McMillions and the Mindset of Financial Literacy

McMillions and the Mindset of Financial Literacy

I’m lovin’ it

McMillions has taught us quite a bit more than simply confirming that we were all chumps from 1989-2001 for playing McDonald’s Monopoly and thinking there was a chance to win anything beyond a free order of fries. Considering this was the “Decade of Greed,” it seems rather appropriate that swindlers would fry up a McScandal. Set against the backdrop of Wall Street brokers shuffling off to prison, it’s almost poetic. 

What is most striking about the McMillions series is how regular and ordinary the people at the center of the scandal were. Granted, they were embroiled at a low level in a crime operation, but even the FBI agents described them as “good people” and spoke almost fondly of them. It’s tempting to lump these folks into “the needy and the greedy,” but the needy have layers that deserve to be examined and in many respects, set them apart from ‘the greedy.’ 

Do not pass go

Of course stealing is wrong, however, people tend to do desperate things when they’re pushed to the edge. Many Americans live in poverty, go bankrupt over medical bills and struggle to secure any social support. Is there any surprise why people on the verge of homelessness or crippling debt might jump at the chance for a financial break? It’s hard not to wonder if the ordinary people in this case wouldn’t have participated if they had been more financially stable or simply had other viable and practical financial opportunities available to them. More chances to secure and build wealth ultimately offer more freedom and choice, reducing the likelihood that ‘good people’ will resort to crime. That’s an interesting nugget to consider.

Your life isn’t a stroll down the boardwalk

It is often said, if something sounds too good to be true, like winning a million dollars from eating fries – then it probably is. And we shouldn’t have to wait until the next Netflix special to find out we’ve been had. Hoodwinked! Bamboozled! I believe the take home message is that the “American Dream” was never sold as a lottery ticket or get rich quick scheme. It was the opportunity to live your best life “by the sweat of one’s own brow.”  

No one said this would be easy, fair or just. But the right to financial literacy and education is all yours for the taking. Instead of Googling ‘professional sports scores’ or ‘red carpet styles,’ search ‘what is money’, or ‘how to build wealth’, or more important ‘what is the JOBS Act?’ 

It all really comes down to mindset. What is a priority? Creating a positive and impactful legacy for yourself and your family or praying that your financial shortcomings will be solved by magical external forces? If you choose the latter, then be rest assured, there will always be some form of McMillions available to provide a false shred of hope. If you choose the former however, then you must develop a hunger for financial literacy. Consume it wherever you can find it. Generously share it with family and friends. More importantly, work diligently to take personal control of your financial future.

Freedom is a mindset. Financial literacy is a key.   

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