Monday, August 07, 2006

Gimme, Gimme

I think my generation is probably responsible for coining the word "Yuppie." We started out with good intentions, I think, a lot of us having slid into adulthood from the Woodstock Generation with a whimper instead of a bang. Like many things that were a good idea at the time, Yuppiedom lost much of its original intent over time, giving way to the Me Generation and the concept of More, More, More.

Remember Cyndi Lauper's 1984 song, "Money Changes Everything?"

Ah, but everybody's only
Looking out for themselves
And you say, well, who can you trust
I'll tell you its just
Nobody else's money...
...Money changes everything

Those few words from Lauper's lyrics say a lot.

Which brings me to the topic which has raised my ire today -- Money Camp. For kids. Yep, parents are sending their children to camp to learn all the secrets of investing, stocks and bonds and everything in between, building portfolios, trading, leverage, interest rates, prime rate, passive income, etc.

Kids attending the camps are given "paychecks" and learn how to utilize their earnings to their best advantage. Okay, so there's nothing fundamentally wrong with that. Any time we can juggle our income so that after the outgo there's a little something left, that's a good thing. Education in responsible money management is commendable.

But I have a real problem when a kid comes away from Money Camp making remarks like, "...use other people's time, money and energy for your own benefit." That just sounds wrong to me, on a number of levels.

Can we all spell G-R-E-E-D? I'm sorry, but that kind of philosophy seems to me to be rubbing the patina off one of the last vestiges of childhood innocence. When I was a kid, out of school for the summer with time on my hands and few boundaries as long as I minded my manners, I was damn happy to have pocket change to buy a Coke and a candy bar. Teaching children how to grab more "stuff" for themselves by whatever means are expedient saddens me immeasurably. Maybe I'm just getting old and grumpy. But maybe not.


kanrei said...

That just sounds sick to me.
Hi again!
We already take away arts and music from them during the year. Now we got to teach them never to have fun ever? Wow!

Sonnet Boy said...

This started my day out sad. To me this is a much worse attack on innocence than sexy music videos or violent news broadcasts. Okay, maybe not worse, but just as bad.

One of the things I think we all remember fondly from being a kid is that we didn't have to worry about things like stocks, bonds, and 401Ks. Those things are hallmarks of adulthood--and not even young adulthood, but middle- to older.

I get the counter-argument, that this is just to prepare the kids to make the best decisions about their future income blah blah blah, but perhaps I'm still naive enough to think that there are more important things than money. Especially when you're a kid.

Serena Joy said...

SB, I concur with you and Kanrei both. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I find the entire concept practically ... obscene.