There have been a lot of discussions about lately on the Bigger Pockets Blog. Money is one of my favorite subjects, so I thought I would explain why I think money is one of the most important things and why I think it will make you happy. Having money allows you to have more time, have better relationships and do what you love.
I wrote about how much money you need to be “rich” and if it is worth it here.
What about family, health and the other things in life?
One could argue family and health are the important things in life. I could not disagree with you, because I hold my family and my health at the top of my list as well. However, money allows everything else in your life to be better including relationships. A lack of money in someone’s life can lead to major problems no matter how strong a relationship is. A lack of money can severely limit your options to keep yourself healthy. A lack of money can limit your ability to have time for your family, to take care of yourself or to do what you love. We can tell ourselves money is not important, but the fact is money allows us to live a better life, be healthier, spend more time with our families and be happier.
What about the studies that show rich people are not happy?
In the 1970’s Richard Easterlin, a professor declared that once basic needs are met, people do not become happier with more money. This idea became known as the Easterlin affect and many people held the belief that rich people were not happier than the rest of us. A new study recently came out, that states rich people are happier then people with less money. The study also declared that there is no threshold for when happiness levels off, the richer you are the happier you are. The study found that the more money you have, the better you feel about your life and the better you feel in general.
If you think rich people are not happy, then look at people you actually know. Do you know any wealthy people? I am not talking about people who have a lot of fancy stuff. Many times those people are not actually wealthy, but are living beyond their means. I am talking about the people who have enough money that they wouldn’t have to work and could live the same lifestyle they do now for the rest of their lives. I know a few people in that position and I can tell you they appear very happy and they are also extremely giving. It may be that people have the perception that the rich are not happy because they look at the people trying to appear rich when they really are not. They are maxing out their credit, living pay check to pay check and not saving money. Those people are not happy because a lack of money is causing stress, they know one false step could bring it all down.
Money allows for better relationships
Family is one of the most important things in life, in fact it may be the most important thing in life. The reason I argue that money may be more important is because money can improve relationships. The fact is: couples argue about money the most, according to this survey. If you have money and a lot of it, then the chances are you will not be arguing about money with your spouse or family. The most common arguments involving money are over needs vs. wants, unexpected expenses and insufficient savings.
Money also gives us more options for our family. College is expensive, vacations are expensive, visiting relatives is expensive, children are expensive, life is expensive. If you have enough money you can help your children attend whatever college they want to… Whether it is a good idea to pay for all your kids expenses is another argument. You can take your family on vacation or to see their grandparents twice a year.
Money gives you more time
Time is something we would all love more of, but what is the thing that we spend the most time on? Work. Americans work a lot. In fact, in the U.S, 85.8 percent of males and 66.5 percent of females work more than 40 hours per week. People can argue that people are working so much to try to make more money to get ahead in life. People may believe working long hours is how to get ahead, but that does not mean working longer hours is the answer to making a lot of money. We have limited time and working for an hourly wage is rarely the way to making a lot of money that will allow the freedom we all desire.
The truly wealthy do not work hourly, they own businesses and let other people make money for them. Investing in real estate is a great way to build an income stream that takes little of our own time. I wrote about how to become more successful by delegating and hiring people to help you here. To make a lot of money, you don’t have to work yourself to death and sacrifice your relationships.
If we had all the money we needed, then we could spend our days however we wanted. We could spend it with our family, with our friends, on vacation, building a business, donating to charities or giving our time to help others.
Money can bring you better health
Health care is expensive and health insurance is expensive. If you have ever visited the emergency room you know how expensive it is. Even with health insurance, the costs are not all covered. A major accident or illness can cost tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars. People can be completely wiped out by health care costs if they don’t have enough money saved up. Some medical procedures also may not be considered vital to someones health, but improve their health considerably. If the person does not have the money to pay for the procedure they are out of luck.
Money also gives you more time to work out, more money to buy healthy food and money to join a gym or buy exercise equipment.
What really is the most important thing?
Okay, so maybe family is the most important thing, but money will make everything in our lives better if we use it wisely. Money allows us to have more time for our family, more opportunities to give to our family, more options for our family and reduces stress and arguments. If your only goal in life is to make as much money as possible without regard to your family then you probably won’t be happy. But if you use your money to buy more time, help others and help your family then it can be a wonderful thing.
FYI, if I am slow responding to comments I will be in Mexico on the beach this week. 🙂