I type the phrase money isn’t everything into my keyboard. Then I stare at the words. Is that statement true?
We often think of the world in terms of black and white. Ideas are true or false, and people are good or evil, but the truth is rarely this straightforward. Most things exist in the gray space in between, and money is one of those examples.
Money Is Everything
Money isn’t everything, but money is a lot of things. I can’t live in a cozy, warm house, feed myself, or put clothes on my back without money. I also can’t pay for higher education or classes to improve my skills.
In this modern world, we cannot survive without money. Whether we like it or not, most things in life require it, and if you don’t have enough, it will feel like everything to you.
It is a privilege to believe that money isn’t everything and a disservice to those who read my words to ignore that fact.
Do you know people who say money isn’t everything? I’m sure most of them have plenty of money to meet their basic needs and then some.
Is Money Everything?
I shouldn’t say that money isn’t everything. Instead, I should say that money feels like everything until we reach financial safety and security. After that point, more money isn’t everything.
Before earning a six-figure salary, building an FU Fund, or becoming financially free, I held remarkably different views about my finances.
As I battled chronic pain, I felt fearful, stressed, and anxious, not to mention emotionally attached to money.
Back then, I thought money was everything. Not because it could buy me expensive goodies or extravagant vacations, but because I felt unstable and frightened without it.
The best part of reaching financial independence wasn’t quitting my high-paying job; it was the day I achieved financial security and paid my bills without worry.
Of course, money can’t buy everything, and I suppose that’s a good argument for why it isn’t everything, but it does improve our lives beyond measure.
Physical and Mental Health
Money can’t cure my dad’s cancer, but it can improve our health. It pays for gym memberships, healthy ingredients, and time to cook dinner with my family.
When I am sick, money pays for alternative medical treatments and reduces the stress and worry of paying medical bills.
Money provides better access to health care, including preventative medicine and the means to visit doctors, dentists, and alternative practitioners.
If I need a world-renowned surgeon to perform a procedure, I can use my money to fly around the globe.
Money matters because it takes away stress. When you have extra money available, you don’t lay awake wondering how you will pay for unexpected expenses.
You don’t panic when the car breaks down, or the furnace requires repairs.
Money enables you to spend time on the people and activities you enjoy. You can work less, step away from your career, or quit your job.
Imagine how calm and peaceful you would feel if you didn’t need to wake up to another alarm clock.
Imagine how much sleep you would catch up on if you didn’t need to rush to work or skip workouts because you ran out of time in the day.
Rich people have the luxury of relaxation that those earning minimum wage don’t experience. There is a sense of calm that comes with having enough money to meet all of their financial goals.
Family, Friends, and Loved Ones
Money can’t buy relationships, but it does pay for the cell phone service I use to call my family. It pays for the car I drive to my friend’s house and the fuel to get me there.
They say money can’t buy friendships, but I met some of my closest friends in college, where tuition costs a pretty penny. Money can put me in the right place at the right time.
I can’t buy confidence with money, but I can pay for Invisalign to straighten my teeth and makeup to hide my wrinkles or lip gloss to brighten my smile.
Money helps me pay life coaches when I want to change my career path or snowboard lessons to enhance my skills. It can pay for therapy to help me push through past trauma or journals to clear my mind.
If I want to learn a new craft, money can pay for my lessons and the materials required to learn. Without a doubt, money helps me reach my full potential.
How about the old saying money can’t buy me love? Is that true? Did I pay money to shower, put on clean clothes, and pay for dinner when I started dating?
Sure, I can’t buy love with money, but I wouldn’t get too far in the dating world if I showed up dirty and refused to pay the bill.
Money Can Buy Happiness
When we think about money, we tend to think about material possessions, fast cars, and big homes, but of course, we don’t need those things to be happy. Social media portrays extravagant lifestyles of the rich and famous, but the sole purpose of money is not to buy gigantic properties to hold unnecessary stuff.
According to a study at Princeton University, we reach peak happiness when we earn $75,000 a year. Pushing ourselves for a higher salary won’t make us any happier.
That doesn’t mean money can’t buy happiness. How do I know? I’ve been tracking my joy-related purchases for years. I don’t need extravagant vacations or seven-course meals to be happy, but I do enjoy deep tissue massages, crab cake dinners, and season tickets for college basketball.
We each have different passions and interests that instill joy in our hearts. Soft pillows and textures make me happy, along with freshly painted, bright-colorful walls.
Over the years, I learned to stop buying stuff and live with less, but that doesn’t mean I avoided being stingy or hoarding my wealth.
Money Isn’t Everything; It’s The Only Thing.
I once heard the saying, “Money isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.” When you don’t have enough, this statement feels true.
But once you have enough to meet your basic needs, accumulating more money is not the end goal. Once we reach financial stability, we can use our savings to lead a happier and healthier existence.
That may mean quitting your job if it makes you unhappy, pursuing your passions, or becoming a stay-at-home parent.
At some point, the goalposts move, and you no longer aim for survival. Instead, you start using the money you’ve saved to achieve time freedom. The goal is to make the most of your time and money from that point forward.
Once you have enough money in the bank, you don’t need to let your life revolve around it. You can become a financial minimalist and set it and forget it, but it’s not fair to say that money isn’t everything.
Money feels like everything to so many people.
Having Money’s Not Everything, Not Having It Is
Kanye West once said, “Having money’s not everything; not having it is.” While I’m not usually one to quote Kanye, I think his words speak volumes.
It is easy to say that money is not everything when you have it, but it’s not so easy to say that in reverse.
When I started this post, my thoughts swirled in a very different direction than where I landed.
I know that the importance of time and relationships extends well beyond money, but money helps me recognize that fact.
Some people say that money isn’t everything, but I’m no longer one of them.
I can’t say that money isn’t everything, because I needed money to believe that.
4 thoughts on “Money Isn’t Everything. Money Is Everything. Which Is Right?”
This is a great article!!!! It gave me a lot to think about and readjust my thinking about money. Thank you.
Thank you for your comment.
“I shouldn’t say that money isn’t everything. Instead, I should say that money feels like everything until we reach financial safety and security. After that point, more money isn’t everything.”
Not as snappy but more accurate.
It’s definitely not as snappy, but oh so true!