If you’ve read some of my previous blogs, you will know that there is one skill that is required for people to become financially healthy and wealthy. In this blog, I have written a new story to help your kids learn what this skill is and why it is so important. Enjoy!
The Professor of Money Story
After 4 days of staying with their Grandmother, both Greta and Rachel were surprised to find out that she was one of the wealthiest people in the country. You couldn’t tell from looking at her but she had everything she ever needed. Many people would come to her for advice so they too could learn to become wealthy. Their Grandmother explained that they must visit the Professor of Money to become wealthy. The Professor has the secret to being good with money. “Can’t you tell us what the Professor of Money told everyone? Please Grandma!” asked the girls. “I can’t. Everyone who visits the Professor must keep her words a secret and visit her themselves” replied Grandma. Both the girls were quick to exclaim “We want to visit the Professor of Money!” “Very well but it’s a long trip and I can’t go with you. You’ll have to find your own way there. All I can say is that the trip won’t be easy. She lives on top of the Mountain of Wealth which you can see in the distance.” The girls decided they were going to go there the next day. They had a big meal and tried to get as much information as they could from their Grandma but, true to her word, she didn’t give anything away.
The sisters set off on their journey …
After a full morning of walking, they arrived at the foot of the Mountain of Wealth. The mountain was high with many possible routes to the top. Both of the girls looked at each other a bit worried that they might not make it to the top. They started their climb up and then reached a point where the path carried on up the mountain but there was also an entrance to a tunnel. To their surprise, a very small old woman with a massive buffalo appeared from the tunnel. The girls didn’t know how a buffalo that size could get that far up the mountain. Before they could ask, the old woman said “You have a choice. To get to the Professor of Money, you can carry on the path you are on and reach The Mountain River by sunset or you can enter the tunnel. The tunnel has lots of passages, some of these lead straight to the Mountain River and allow you to get there in just a couple of hours. However, if you take a wrong passage, you will end up back at the bottom of the Mountain. The girls looked confused and didn’t know what to do. Rachel wanted to continue on the path, whilst Greta wanted to take the shortcut through the tunnel. As they were discussing which route to take, they heard some cheering from the tunnel. “We did it! That was so easy!”. It must have been other travellers searching for the Professor of Money. That made up Greta’s mind. She was going to take the tunnel route no matter what Rachel did. Despite being upset that her sister was leaving her, Rachel carried on the path and not into the tunnel.
Greta’s trip through the tunnel …
As Greta entered the tunnel, she almost immediately came to a junction and had to decide which way to turn. She knew that if she picked the wrong passage she’d end up at the bottom of the mountain. She decided to go right. Luckily, the path kept going slightly upwards which gave her confidence that she was still on the right track. Soon, she came to another junction. She was feeling worried but decided it was too late to turn back. She turned right this time. Initially, there was a slight downward slope but it wasn’t long before it started to slope upwards again. She was very confident that she’d made the right choice. Her excitement didn’t last long as she saw another junction. Although, now she was feeling confident. This time she turned left. After a short time, she saw a light at the end of the tunnel and could hear water flowing. She’d made it through the tunnel. As she came out of the tunnel and saw The Mountain River, she looked down the path and could see her sister Rachel in the very far distance. Greta was so happy she decided to take the tunnel route. She’d be meeting the Professor of Money in no time. Now she had to find a way to cross The Mountain River!
The Mountain River …
Greta noticed that there was a woman on a small raft paddling across the river. She had just left the shore. Greta tried to shout to get her to turn back to pick her up. Unfortunately, the woman appeared to be old and didn’t hear her. She felt it could be a long time before he came back. Greta was a confident swimmer. The old woman was paddling slowly and she felt that she could easily swim and catch up with the raft to get across the river. She dived in and started to swim. At first, she was making good progress and getting closer to the raft. Then the river seemed to get more powerful. It was pushing Greta downstream. She swam harder and harder but was getting further and further away from the raft. Eventually, she was too tired to keep swimming and was carried down the river. Soon it came to a series of smooth rocks which made a natural waterway (like tubes at a waterpark). With nothing to grab onto, Greta was pushed down the waterway and slid all the way down to the bottom of the mountain. She couldn’t believe it. After all that time and effort, she was back to where she started. Determined not to give up, she started to run back up the mountain. She got to the place where the tunnel was but now the entrance was closed. She had to follow a long path that Rachel took. In the meantime, Rachel had reached the Mountain River. Like Greta, she arrived just as the old woman had paddled away from the shore. After a long walk, Rachel didn’t have the strength to try and swim. She sat down and waited. Soon enough, the old woman returned and paddled her across the river.
The Final Climb …
Rachel, who had not originally opted for the tunnel, had reached the final part of the mountain. There were two more paths to take. One which was long and windy, from which she could see the whole path to the Professor’s Palace. There was also a shorter and more direct path, although the final section of the path was covered in trees. True to form, Rachel took the long path to the top. As Rachel was nearing the Palace, Greta arrived at the final part of the journey. She too could see the two paths. As she could spot Rachel in the distance, she knew that she was never going to catch up with her on the long path. She decided to take the short and direct path. Especially as she thought she was so good at picking the right paths based on her earlier trip through the tunnel. It didn’t take Greta long at all to get to the area with the trees. She looked across and could see that she was neck and neck with Rachel and would probably reach the palace at the same time. That feeling of getting close to the Palace didn’t last long. As she entered the tree-covered area, it was clear that it had been the wrong decision. The woods were covered in sharp spikes and scary noises. She decided to try to climb through the trees but she fell into a deep hole which led her back to The Mountain River and into the waterway and then back to the bottom of the Mountain. She couldn’t believe it.
The Palace of The Professor …
Rachel had reached the palace and knocked on the door. Nothing happened. She knocked again. Nothing happened. Eventually, she heard someone say “Please wait … I’ll be there soon!”. Rachel waited and waited. After a long while, just as she was starting to think it was a waste of time, the door opened. There stood the old woman with the buffalo! She smiled at Rachel and invited her in. Rachel was so excited that she was going to be taught how to be great with money. “Please professor, please teach me how to be great with money,” asked Rachel. “My dear, you have already had your lesson and passed your training” replied the Professor. “What do you mean?!” said a very confused Rachel. “To get to this palace, you need to be willing to go on the long journey up the mountain. Along the way, you had to make choices. With each choice you made, you decided to be patient and take the route that was clear, even if it took a bit longer. When it comes to money, people are always looking for shortcuts. They want to get rich quickly. Like your sister, they never get to reach the top. They have to learn to become patient, just like you!” said the Professor. Rachel was stunned. “That seems so easy!” “Whilst you might believe it is easy, it is not. Your sister Greta is at the bottom of the mountain. She has to decide whether or not to try to go up the mountain, which is hard given the effort she has already put in and has not seen the benefits. If she does decide to climb the mountain, will she enter the tunnel again, knowing it won’t be the same tunnel as she went through before.” When Rachel thought about her sister, she worried that she may never reach the palace as she’d never been a patient person. “Does this mean that she’ll never be good with money?” Asked Rachel. “With practice and a clear mindset, anyone can learn to become patient and reach the palace!” replied the Professor. Just as he finished, there was a knock on the door! Rachel was over the moon to see her sister Greta standing there after taking the same path as her. The end!
If you enjoyed this story, why not get order your copy of Grandpa's Fortune Fables
The key message of the story
I’m a big fan of the Tortoise and the Hare Fable as it teaches kids about patience. However, in that fable, the Hare had a massive advantage but was overconfident and lost. I wanted to tell my kids a story which had a similar focus on patience but where the two participants were the same, apart from one being patient. Patience is so important when it comes to money. We can teach kids many different money lessons, such as starting a business, to budgeting and investing but if they aren’t patient, they may never become wealthy. In my mind, patience is the superpower of the wealthy. This story helps kids realise that there will be options that appear to be shortcuts to becoming rich. They might get lucky (like Greta did in the tunnel) but if they take too many unknown risks, they could end up back where they started.
What risks to take?
I don’t want this story to imply that you shouldn’t take risks with money. As you probably know, I’m a big believer in investing in the stock market as a way to grow your wealth over time. I believe this as I can see the path to growth as many people have become wealthy from investing in the stock market over long periods. You can learn more about investing in the stock market here. The key to the story is not to take risks which try to make you rich over the short term. There are many stories of people losing money from trying to get rich quickly. These include:
Scams “Get rich quick”
Investing in untested (cryptocurrency or NFTs or meme stocks)
Building wealth takes time. This is why ‘Being Patient’ is my third Rule of Wealth.
If you want your kids to grow up financially healthy and wealthy, you need to teach them that they need to be patient. Being patient requires practice. You can help your kids become patient by getting them to save up for the things they want. Also, if you are saving or investing for them, make sure they know about it. You can show them that their savings are growing over time. After a while (maybe a few years), they will see the benefits of saving and therefore want to continue saving themselves. If you enjoyed this story, please share it with other families and on social media so that more children can learn about the importance of being patient when it comes to money. Thanks for reading! Will P.S. One of the fables in Grandpa’s Fortune Fables also helps kids learn about patience. If your kids haven’t got their copy of the book, you can order one from Amazon here (UK) or here (rest of the world)