Dollars and Sense

6 fun facts about money you should know

How to recover burned money. The connection between salary and well-being. We couldn’t keep these facts to ourselves, so we’re sharing with you.

By Louis DeNicola August 30, 2021

 

Sometimes, when we think about money, feelings of anxiety can follow, which is totally understandable—because money can be stressful). And it's exactly why we're hoping to lighten the mood for the next few minutes—because thinking about money can also be enjoyable. Below, we're sharing six trivia-like insights about money. Feel free to share them at your next dinner with friends. 

1. You can get your money back, even after it’s burnt to a crisp 

Did you find a bundle of cash in the walls of your new home? Or did the box of money you keep under your bed get caught in a flood or fire? 

The US Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing has a Mutilated Currency Division that can help you recover damaged money—for free. 

You can send your bills to get the full value back, as long as at least half the bill is identifiable and you have other remnants. Or, even if less than half is identifiable, but you have evidence to support your claim.  

2. Doctors earn a lot, but some high-paying jobs don’t require a PhD 

The US News’s list of best paying jobs is topped by ten professions within the medical field. Number one is an anesthesiologist, and the top nine require a doctorate degree. 

However, there are many jobs that pay more than the median household income ($68,703 in 2019) and don't require a PhD, or even a bachelor’s degree. For example, power-line installers, detectives, and commercial pilots may all make more than $70,000. You can learn many of the skills you need through certification programs and on-the-job training.  

3. A young girl's letter may have prompted the Harriet Tubman $20 

The people, structures, and symbols on currencies often tell important stories. However, the U.S. hasn't had a woman as the primary portrait on a banknote since Martha Washington was on the $1 Silver Certificate in the 1880s (the certificates were discontinued in the 1950s). 

By some accounts, a young girl's letter to President Obama in 2014 spurred an initiative that could change that, and make Harriet Tubman—an escaped slave and abolitionist who helped lead slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad—the first Black woman to hold a portrait spot on the $20. 

The design's release has been slow, but the new bill may be in circulation by the late 2020s.  

4. Digital money might be better for your health 

Digital wallets and tappable credit cards became increasingly popular during the pandemic. And rightfully so—multiple studies have shown that paper bills can carry viruses and bacteria.  

To be fair, phones can be filthy as well. While some of these germs may be relatively harmless, consider how many places a $1 bill goes over its average 6.6-year lifespan, and don’t forget to wash your hands.  

5. But scammers love gift cards  

While you might be trying to keep your hands clean, watch out for scammers’ dirty tricks with gift cards. 

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), scammers may impersonate company representatives, government employees, or even family members. They might be trying to “help” you get rid of a virus on your computer or threaten you by pretending to be police officers or IRS agents.  

The person might call you out of the blue or form a connection with you through a dating site or social media. But no matter how you meet, a tell-tale sign that a scam is present is that you’re asked to buy gift cards and then share the gift card number and PIN with the person.  

6.  Having a higher income has been associated with greater well-being, but it's not that straight-forward  

We know that financial stress can impact your relationships and other aspects of your life. But if you believe that making more will make you happier, you may be only partially correct. Here's why: 

New research shows that feelings of "experienced well-being" (or daily moments of happiness) can increase as your income goes up. For years, experts believed these feelings topped out at making $75,000. However, mental health experts warn that happiness is complex and can't necessarily be measured with the size of your bank account alone. 

For example, if you value money as being highly important in your life or connect money to your self-worth, that could affect how you associate money with your day-to-day well-being. 

Another finding: "People’s sense of control accounted for 74 percent of the association between income and experienced well-being," the study states.  

This is where Upwise can help: Our challenges suggest a series of actions you can take that can boost your sense of control around money. As you move closer to your financial goals, your money mood may improve as well. So even if your income doesn't increase, your confidence can.  

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