Have You Ever Noticed How Your Perception of Money Has Changed?
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Politics and Activism

Have You Ever Noticed How Your Perception of Money Has Changed?

Money, to a child, means something quite different than what it means to an adult.

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Have You Ever Noticed How Your Perception of Money Has Changed?

Money is something that we are aware of from a very young age. However, how we perceive and interact with it changes as we age.

Preschool/kindergarten: "Money is cool! Let's have a billion dollars!" At that age, "billion" is a big number. However, we don't understand what it actually means or how much a billion dollars is in reality, we're simply saying it because it sounds cool.

Elementary school: "My parents gave me ten dollars!" This is a point of pride, something that we brag about to our classmates. Ten dollars sounds like a lot of money because we don't have any money of our own, so anything is more than that.

Middle school: "Hey, can I have *insert double-digit number here* bucks?" We ask this of our parents because at this point in time, many of us might have allowances, and so money loses its novelty. This means that we start wanting more of it, not realizing its value.

High school: "I'm gonna save five hundred dollars before I go to college." This is the time when we start to acknowledge the power and worth of money. Five hundred seems like a lot until we actually start to look at what we want or need to buy, and then suddenly it couldn't be less significant.

College: "Guys, I'm going to splurge and spend twenty on this new thing!" Now, money is a commodity, something that is spent extremely wisely and frugally. Twenty is now an amount that is far too much for the everyday. Student discounts are coming into effect, and being made full use of. Money is something that no college student has.

Graduate: "Okay, I'm starting to get this money thing." Finally, we're figured out how to spend and save according to what we're earning. We're paying rent and have our own place. We're allocating amounts to groceries versus pleasure vs other necessities, and learning how to manage it. Still, though, any amount of money in the triple digits is far too much.

Rest of adult life: "We need to save for retirement and our kids." Money is being saved at every opportunity, but there is still some set aside for vacation with the family. Now is the time to teach the younger generation how to not make the same mistakes that we made in youthful ignorance.

Now, I'm only at the "college" stage of understanding money. I went to dinner in town with a friend a while ago, and was alarmed and dismayed to realize that I had spent a whole $31.27. That was more than I had wanted to spend. That was when I realized that my view on money had changed drastically from high school, when that amount would have barely fazed me.

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