How you view and think about money can make all the difference in your life and how you live it. Let’s look more closely at this subject and what it can and can’t do for you.
What you are about to learn will forever change the way you see money.
Can you imagine what the world would be like without money? Such a thought is almost incomprehensible today. Yet according to the World Bank, half of the people in the world live on less than $6.85 per day, and nearly one billion people in extreme poverty subsist on less than $2.15 per day. It makes you wonder how differently these people must view money.
While money has been around for a long time, it is relatively new in its current form, especially in its universality.
The precursor to money, bartering, has existed for thousands of years. Before the establishment of trade routes, bartering was essential. Only in recent history could money be exchanged worldwide. Before that, the only standard was gold.
Could you live without money? Sure, if you are willing to sacrifice modern conveniences. For thousands of years, people lived without money, and still do in some parts of the world. The importance of self-sufficiency and family predate money and are far more vital to a good life.
Money is essential in the current age for most of us, but how well do we understand it? Does money deserve to be placed on a pedestal? What does it do for you, and more importantly, what does it do TO you?
Let’s look at some different perspectives to gain a more thorough understanding of money.
Perspectives on money
Many say money makes the world go around. Is that true? Not literally, but figuratively there is an element of truth in the old saying.
Without the universality of money, the world would be highly divided. In one sense, money unites the world. It is the one common factor shared in all but the remotest parts of the earth.
Yet what is money exactly? It can’t buy life, although it may help you extend it. The right price to the wrong person can also end it.
Money has no worth when you are in the grave, so why place so much value on it now? Because you must live, you say? That may be true, but how much is enough? A dollar a day can be enough for some. For others, only millions or billions will do. Their unquenchable thirst for money can know no equal.
What lies beneath the surface of money? Here is one way to look at it:
“Money may be the husk of many things, but not the kernel. It brings you food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; acquaintances, but not friends; servants, but not faithfulness; days of joy, but not peace or happiness.” Henrik Ibsen (1828–1906)
Money is the result of something, whether it is labor, a product, or created by fiat. As the preceding quote states, it is simply the husk, the outer shell, not the kernel.
Money is materialistic and exchanged for many things, such as food, medicine, labor, and pleasure. It has no morality, but its use can extend to moral and immoral purposes.
Contrary to some claims, the bible does not say money itself is evil. On its own, it is no eviler than a rock. Scripture clearly states it is the love of money that is evil. The actual verse is:
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” 1 Timothy 6:10a NIV
Money and rocks are inanimate objects. It is possible to use money for malicious purposes, just as it is possible to use a rock as a weapon. Yet, we place far more value on money than on most inanimate objects.
But don’t forget, most money in the world does not even exist in a physical form!
The most significant things in life are those that money cannot buy, such as:
- Money cannot buy the love of another person, yet it can create lust.
- Money cannot buy a true friend, only those who pretend to be.
- Money cannot buy health, although it can purchase medicine.
- Money is not edible, although it can buy food.
- Money cannot buy faith, peace, or happiness, although it can purchase fleeting moments of pleasure and joy.
Most people equate money with wealth, yet wealth is far more than money alone. He who has a life full of great relationships is far wealthier than someone with only an abundance of money. You possess something far more valuable than money if you have good health. He who has spiritual wealth can forsake everything else in life, including money. No amount of money can purchase faith.
“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.” Epictetus (50–135 AD)
Wisdom about money through the ages
Much has been said about the reality of money by many great people throughout history. Let’s take in some of their wisdom to expand our perspective further.
The money you spend has a lot to say about who you are and what you value.
“Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.” James W. Frick (1924–2014)
Money is a strictly human invention.
“I finally know what distinguishes man from the beasts: financial worries.” Jules Renard (1864–1910)
Are there not countless ways to squander money?
“Too many people spend money they earned to buy things they don’t want to impress people that they don’t like.” Will Rogers (1879–1935)
The best investments bring you far more than more money. While you can invest money, the greater investment is how you spend your time. Time invested in building relationships, skills and abilities while gaining knowledge and wisdom will bring you more value than any amount of money ever could.
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)
The value of a dollar deteriorates over time due to inflation. Yet the value of things like love and relationships increases over time. For example, it would take $31 today to equal the purchasing power of $1 in 1900. Yet, time invested in others can bear fruit far beyond your lifetime and continue to appreciate.
Remember what a famous sage once stated:
“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.” Yogi Berra (1925–2015)
“Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too.” Yogi Berra (1925–2015)
Think about how your spouse and children’s love is invaluable and how it increases enormously over a lifetime.
Even popular culture recognizes there are things money cannot purchase. As the timeless song from 1964 says so well:
“Money can’t buy me love.” The Beatles
While money can bring short-term pleasure, it can never buy happiness. One of our country’s founders recognized this fact:
“Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.” Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)
While having all the money in the world can buy you most of its possessions, it cannot buy you peace. Yet, the simple act of living within our means can create a more peaceful existence.
“Financial peace isn’t the acquisition of stuff. It’s learning to live on less than you make, so you can give money back and have money to invest. You can’t win until you do this.” Dave Ramsey (1960-present)
How rich or poor you are is not determined by how much money you have, but by your state of mind, in what you desire, crave, and lust after.
“It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.” Seneca (4 BC — 65 AD)
What you give in exchange for money is your invaluable and irreplaceable time. Once you spend time, it is forever gone. Yet what you spend your time on can live forever. How much of your life do you want to trade for money?
“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” Jim Rohn (1930–2009)
If the cost of your time versus the acquisition of money is not a wise investment, why spend it?
“Money often costs too much.” Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803- 1882)
As you can see, developing a better understanding of money requires serious thought. Life is full of things far more valuable than money, so why not focus on those?
Use money for what it is best suited for — shelter, food, clothing, and other such necessities in this modern age. Don’t spend or waste your life seeking endless amounts of it.
Build real value where you receive the most significant returns. Build true value in your relationships, spiritual life, and in helping others. You will never regret doing so!
I leave you with some words of wisdom from a former first lady of the United States:
“He who loses money, loses much; He who loses a friend, loses much more; He who loses faith, loses all.” Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962)
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