The following is a school speech my youngest daughter delivered recently. I'm proud of her position and writing on this, all herself and a quite mature view from a 15 year old.
The speech was marked as a Merit overall for NCEA 1 and the writing as an Excellence. I felt it was worth sharing. Financial literacy is an area, us kiwi's, haven't had a great deal of success with.
If I gave you $20,000 today, what would you do with it?
As most of you may know, I play lacrosse for many teams, our school, Waikato and New Zealand. I was one of the ten Waikato players named for the 2017 World Cup New Zealand Team. Unfortunately, due to financial costs I had to pull out because I could not afford the $20,000 required.
I'm going to talk to you today about why money matters in our world. How this enables people and their personalities, good and bad. What your choices today mean for your future and what waste you can avoid along the way. I have a story I want to share that shows how money does not make a person.
Then I'm going to talk to you about the choices you make and how they impact your life in the future, and I'm going to finish up with some examples of the misuse or waste that money enables without realising.
It doesn't matter how much money you have or what car you drive, it's about being a decent person and being humble. I watched a video on YouTube the other day, of a man called James. He wanted to see how people interpreted homeless giving back to the public.
So this James guy set out onto the streets of LA pretending to be a homeless man and offered $10 to the public when they walked by.
He received so many rude responses.
The most pretentious comment was when a man drove up in a Benz and James offered to pay for his parking meter. This man turned to James and said "Do you see this car? It's a Benz, I don't need your money, you have to earn your way up" James simply replied with "Well how much money do you have in your heart? Sounds like you're pretty broke."
In today's society it's socially acceptable for the wealthy to give the homeless money but as soon as they do the same it's seen to be rude and disrespectful. Is it acceptable because one individual is better than the other?
You have choices. The choices you make now have long term impacts, weather they are good or bad choices, they will reflect back to you later on.
These choices could be personal hobbies, for example how mine is lacrosse, a sports related choice that has a financial cost for me to achieve my goals. The choice could be about a school exchange. We all know that Cambridge High offers language exchanges and that they are available to us if we want to go and can cover costs.
Both of these have a social function, they make us feel good when we do them. If we do them well, they may even lead to future opportunities. However, right now they are a cost and the social return needs to be balanced with that cost, being mindful of the future possibilities.
The major reason we are at school is so we can gain the skills we need to make decisions about careers, university and where we want to go in life. Because some of us will leave Cambridge High and go straight to work or travel and others will go to university.
Some of our social choices can lead to scholarships and overseas opportunities. This is where money and the decisions we make have an impact.
Your choices today will affect your choices in the future.
Do you choose to spend your money on social leisure’s or to achieve an education, where you can gain financial income from your career to experience those social leisure’s in a few years’ time? You don't have to experience them now, you have time.
Sometimes perceived productivity is waste and perceived waste is productive. Frugal Rules reports that the States throw out $165 Billion US dollars in food as waste every year. This has been reported similar for NZ. The simplest way to manage this is only buy what you need.
Another area where there’s waste, is resources for education. This is where students take courses to fill a gap year before they really know what they want to do. This wastes education resources, increases student debt and impacts social spending with student allowances.
My sister could have been one of these students, instead she choose to work for a year.
Since then she has gone to WinTec to do a course that she knows she wants to fulfil. That year working has given her experience and savings, it is also giving her a job to help pay for her studies while she is studying.
A recent current event that we all know about is the flag debate. We've decided to keep our current flag, but there have been many comments that this was a waste of time and money.
What you may not know is the money spent on the flag would only pay social benefits for a little more than 3 days. People are confusing $26 million dollars for the flag against the $28 billion dollars New Zealand spends every year on social benefits.
Money is not evil, how money is used determines the impact it makes.
Money does not make a person, money enables the person they are, good or bad. You should not let the amount of money you have define you as a person.
Your choices about money today affect your choices in the future. If you choose to spend it on social leisure’s without having a stable financial situation, you will have to deal with the many struggles that may come your way.
When you want to buy your first home will you have the choice not to rely on a loan? Your investments will impact your waste, though the waste can be managed. By cutting back on the excessive amounts of food you purchase, you save money that doesn't have to be spent.
By being confident in taking a course at university, you lower the chance of pulling out and having to deal with a large student debt that will take years to pay off.
I want to leave you today with the better understanding of money and how it can be used.
Money enables many things, who you are, who you can be, where you go and how it impacts our world, it is your choice.
With that $20,000 we started with, would you still spend it on what you first thought of?
Alyssa Hale - April 2016