The Meaning of Money

Money was always an issue as a single parent. And with the economy here in the U.S. as it is today, money is an issue for all concerned. Have you seen the price of gas recently? Being laid-off from an IT job, in which I earned $42,000.00 a year, I crashed and burned financially. Fortunately, for me, my children had just left home. I haven’t got a clue as to how I would have been able to take care of myself, and my children with the economy as it stands.  (Please note that I originally wrote this article in 2007 – it is now 2010 and is still highly relevant, so please read on.)

Where did I, and many other’s here in the U.S. go wrong? Inclusive of savings and investment strategies, starting in elementary school, is a main fundamental that is lacking. I know what to do with money, if there is enough left over after paying the main bills. This is because I grew up watching my parents handle everything on my father’s income; also, kudos to my mother, because, she handled money so well. My father was able to take advantage of an early retirement; when his health dictated such.

As a ‘baby-boomer’. I have always felt as if I was playing catch up on the academic side of handling money. I actually read an article today about this young man who is engaging job after job to analyze where his passion/niche is, and the writer noted that, the generation of today is/are trying to change the world. Personally, I found this rather frustrating because, it was the generation of the ’60’s that had been noted for that. My generation followed that, and we were about being consistently awed by such as the first lunar landing.

Regardless of the fact that I can fly on a keyboard or a calculator, I believe that the fundamentals/tools that are needed to equip the next generation are still lacking. I can do math in my head. How many are able to say that these days? A few years ago, I was purchasing gas. The cashier inputted the amount I gave her incorrectly. She looked at me with total panic because she was unable to figure out what change she owed me. I walked her through the transaction myself; and on the way out the door, I tactfully noted that she should put the calculator away and learn to do math without it. Calculators were introduced when I was in high school. To this day, I thank my teachers for ensuring that we did not utilize them on quizes and tests.

So… given the above scenario. How can we possibly expect the next generation to be able to handle money if they don’t even have the basic math skills down? I’m not trying to be a biast or lecturer. However. I do believe that if the discipline and actual hands on experience of handling money is taught in school at the early stages and on; I would have been better at it even as a single mother.

Regardless of being a single parent or not. Something has got to give. From my research,i think things will get much worse here in the U.S. Even the advertising is geared to impulsive buyers and credit cards. One should be aware, I’ve been far too guilty of such spending myself. What if we became more disciplined and paid for things in cash as my parents did? (It might interest you to know that my parents were never ‘wealthy’, while I was growing up. They simply knew how to handle their finances with some intelligence.

The bottom line is; that we don’t respect our money. This is to include very partial amounts.
If used appropriately, money will keep one out of desperate situations.