The Real Reason Money is So Important

Writing every week about the importance of saving money is what I do. I’d like to think it’s helpful to all those who read about it. I focus on lots of different aspects of the challenges of saving and growing your money but from time to time I wonder if I am really getting the message through of why money is important beyond just the accumulation of wealth for the obvious creature comforts it brings to our lives.

The Real Reason Money Is So Important

We’re not likely to forget that having money is a necessity. It enables us to have the basics (at minimum) of what we need to survive. The better we are at earning, saving, growing, and protecting our money, the chances are greater that we will have a more comfortable lifestyle and ultimately a more powerful, influential, and significant impact on our families and the people we come in contact with every day.

Money enables us to provide things for our families and friends, enhancing their life through good education, the best healthcare, and supporting and achieving their goals and dreams. It can help us achieve life’s intangibles. With money, good can be done and suffering can be lessened or eliminated. Money can definitely give us power, but it can never give us the desire to do good with it. That comes from a different place.

There are many sayings about money you have heard, some funny or inspirational, and some on target when they point out money and its potential consequences. Sayings you’re very familiar with like:

Money can’t buy everything. – Proverb

 

For the love of money is the root of all evil. – 1 Timothy 6:10

 

A fool and his money are soon parted. – Proverb

 

If you want to feel rich, just count the things you have that money just can’t buy! – Proverb

 

We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like. – Fight Club

And yes, even the Beatles knew that…

Money can’t buy me love.

Material things are not all or even the most important things in life. Happiness ranks ahead money. Often the phrase is “Money can’t buy happiness” rather than “everything”, for example. In the book Stumbling on Happiness, author Daniel Gilbert, a Harvard professor, says, “Once you have your human needs met, a lot more money doesn’t make for a lot more happiness”. There are two questions you should keep in mind on this subject. How much money do you need? How much will it cost you to get it? We need money. But, we should always remember that when money comes to us it comes with a big price tag.

The time and effort we spend on earning, protecting, and saving money takes away from the time and effort we spend on what we value in life, and so we must learn to strike a balance. When I was younger, and especially when I was working in retail management, earning money took over a majority of my time and effort, stealing weekends and holidays that I never got back. In more recent years before I retired, I cut back on my working hours to spend more of my time on my relationships with loved ones.

When you ask why money is important, that is the real reason. It can give you the freedom to do what’s important to you. Whether that’s travelling, finding new experiences, spending time with your family and friends, doing good and charitable works, or all of the above. It is experiencing life, creating memories, and improving the world around you.

So that’s how I have felt for a long time. But the truths about money and its status and effect on some people can be very disturbing.

There is substantial evidence out there that people with lots of money, like star athletes and Hollywood successes, can have serious psychological and spiritual deficiencies (which we all read and hear about weekly in tabloids, TV shows, and magazines). They easily become selfish, jaded, and even lonely despite their wealth.

There’s something known as “economic hedonism”, a sort of selfish running in place that refers to those who have a lot of money and then lose the thrill of being able to buy all the “things“ they wanted. That problem isn’t about the money. It’s about us. Those deep-seated reasons that make us value the money and things over the experiences and memories.

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!

Money should not cost us our souls, relationships, dignity, health, intelligence, or joy in the simplest things in life! Those that prevent that from happening and truly align their values with their money have the strongest sense of personal wealth and wellbeing. Those are the real reasons money is so important.

Do you think of money as a way to buy things or as a way to have experiences that enhance your life? What freedoms and experiences has money allowed you to enjoy?

Image courtesy of jill111 at pixabay.com (with changes)

20 Comments

  1. I couldn’t agree more that it’s important to strike a balance between devoting some time to being wise with your money, but ultimately investing your life in other people and pursuits that matter to you. Money has allowed me to stay home longer after my babies were born, and to travel on vacations and a mission trip.

  2. Great post Gary. My balance with money was unbalanced earlier in my life. Always working more hours, chasing more money and spending. I’ve learn to appreciate my time with family and friends, controlling my spending to be more intentional with it on the things that are more important to me.

  3. I definitely think of money as freedom and security. I loved hearing Suze Orman say on her show that to do well financially, one must get as much joy from saving as he or she does from spending. The biggest freedom money has given us is the freedom from extreme worry. When we were barely making our expenses in NY it was like having a monkey on our backs all the time.

  4. Great post! I’m currently working two jobs in an effort to get out of debt quickly. Though I’m focusing more on earning right now than on experiences, I hope that my hustle will ultimately allow me to have a more balanced life in the future. I’m still in my 20s, and I am not married and don’t have kids. I’d happy to focus on earning now if it means I can enjoy my family when they do come along!

    1. Michelle, I think that concentrating on your debt is a good way to go. You have time on your side, and as soon as you can free yourself of your debt, your focus can be on making your money work for you in ways that will enhance your life. Part of having balance is knowing when to hustle and when to slow down.

  5. Mrs. CTC

    I think it’s the absence of worrying about money that enhances your happiness, and for this you would need a certain amount of it. Or at least, you need to not have debt.

    If you can make money less of an issue you can focus on the more important things in life. Funny thing is, you first need to make it an issue to make it less of an issue 🙂

  6. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank

    Spot on! Money is important. It gives us the experiences we dream about, and I think it enables us to buy what our loved ones need to support them.

  7. Love this. After we had our basic needs met, I found myself working way too much because I was so scared of falling back. It was not a good way to live life. While I didn’t do anything crazy bad, I was sacrificing health and time with those I care most about. It’s so not worth it.

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