Ancient Money Wisdom for Modern Times
As a kid you probably grew up hearing Aesop’s Fables. These little stories all have a moral designed to teach kids (and adults) to live better lives and to be better people. Many of these stories deal indirectly with financial topics. Fables, parables and legends have a unique way of penetrating deep into our sub-conscious. It's a great way to involve our right-brain with our financial intelligence.
Here is an oldie, but a goodie:
The Ant and the Grasshopper
In a field one summer’s day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart’s content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.
“Why not come and chat with me,” said the Grasshopper “instead of toiling and moiling in that way?” “I am helping to lay up food for the winter,” said the Ant, “and recommend you to do the same.” “Why bother about winter?” said the Grasshopper; we have got plenty of food at present.”
But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil. When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew: It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.
The Lesson: It’s fine to have fun today, but you have to prepare for the future. You can have some fun today and buy frivolous things, but you also must prepare for emergencies, layoffs, and illnesses, as well as your long term future when you stop earning an income. If you do nothing but play, you’ll regret it when you really need money one day.
This next one is a perfect follow-on:
The Miser and His Gold
Once upon a time there was a Miser who used to hide his gold at the foot of a tree in his garden; but every week he used to go and dig it up and gloat over his gains. A robber, who had noticed this, went and dug up the gold and decamped with it. When the Miser next came to gloat over his treasures, he found nothing but the empty hole.
He tore his hair, and raised such an outcry that all the neighbors came around him, and he told them how he used to come and visit his gold. “Did you ever take any of it out?” asked one of them. “Nay,” said he, “I only came to look at it.” “Then come again and look at the hole,” said a neighbor; “it will do you just as much good.”
The Lesson: If you never intend to use your money, what good is it? While you want to save money for the future, you don’t want to become such a miser that you never spend or give away any of your money. If you never use the money, what’s the point of working to hard to get it? There is a fine line to walk between saving, spending, giving, and hoarding money. Try not to end up on the hoarding side.