“It was noon on a Sunday, and I was volunteering at our local homeless shelter with friends. We were preparing and serving lunch. My job was to serve in the chapel – the room was reserved for those who needed extra help. It had been a busy day, and just as we were about to close down, two young people walked in. I went over to ask if they would like some water to drink, and there sat two of my college students. Our eyes locked, and they quickly looked away…”
This story was the inspiration for Cara MacMillan’s book, “It Is Only Money and It Grows on Trees”*. Cara is an adjunct professor in the School of Business at Algonquin College in Ottawa, Canada. She began writing this book the same evening she sat down to tea with her two college students taking refuge at the homeless shelter. Her hope is to teach students like her own how to use money as a resource for building a “rich” life today and beyond, while focusing on balancing money and environmental concerns at the same time.
The book is written as a fictional story taking place in a college classroom setting and is told via the interaction between the teacher and students. The topic is “Money”, but goes much deeper than how we typically think about money.
It Is Only Money covers many aspects of money in a dialogue between the teacher and students. Money topics range from our attitudes of abundance and scarcity, religious and cultural influences, as well as the issue of living simply and according to one’s own values.
Additionally, methods for building wealth, including the basics of investing, spending less than you make, balancing needs and wants, avoiding unnecessary debt, and diversifying income are discussion points among students and teacher.
A workbook with questions on each individual chapter is included in the back of the book. Additional learning and teaching resources are available on the website at ItIsOnlyMoney.com.
My Take on It Is Only Money**
In my opinion, this book would be a great piece to include in a high school or college course as a teaching tool on money and personal finance. It’s aimed at opening students’ eyes to viewing money differently than much of society today. The book focuses on taking control, making good financial choices and building wealth instead of going into debt – great lessons for any student to learn!
If you are looking for a way to teach young adults about all aspects of money in a simple, understandable way, this book is a great start. It Is Only Money provides guidance and examples of the many influences money has in our lives. It shows how thinking differently about money can help us take control of our future.
However, if you are looking for a personal finance book with practical tools and tips for getting started with your financial goals, this is not the book for you. The book is intended as a teaching tool on money as a whole, not specific information for “how to” get your finances in order.
How do you think financial literacy should be taught? Do you teach financial literacy? If so, what tools and resources do you use?
*Ten percent of the proceeds from the sale of this book is given to the Development and Peace organization (devp.org)
**I was not compensated for this review, though I was provided a copy of the book to read. All opinions expressed are my own.