Brad Tinnon

Brad Tinnon

A Child’s View of Why We Need Money

Last year, my daughter’s kindergarten teacher told us that Ella really enjoyed writing. That has carried over to her first grade class as she recently told me and her mom that she really loves writing. She is constantly writing about whatever pops into her mind or whatever experience she has had.

Ella has been to my office a number of times over the years. She knows that I have clients and that we deal with money/numbers, but I’m not sure she quite understands exactly what we do. So, in an effort fulfill her love of writing and teach her more about my business, I challenged her with the task of writing about “why people need money”.

The first thing that she did was to create a muney list (her spelling, not mine). She basically listed some of the various things she wanted. She listed things like a piano (pyanow), roller skates (rolr skats), and a microphone (mokr fown). I told her that the list was nice, but I had to break the news to her that this isn’t exactly what I was looking for. I then reiterated that I wanted her to write about why people need money.

It’s interesting that her first thought of money was a selfish one. She was basically saying, “I’m gonna write about everything that I want”. I think that we can all relate to that. But even more interesting, is that when she went back to the drawing board to write more specifically about why people need money, her entire focus was on other people.

You can read her actual letter here, but I’m gonna go ahead and type it out for you (with the correct spelling). Her letter regarding why people need money read as follows, “To help people. If people don’t have a car, we need to help them. Care about people. Give away things they need if they need it.” Obviously, this is not a lengthy letter, but it gets right to the point.

Ella’s first attempt at the letter was completely selfish, whereas her second attempt was completely selfless. The answer to the question of “why people need money”, in my opinion, should be a blend of the two letters.

A few years ago, I read a book titled, “Money, Possessions, and Eternity” by Randy Alcorn. In the book, Randy discussed the dangers of both materialism (selfish pursuit of pleasure) and asceticism (denying yourself pleasure). Both of these extremes are equally wrong. But an equal balance of the two is worthwhile.

The moral of this story is that it’s not always about you. Nor is it always about somebody else. It has to be a balancing act. I once heard about a person who retired and spent all of his time learning how to play golf so that he could qualify for the Senior PGA Tour. He practiced day in and day out for hours at a time. He became really good at golf, but grew to hate it. If you want to find fulfillment in life, don’t look at what money can do for you, but instead consider how it can be used to benefit you and others.

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Brad E.S. Tinnon
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™

 

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