They say money is honey and a rich man’s joke is always funny. It is commonplace to find people enamoured with the idea of making money and considering it a panacea for all the ills that plague them. We often wish that we had more of money so that we could live the life that we wish for. However, is money the be-all and end-all? What does money mean in this day and age for each one of us?
The flawed allure of money:
Money has a deep meaning but that meaning is distinct for every one of us. Different people tend to think differently about money. Here are some common emotions, perceptions and thoughts about money:
• Power: It is commonly thought that if someone has money, they will automatically garner power and be seen as a strong person.
• Happiness: Money is often equated to prosperity, which is in turn equated with happiness. It is common to think that money would solve all life issues.
• Security: Society places a lot of emphasis on being able to provide for yourself and your family, thus money is thought as instrumental to security in life.
• Freedom: If a person has a lot of money, it is thought that they have the freedom to choose their own path and to be able to pick a vocation of their calling without having to worry about the financial consequences.
• Love: Can money buy love? This has been a hotly debated topic and some people think that relationships are easier for the moneyed than for those that lack the financial means.
• Respect: Money is thought to bring respect. People who have earned money have worked hard for it or are ingenious or have a good background and thus automatically deserve respect.
With all of the above trains of thought, there are issues and flaws. If all our successes, if all our hard work, if all our security, love and respect were just based on wealth, then we will have nothing if we lose all our money.
The real meaning of money
So, if money does not equate to happiness or security or respect, what is its real meaning? The truth is that money is a tool, it is a medium of exchange and storage of wealth. It is an important tool that individuals, families and groups can use to empower themselves and enrich their life experiences with but it should be used to educate, provide, nurture and obtain life experiences with. Broadly speaking money can:
• Empower: Fulfil our desire to be who we want to be. Money can act as a fuel for pursuit of success.
• Provide esteem: Help us in our quest to be recognised by allowing us new opportunities and experiences.
• Bridge relationships: Help us connect with our near and dear ones by providing the means of communication or by connecting us in moments of togetherness.
• Be a safety net: Allow us to pay for physical and financial safety, whether it is through securing our health or property, by means of resources or employment or otherwise.
• Provide for physical needs: Give us the basis like water, food, shelter etc. Money has the ability to provide earthly comforts.
Recognising the importance of money
Now that we know what money can do as a tool, we should realise that it is an extremely valuable tool. Let us not be slaves to money but let us make our money work for us as an effective tool. This requires that we know how to manage our money so it can be used well. Financial planning can help you meet your life goals through proper management. Financial Planning helps you have a look at your cash flow, assets, liabilities and use these metrics to generate a plan that will help you meet your financial objectives.
Here are some ways in which planning can help you maximize the potential of money:
Live within your means: Financial planning can help you draft a budget that can help you live within your means. This can bring you real empowerment.
Plan for your future: With the help of financial planning, you can break your life goals into manageable financial accomplishments whether it be saving for short term goals like buying a car or saving for a child’s college fund. Assign a plan to each goal and you will have a happier and fulfilled life.
Provide you security: As a financial plan involves ascertaining your assets and liabilities, it can help you create an emergency fund for a safety net. It can also help you decide how much insurance coverage you need.
Set you free: A good financial plan can take into account life goals like retirement. If you manage your money well, you can set a date for yourself when you would be able to pursue the life that you have always wanted and have more free time for yourself.
Strengthen bonds of love: Financial planning is an inclusive process which involves the whole family. Families can work together on shared goals and objectives. Financial planning creates an atmosphere of love and trust among family members.
Earn respect: Financial planning is a process that takes discipline and a sense of determination, carrying it out will help you earn real respect from your peers and family.
Money may appear to be larger than life but it is life that should take precedence. However, if you are diligent about money, you can utilize it is a tool to make your life whatever you want it to be. The time has come to redefine your relationship with money and you should do it.
The writer is founder and chief financial planner at MoneyMintingMantra.