Money isn’t everything if . . .
IT is easy for me to be convinced that there is a conspiracy to keep people poor, or at least “not rich.” You find it manifested in many ways. “I hope everybody could get rich and famous and will have everything they ever dreamed of so they will know that it’s not the answer.” That wise thought is from the actor Jim Carrey who has a net worth of $180 million. Mr. Carrey has not yet provided a timetable of when he intends to retire to a monastery in Tibet.
Then there is Chuck Feeney, cofounder of giant Duty Free Shoppers. “He gave his money away to charity, has nothing left, and couldn’t be happier.” “Nothing left” is not exactly accurate. Feeney donated the last of his $8 billion in 2020 and still has a net worth of $2 million. And he is 90 years old.
Public Notice. If I make it to 90 years old with $2 million in my pocket, I guarantee you that “I couldn’t be happier.”
“Rich” people are fond of saying things like “money cannot buy health.” But money can buy your heart by-pass surgery, maintenance meds, and a new set of teeth. “Money can’t buy a good relationship.” What are the two things that married couples around the world most fight about? Money and sex.
“Money can’t buy you time.” But what money can buy is time being with your children instead of working 24/7. My absolute favorite is “money can’t buy peace of mind.” Tell that to the man awake at night figuring out how to buy vitamins for his pregnant wife, or the mother counting coins to pay for school tuition.
I prefer these thoughts from rich people. Malcolm S. Forbes: “Money isn’t everything as long as you have enough.” Kanye West: “Money isn’t everything but not having it is.”
Fortunately, there have been times in my life as a responsible adult when I have been broke. By that I mean forced to choose between eating or sleeping in bed. Having money is better.
However, there is validity to this: “Obsession over money and wealth is unhealthy.” People obsess over their hair, a cat, sports, and maybe the worst of all, politics. In my opinion though, “money” is the most difficult thing to be obsessive about because, unlike all the others, getting money requires hard work and most people are incredibly lazy.
Anything that is taken to the extreme is not good and with money it does not matter if it is hoarding or spending. “Workaholism” is a sign of a money disorder when working and making money is the center of your life. Perhaps the worst “obsession” with money is feeling guilt or shame around having money.
The experts say that you have a problem when “you can’t define what having ‘enough’ money means.” But that is nonsense for the overwhelming majority of us. We know exactly what “enough” is. It is money for our children’s education, a permanent home, a regular family vacation and a secure retirement.
Of course, money isn’t everything and only a fool would think so. But what you should do is go out and make more money, even as much as you can. Buy houses and cars, and eat at expensive restaurants, and then you will realize that money is not all there is to life.
But what you will realize is that money gives you freedom and options. You will also realize that success or fulfillment is about living a great lifestyle. It is about being healthy, spending time with the right people, enjoying the moment, and having fun.
And another truth of life is that as your wealth and understanding of that wealth increases, the more generous and philanthropic you will become.