Friday, August 19, 2005

Financial Literacy 101

I was at the Presentation School Fundraiser a couple of nights ago and John Connolly came up to me and said "kevin, i've been thinking about it all day and I can't figure it out. Why did you put all that money into your campaign account and then take a big chunk of it and put it into a money market account?"

I replied something to the effect of "John, I'm glad you asked me that question. You see this is one of the lessons I'll be teaching in my financial literacy classes: how to handle your money. " I told him that by putting my money into an interest bearing account we would make a few hundred dollars in interest while we waited to use that money on the campaign. This is how you stretch your money. I told him that I'll be using these same financial techniques to find savings and root out wastefulness in government, and anytime he wanted to ask me questions about how to handle money I'd be happy to talk to him.

What is interesting to me is how concerned he is with my money. John is a very busy guy, and I would think he would have better things to do then check out my campaign account, let alone ponder my financial moves for a day.

I haven't looked at anyone's campaign finances since the night we opened our account in March or April where I noticed that a businessman I know, who is no big fan of the mayor's, had given the maximum amount of $500 to Mr. Menino. Could it be because he is doing a project that has ADA issues he is hoping to circumvent?

What I do look at is the other candidates stated positions, because that is what people should decide to vote on, not on who has the biggest bank account. That kind of thinking leaves you with George Bush as president. Not a great way to decide our leaders. Moneyed families can produce great leaders such as Theodore Roosevelt, but less financially successful people such as Abraham Lincoln can also be exceptional leaders. Theodore Roosevelt himself wrote about the barons of his time: something to the effect that you would think that these great men of wealth would be very interesting people, but he found them to be not well rounded, focused only on money (which roosevelt felt to be quite boring, and admittedly didn't always understand the workings of the Treasury), and just not the type of people he cared to spend time with.

I am also not so impressed with people's money, and find it much more interesting people who are passionate about things. Whether it is hovercrafts, racing motorcycles, topiary, music or what have you, my hat is off to the ones who follow their dreams.

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