Morris, 24, copywriter at a communications agency

What did you spend your first money on?

I think it was on an iPhone 4 – which was the best cell phone around at the time. I was 14 years old and I earned the money myself working at an outdoor swimming pool during the summer break.

What are you saving for?

Tattoos, vacations, my upcoming driving lessons and electronic gadgets such as cell phones, computers, headphones, etc.

What would you do with a million francs?

I’d move into a new, unfurnished apartment and use the money to buy stylish, expensive furniture, including an enormous box-spring bed and lots of designer kitchen equipment. I’d also donate a significant portion of the money to charity and invest part of it smartly or put it in my savings account.

Jean-Pierre, 75, retired architect

What did you spend your first money on?

At the age of 16, I was studying at a catholic college in the canton of Valais. One of the fathers there who was a fantastic skier sold me his used skis with Marker heads and long-strap bindings for a good price. These were by far the best skis around at the time, so I was over the moon! I earned the money doing agricultural service on a farm.

Can you remember what your first big purchase was?

At the age of 22, I bought two armchairs that have been with me my whole life. I still have one of them. It really was a sustainable investment.

What are you saving for today?

I have a small cottage with a vineyard in Ticino. I need to pay off the mortgage on that and cover the general maintenance costs.

What would you do with a million francs?

In the past, I used to say that I’d donate a third, invest a third and blow the rest of it. Today I would give the final third to my children.

Vera, 41, kindergarten teacher and textile designer

What did you spend your first money on?

I remember well that I earned my first money babysitting at the age of about 11. But what I spent that money on, I can no longer recall.

What did you save for when you were in your twenties?

Not for anything specific. As I was in a long-distance relationship with an English guy, I was probably saving up for my next flight to London.

What would you do with a million francs?

I would buy a vacation home by a lake or a houseboat.

In your experience, how do children nowadays handle money?

When my daughter and her friend were in kindergarten, they secretly spent their first pocket money at a florist’s because they weren’t allowed to waste it on unnecessary things. They bought one flower each – I was very touched!

It turns out that the different generations are not as different as you would think – at least when it comes to money. Twenty-four-year-old Morris and 75-year-old Jean-Pierre would both donate part of their imaginary one million francs. Nice furniture seems to be a consistent trend, and putting some money to one side is never a bad idea, either. Whether you are a millionaire or not, achieving a balance between saving and enjoyment is desirable whatever stage of life you are in.

The right thing for every generation

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