If somebody walked up to you and told you that yes, in fact, money is everything, how would you react? Thing is, it’s true. Not in a greedy, never satisfied kind of way, but more along the lines of how it’s the foundation of pretty much everything if you’re a living, breathing human being. Which I’m assuming you are.
The older I get, the more I don’t want to focus on money. But the only way to not focus on money is to already have enough of it.
“Wait wait wait Mr.FIREescape, I’ve met plenty of people with very little money who were totally satisfied!” I bet you’re saying that in your head right now, aren’t you? I get it. Those cool backpackers live on very little and they seem happy. So money can’t be everything then, right?
Not exactly. They may not need a lot of money, but they still do need money. They’ve just struck the right balance of not needing more than they have, and they know exactly how to use it to maximize their satisfaction, enjoyment, and life purpose.
Simply put, it’s not so much about how much money you have. Instead, it’s about how you use it to live the life you’ve always wanted and enjoy some of life’s most treasured moments. Money is everything because you can use money to make life better.
The useful parts of money
Now that we’re all on the same page, I’ll unpack the useful parts of money. In my ridiculously humble opinion, money is an important gateway to everything awesome! Just in case you need a bit more convincing, here’s a little on why money is everything:
1 – You can use money to get rid of things you don’t like
This is kind of a big one. You may not buy into the notion of buying happiness. If you’re like me, you’d never want to keep up with the Joneses or buy new junk for the sake of buying it. I hear you. But what about using money to get rid of things you don’t like.
I didn’t like the hours I was working, so I got rid of half of them and went part-time. That was a pretty big one for me, and wouldn’t have been possible without first having some money. Here are some other ways you can use your money to get rid of things you don’t like:
- Pay someone for chores like cleaning and landscaping.
- Pay a handyman for all those household fixes you’ve been “getting around to.”
- Live in an area you actually want to live in, without cost constraints.
- Pay a virtual assistant to do you annoying admin stuff.
2 – You can use money to “buy time”
Okay, this one’s my favorite because this is exactly why I retired early!
By retiring early and not having to wake up every day and chase money, I essentially bought myself time to do the things that really matter to me. Now, I get to spend more time with my family, go on vacation every now and then, and focus on my businesses – even though I still have a job.
Making the shift from a full-time job to working part-time was the game changer, but it was all because I’d made enough money to do so. A lot of people don’t have that luxury because they spend most of their time at work in order to make as much money as they possibly can. Especially with the cost of living being on the rise.
Even those that make heaps of money each month sometimes don’t have the time to use it.
3 – You can use money to improve your life
We all have a different understanding of what it means to live a good quality life. For some, a quality life might mean being the most educated in the room, or simply being able to provide for your family.
But here’s the catch – all these things require money. That basically means that money is the one tool that allows each and every one of us to improve our quality of life.
One way money improves my life is travel. I find it so much easier to disconnect from the annoying day-to-day and connect to my family when I’m physically miles away.
Money also improves my kids’ life in that I can enroll them in the activities they’re interested in without having to pore over what we can afford. I owe a lot of my current success to the lessons I learned in summer camps as a teen, so I want my own kids to experience as many things as they want.
4 – Money gives you freedom and autonomy
Ah yes, isn’t that what we all want in life? The freedom to do what we want, when we want to?
I hate being stuck in a decision gridlock because I just don’t have the money. From investing, to travel, to impromptu experiences, I want to be able to say “yes” when opportunity strikes.
5 – Nothing is free
“Money does not buy you happiness, but lack of money certainly buys you misery.” – Daniel Kahneman
No truer words have been uttered. Think about it, the mere fact that you need money to get by in life means that a lack of it can only lead to frustration and misery. I’m no psychologist or anything, but there might just be a correlation between stress levels and the amount of money you have at your disposal.
The less money you have, the more anxious you’re bound to be. When you’re struggling to make ends meet, chances are, you’re probably not living a very fulfilled life.
6 – We’ve attached value to money
I know, some people might argue that we give money way too much power – but that’s exactly the point. There’s value attached to money, it’s what we use to measure how valuable something is, be it your time or a tangible item. The value we attach to something signifies how important we believe that thing is.
I hate to say it, but it’s too late to reinvent the wheel now.
Why money is everything
Ultimately, money brings value to your life, so there’s no need to recoil from it. At the end of it all, as humans we mainly want to be able to do all those things and not be limited by money. But the cold, hard truth is that a lot of people are held back by money, so they’ll agree with me when I say that money is everything.
We still need to make money, have it and care about it. That’s the only way to gain autonomy and be on your way to living a fulfilled life. That being said, the goal is to do a great job with finance until we’ve eliminated that constant need to bring it in, but have it work for you.