Problem #61: I love money, and I’m struggling with a balanced outlook on life.
How would you describe your relationship with money? Is it something that you pursue, or do wait for it to just come to you. Do you . . . love money?
Now before you get the wrong idea, I’m not suggesting that you should love money like your spouse or significant other. In fact, I don’t think you should love money at all. But think about money in general. Has it left you wanting more, or are you satisfied with what you have?
If you are wanting more, always more, I would suggest that perhaps you do . . . love money. This is indeed a PROBLEM.
The love of money is the root of all evil. Notice that it’s the love of money. Not money itself as many mistakenly say -misquoting the Bible. If you fall into the category of loving money, I think you are treading on dangerous ground. When you love something/someone it can drive you to the extreme. It will cause you to do things you would have never thought possible.
Large companies and wall street bankers are cast in this mold un-fairly or not. From the outside looking in, it seems like it is always about the almighty dollar. Corporations squeeze the worker to cut costs and maximize profits. Greedy fund managers are vilified. Bernie Madoff is a prime example.
The sad thing is: it never ends. There is always more money to be made. And more, and more, and more. The heart that desires money above all is never satisfied. It can never be satisfied. You see, satisfaction can never come from owning or possessing an inanimate object.
Because that’s what money is – an inanimate object. It has no value in and of itself. When you love and desire money above all you are ascribing value to money that it cannot give back to you.You only get value out of money when you spend it. Click To Tweet
Money is only a Tool, It can’t Reciprocate Your “love”.
Money has value because it can be used to buy things that have value. The amount of money you spend can determine that object’s intrinsic value. But that is just a starting point. For example, when you buy an engagement ring for your beautiful fiancé, you put might spend $2000. And anyone who wants to buy that particular ring will pay that same $2000. But is that ring worth only $2000? Is that it’s value?
From a simple mathematical perspective, yes. That’s what you paid. But there’s more to it than that. The ring demonstrates your love, and the amount of money you spend does not convey the true value to your fiancé. It’s worth much more – to her. To her it’s a symbol of your relationship. And that is valued much more than $2000.
Let’s look at it this way. If someone offered to buy her ring from her for the same price you paid for it, would she sell it? I know it’s not as simple as that, and that this might be a silly illustration, but just go with it.
Maybe she’d sell it – how much does she love you? I would hope that she wouldn’t. The ring’s value is probably much higher than that initial purchase price – to her.
So value is subjective. And money has very little to do with it. The price is just a starting point. Money doesn’t set the value – you do. Be careful not to accumulate money, as money is inherently worthless. It’s similar to hoarding gold or silver. It has no value in itself until you trade it for something you need or want.
So What Should You Love Instead?
In other words, what do you value? This is the question that can shape your financial planning, and guide your money decisions. So think long and hard about it. While you’re thinking, let me present a few things that some value.
Do you value freedom above all? Freedom to go places when you want without regimented schedules restraining you? Do you want the freedom to buy a new car – if you so choose. Freedom to not work at a job that isn’t fulfilling.
Maybe you value options? This might be similar to freedom. Think about having the option to quit your job tomorrow if you wanted. What about the option to start your own business on the side? Maybe you want the option to live somewhere different every year?
When you value freedom and options, you might work and work to add to your savings and investments so that you can achieve financial independence. Because you certainly do not have options when you’re living paycheck to paycheck.
But sometimes you may miss out on family events or on even your kids growing up because you are always driven to work. “Just a little more, and then I can relax because then I’ll be free.” Will you really be free? Or do you live for the grind? the hustle?
Do you need to always be rocking the latest fashions? Is your car always only a year or two old. Whenever there’s a new gadget for sale, are you the first in line?
There is nothing wrong with cool toys and great looking clothes. But is that what you truly value? Or do you value the perceived status that those items afford you? I think most people value the esteem that comes from owning expensive things rather than the expensive thing itself.
We will most certainly pay more for an item that we value. This is the danger. When you value status and esteem based on consumer goods (clothes, cars, watches, gadgets, or . . . dare I say – iPhones), you will always pay more for the same item than someone who does not value those things. You will even go into debt to acquire the latest . . . whatever. Consumer debt is at an all time high. For what? Stuff to give us status?
So how about you? What do you love?
Whether you value freedom, options, or consumer goods you will end up unfulfilled. Oh they may be nice for a while. I certainly would like the option to not work someday. Freedom is a great goal to aspire to. And we do need some things. But those who are driven to acquire more and more . . . stuff . . . tend to love money more. As money seems to provide these things for them.
But, when you come to grips with the fact that money and stuff is worthless in and of themselves, the things you love and value will change.
Instead of living to work, you start working to live. Work and money become a means to an end. An end that’s full of family and faith and real love. Don’t let your drive for money interfere with the rest of your life. Keep a balanced perspective.
So – live and love, and spend time with your family while you can. Choose to love others by giving as the opportunities arise, and pursue faith and lasting peace with the God of the universe. Because He is the only one who can fulfill and truly satisfy.
What are you pursuing, and will it lead to fulfillment?
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