There are entire generations now that have no idea what money even looks like. My three-year-old daughter thinks money looks like a credit card. It just about broke her heart when I told her, No sweetie, that’s not money, it’s debt. Go down stairs, grab daddy’s wallet, that is where mommy keeps her money.
It’s never too early to teach them about money. Except kissing booboos and reading stories are my specialty, so when it came time to teach her, we looked to America’s most trusted and knowledgeable source. WWW.Google.com. Today, I share the economic wisdom of the internet with you.
It all started out with George Washington, taking a stroll through some downtown shops, looking to purchase some wig oil. After realizing he left his gold at home, George tried to negotiate with the store owner. “How about I just write IOU on this paper and pay you in gold later?” Naturally, the vendor was skeptical. “I’m the president of the United States, I’m good for it. I’ll even put my picture on it for you.” George begins drawing a stick figure self-portrait, curly wig on the head. He even draws an arrow pointing to the smiley face and writes the words wooden teeth. The vendor still didn’t feel like he could trust it. “If you can’t trust the government, who can you trust?” George asked. He thinks about it for a minute, “I trust God.” “Get out of town, me too!” In God We Trust.
It only grew from there printing paper IOU’s in the form of dollars, all backed by gold. Then one night, the mint in Philly gets a call for a reorder. “We’ll take a ream of twenty’s, a pallet of fifties; say, how about you mint me up some 100-dollar bills. Maybe slap a picture of Ben Franklin on it.” But sir, we don’t have enough gold to print more money.” “Here’s what we’ll do. We will put all the gold together, store it in a locked vault, let’s say Texas. Yah, no one is crazy enough to mess with Texas. No one will be the wiser.” The troops begin scooping up all the gold making their way south to Texas. A little road trip pit-stop in Kentucky, a few shots of bourbon later, next thing you know, “Here’s as good a place as any.” Bada-Boom Bada-Bing, Fort Knox.
This is where things start to get real interesting. A group of con artists had a brilliant idea for a long con. They convinced people to give them money to start a snake oil business for a share in future profits. Around the same time, some street performers on wall street were doing this amazing trick. They would ask observers to give them a dollar and then magically make two appear from thin air. Making money off of trading money became such a huge hit they even opened up their own store. All the con artists and magicians would converge together at the Stock Market, hurling their hands in the air, yelling the secret words, and money just rains from the sky. Then things started to get complicated, fluctuating interest rates, based on the price of rice in China. It was a lot for even the most experienced investor to comprehend. The stress became too much in 1929 when some bankers took the quick way down the Rockefeller building, straight out the window of the high-rise tower. To the benefit of the 2008 money makers, we got smarter after that and installed impact resistance glass in all the financial buildings.
Money sure can be intimidating, especially when you don’t have any. On our entrance room table, we have been collecting this massive mountain of bills and junk mail. Our family calls it the volcano, because you never know what can pop out of it. Feeling inspired and confident with all the new knowledge I learned from Wikipedia, I began straightening up that scary mess. We now call it the leaning tower of visa. You wouldn’t believe all the stuff I found in there. Keys, a sandwich, statements for accounts I didn’t even know existed. As it turns out, Wells Fargo just took the liberty of opening us up some new lines of credit, we didn’t even have to do anything. I know they are getting a bad rap lately for unethical business practices, but they are being held accountable. The feds fined them 1 billion dollars, the largest restitution in history. 1 billion dollars, Cha-Ching. The only question I have is whether we are going to get that in yearly installments or 1 lump sum. No matter, we are so excited we have already started spending. My husband got a big screen tv and I booked us a couple of trips abroad. I get that these things might take a little time, so I have a plan if Wells Fargo doesn’t pay out before the credit cards come calling. I am going to look them straight in the face, wait, scratch that, I will hold that phone and tell Bob, from India, that its time for little quid pro quo with my credit cards. It wasn’t very long ago that we had to bail them all out with our tax dollars, and I think it’s about time to cash in on that IOU I have coming my way from Chase.