How do you think about money?

Do you have a love/hate relationship with the dollar?

Does it flow freely through your fingertips? Do you worry about it?

Money is just money. It does what you want it to do. Like steel or fire, or anything else.

Most people trade money for stuff. Once you do that, that money is gone.

Essentially, you have to realize is that money is permanent. You have it until you trade it for something, and then that trade is permanent — you are thereafter permanently without that money. It’s gone and belongs to someone else now.

Therefore it’s important to consider the permanence of whatever benefit you traded it for.

Think about it: when you die, you will have earned and spent a specific, finite number of dollars. For you the number might be 2,193,003, or maybe it’s 8,806,550, or even 217,101,992. Whatever it is, at the moment you die, it is a real and actual number. Even if you never wrote any of your purchases down, there’s an actual list of things these dollars were traded for, and each of these trades contributed to (or maybe detracted from) the overall amount of pleasure and fulfillment you experienced in your life.

Just imagine if you actually had access to that list of everything you traded your money for!

There’s an enormous range of possible things to trade these finite dollars for, but ultimately there’s only one thing you’re trying to get for your money, which is quality of life. Universally, we want the feelings in our lives to be good, and there’s really nothing else we value. If you could see your “final balance sheet” and look back on how things went, you’d intuitively know which of those transactions contributed significantly to your overall happiness and which didn’t.

If you asked 100 people what are the keys to leading a happier, fulfilling life how many would say that spending money and acquiring more stuff is the answer? Not many, if any would answer that way.

It is also interesting to note that a lot of people think that having more money will make their lives better. Not true. Just ask lottery winners. Most lottery winners are back where they were pre-winning withing five years.

People get a raise or promotion at work but their actual quality of life does not improve. They just trade their new dollars for for stuff.

Money is like bricks and mortar. You have to be building something with it. And that something is your future. Every dollar you burn — rather than place somewhere where it will contribute to my happiness for a long time — is a lost opportunity that will affect what you are working with for rest of your life, to some degree.

Ask yourself if a given prospective purchase will really improve your life in any lasting way. Most of the time the answer will be an obvious no.

Being bad with money means you use discretionary dollars to buy good feelings. Being good with money means you use them to build a life situation that generates those good feelings every day.

I am not saying to not splurge on a concert you really want to see or a sporting event or even a nice meal. But just make sure you realize what it is that you are doing. Trade your money with intentionality.

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12 thoughts on “What Is Your Relationship With Money?

  1. Another thought provoking post. Keep them coming. Money should be a tool to help you accomplish your goals in life, it shouldn’t be the goal. Living a minimalist lifetsyle and watching where your money goes will make achieving goals easier.To really use money as a tool, switch back to using cash. Feeling the actual money go through your fingers will help to reconnect you to your money. Swiping a card or a phone to pay for things creates a disconnect between you an your money and makes you spend beyond your means or intentions. Marketers know this and depend on it. Use cash and have a plan or budget and you should always have good control of your tools.

  2. “Being bad with money means you use discretionary dollars to buy good feelings. Being good with money means you use them to build a life situation that generates those good feelings every day.”

    This line in particular stuck me. Thank you!

      1. The question is: what is genuine need? Many of my colleagues were on strike yesterday for higher pay. Yes, the chancellor of the university getting an 8% rise while we get 1% is unfair but most people in the country are at best getting no pay rise. And if I can live with my daughter on half a salary, what are these childless couples where both work doing with their money?

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