Do I Look Like I'm Made of Money?


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money bagsHave you ever heard someone say "Do I look like I'm made of Money?" Usually that  question comes as a reply to someone asking for money. Money is a common medium of exchange. We use money to buy the goods and services we need. But how do we acquire the money we need to do that? This lesson will help you understand that employment is an essential means of acquiring the money you will need throughout your life.


In this lesson you will learn about money, what it does, and where you can get some of your own. You will think about something you would do with money if you had some, and then you will think about the kind of job you might like to work at after school, on weekends, or over the summer.


Part 1: Why Do We Need Money?

mowingWhat item do you want to have more than anything? What could you do to get that item? Most of you have probably been able to obtain something you wanted by performing a service for someone, for pay. The service could have been mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, walking the dog. But what if the item you want more than any other can only be obtained at a store or by a person who has no need for your services? Will this person need your lawn-mowing service, or have a dog to walk, if he or she is located in a mall? Most likely not. So what is the solution to this problem? The Solution is money.

Money is valuable to almost everybody because it is accepted as a medium of exchange almost everywhere. People can use it to get the things they want.

Part 2: How Do People Receive Income?

How do people get money? There are many ways--by working for pay, receiving gifts, getting lucky at the lottery, and so on. But what is the most common way for people to get their money?

Print off this Pie Graph Handout. Once you have printed out the handout you will need to find an adult and a friend (your age) who are willing to be interviewed. Ask them what percent of the money they receive comes from working, gifts, winning the lottery, etc. Compile your data and construct pie graphs in the spaces provided on the handout. Do you see any pattern emerging?

Part 3: Choosing Your Enterprise

Enterprise is another word for a business. Having a business is one way to make money, develop skills, or help mechanicothers. At the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) Career Information Web site you will find helpful information about different careers and what it takes to excel in them.

You might be a little young to get started in a career, but being young doesn't need to stop you from thinking about jobs you could do right now. Brainstorm a list of jobs you can do. Get together with classmates and combine your lists. From your list or a list of compiled from the responses of all your classmates, complete the Job List Worksheet.

Completing the worksheet should help you think about the job that might be best for you.


scientistWhat is money, and how is it useful? What is one way you think you might be able to earn money, and what would you do with it if you earned it?

Today, you picked out a job you think you might like to do. Of course, if you're really going to do it, you've got to actually get someone to hire you. Can you think of some things you might have to do to get started? Take a look at the follow-up lesson, Hey, Get a Job!, to see what you might need to do to actually get the job you want.


Complete the questions in the interactive worksheet below:

  1. What are ways people earn or acquire income?
  2. Which one seems to be the most reliable?
  3. What can you do to earn money, and why is that important?


Go back to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) Career Information Web site to find jobs you may be interested in when you get older. Once you have completed your search, write a one-page paper describing one of these jobs and why you are interested in it.