money trees monopoly

Money trees ~ where does money come from?

I truly believe that kids should be taught about money at school.

In a way I suppose they actually teach themselves a little when playing “shop games” and such like. But I think the basic principles regarding money – how it works and the history of money – should be covered in the classroom. Before the children leave primary school. Who knows, perhaps growing up with such knowledge would make a difference to choices made later in life.

Younger Days and Money

When I was about eight my dad left – then died. I knew my mum, brother and I were not money rich. Often we were given second hand clothes. In those days wearing somebody else’s hand me downs was not cool. I was bullied about this for a while. But I wasn’t resentful as I knew my mum was doing her best. She worked hard. Travelling up to London every week day. On a Friday evening my bother and I would meet her from the railway station and together we would go to the supermarket. Mum didn’t drive so she needed our help to carry the weekly shop home. By the time I started secondary school I was used to not asking for things that cost too much. It had become second nature to me.

What did all that teach me about money? I can’t say I really thought about it at the time but I knew I was grateful to my mum for trying her best for the family. For making homemade cakes or fudge or coconut ice at the weekends. For taking me to the library and not getting on my case all the time. Making sacrifices so I could have a brand new skirt for my first school disco.

Sharing Money

I could not understand why money was not just shared around. It seemed my Aunt and Uncle had more than us and I wondered why they simply did not give my Mum some of theirs? Of course that is not generally how the world works. But I do remember they were very generous in so many ways. In the school holidays, when my mum was working, my brother and I would stay with them. They were strict but I gained a lot by the routines they put in place. My mum was not really one for order. Also my uncle took us swimming every week and taught me to swim. I have never grown tired of this sport.

Teenager in Paris!

I had just become a teenager when my mum remarried and we moved into my step fathers house, selling ours. We now had money. But nobody told me so I carried on being frugal. One day a friend was round for tea and mentioned the school Easter week long trip to Paris and the Loire valley. She was excited to be going. Mum was shocked that I hadn’t even mentioned it. I assumed we wouldn’t be able to afford it. But we could! And I went – finding the experience all the more amazing for never having been able to do anything like that before.

When I write a post like this I miss my mum more than ever…

Class and Money

As a late teen I hadn’t considered whether or not money was linked to class. Well not until I had dated a few private school rich lads and was shocked to the core when my step father told me they were in a different class to me, to us! That day he really crushed something in the teenage May. My Gran was such a classy lady. So was my mum. They were both cultured. They didn’t have money but they acted well, with respect for all. To this day I never equate money with class.

Genes and Money

I am quite convinced there is some kind of genetic predisposition to how we deal with and understand money. It is not all down to what we have been taught or learned that leads to our overall stance and behavior where money is concerned. The thought was born out of the fact that my brother and I were obviously brought up in the same environment and so had similar money experiences. But right from the start he was an obsessive saver and I was someone who spent what I had – without going above my means but would never have dreamed of hoarding money in the bank or under my bed. Even though from aged fourteen I earned my own, .

Money doesn’t grow on trees

If I was asked to mention one thing about money that I think is ultra important for young people to know about it would be the following:

Banks create money out of thin air. For example, if you ask the bank for a loan to buy a car and it is agreed, they certainly don’t then go and get a load of actual solid money out of the safe and deposit it into your account. No. They just add some digital numbers to your account and – hey presto, you now have those numbers to take out of your account as hard cash and buy the car.

However, you also have a debt to pay the bank. Which is confusing as they made the money up in the first place!

Of course if this happens too often then there will be a financial crisis.

“When banks extend loans to their customers, they create money by crediting their customers’ accounts.”

Sir Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England 2003-2013

Concluding Money Trees

Money may make the world go around – in some people’s eyes. But, it doesn’t grow on trees. Yet both time and trees – in my opinion – are worth more than money.

Money Trees – Where does money come from?

 

Teenager in Paris

 

11 thoughts on “Money trees ~ where does money come from?”

  1. I think people should be more transparent with their circle about what they can afford. But it is tough. If your friends think you have more than them they are always asking for a loan. It takes a while to figure if they are genuinely in need or just want to scrounge off you because they have not learnt any self control. Some people have never grown up when it comes to money.

  2. I recognise a lot of myself in your text, May. I too went to Paris as a teenager and I was instantly in love with the city.

    Like you, I spend the money I have, but without going into debt. We have some emergency money, but my husband and I don’t see the need to save for much more than that. And how you deal with money is definitely different per person, despite the same circumstances.

  3. I love your humble attitude towards money and your love for your mom when you were young. Some children and adolescents, being selfish, do not want to delve into the financial condition of their parents and demand what they cannot afford. I’m glad you weren’t like that.

  4. Interesting post May – there are some lovely shabby chic posh people. My parents had little spare money for holidays and clothes were often hand-me-downs, hand made or from cheap shops, all to pay for our private education. Manners and morals though, were very high priority. My father taught me to avoid borrowing money if at all possible, but if it had to be done, pay it back quick sharp.

    I look forward to reading more from your contributors.

  5. My mom frequently mentioned the ‘money tree’ when we moaned about something in our younger years, or said ‘money doesn’t grow on my back’. I also think you are right in that two people who grow up the same are different when it comes to money. My brother has more than enough, but he also spends a lot. One bicycle is not enough, no, he has to have every kind that he fancies, and finds a reason why he ‘needs’ it. We don’t have as much money as my brother, but we are comfortable, and still I go for the cheaper clothes, and other things too. It very rarely happens that I agree on buying something more expensive, like the coffee machine we recently bought. And yes, I agree… children should be taught about money in primary school, so they can better prepare for their lives.
    ~ Marie xox

  6. Well, those “digital numbers” are *backed* by something. That’s where the *value* of those dollars comes from. (Which is why $1 in one country does NOT equal $1 in another country.)

    For a long time, American money was backed by the country’s gold stock. It’s not anymore, and more money gets “created” (per your description) and printed than is backed these days. Which is where inflation comes from, and is also why $20 went a helluva lot farther in 1970 than it does today.

    I agree with you about genetic predispositions. Being raised in the same environments does not necessarily create standardized results. It also has to do with our personalities though, which are obviously different regardless of similarity of circumstance. Because our peer groups, our personal beliefs, our individual priorities will be different. There are people who will spend every cent they have, regardless whether they make $100/week or $1,000. And there are those who will hide half their money under their beds whether they make $500/month or $5,000. And then there are the debt spenders and credit card addicts, the perpetual moochers, the gamblers, the always-giving-it-away and the terminally broke.

    I think money – and how we behave with money – is tied up quite strongly with value systems. Not religious, necessarily (though there are aspects that CAN be, like tithing and so forth), but definitely it has to do with beliefs. What we think is important, and how we think in general. What our priorities are.

    1. Thanks fr commenting Feve.
      I knew about the American gold reserve and more money gets printed – when not backed = inflation. These things should be taught in schools. One of the posts here by Marriage and Sex mention that he was taught about money in school and has never forgotten what he learned.
      Glad you think genetics have a bit of say in how we view/handle money.
      Looking forward to your post 😉
      May x

  7. I am too almost shocked that money plays little role in school education. Kids ought to learn how deal with it, where it comes from and so on.

    I had to chuckle about your comment about “class”. This is a very alien concept for Germans. Sure we have rich people but no one would ever think they are different in any way…they are just more wealthy.

    1. Yes – rich is rich and class is class! lol So many people I have come across in my life – who act with grace and class – are poor. My stepfather was deluded in many ways!
      May 😉

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