It’s time to start getting a handle on the value of money.

After thinking about the purpose of money in your life, it’s time to start looking at your money.

Looking at your money? That’s right, let’s try it out.

Take out some money from your current stash. (We all have a stash, don’t we?) Spread it out in front of you and look at it. What do you see?

I see colors–shiny copper and silver, different shades of green and gray, and even some glitter on the larger bills. (Wow…I didn’t know money had so much bling-bling!)

As I look at the American $1 bill, it doesn’t excite me much. The design doesn’t look much different from the dollar I knew as a child. It still features George Washington’s face–with that sleepy look, like he’s tired out from all that work he did getting the United States of America started in the first place. Just like the starting point of our democracy, the $1 bill is often the starting point of our finances as we grow up and obtain our first minimum-wage job.

The $5 bill gets a little more interesting. Abraham Lincoln’s face looks more larger and prominent on the bill, reflecting the increased value of the printed piece of cotton and linen paper. The design starts getting a little more fun with stars, and yellow and purple elements. There security features, too: a security thread, watermarks only seen through the light, and microprinting at one edge of the large purple 5. I love how they made the 5 larger for the visually-impaired. (True fact.)

The $10 bill is my favorite in terms of design. Alexander Hamilton looks so handsome, suave, and debonair. Who wouldn’t want more of him? The coolest feature is the 10 on the lower right-hand corner on the front. Tilt the bill and the number changes color from copper to green. And what about the red metallic torch? A symbol of freedom and awfully classy. Can you find the microprinting on the $10 bill? There are three areas (pull out your magnifying glass): The word USA and the numeral 10 can be found repeated beneath the large printed torch, the words THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and TEN DOLLARS can be found below the portrait, as well as vertically inside the left and right borders of the bill.

The $20 looks kind of reckless to me. Andrew Jackson’s hair looks like he had just been in one of his many known gun duels–perhaps the one in 1806 where he killed a man over a matter of honor regarding his wife Rachel. (Different times, different rules….) The standard security features have been beefed-up a bit on this bill, as this bill in your pocket can go a longer way. My favorite part is the picture of the White House on the back. My question to you is: How many of these bills would you need to afford a house like this AND the crew to clean it?

Now the $50 bill is a hearty bill. The portrait of Ulysses S. Grant looks like he has been rewarded greatly (mostly through food) for all his hard work leading the Army and country. How fine a meal can $50 get you these days? Probably nothing like you could back in Grant’s day, but you can still eat mighty fine with this bill if you are earning this kind of money.

The $100 bill stands out on its own for me in so many ways. Benjamin Franklin, with his old english hair style and pot belly, looks a little annoyed that this portrait is taking so damn long. You see, he loved to stay busy and WORK. Author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat, Franklin was tenacious and a man of great wisdom and values. If you want to carry many of these bills in your wallet, spend some time learning about him and memorizing his 13 virtues. Enough said. Just do it.

(I’m not going to say much about the engraved coins right now other than the louder the jingle, the bigger the value.)

One last note about these “notes”: They are all really just pieces of cotton and linen paper. The true cost of producing a $1 bill is just 4.9 cents per note. The higher ones with the security features cost a bit over 10 cents per note to produce.

Then why are they so valuable? Hang tight and we’ll discuss this in my next post.

In great wealth,