Jotting this one down to write when I can remember what the hell I meant by this
Oh, apparently I meant “Money is a means to an end, not an end in of itself.” Ok, good.
Scrapped: I ended up hating this blog post, so there is no deep revelatory conclusion. Only crap, and existential angst follow. Mostly crap. Some angst.
In conversation with friends, I often find myself talking about money. Not surprising, given its ubiquitous presence in everyday life. What is surprising, however, is the trajectory these conversations so often take.
“So what do you want to be in ten years?”
“What do you want to have?”
“What would make your life better?”
“Being a millionaire.”
At some point, perhaps we all understood the true purpose of money: to serve as a wonderful construct that can be traded for things of value. Somewhere along the way, unfortunately, it seems we may have lost sight of this fact.
Money has become an end unto itself: something with inherent value even if never traded. We hoard money for the sake of hoarding money. The more money we have, the better. We idolize millionaires and billionaires, and we value people solely for the money they still have and have yet to spend. We don’t look up to those who have traded all their money for value and no longer grant them such coveted designations such as ‘millionaire’ or ‘billionaire’.
We compare status by comparing income. Whoever earns more is clearly doing better in life. It doesn’t matter what is done with that money, or the relative quality of their lives. No; the value of a life can be quantified pretty simply by earning potential. Keeps things straightforward. Keeps everyone working towards the same goal. No need to question the value of that goal.
I’d like to challenge this now-conventional view of money. Contrary to popular belief, there are no bonus points awarded for dying with the most money in your bank account. Inheritances and trust funds aside, any money you don’t spend during your lifetime is rendered strictly worthless to you. It has no value, because it was not traded for anything of value.
Money is good. Money is extremely good. Or, rather, money can be extremely good, if properly understood as a means to an end, and not an end in of itself.