10 Things You Need to Know About Money

MY KIDS WERE shocked when I told them that if they had been born in the Olden Days, they would have to hunt for their food. "But we don't even know where burgers live," said one.

"They live in caves," I explained. "In America. And they have CLAWS."

***

To teach children that everything has a cost in money or effort, I share cash-related stories from the newspaper with them.

Recent example: A sneaky jeweler who wanted to hide his sales from the taxman sold jewelry worth six million euros (HK$53 million) for cash.

The buyers took the jewelry and left him with a suitcase full of Monopoly money.

But The kids couldn't see the problem.

A suitcase full of Monopoly money had to be WAY better than boring bits of jewelry, they said.

The guy would win every Monopoly game he played for the rest of his life!!!

Good point.

***

I bought that particular board game after seeing an article on Investopedia on life lessons you can learn from Monopoly, such as "be patient," etc.

Like most articles on the internet (this page excluded), it was garbage from beginning to end.

*** Monopoly teaches you five things.

  1. Be a vicious, merciless landlord.

  2. If you get the card which says "Bank error in your favor," forget ethics, keep the money.

  3. Only pay income tax if forced to.

  4. Business people end up in jail sometimes, no big deal.

  5. The ultimate purpose of life is to bankrupt everyone else and end up with all the cash.

Who created this game? Li Ka- shing?

Nobody on Earth would accept these as good life lessons, except perhaps for everyone in Hong Kong, the mainland, United States, Europe, Russia, etc.

*** But looking for educational finance items often leaves me more baffled than the kids.

Consider these two.

***

One: A New York dealer in modern art pleaded guilty to selling worthless items for millions of dollars.

That's illegal now???

I thought that was the normal business model for modern art.

*** Two: A businessman set up a fake university in Hong Kong which handed out study-free honorary degrees if you just gave them money.

Wait. That's what REAL universities do too.

*** Most individuals have their own philosophies of money.

Here are five examples:

***

1. My boss: "You cannot buy respect. Not with your salary, anyway."

*** 2. My boss's wife: "Money doesn't matter. As long as you're rich."

***

3. My daughters: “Dad, we know money can't buy happiness, so that's why we went shopping and spent it all."

*** 4. My son: "Money can't buy love but it can buy the important things in life: video games, black T-shirts and burgers."

***

5. My wife: “Money is made of paper, right? So, technically, it grows on trees.”

***

All this thinking about the philosophy of cash left me with a practical plan for the future.

Everyone agrees that love is worth more than money, right?

At the end of this month, I am going to give my landlord a hug.