There are thousands of personal finance questions that people ask about and wish they had the answers to. For example, we all wish we had the answer to finding easy ways to make some extra money, don’t we? That’s a subject that every personal finance blogger has been asked about and probably offered dozens of different ways to do it. But besides finding new ways to earn, people search on the answers to many other questions.
Whether it’s earning extra money to paying off debts, getting the best deals when you shop, learning ways to budget your money each month, or stretching your cash, every question is important and needs some kind of valuable answer. The good news is that there are no shortages of personal finance bloggers that will offer their expert opinions. But, there is one very “cerebral” question that is asked of me constantly and it’s this one:
Why is money so important?
If You Have to Ask, Then It’s Time to Start Reading!
When I first wrote a post about “Why Saving Money is So Important to Me” back in December 2014, I was writing about my own specific needs and how money had become such an issue for me because of my health and that of my wife, Suzanne. When you are facing something like big medical bills and high monthly costs for doctors and prescription medicines that are in the double digit thousands every year (representing a chunk like 30% of your income), you don’t need to ask why money is so very important. It’s pretty clear that money is one major way to help keep yourself alive!
But for other people, there are other reasons for the importance of money. Some ultra-serious and some may be even frivolous. You know the kind of thing that involves flights of fantasy like traveling around the world or owning a mansion in the Hollywood Hills. The point is that the reasons, good or silly, can and do vary, don’t they?
Why Do We Think That “Money Buys Happiness”?
Another post I wrote was in April 2016 entitled “The Real Reason Money is So Important”. In it I wrote about some of the more famous sayings about money you sometimes hear.
How many times have you heard the phrase about money and happiness? Can it buy it? Does it buy it? I bet you’ve heard those questions before or asked them at least to yourself a few times, haven’t you? That’s because we live in a time and place where the culture sends very conflicting messages about money. Conflicts like these:
First, it tells us that money is everything. There are the celebrities we constantly read about and see on TV that are living the lifestyles of the rich and famous just like we saw for years on that old TV show of that same name. That hasn’t changed and we see it and wish it was us or at least most of us do.
Then there are the Wall Street and investment types who we think control all of the real money and live high and mighty off the little people who work slavishly to support their habits with their wild spending. If you want an inside look at that life, try watching Showtime’s weekly series “Billions” and check out the character Bobby “Axe” Axelrod…he’s one of those people.
But even on a smaller scale, there is the twinge of jealousy we all sometimes feel when we drive by a house that’s bigger and nicer than ours or we park near an expensive new car in some parking lot. There are a lot of motivations like those that we see and hear about every day.
The Flip Side of Money and Real Wealth
Money always has a flip side and it’s a completely opposite message than what lifestyles of the rich and famous conjures up in your head.
Even if you wonder why we put such value on good looks, singing or dancing, or how far someone can hit a baseball or golf ball that can justify paying them millions of dollars for doing that, you at least can admit to wanting to be that good or lucky without any shame or worry. Most of us would like to be in their shoes for at least a little bit of time, wouldn’t we?
But the flip side is the one that treats wealth–and the wealthy–with suspicion. That is the life lesson that says not to envy those people. How did they achieve their wealth? Was it “legit” or did they have some less than honest way of doing so? You can see the limitations that wealth may have and the potential trouble that sometimes extreme wealth can cause. Think boxing champ Mike Tyson or popular actor Nicholas Cage.
Cage has managed to spend his way through his once $100 million fortune. While his taste for drugs, alcohol, and gambling didn’t help matters, they were not the primary problem in his financial disaster. He has wild and uncontrollable spending habits. At one point, he owned 15 homes, four yachts, several private islands, millions of dollars in comic books, and a sabre toothed tiger skull for which he paid $276,000. After all, no home is complete without a sabre toothed tiger skull, right!
I have often read and wondered why it is that money seems to fire people up to do irresponsible things and sometimes put them in actual real danger. It’s far different than being sick and using money as a defense mechanism than to do crazy things like dangerous, expensive drugs because you can afford to do it and do it just for kicks. Then wind up overdosing on it. Sometimes those who have extreme money do very extreme things.
More likely though, it can cause, in some families, a feeling that money is somehow dirty and that it’s not a proper topic for conversation. It may be that it seems like it’s true that flaunting what you’ve got is pretty tacky and that sometimes being poor is almost a virtue.
But, Let’s Agree on This: Money Is Important!
Money is important and we should agree on that basic assumption. Whatever we feel about money, people with money, or the pursuit of money, we can at least agree on that. No matter how you try, you just can’t ever dismiss that fact.
Because we are human and we simply want things that we see and like, it’s just our human nature to want more. The main way we get more is through the power of money. The more you have, the more you want, or that’s how it seems to go.
Why Do the Ultra-Wealthy Keep on Working and Making Money?
Have you ever wondered why so many ultra-wealthy celebrities keep doing silly commercials on TV? They have so much money already, so why can’t they just let some unknown struggling actor get that job or voiceover part and spend their time doing something else that might actually benefit real people? But sadly no. They always want more. They never get to a point where, if offered a million dollars for doing a commercial, they simply say, “You know what? No, thank you. I have enough.” And if they do turn something down, it’s more likely to be because it wasn’t “enough” money offered.
Chew on this for a second. X-Factor judge Simon Cowell had a salary of $75 million for just two seasons on that series. According to Forbes, Ellen Degeneres’ salary is $63 million a year. At $63 million, Degeneres is making over $5 million monthly, $1.2 million weekly, and $220,000 daily! How long will it take you to earn $220,000?
Money is Important and Here are the Reasons Why
There’s an old expression that says, “Money on its own is neither good nor bad; it is a means to an end.” Money is a tool that enables you to protect yourself, build yourself and your family a better life, and to give back to your community, and that’s the reason why it’s important.
No money, I mean no money means you are really hurting. Having no money means that you are destitute. It means that you are totally dependent on others or living paycheck to paycheck and having to put up with abuse at work because you so badly need to keep your job.
Here’s the Importance of Money
- Money is important because it enables you to have more control over your life.
- Money gives you more freedom to carve out your own path and have less constraints on your choices.
- Money is important because it means being able to give your family and children the best–the best education, the best healthcare, and the best start in life.
- Money is important because it means fewer financial worries. Yes, the wealthy worry too. But they worry about losing their fortunes. That’s not quite the same as worrying about being able to put food on your table.
- Money is important because it enables you to give back to your community in ways that you believe in and support.
- Money enables you to live life to the fullest, enjoy adventures, and the textures and tastes of life that make the most of the years you have.
So what do you think about the importance of money? You ask that question enough, so I think you really want an answer. Can we all at least agree that money is important, or do you have your own reasons to believe otherwise?
Though having more money is not always worth the trade-offs it sometimes requires, it’s incredibly comforting to know that you are not constantly worrying about it and perhaps you are actually on your way to some form of financial freedom. Are you?
I wrote back in 2016 and I still believe in this:
While money can help us find more happiness, we shouldn’t just expect it. The key is using it to buy us experiences and memories, not just things. Those stay with you for your life and every time they are recalled it bring happiness, so use your money wisely!
Do you put money at the top of your list of concerns and priorities? How important is money to you? Is it very important? If it is, why is it that way for you?