This post, “It Is Only Money and It Grows on Trees,” is a review of author Cara MacMillan’s book by the same title. This review is not sponsored by the author or Halcyon Consulting Publication, and all opinions contained in this review are mine. However, Finance Superhero did receive a complimentary copy of the book. To purchase your copy of the book, visit Amazon.
The odds are good that you heard the phrase often as a kid:
Money doesn’t grow on trees!
Cara MacMillan challenges this notion and countless other money assumptions throughout It Is Only Money and It Grows on Trees! Inspired by interactions with two of her college students, MacMillan crafted the book in the form of a narrative which takes place in a college classroom. A fictional guest professor, Catherine, leads students through a multi-day discussion surrounding money and its wide-ranging impact upon life.
Chapter One illustrates an important idea which rings just as true in the real world – we all have our own unique views and definitions of money, which tend to come from our parents and other cultural influences. MacMillan clarifies a strong basis for the remainder of the book: money is simply a resource that we all use for exchange purposes. Though this idea is simple at its core, money remains a complicated subject.
As classroom discussion unfolds in each chapter, a wide variety of financial worldviews are explored and challenged by the students. Each step of the way, the characters in the story connect their beliefs on money to their personal values. The conversations flow naturally even as characters explain foundational financial concepts such as bond grades, mutual funds, and dividends. MacMillan carefully navigates discussions of faith and finances and presents characters’ beliefs with care. The students and professor discuss universal concepts and find common ground.
Throughout my reading of It’s Only Money and It Grows on Trees, I found myself asking many of the questions MacMillan intended for readers to consider:
*Why am I not rich?
*What do I need to learn?
*Do I need to change my thoughts and actions?
*Can I do it?
*Where can I go for answers?
*Can I balance my money and climate change?
As Catherine and her students explore financial topics such as needs vs. wants, frugality vs. cheapness, budgeting, and starting home based businesses, most readers will naturally identify with some characters and disagree with others. At the same time, the discussions consider various viewpoints and will challenge readers to question their own assumptions and deeply rooted financial beliefs.
Readers who spend considerable time reading and think about their finances may find It Is Only Money to be basic at times, but this appears to be by design; MacMillan strives to illustrate that personal finance need not be complicated whenever the story allows. As a result, her work is likely to appear to anyone who is interested in building a better financial future and open to changing patterns of behavior.
Overall, It Is Only Money is an entertaining look at financial beliefs and paths toward building sustainable wealth. Most readers will find new inspiration to seek better management of their finances. As Joshua, a student in the class, says, “Financial management is a gift we give ourselves, and when we get to wealth, we can give back even more. We can give back our time and our skills to really make a difference.”