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“The Value of Money”



Pre-Listening Question

What concerns do you have about your financial future, and what is your plan to deal with these? Possible situations could include:

  • paying for your education
  • covering your rent
  • dealing with credit card debt
  • spending money on a future vacation
  • buying health or life insurance
  • paying for groceries
  • investing in retirement

Vocabulary and Expressions

Here are some words and expressions that appear in the video:

play a role (verb phrase): contribute to something, have a hand in
– My father has played an important role in my life growing up.

drive (verb): influence or make someone work hard
– What drives you to study so hard? 

hold that thought (verb phrase): used to tell someone to remember their ideas for later use
– Please hold that thought. I know you want to discuss getting a new car, but let me finish dinner before we talk about that.

Listening Comprehension Questions

Now, watch the interview and answer the comprehension questions. You can also turn on the automatically-generated captions for the video once you start it.


Randall: In this video, Let us talk about the value of money. How important is money to you? Emily?

Emily: Uh, well, money does play a big role in my life a lot because I’m trying to take care of my family and make sure there’s enough food on the table and that, you know, the lights are on. And also, it’s really nice to go and do fun things and go on vacation.

Randall: Right. Right. Absolutely, and I think that’s trying to find that balance. I mean, if we had a lot of money or someone was earning a lot of money, how do you go about balancing that? In other words, is too much money too much? To what extent does it impact the rest of your life? Any thoughts on that?

Emily: Well, I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve had too much money, but I’ve heard statistically that after you earn I think it’s $80,000, your happiness doesn’t increase.

Randall: So, uh, Aubrey, your thoughts on the value of money? How important is that? To what degree does it drive what you do, what you think, how you act and so forth?

Aubrey: I think it drives it maybe a little bit more than it should. Um, I definitely think about money a little bit differently since I got a degree in accounting, which I don’t do, by the way. So nobody asked me to do your taxes.

Randall: Ok

Aubrey: Um, but it’s like, you know, if I’m if you ask me to go on vacation with you, I’m not only gonna think about, okay, you know, how much is that vacation gonna cost? But it’s like, oh, how much money am I losing by not going to work? You know, what’s the opportunity cost of this vacation, right? Or, you know, if you want me to come down and do something with you, it’s like, okay, but that’s going to cost me $50 just to drive to you, right? And then it’s like and it’s going to cost me 2 1/2 hours. And that’s like, you know, my time, is my time worth driving 2 1/2 hours to do whatever it is you wanted me to do. You know, and the answer might be yes, but the answer might be no. You know.

Randall: So you’re processing all of those things in your mind as you’re making choices.

Aubrey: Now, sometimes I make bad choices. Like, I write my budget up every month in Excel, and then I usually don’t follow it.

Randall: And any reason? What could impact, uh, you know, the choices that you make and so forth?

Aubrey: Uh, because it’s on sale.

Emily: Having a bad day.

Aubrey: Having a bad day, or like, I’ll go on Facebook marketplace and I’ll be like, Hey, there’s the thing I totally need and it’s only $10.

Randall: Okay? And let me think about that and hold that idea. Uh, Emily in terms of how you shop and again, we’re talking about the value of money, how does that affect where you shop, how you shop when you shop? How do you make those decisions?

Emily: Oh, well, I look at the ads for the week, and since my husband is ridiculously picky, we have a very small selection of meals that we rotate through and I will shop based on the sales and what my husband and I will eat, and my son, of course but he’s picky like my husband, and then I find where I can get the stuff cheapest.

Randall: But let me also ask both of you, what about, for example, special needs, where some of the things are, uh, maybe it’s more expensive, let’s say a food item, but it’s just something I can’t live without physically, mentally, emotionally, health-wise. What about some of those thoughts? Aubrey?

Aubrey: Well, it’s like my asthma medicine. My daily inhaler costs about $100 a month with insurance. And, you know, I don’t know how much it is. If I was uninsured, I mean, I guess I’m blessed that it is what it is. But, I have to buy it because otherwise I’ll die.

Randall: Okay, Emily, any other thoughts on that?

Emily: I kind of agree with Aubrey. My son Odin also has asthma, and his medication is about the same cost a month. Um, and then there are other nutritional needs. He has a hard time getting enough food, um, because he thinks eating is really boring. So I’ll buy higher protein or, and, higher caloric foods for him, um, to get some nutrition in him.

Randall: Okay. And the last thought is when you were growing up, for example, when we were doing activities with you and so forth, in your mind, how much did let’s say we went on a trip or went on an activity or bought a meal, how much in your 10-year-old brain, 11-year-old brain, not your 14-year-old brain. But when you were younger, were you calculating in your mind of how much the things cost that we were buying for you?

Aubrey: No, that was a you problem.

Emily: No, not usually, no.

Randall: Okay. When you say a you problem, what do you mean Aub?

Aubrey: You’re the ones putting the money. It doesn’t affect me as a 10-year-old is what I would feel like. I mean, obviously, as I get older, you know, I understand that it’s more complicated than that, but it’s like you’re the one choosing to spend the money.

Randall: Yeah. All right. Well, thank you very much on talking about the value of money.

Conversation Questions


  1. How does money impact Emily’s life?
  2. Do Aubrey and Emily think money is important? Why or why not?
  3. How does Aubrey’s background in accounting influence her perception of money and decision-making?
  4. How does Emily make shopping decisions based on sales and her family’s preferences?
  5. What are the five top expenses you incur every month?
  6. In what ways have your expenses changed over time?
  7. How do you think the cost of living will change during the next year?


  1. Analyze the concept of opportunity cost as mentioned by Aubrey. How does it affect decision-making and the value of money?
  2. Discuss the impact of financial constraints on individuals with special needs, as mentioned by Aubrey and Emily. How does it affect their daily lives and health?
  3. Reflect on the influence of parental spending on children’s perception of money. How does awareness of cost develop with age, as observed in the conversation?
  4. Evaluate the role of consumer advertising and sales tactics in shaping individuals’ shopping behaviors. How do discounts and promotions impact decision-making and the perceived value of products?
  5. Explore the ethical implications of high prices for essential goods, such as medication, as mentioned by Aubrey. Discuss the challenges individuals face when access to necessary items is financially burdensome.

Related Language Activities on Randall’s Web Site

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