Money Lessons

Money LessonsWhen I was a young tyke of 9 years, I went to see a movie with my family. Against my mother’s advice, I took along with me my brown paper sack full of my prized possessions including a few marbles, a plastic whistle, a metal whistle, some napkins and straws (if I ever found myself in the crossfire of a spitball fight), and $12 cash. I tucked the bag safely under my seat before gorging on my Junior Mints.

Afterward, on the ride home I realized the inevitable — I literally lost my marbles! I panicked and pleaded to go back. But since we were already close to home, Mom said something along the lines of, “Nope, I told you not to bring it. You’re a cotton-headed ninnymuggins.”

Still, she felt sorry for me. She called the theater to ask if they found my fat sack. No luck. I was devastated. All the money I worked so hard for by putting baby teeth under my pillow — all down the drain.

This experience taught me a few things. That money is fleeting; that it needs to be kept safe; and to not put all my spitball ammo in one basket. Since that time, my philosophy on money has evolved.

What I’ve Learned About Money

Money is necessary. Whether we have sufficient amounts of it or not enough, it has a dramatic impact on our lives. Every race, social class and income level is affected by money. It’s the number one reason why people seek employment. It’s the number one reason for divorce. It would therefore behoove us to gain a deep understanding of it.

Money is a metaphor for the way we feel about our life. We tend to spend recklessly when we feel inferior and save more when we feel powerful.

Money is more than what it can buy. Money is safety and security. Having a good amount of savings allows one the peace of mind to live life without worrying about financial catastrophe.

Spending money we don’t have often leads to financial ruin. It is generally a bad idea to obtain luxuries on credit. This is because most people don’t understand the true cost of debt (aka “modern slavery”).

Money is not evil. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having it or wanting it. (Those that insist that money is the root of all evil have never had the honor of changing my daughter’s dirty daipers.) No, money is not inherently evil. It simply reveals and magnifies the good and evil within us. Which leads to…

Money is power. Those with wealth have the power to either enrich or destroy lives. (Think philanthropy vs drug lords.) And power necessitates responsibility. So using the Transitive Property I learned in high school geometry, greater wealth demands greater responsibility.

Money is preserved only when we feel deserving of it. Money can enter our lives in many different ways. But unless we feel worthy of it, it won’t stick around for long.

Money can buy happiness. It’s true, but only up to a certain point. Naturally, improvements in quality of life are correlated with improvements in mood & happiness. But money can only take you so far. After core survival needs and basic comforts are met, additional money doesn’t buy as much happiness. And in fact, there comes a point where an increase in spending can lead to decreased quality of life.

We’ll be exploring all of these topics more deeply in future posts.

Take-Aways

Basic knowledge of money is necessary to building wealth. But an even deeper understanding of money — as a metaphor for the way we live, as a microscope into the human psyche, and as a powerful tool — can lead to dramatic improvements in our everyday lives. From improved relationships to achieveing life goals, money comprehension leads to greater prosperity.

What lessons have you learned about money? Share them in the comments.

(Photo by Jeremy Yerse)

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