Have you ever stopped and wondered why you want more money? I guess I am assuming that you do want more money, but most people I know and talk to would say they could use more. I think it is important, however, to do some serious self-reflection and figure out the motives for why you want to get control of your finances. David Bach, author of the book Smart Couples Finish Rich says there are three things that money can help you with.
1.) Be. Money can help you be or become something that you maybe could not if you were limited in resources. The interesting part about this one is you usually are that thing without factoring in money. For example, you may be a generous person. You can be generous whether you have money or not. However, if you have more money, you can be more generous. More people can receive help from you, or one person can receive more help from you. It is amazing when you stop and think about all of the things that money can help you be.
2.) Do. Money can help you do lots of things. I can think of a list right now. Here are just a few things I would do with money if I had more of it:
- Take my family to Disney World once per year
- Golf more
- Go to more St Louis Cardinals games
- Go to concerts more often like I used to back in the day
- Go out to eat more often
Now, those are a few things I just came up with in about thirty seconds. There is no question that money gives you the freedom to do more things.
3.) Have. Stuff is a huge part of our culture. The sad thing is that most of us believe that more stuff will make us happier. There’s no question that stuff can bring us more fun, but it is arguable if it ultimately makes us happy. Let me take a stab at a quick list of stuff I would like to have if I had more money:
- A smart phone
- A garage door that I don’t have to open or close by hand
- A home theatre system
- State of the art equipment to record my podcast
- A remodeled kitchen (this one is more for my wife, but I know she really wants that one bad)
Again, this list did not take me very long. I don’t know about you, but I often find myself daydreaming about more and more stuff.
Doing fun things and having nice stuff is not necessarily evil. The problem occurs when we have the three things money can do for us out of order. The “be” should be our first priority. My guess is that figuring out what money can help you be is the toughest thing for you to think of. I know it was for me. The fun things to do and stuff to have came quickly because that is what most of us spend our time thinking about and emphasizing. The challenge, however, is to think about our values and plan our financial goals around those. Instead of having a goal of $2,000,000 at retirement, think first about what having $2,000,0000 at retirement will help you be.