money lessons for kids

That Silly Story About Money Trees: A Financial Fairy Tale

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The Lady in the Black partners with her 9-year old daughter to craft four stories that hold important financial lessons for kids as well as for adults. As with all fairy tales, our story begins with “once upon a time.”

ONCE UPON A TIME…

…there were four money trees. Their names were Cash, Penny, Benjamin, and Buck.

If you don’t know anything about money trees, you should probably know that money trees look and act and grow like normal trees but grow paper currency instead of leaves.

Cash, Penny, Benjamin, and Buck all grew up together in the nursery orchard until they were big and strong enough to move to a new home. Each tree was planted in a different backyard, at a different home, with a different person taking care of them.

In short, each money tree has a different story.

money tree penny

PENNY and SAM SAVER

Penny was thrilled to be planted at the quaint and cozy cottage of Sam Saver and his wife, Susie.

From the very first day, Penny noticed that the Savers were very special people. The two of them spent many of their days tending the little vegetable garden that sat in the opposite corner of the backyard as Penny. The Savers seemed to enjoy being home together and often had their friends join them for backyard barbecues.

Sam was very tender with Penny and treated her with the utmost amount of respect. He watered her every day. He plunked any weeds that might grow too close to Penny’s trunk and provided her tree food to help her grow. The truly special thing about Sam Saver was that he never picked a currency leaf off of Penny’s branches. Instead, he patiently waited for them to fall to the ground before gathering them up. Sam also thanked Penny for her blessings before took the money to his wife.

One day, a wise old owl paid Penny a visit.

“Who-who is taking such good care of you”, the owl asked. “You look so happy, Penny.”

“I am happy,” smiled Penny. “The Savers are so responsible and caring. It’s a dream come true.”

Owl nodded his agreement. “It’s true. Savers respect money and know that their patience is rewarded in time.”

Penny spent the next several months growing bigger and stronger. The older Penny became the more leaves she dropped to the ground. Penny was happy to share her leaves because it allowed the Savers to build a small addition to their cottage. She knew that room would soon be home to a teeny Saver baby. A wooden swing set soon joined Penny in the backyard.

Just a few months later, Owl flew over a party in the Saver’s backyard. Friends and family were cooing over a small white bundle cradled in Sam Saver’s arms. Susie was resting and chatting happily with a friend under the cool shade of Penny’s canopy.

“Looks like the Savers have their bundle of joy,” hooted the wise old owl. “Those Savers sure appreciate the value of one good Penny.”

money tree investor

BENJAMIN and ISABELLE INVESTOR

Benjamin was planted in the sunniest spot in Isabelle Investor’s amazing backyard garden. Benjamin was one very lucky money tree, indeed. She was famous for making things grow and more than one person in town envied her green thumb. Isabelle was passionate about Benjamin’s care. She provided water, fertilizer, and daily care. She pruned any underperforming branches to allow the other branches to thrive. In short, she gave Benjamin the best conditions in which to grow.

In fact, Isabelle took such good care of Benjamin that he starting to bear golden coins like fruit. Isabelle never picked the currency leaves; she didn’t need to. If Isabelle needed money, she would simply pick a coin or two. Picking these coins didn’t harm Benjamin in any way.

One day, the wise old owl popped by to visit with Benjamin.

“Hello, Owl,” Benjamin said. “See my shiny gold coins? I didn’t know I could do that!”

The owl smiled. “Yes, they are lovely little gifts, aren’t they? You are a very special tree, Benjamin. You can not only grow money, you produce dividends.”

Isabelle continued to care for Benjamin and he continued to grow and produce coins, more and more each season. In fact, Benjamin bore the most fruit in all the land. Years later, the owl flew over the Investor house and was surprised to see not one but TWO money trees in the backyard. Both money trees were ripe with coins.

“What a smart lady,” hooted the wise old owl. “That Investor cared for her Benjamins so well that all their lives are full, flush, and fruitful.”

money tree spender

CASH and SALLY SPENDER

Cash started his life as a money tree just like everyone else. He enjoyed the gentle summer rains and the bright sunshine. He loved the wind in his leaves and his roots in the ground. Cash was planted at the luxurious home of Sally Spender. Sally was a nice girl who lived in a nice home and loved nice things. Nice things made Sally happy–at least for a little while.

Sally Spender did a fine job of taking care of Cash, at first. She watered him and hugged him. Every day, Sally plucked off Cash’s currency leaves to pay for all the nice things she wanted. It hurt Cash to have his leaves removed but it made Sally happy so he didn’t complain.

One day the wise old owl came to visit.

“Hello, Cash. How are you feeling,” asked the owl. “You don’t look too good. Your branches are thin and your leaves are sparse.”

“I’m not feeling well at all,” Cash whined. “I’m so very tired. With so many leaves missing, I can’t gather enough energy.”

The owl looked sad. “I was afraid of that. Ms. Spender is a greedy girl. I don’t think she means you harm but she has taken too much from you, Cash. Money trees need special care.”

Cash knew the owl was right.

In the following weeks, Cash worked hard, very hard, to grow the new currency leaves that would help him feel better. He pushed his roots deeper into the ground and turned his branches toward the sun. But even as one new leaf grew, Sally Spender would come and take it. As Cash offered less money, Sally stopped watering and hugging him. She stopped treasuring him. Cash felt the life slipping from him.

One sad day, the owl flew over the Spender house and saw that Cash had withered and died.

“Poor thing,” the wise old owl hooted. “Spenders who can’t care of their Cash don’t deserve a money tree.”

money tree donate

BUCK and DANNY DONATE

Danny Donate was a friendly man and was thrilled to have his money tree, Buck, in his backyard. Danny made sure to make Buck feel welcome right away.

“I am so thankful for you, Buck, that I plan to share all of your blessings with those in need.”

Once Buck learned that this was the case, he produced more currency leaves than any other money tree in the land. Danny never once picked from the tree. He waited for Buck to drop his leaves. (He’d learned this from his neighbor, Sam Saver.) Only then would Danny collect them. Since Buck dropped so many leaves, Danny had to use a rake to collect all the money.

The wise old owl flew down to visit with Buck.

“Hello, Buck,” stated the owl. “You look good.”

“Thank you, Owl,” replied Buck. “Not only do I look good I am doing good deeds and that makes me feel wonderful.”

“That’s true,” said Owl. “A money tree that gives to others is the wisest and most noble of all the trees. It’s fortunate your man agrees.”

Buck loved watching Danny rake up the leaves and load them to his truck to give away. Danny often returned to share gratitude from those that had received his blessings. Some of the people he had helped got money trees of their very own. Danny Donate was thankful for him everyday. Buck felt such pride for himself and for Danny’s generosity that he produced more money any other money tree in the land.

Years later, the wise old owl flew by the Donate house.

“How huge he has grown,” hooted the wise old owl. “Donate has done such good deeds that he deserves the big Bucks.”

THE MORAL OF THE STORY

While money doesn’t really grow on trees, we should take care of our money so that it can take care of us.

THE END

 

SUMMARY

Sure, money trees are things of fairy tales. But the financial lessons for kids is very real.

How do you feel about money? Is it something that simply flows in and out of your life? Is it something you work for and struggle to get? Or is it a living, growing thing that helps to support you and your dreams?

And how do you take care of your money? Do you find nice places for it to grow? Do you find ways to nurture and care for your money? Do you share its blessings with others?

What do your children know of money? Are you passing on the financial skills they’ll need to nurture their own money in the future?

For more help with financial lessons for kids, visit the KidsTalk section.

money tree unbelievable

Authors Note: This story is a strong collaboration between The Lady in the Black and her 9-year old daughter, The Kid in the Black. Not only did the kid come up with the story concept (money trees) but she gave them their names as well. She also had a firm hand in the art direction of all of the graphics. I’m using her love for art to open conversations about money. I knew to do that because I used my own love of writing to open myself to the financial community 7 months ago. 

Comments are love! (Especially since I’ll be sharing them all with The Kid!)

 

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21 comments

  1. LITB, it seems you have quite the storyteller and artist there in KITB!

    I grew up in the Spender household. There was a lot of thought that if you didn’t harvest leaves while they were attached to the tree, they would blow away! But I’ve since moved into a quadplex with the Savers, Investors, and Donates. I confess I tend to spend more time with Benjamin and Isabelle right now, but Penny and Sam were my first friends in the group and I’m hoping to hang out with Buck and Danny more over time. Together they’ve all helped me become who I am today – a happy and prosperous gardener of my own!

  2. Wow the Kid in the Black is wise beyond her years about money!

    I didn’t grow up in a Spender household per se, but despite some Saver tendencies, that was who I most resembled when I started handling my own money. I’m glad I’m becoming more of a Saver/Investor/and Donator!

    1. Thank you! I spent YEARS at the Spenders house. It’s only recently that I’ve met Sam and Isabelle. I’m hoping to meet Danny soon. I wonder if he’s single. LOL Thanks for commenting. I read your comment to TheKITB and she loved it!

  3. Great post! I have different plans for my money tree, as my situation changes. Right now, I’m like the investor, trying to grow my money tree as large as possible. But at the same time, more of the money will be used for donation. At some point (hopefully well into the future), I’ll be able to donate a small money tree to my children, and a big money tree to charity.

    1. Wow. What a great comment. Thank you and this means a lot coming from you! Congrats, by the way, on merging money trees!

  4. What a beautiful, simple and true concept about money you and your daughter have been able to put together in a delightful and memorable tale! This is rare to run across and thank you so much for taking the time and effort to create and share. Thinking of money as a “living, growing” thing is an amazing concept. I will begin to share this view of money on a regular basis as I believe it is very powerful.

    1. Wow. The Kid also says “wow.” Thank you so much for your comment. I spent so many years HATING money and I truly believe, because of that negative energy, that it hated me back. It wasn’t until I changed my attitude (and found some gratitude) that I was able to make some positive changes in my financial picture. Cheers!

  5. I absolutely adore this lovely, creative, and SPOT on story! Would make a wonderful children’s book….but until it is published I will be sharing with many parents I know!

    Isabelle and Danny are who I aspire to be…but when I first started making money, I was Sally. I thought that I had worked so hard…I deserved to have nice things. In reality, I deserved every dollar of credit card debt that resulted.

    Congratulations on an awesome post! Bookmarking this one. Well done, Lady & Kid!

    PS: I love the owl!

    1. Thanks, FF! This means a lot to us! (I’m reading all the comments to The Kid.) It is a good post and, of course, I can dream up many different characters but I think this is a good start! I appreciate your support on this (and everything I do.) You really are my mentor. You helped transform this Lady from a Sally to an Isabelle!

    1. Well, she didn’t write the stories but she certainly understood the basic concepts! I’m pretty excited to share all of this with her as I received hardly any education about finances….ever.

  6. Aww that is too cute! This was a strong collab, I hope we’ll see more from the two of you. I’ve always strongly believed in telling my money I love it even if that did seem weird at the time. How else could it love me back? (On that note, this makes me think of our recent rereading of The Giving Tree. As parents, the experience was awful. As we read, we thought, how incredibly selfish is this kid! Take care of the tree, don’t just keep killing it!)

  7. The Kid is going to go far! What an imagination! I second the comment about publishing this. Even as an ebook giveaway it could be a first step towards building Kid Empire.

    1. Thank you. The Imagination is strong with The Kid in the Black! I’ll consider it. I think I need to get back to my blog writing first. It’s been so neglected! Thanks for the comment!

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