There are so many times when we think, “Make more, earn more, have more.” But do we ever really take the time to think about what money really means to us?
While I was growing up, money was extremely tight. In other words, if it didn’t fit into the “need it to live” budget, you didn’t think of asking for it. While this type of tight-stringed budget may have itself roots in many parts of America 20 years ago, what happens when life becomes so convoluted or tech-dependent that we forget what money really means to us?
Quite simply, what happens when people stop thinking about what money really means??
Meaning of Money
For some, figuring out what money means to them may mean deciphering among the following feelings and misconceptions about money:
- Power – Nobody can push me around, I will always have control of my life and be strong.
- Happiness – I’ll be happiest with copious amounts of money. Not having money causes all the problems in my life. If I have money, all of my problems in life will be solved.
- Security – My safety depends on having money. The more money I have, the safer I am/My family is.
- Freedom – Financial independence is all that matters. Once I attain this, I can work for myself, my life will be complete, and I’ll never have another worry.
- Love – Having money makes relationships so much easier. If I have lots of money, people will love me more.
- Respect – I worked hard and earned all that money, therefore, I should be respected!
Do you see the errors in these trains of thought??
Do you understand how vital it is to not only know what you have but to have some semblance of what it truly means to you?
What about when life happens and the money may run dry? What’s one to do when they’ve built their entire existence on money but it no longer exists in a way they’re used to being able to utilize it and/or its benefits?
This is when you need to realize that money is not an object–it is a tool.
What Money Really Is
Money is a tool to achieve your independence; a tool to allow your children to build a financially-sound future. It is not an entity that you can always control, nor is it something you can rely on for 100% of your life.
Therefore, proper management of your money is crucial if you hope to have it work for you well beyond your Golden Years…..
- Make your money work for you. Whether you plan to invest your money or simply put it in a savings account, make sure it’s working for you. Secure a great savings APR or take stock in the advice of trained professionals–whatever your strategy, make sure to own it, believe it in, and remain patient so your hard-earned choices may pay off some day.
- Be your own best adviser. We’ve all heard the horror stories of those who sign the control of their money over to others. Doing so signifies that you truly don’t understand the value or meaning of your money, so make sure to have a pre-determined adviser prior to making any decisions.
- Ride the wave. Sometimes life (the stock market in this case) gives you lemons and sometimes it (the stock market) gives you lemonade. Regardless of the product, make sure to ride the final wave until you’re satisfied with the output.
- Keep a great sense of humor. Above all, remember to smile and keep smiling. The road to financial independence is paved with speed bumps, so it’s best that you slow down, enjoy the ride, and learn as much as you possibly can along the way.
What does money really mean to you?
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here and here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.