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.
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…
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)