If you are like a lot of other people, you may spend a lot of time thinking about money, talking about money and worrying about money. But have you ever considered why? What does money really mean to you?
I got to thinking about this while reading a terrific article in Paul Myers‘ newsletter today. He posed the question, “Why do you want the money?” Although most people will tell you they want “more” money, very few can give a thoughtful and realistic reason why. Well, I have thought about it, and I can tell you what money means to me . . .
Money is freedom. Money gives you options and frees you from worries about being able to meet the basic needs of yourself and your family. Beyond that, money is not the point.
What is your money dream? Is it a dollar amount? According to a recent survey by Prince and Associates, the average amount it would take for someone to marry for money is $1.5 million dollars. Although that sounds like a lot of money (and it is) $1.5 million dollars will not get you the lifestyle of the rich and famous. If you are going to sell your soul (or at least your body) shouldn’t you hold out for more than a puny $1.5 million? What does money mean to the people who said they would marry for money? (Perhaps more importantly, what does marriage mean to them? But that is a subject for another day.)
Many people have the idea that if only they had more money, all of their problems would disappear. Well, some problems might go away. They probably would not have to worry about paying the phone bill, but that does not mean that they would be happy.
What would you do if you suddenly received a large sum of money? What changes would you make in your life? Some say that they would quit their jobs. They might start a business or go in to a new career. So what is stopping them? If you hate your job, find a better one. You may be saying, “Sure, but that is easier said than done.” Of course it is. “I am going to eat this ice cream,” is easier said than done, but you don’t let that stop you, do you?
If you think money will make you happy, you are wrong. I think it was Bruce Willis who said that money makes you more of whatever you were before. If you were a jerk, you will be a bigger jerk. If you were unhappy, you will still be unhappy. And it will be worse because you got what you thought you wanted (money) and you are still unhappy.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to have money, even wanting a lot of money. But understand why you want it. What will you do with it? What do you think it will do for you?
And realize that a life-changing sum of money does not have to a large amount, such as a million or more. A while back the A&E network did a couple of specials about lottery winners. The people they featured are not the ones you hear about who instantly blow all the money and end up with their lives in tatters. Most of these people were managing pretty well. One of the featured winners was former football star “Hollywood” Henderson. As soon as he won the money, and before he had even claimed it, he went back to the store where he bought the ticket and gave $10,000 to the clerk who sold him the ticket. The guy used the money to go back to school and become a teacher. How many lives were changed with that $10,000?
Ask yourself what changes you would make to your life if you had more money (whatever “more money” means to you) then start making those changes now. Chances are it is not about the money. Not having the money is just the excuse you use not to live the life you claim to want. Would $10,000 be enough to change your life? $5,000? $1,000? There are lots of ways to get your hands on those amounts. And most of them are legal. ;o)
And if you still think you need a lot more money to get what you want? Well there are 9.5 million millionaires in the world–maybe you could marry one of them.