does money really matter

Does Money Really Matter?

Erik Financial Education, Thoughts of a Mastermind 16 Comments

I’ve been tossing around a lot of thoughts in my head as of late. I’m considering taking a pay cut in my day job. I’m considering leaving my day job altogether. There is also the possibility to keep grinding at my current day job, suck it up and save for the future. What if money didn’t matter? What route would I take? In this post, I want to explore the question, does money really matter?

Questioning the Default

In the book, Originals, the author Adam Grant advocates for individuals to question the default when going through life. Why is it that we peel bananas from the top? What if you peeled bananas from the bottom? Why are my habits the way they are? What if I changed some of my habits to live a better life?

As a personal finance blogger, I care a lot about money. I love seeing my savings rise every month, I love talking with other people about money and I’m always looking for new ways to build wealth. To question the default, what is money didn’t matter? What if I didn’t care about money at all? Would my daily habits change? Would I spend more, or would I save more?

If Money Didn’t Matterpay cut before reaching financial independence

If money didn’t matter, I would do a number of things differently. First, I’d explore taking more risk in terms of leverage and investment allocation. I’d start to treat making money more like a game, than a restriction on my lifestyle. Look at how many businesses are run these days: get debt, try to extract as much profit out of didn’t units as possible, hope to not fail, rinse and repeat.

Could I amass $1,000,000 in the next 3 years by using leverage and taking extreme risk? Possibly. Could I lose everything by not being careful? That’s also possible. I try to map out all possibilities and scenarios, and even if money didn’t matter, my target would be somewhere in the middle, at the appropriate risk/return level.

In 2017, I’m looking to learn as much as possible to set myself up for bigger and better things in the future. If money didn’t matter, I’d spend more money on education and look to continue to gain more experiences. I’d spend more time with the people who matter to me, and help others with their goals. Being a mentor and seeing people make connections is something I love. I wouldn’t worry about needing to hit a promotion, get a bigger bonus at work, or even work those extra 2-3 hours a week.

My mindset towards finances wouldn’t change drastically, but instead of putting my money into the bank, I’d be putting it to work – to improve myself and my current situation. I’m looking to build a future of abundance for my future family members, and by using my knowledge and abilities, I’ll be able to do so.

Would Treating Money if it Didn’t Matter Be Reckless Behavior or the Right Behavior?

To anyone reading this post, the world is our oyster. There is so much opportunity in our world right now and we are just starting to see the effects of globalization. I have a virtual assistant in Africa that I’m paying $40 a week to help perform different graphic design tasks for my business. $40 a week puts him in the top 25% of earners in his country. Can you imagine the impact I’m making on him just by giving him work? $160 a month is scraps compared to what many people make in the U.S.A. and yet I get messages like, “Thank you Erik for payment. I’m very grateful and I appreciate.” I love doing things like this because I’m actually affecting other’s lives.

If money didn’t matter, why wouldn’t I go with friends to Vegas on a whim? Why not go travel the globe for a few years? What’s the risk in taking out a personal loan to increase my investments? I’m throwing around a lot of questions and thoughts in my head, and trying to be remarkable. I’m excited to see what the future holds.

Seeking Peacedoes money really matter?

Appointment at 9 am, meeting at 10:30 am, lunch plans with a friend at 12 pm, another meeting at 2 pm, hit the gym around 6 pm, and work for a few hours until bed. Life escapes the busy worker.

This past weekend, I spent a lot of time in the car traveling to see family and for most of it, I turned off the music and just let my thoughts run free. Mediation and visualization are two helpful ways to find peace with yourself and situation. I’m seeking peace and by writing and visualizing, I’ve become accepting of my situation and am excited for the next steps in my life.

Every day is a new day – a day to learn, a day to experience the wealth of the earth, a day to help other people. Saving at least 20% of your income a month will set you up for financial success. Become debt-free and build an emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses and you’ll be on your way. At a certain point, money won’t matter. At the end of the day, our relationships, how we interact with others, and our experiences will be the only things that matter.

Does Money Really Matter?

After a certain point, money doesn’t really matter. If you have the income in place for your lifestyle, and have goals to increase your income and savings in other ways, money shouldn’t matter. Until you are debt free and have an emergency fund, money matters. Financial freedom is just that: freedom from finances – money doesn’t matter anymore, and now you can enjoy each day the way you want to enjoy it. I can’t wait to get there.

Readers: do you care too much about money? What would life look like if money didn’t matter? How much would you have to have in the bank for money not to matter?

Erik

Comments 16

  1. Opening a banana from the bottom is SO much easier. I’ve been doing it for years. haha

    At some point you’re right, money doesn’t matter. If you aren’t happy with where you’re going or what you’re learning, then there isn’t much point. Keep growing and adding to your knowledge!

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  2. Money is a tool. Nothing more. It can be easy to obsess over money (something I’m certainly guilty of) but in the end its like any other “thing” you own.

    Having a lot of “things” doesn’t bring you more happiness, just like having a lot of money doesn’t bring you more happiness. What really matters is what money allows you to do. The freedom to enjoy life. Challenge yourself. Help others. Have an impact.

    The nice thing is that you don’t have to be FIRE to have that freedom. In fact you don’t need much money at all.

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  3. I agree with Owen. Money is a tool. Money doesn’t buy happiness anymore then more material things do. Money buys the options, and what you do with them is up to you. Once you have enough to get your desired option and sustain it, more money doesn’t really have a value. The key is figuring out what option or thing you really want. The answer is not money or even retirement. The answer is unique to what makes you happy.

  4. Fully agree: money is a tool – the key for me is to use it in a way that provides a healthy balance between enjoying the ‘now’ and setting up a comfortable future. There will always be things I wish I could do now, but can’t because I don’t want to put my future in jeopardy.

    There will always be things that I want to do in the future, but can’t if I’m doing the same things I am now – those are the opportunities I see where I can make changes (spend less, earn more, adjust my working situation, etc.) and make those things become reality.

    That’s why money matters to me. It’s a tool to build the life I want; nothing more, nothing less. The key is finding where that balance lies.

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  5. I agree with above
    Comments. Money is a tool that buys options. You have the option to spend your day as you please. If you want to spend all your time with your kids, sure. Start a consulting company and work as many hours as you want. Go for it. Or just travel year after year. You have the option to define your day when you let go of employment handcuffs.
    Just make sure to enjoy the ride.

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  6. Like many have said money is a tool or a medium in exchange for many things: food, shelter, clothing. And then extras like entertainment and $5 specialty coffee. Money can buy a lot og things for sure, and if you’re free of the stress that the lack of money may bring, then it’s one less thing (that can be tied to many other things) to worry about in life. What matters is what amount of money will make us happy. And I think very few people in comparison to the general population know for sure what will make them happy. Strangely enough, I’ve found more happiness in things that don’t involve money at all! 🙂

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  7. Erik, wonderful post!! I loved that you talked about the impact you are having on your VA. I’m willing to bet it is truly life-changing. Rick and I are working through a lot of this stuff right now; trying to figure out when he should leave his job and do what he loves; when the time is right financially and otherwise, and what we can do in the interim to make sure we’re valuing life and our time and spending our time and money in line with our values. Amazing stuff!

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  8. Honestly, Erik, there are many times I wish money didn’t matter as much as it seemingly does. It’s unfortunate that we spend so much of our lives chasing the almighty dollar only to realize we focused so much on something we can’t take with us.

    It’s pretty simple. If money didn’t matter, I’d get up and leave my job right this second, drive home to my beautiful family, and never think about the job or cash ever again. It’d be true freedom in every sense of the word, but especially mental freedom and so much less worrying!

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      I love your perspective Dave and think it’s similar to mine on what I’d do! Never thinking about a job or cash sounds really nice!!

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