big returns, I am struggling through a sorry limerick that starts with ‘there once was a girl from Nantucket’ and ends with ‘and thus, my accountant can ____’. You get the picture.
The government may be reaching deep into my pockets this year, but it has brought a couple of things to my attention. First, there hasn’t been someone else’s hand in my pockets since 2001 (and it kinda tickles), and second, what is it that I want to teach my kids about money.
To know where I want to take my kids’ financial education, I need to look at my own. Here’s what I was taught about finances after opening my first bank account at the age of five.
One. There is no such thing as a money tree. All the times my father said he would pick some money off the money tree, he was lying. I know this because I went to fourteen different nurseries who all said such a tree did not exist.
Two. Take a job you may not like, as long as they offer you a pension. I’m paraphrasing my father here.
Three. Simply because a coin is larger, does not mean it is worth more. This was the difficult lesson I learned when my father switched me his nickel for my dime.
Given my history, it is pretty obvious I don’t want to repeat it with my own kids. I want them to learn how to work hard and save, invest, plan for the future. I want them to consider real estate a lot sooner than I did. And while the money tree of 1977 has been replaced with the magic machine that spits out money, I want them to know that this does not guarantee a never ending supply. They need to know this to learn how to budget, but mostly to save them from the embarrassment of going to fourteen different machines to find it out themselves.
The Elusion of Success and Importance
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