“Money is the root of all evil”. I doubt it.
“The love of money is the root of all evil”. Getting closer, but it is probably OK to want, like or love money.
With all that is written about money…all the books, all the TV shows, all the mental energy thinking about needing money, and what you would do with it if you had more, do you really believe you can boil it all down to one simple statement?
Even if you can boil it down, the resulting statement is probably not going to be very specific, so let’s start with this one:
“Money makes you more like who you are.”
For all the idealists out there who do not think money matters, or should matter, consider the following questions. If you do not think my points are valid, you should probably move on to another article to read, because you are not likely to buy into what I am saying.
- If I am dead broke, and want to support a political candidate or issue, is anyone going to be impacted by my preference? How about if I am rich and want to support a political candidate or issue?
- If I do not like the uniforms that my children’s sports team are wearing, and do not have any money, all I can do is complain about the situation, or if super motivated, I could try to organize a fundraiser. If I am rich, I can either write a check to purchase new uniforms, or I can get a few of my like-minded and well-funded friends together to pitch in a little each to get new uniforms, and write a check very quickly.
- If I like to help other people, can I do that more effectively as a broke person, or a rich person?
- If I know how to use and manage money, will wealth destroy me, or help me?
- How about if I do not know how to manage money? In that case, will sudden wealth destroy me or help me? Here is a hint: Look at what happens to most big jackpot lottery winners.
Here is a different question to think about: What would most people do if they suddenly had all the money they would ever need?
My answer is that most people would do almost nothing significant or noteworthy, at least for a year or two. It is the possibility of losing your house, affections of your wife or girlfriend, and ability to provide for your children that motivates many to get out of bed and get to work each day. In some cases, this motivation leads to extremely successful business ventures. If you take away the potential pain of those losses, most people will not know what to do anymore, and this creates a motivation vacuum. To avoid the pitfalls of new wealth, it requires adjustment to the way the nouveau riche see the world, and respond.
The fact is that many lottery winners and short careered professional athletes lose all that money, and end up broke. There are some likely explanations for this, most common-sense, but also likely to be viewed as elitist or some other “-ist” label that weak-minded people need to apply to prevent challenges to their feeble perspective of the world. So, I will assert a few ideas, and you can decide if you buy in or not:
- There is something that happens to a person who earns a lot of money, during the process of learning how to earn that money, that helps that person manage and maintain wealth. In a normal scenario, it takes a lot of time and effort to become wealthy, and you have to become a wealthy person, and part of becoming that is to develop different habits and perspective.
- If you give a teenager a house, they do not know how to maintain that house, and will either let it fall into disrepair, or get taken advantage, or in rare cases, they will see their deficiency and start to seek out the knowledge required to maintain a house. Same thing with money. The key difference between a house and money is that money is much more mobile and liquid than a home, so it tends to leave a careless person’s wallet very quickly.
- Lottery winners and short-term professional athletes tend to be either less educated than other wealthy people and/or have less time invested in gaining and managing money compared to other rich people.
- For example a business owner who find success probably spent years working 60-100 hour weeks building that business…and he or she learned a lot along the way during that time, and a smooth talker is not going to roll them out of their money as easily as a lottery winner!
- If a person is to keep their new found wealth, they must change the way they view money, and the way they interact with the world! Failing to do this, they will tend to return to their “normal” financial status (see introducing-the-thermostat for more about this).
Most of us will not win the lottery…if for no other reason, I forget to play most of the time, and will not make a special trip because of the low chance of winning anyway!
So, for most of us who want to acquire wealth, we have to become something different in order to have a different life. This means developing different work habits, different and more positive ideas about what to do with our time, and changing our views and relationship with money. If you are rejecting money because you think it is evil, you are going to have a hard time creating wealth. Money is a tool, and it does what its owner tells it to. Period. Get right with that idea, then decide what you want.