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Money Is A Great Tool But A Lousy Goal

Devon D'Ewart

One of the most quoted verses in the bible is “money is the root of all evil.”

Except… it doesn’t say that.

What it actually says in 1Timothy 6:10 is, “The love of money is a root of all sorts of evil...” Did you catch the difference? It isn’t money that’s the problem. Money is neutral, neither inherently good or bad.

No, the problem comes in when someone starts to love money. Or what they think money can buy them.

Money can buy a house, but not a home. Money can buy food at a restaurant, but not a date with the love of your life. Money can buy medical procedures, but it can’t buy health. Money can buy tranquilizers, but it can’t buy peace. Money can buy plane tickets, hotel rooms and luxury accommodations, but it can’t buy family traditions. Money can buy Christmas gifts, but it can’t manufacture Christmas memories.

Money is important – try living without any.

But without a vision of why you are pursuing money, you end up filling the vision vacuum with a vision for money itself. And that’s where the problems begin.

Vision is knowing what you want out of life.

Too many of us have skipped that step in our life plans.

Many people start their careers with hopes of reaching goals (often financial) which they have defined as “success.” Unfortunately, they find that when they reach those goals, they don’t find them at all satisfying. So, what do they often do? Redouble their efforts at striving for more of what has already failed to bring them happiness!

To simply hear me say those words is to expose the behavior for the lunacy it is.

Money itself can never make you happy. Now, the lack of it can make you plenty unhappy. But money itself isn’t going to bring you long term happiness.

So…what DO you want out of life? Love, relationships, accomplishments, experiences, excitement, entertainment, competition, revenge, justification – as you can tell, it can be a very long list, made of lots of things – some good, some not so good.

Beyond survival, your own version of this list identifies the WHY of why you work for money. And money itself is simply one of the tools you use to get what you want out of life.

When money is your goal, it quickly becomes your master. It seems to tell you what to do: “stay too late at the office; compromise your health; ignore your family; cheat your friends…”

But when money is simply your means to a bigger vision for your life, it assumes the role of servant. You tell it what to do: “help me spend time with those I love; help me build up other people; help me enjoy experiences with those I love; help me to show someone else how to be successful…”

Get as clear as possible on what you want out of life.

Then you can let money play its proper role - as one of the tools to get you there.

Byron is a Certified Financial Planner and Managing Director of the Planning Group at Argent Advisors, Inc.
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