‘Money. It’s a gas.’
Money. Currency. Notes. Bank. Cash, paper, fat stacks, bills, smacks, bucks, greenbacks, cha-ching, whatever you want to call it. The thing that’s used as legal tender for all debts, public and private. We all know it, we all see it, we all use it every day. Everyone wants it, and it brings a feeling of elation to those who acquire it in large amounts. Numbers are, a lot of the time, associated with money. When you think of someone being ‘rich,’ you think of a big house with golden fixtures, expensive cars, unnecessarily large features and amenities…basically, anything ‘Cribs’ has indoctrinated us to think of when we think rich.
But has anyone looked at money, and thought, ‘Wait a minute. Why is this piece of inked paper worth anything at all? Why do we trade pieces of paper for things we need or want?’ It’s pretty surprising how few people know what money truly is. So, have a seat, history class is in session. And you’d better pay attention, because this is about something you see and use every day.
Everyone knows that the first economic system was the barter system. People traded things they had, for things they wanted and/or needed. Example: “Yo, I’ll give you five oranges for that chicken.” Things traded hands. However, this was far from perfect…oftentimes, people couldn’t get the things that they needed for the things they had, simply because the other person didn’t want them.
Eventually, a goldsmith came up with an idea: “Why doesn’t everyone trade gold coins? Everyone wants gold!” And so, everyone began trading with gold in various forms of bars and coins, such as the Shekel, a gold coin used around 3000 B.C. This kept everyone happy, for indeed, everyone wants gold. However, gold is also hard to protect, easy to steal, and difficult to carry in large amounts And so another merchant had an idea. “Hey you, yeah you. Tired of your gold getting stolen? Well, I have a vault with armed guards. I’ll keep your gold safe for you, for a small fee.” This was the proposal which started the very first bank.
You would give him, lets say, 200 gold pieces. In return, he would write up a primitive form of receipt: the I.O.U. It would say, “I owe you 200 gold pieces.” Eventually, more and more people used this service, and at some point, starting in China during the Song Dynasty, people just started trading the I.O.U.’s, because everyone knew they were as good as gold. That was the first form of paper money.
Then later, the ‘gold standard’ was established. This was a method where the established form of monetary exchange was paper notes, which could be converted into fixed amounts of gold. These were made into the legal paper tender we know today, and the countries which used the ‘gold standard’ discouraged the redemption of these paper notes for gold.
Now, in 1971, the United States suspended the ability to redeem paper notes for gold. This caused a lot of other countries, who had linked their own money to the US dollar, to separate their own currencies from it. From this point, most currencies in the world became unbacked by anything except the countries’ own arbitrary order of legal tender. And that is how money became paper notes.
This means a couple of things, good and bad. Good: money is now very easy to keep track of, and we don’t have to carry all of our money around with us. Bad: Much of the paper money is now backed by nothing except the value governments give to it. Seems like an unpredictable system, doesn’t it?
Now, on to banks. I know I’m getting long winded, but bear with me. We all know of banks, we all use them to put our monies into. How do banks make money, though? Banks make money by making loans, plain and simple: interest. And when people don’t seek out loans, they needed to devise a way for people to draw quick, impulsive loans from them. Thus, the credit card was invented. Ever wondered why your credit score only goes up when you rack up big charges and SLOWLY pay them off? Because the bank makes no money if you pay loans off immediately. But, what happens when the Bank runs out of money? Why, they borrow it from the Federal Reserve.
Most of you probably think of the Federal Reserve as a stiff government agency that controls the value of money and collects taxes. What a lot of people don’t know, is that there’s nothing ‘federal’ about the federal reserve. It’s actually a privately-owned bank, split into twelve sectors, each of which have their shares sold to commercial banks. Now, a lot of these commercial banks are owned by european foreign powers, especially British. The most prominent by far: the Rothschild banking dynasty. Thats right…Rothschild owns England through the banks, AND, since 1910, and the passing of the federal reserve act….the United States. They gave the bank the name ‘federal reserve’ so that the people would think it’s just another government entity. What’s more, is that the federal reserve also has the exclusive right to print money in the United States. So, any time THEY need money….they just print more.
The Rothschild dynasty had been seeking control of the United States since it first became a country. After they essentially tricked England out of most of their own shares through a clever stock scheme involving the Battle of Waterloo, they set there sights on the UNited States. the founding fathers knew this well, and pushed hard to not let the new country go into debt and therefore lose their independence. Andrew Jackson, the man on our 20 dollar bills, finally drove them away after surviving an attempt on his life. His famous last words, when asked what his greatest accomplishment: “I killed the bank.” But, as I’ve already said, Rothschild bided their time, and came back in secrecy under the 1910 federal reserve act which was pushed under the influence of an economic panic. Now….well, you know where we are now.
That’s your history lesson, cyber pilgrims. Now, you might read this and be thinking, “this guy is implying that all economic failures are the banks’ fault.’ That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying the system is tailored to drive us into debt, putting coal into a veritable money machine that ends with the big banks.
However, this only works if we feed it. We can educate ourselves, and be smart about our loans, first by realizing that credit is NOT money that is due to us, it is simply borrowed and paid back, plus mounting interest. Living within our means is another good step. Part of what started the economic meltdown was the housing market crash. Yes, the banks made irresponsible loans…how else do they make money? But borrowers are just as at fault. They bought big expensive cars, houses twice as big as what they needed, made huge purchases on unnecessary expansions….and drowned in their loans plus interest years later. Think of a loan like a tattoo: if you want it, great. But think on it for a week if it’s something you don’t truly NEED, then ask yourself if you still want it.
A particular example comes to me at this moment. I was at work the other day, dealing with a gypsy trying to lowball me into giving him an outlandishly low price on a very large number of orders, a price we would LOSE money on if I caved. So I stood my ground. He said, “come on, times are tough. Cut me some slack.” I didn’t budge. He threatened to go somewhere else that would charge him less. I gestured with my head as if to say, “there’s the door.” So he left. Later that day I went to get myself a small sandwich for lunch…I walked. On my way back I passed a small mexican restaurant, and saw this same man in there…with what looked like a personal last supper in front of him. This was a mere half hour after he had told me ‘times are tough.’ Obviously they’re not THAT tough, if this man is eating for four. His kids, too, had enormous, adult-sized plates piled high with burritos, taco, rice, refried beans…..not a single one of them was even close to a healthy weight.
Please, live within your means. Things will be so much easier, on your conscience, your wallet, your waistline, and your space. Money doesn’t HAVE to be stressful. It can be one of your greatest assets, if you use it right. Start a savings account just for emergencies. If you lose your job, your arm, or just get hurt, you need something to fall back on…don’t make credit your first line of defense.
Start a retirement plan….early. Don’t rely entirely on a company retirement plan, or social security, both of which can fail you very easily. The earlier you save, the earlier you retire.
The more secure you are with your money, the more secure you’l be with your life. If your saying, “but I don’t make enough to save anything,” then think bout your daily life carefully…re there things you can afford to cut back on, or go without? Starbucks coffee (make coffee at home,) Cable or satellite (most TV sucks now anyways) eating out (prepare simple dinners at home…healthier and better for money) be more energy efficient at home (dont leave lights on, only wash full loads of laundry, hang clothes to dry, dont abuse the heater/air conditioner,) the gym (work out at home, you don’t NEED weights or machines,) theres so many things people could do without…they just don’t. make a few cutbacks, and you’ll notice big changes in your money amount….sock those savings away, until you have a good amount set for emergencies. Then you can split further saving between retirement, and something for yourself…a vacation, perhaps, or a new TV, or something. Be smart with your money and fight the banking machine at the same time.
Any positive change will be good for you, and the people you love. Just please, don’t be this guy, and if you are, it’s not too late to save yourself and beat the banks.
What money-saving tips or financial strategies do you employ in your fight to keep more of what is yours? Post them in the comments below!