Teaching kids a profound lesson about currency

We recently spoke with Ian Lucas long-time APMEX customer and research director for Graham Investment Management about his new children’s book Treasure Hunt in the Enchanted Forest, co-authored by Chris Mendoza and Illustrated by Heather Cash. Ian also serves in the Air Force and his other book is The Million Year Meal. Click here to buy Treasure Hunt in the Enchanted Forest

About Treasure Hunt in the Enchanted Forest

Grandpa Owl, the wisest and wealthiest resident in the Enchanted Forest, teaches his grandkids about kindness, fairness, and the secret to his riches. Follow along with Brother and Sister Owl as they learn lessons that students of top business schools do not receive. When you’re done, YOU will be ready to go on your very own hunt for real treasure!

Interview with Ian Lucas

What motivated you to write this book? 

My co-author and I are also founders of a family-focused wealth management boutique. Our views on precious metals differ from most others in our industry, but the data and reasoning suggests to us that there is something very wrong with the condition of our money.  In our careers, we have been influenced by two other noted investors, Joel Greenblatt and Jim Rogers, who wrote books for their children.  As fathers and fiduciaries, we felt obliged to pay forward what we were learning about the monetary system.  By putting it into the form of children’s picture book, we felt we could distill these concepts in a way that would be accessible to a wide audience – it is written to be enlightening for adults as well as fun for kids.  We linked up with illustrator, Heather Cash, who produced beautiful depictions of coins and bills and created the charming enchanted forest motif.  The economics of the book make it purely a labor of love, so our motivation is simply to shine a light on a topic that is extremely relevant but that has never, as far as we know, been presented along these lines.

How can parents get their children excited about saving?

Children are naturally attracted to coins, so they are a great gateway to saving.  We pay our own kids for chores and good behavior using a mix of $1 coins and smaller change.  The physical act of spending them, as well as placing 20% of what they earn into a safe for long-term savings, is something they really get into.  They’re just now learning how many cents go into larger denominations and are not ready for the nuances of intrinsic value, but engaging in the conversation now sets the stage for establishing habits that will serve them well in life.  We use the book as a complement and believe they will be able to “grow up with it” and get more out of it over time.

What do you think are the three main takeaways from this book?

Foremost is the idea that free people invariably prefer monetary metals for currency and purchasing power preservation because of their physical properties.  These properties are not shared by any other element or compound (it’s a chemistry lesson, too!).  Second, monetary systems have waxed and waned between sound and unsound money for thousands of years – we appear to be living through one of the transition periods right now, except on a global scale for the first time.  Third, money is interesting - it’s a vivid and relatable way to learn history, science, business, and sociology.

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