(HS Insider)
Archbishop Mitty High School

Opinion: Financial literacy and the importance of money

We all need money to survive; from buying the necessary groceries every week to paying for the monthly rent or mortgage, money is necessary to thrive and prosper. For a long time, money was thought to be the most powerful motivator. People went to work at schlocky jobs just to be paid a wage and labor arduously for a pay raise, forming a continuous cycle where the money is the sole motivator.

Most people see money as important because it provides two things: time and options. A surplus of money lets people escape the limit of buying only what they can afford, but also the items that they want. Instead of buying cheap cereal or off-brand items, they have a choice of picking what they prefer.

A surplus of money also lets people pay to have things done instead of wasting their most valuable, non-refundable resource, time. While money is very rarely the primary goal, it is a tool to provide us what we really want. According to a study by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, people’s well-being rises with the amount of money they make, even beyond $75,000. 

Many people are against money as the most important motivator and may argue that it trivializes work by turning those who are intrinsically motivated into people who are extrinsically motivated. Nevertheless, money serves as a “generalized reinforcer” that is always acceptable to all people at any time. Social status has turned into classism where judgment is based on others’ clothes, cars, and homes, and while this seems like a bad influence, it promotes competition and creativity. When money is associated with better work or success, productivity and standards are raised for all. 

Nearly 156 million people are employed in the United States, and money is becoming increasingly prominent as the greatest motivation because it is a biological necessity, used for food, water, and shelter. Money is now a bigger deal than previous years, because the pandemic has affected countless individuals and left them financially stranded, and it is more important than ever to be financially free. Money certainly cannot buy you happiness, as we have seen with countless celebrities suffering from depression and anxiety, but nonetheless, being broke cannot buy you anything. 

Being financially free has a different meaning for everybody, and I believe people should strive to put themselves in a place where they truly believe that they are financially free. In schools, finance and economics should be taught because of how important it really is for students’ futures.

From learning about Roth IRA’s and credit cards to different investment opportunities such as real estate, the stock market, or cryptocurrency, students gain a wide array of knowledge useful to their future. More people are on the brink of poverty than ever before, and money as a motivator is the first step to moving in the direction of financial freedom. 

All in all, I believe money is the best motivator that inspires people to strive for greatness. Contrarily, once people are at that level of monetary stability, love, passion, and relationships take over as the motivators in your life. But before that, money is a necessity that people need to work for in order to live life confidently with comfort and peace of mind.

By eliminating financial anxiety, money lends you the opportunity to have memorable experiences and travel to incredible places. In addition, picking up new skills and finding hobbies that we love will make us happier, and money is needed to enhance these hobbies and experiences. Once we have money as the medium to access different opportunities and experiences, we can turn our life into anything we want. 

From giving to charity to helping loved ones, being able to see the impact you are making in someone else’s life fills you with bliss. The key to happiness in life is finding something that you love and are passionate about, and make enough money to take care of yourself and your family, and be able to sustain your hobbies and passions.