The $2 Bill and Financial Literacy – A Lesson from my Father and Mass Mutual

April 20, 2017

My father’s 77th birthday would have been today if he were still alive. I’m not trying to bring you to a more somber place right out of the gate, but wanted to share that information because the bulk of my financial education came from my father and mother and involved $2 bills. Seriously.

While you might think of a two-dollar bill as a novelty piece of currency, my father used to share them with family and friends whenever possible. At holiday gatherings (including the 4th of July) he would reach into his pocket and pull out a crisp $2 bill for any kid under 14 or 15.

Their eyes would widen in curiosity because they recognized the material the bill was printed on, but children were seldom familiar with the denomination. Dad would then place it into their outstretched hands and whisper sage advice to them. Often it was as simple as “keep this in a safe place.”

And with that, a lesson on the treatment of money and financial literacy was passed across generations. Because with that admonishment of keeping this special currency in a safe place, my dad inspired thought about investment and savings, and respect for cold hard cash.

In a similar vein, I recently witnessed Hill Harper pass on a lesson of money management and education to a student at a Mass Mutual #FutureSmart event. Harper pulled a much larger denomination bill from his pocket and presented it to a kid who answered a question correct when asked about the right path to saving money.

Whether the bill was $20 or $100, the lesson remains the same. If you hang onto your paycheck, your allowance, your savings, your gifts, you will emerge in the future with a bigger pile of money than if you spend it now on ethereal goods and services. Sure, you need clothing and food, but there are ways to purchase those things and still be frugal.

But until someone teaches you this lesson – be it your parents or friends or teachers – you won’t realize how important it is to be smart about money and finances. To that end, the same folks who brought Hill Harper in to talk to 2000 Boston school kids in March have helped create a smartphone app (it’s FREE) that actually teaches you the same lessons.

I’ve tried it. I was able to figure it out in no time at all. Which tells me that anyone from eight to eighty years old should be able to do the same. It’s the #FutureSmart app and you can get it for your smartphone. Here are the links…

Google Play:
iTunes Store:

That’s about all I have to share today. I miss my dad, but his lessons and his memory live on. Especially the lessons that have helped me be successful in how I live my life. That’s way more valuable than $2, wouldn’t you say?

Thanks for reading!