An Interview with Nadia
Interviewed by Mara Peluso
Nadia is eight years old and lives in Massachusetts.
MTM: What is the most important thing you've learned about money?
We asked some juniors in high school What is the most important thing you've learned about money, and how did you learn it? Here are a few of their answers.
"The most important thing I've learned about money is that money isn't everything. At the same time, life does become a lot more difficult without it. I've learned this partly through my parents and through certain life experiences. There have been times when my family had money and other times when we had next to none. When you don't have something like that you realize what is really important in life, and while money is necessary to a certain extent, it is not even close to being one of the most important things in my life." -Janet Brandano
"The most important thing that I have learned about money is that it is hard to attain but easy to spend. I found this out on my own when I got a job. I worked for 10 to 12 hours every day for two weeks until I got my paycheck. I would spend that money I worked so hard for in one day." -Ashley Doherty
"Money is the lifeblood of our society. You need money for food, a job for money, an education for a job, and money for an education. Money is a thought that constantly runs through every person's head. The majority of the world's population worry about not having enough of it, but others worry about losing the abundance that they possess. Watching the never-ending panic over money, I have realized that, although money is necessary to life, I don't want it to consume my thoughts and fears. I think I have learned this by being around people who have become slaves to it." -Britney McCollem
"Money equals power. This phrase is quite self-explanatory. To have power, you need money. However, there are other forms of power. A teacher has power over his/her students. A teacher has the ability to tell a student what he/she must do for homework. But if you own a business, you have more power because you have more money.
"I was taught this by simply being a citizen of the United States. It almost seems like it is known that the more money you make, or the more things you own, such as companies, buildings, cars, etc., the more power/respect you have." -Jackie Reppucci
"Over the years I have learned that money is something that everyone covets. I have also learned that it never truly makes you happy. Money can buy you all the possessions in the world but not the essentials. What are these essentials? Friends and family who love you, how you are admired by others, how you have gained respect for your accomplishments, and how you act-those are what you need in life." -Michael Lepore
NADIA: That you should never ever throw it away. If you are sick of it, you should just put it in the bank. That's important, because if someone comes to you and they don't have money- like they are poor or something-then you can take it out of the bank and give it to them.
MTM: Who taught you that lesson?
NADIA: All of my teachers since first grade. Ever since my first day of school, we have been learning about money- quarters, dimes, and pennies. When we got to dollars, we were confused, but we got used to it.
MTM: What have your parents taught you about money?
NADIA: My parents help me do a ton of homework about money. We do stuff like adding pennies. If you have, say, 10 pennies and you have to add 50 cents, that's 60 cents.
MTM: Do your friends talk about money?
NADIA: Well, I don't think they do. But sometimes people brag about their money and say how much money they have. I tell them to stop it-that it hurts people's feelings if they don't have money. Here, I'll give you an example. Today we had a book fair. I had $25 and my friend had $25, too. I wasn't bragging about it- I just told my friend who had $25, too. We decided not to tell anyone how much we had. Some people had $15 and they were bragging about it, but we didn't say anything. One girl had two dollars, and do you know what you can get at the fair for two dollars? Nothing. Nothing with two dollars! I wanted to give that girl some of my money, but we can't share money in school. I tried to do my best, but I couldn't give her money.
MTM: Why can't you share money in school?
NADIA: We can't share money because if people see it, then they'll ask for it, so we aren't allowed. So my friend only had two dollars and I couldn't give any money to her because everyone could see me if I did and I would get in trouble.
MTM: How do you decide how to spend your money when you go shopping?
NADIA: I just pick out everything I want, and then I sort it out. I pick a spot somewhere and go through the things that I really want to buy. If I don't have enough money for everything, then I just pick the things I really, really want. Everyone says that is a good way to decide. At the book fair, my friend and I bought one book for my teacher, and I bought one for me.
MTM: What is the best gift you ever got?
NADIA: Oooooh! My laptop and my cell phone and my printer-because other people don't have things like that. I'm only in third grade and people don't have cell phones and laptops until high school.
MTM: What is the best gift you ever gave to someone?
NADIA: My dad and I bought my mom three purses-and they were all real: two real Coaches and one real Louis Vuitton. She wanted them really bad, so my dad and I tried to get them for her.
MTM: What happens if you ask your parents for something you really want?
NADIA: I ask, and if they say no, I try to do my best to save up my money so I can buy it myself.
MTM: What advice would you give little children about money?
NADIA: O.K., let me give you an example. In Slovakia [where Nadia was born and spent the past summer], the money is different. They have all cents. When I was in the store in Slovakia with my cousin, who is three years old, I tried to teach her about money. When she wanted something, I tried to show her how much money she needed. It only worked one time. I kept telling her to try her best and she was like, "No, I'm too little." Let me tell you about teaching three-year-olds about money: Trust me, it's not worth it.
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