My purpose in writing this blog is to help you to better manage your money. I want to see you get out of debt, create a sound emergency fund and develop a plan to retire with dignity. Hopefully, as you practice sound financial principles, you will start accumulating wealth. But I want to be perfectly clear about this wealth: I don’t want it to be your financial goal.
“What are you talking about, Joe?” you may be thinking. “Isn’t wealth the ultimate goal for all of the sacrifice and savings that you recommend? If my goal is not to become wealthy, I might as well just go off the wagon and live it up right now.” Wrong. Living it up right now is short sighted and asking for lots of problems…the very problems I want you to avoid.
Here is the deal: I would love for you to
- Live a life of financial peace.
- Experience the mental well being of knowing you are in control of your money.
- Escape the bondage and stress of living in debt.
- Release your creativity (not easy to do when financial issues are weighting you down).
- Enjoy a rich marriage — with both of you on the same financial page.
- Step beyond the confines of your own life to be a blessing to others.
All of these are possible without setting wealth as your financial goal. However, if wealth IS your financial goal, you can expect the following:
1. Distorted value system.
How we use our money is an indicator of our value system — accumulating money because you want lots of it is a distorted value. The bible does not say, “Money is the root of all evil” but it does say, “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” (I Timothy 6:10). If wealth is your goal, you could very well be in love with money. According to scripture, you are close to encountering all kinds of evil.
2. It will take your focus off more important things.
You can’t focus on two things at once. If your highest priority is wealth, your marriage, children, faith and friends will take a back seat.
3. Inward thinking.
If your goal is wealth, you will spend your life thinking about yourself. Isn’t this simply a form of selfishness? (Think Ebenezer Scrooge before his night of visitations). Those who think outwardly consider their wealth as a vehicle for blessing others, not as an end in itself. These are the truly happy and content people in life.
4. Measuring success in life by your net worth.
Big problem, because you will never be satisfied. Once you reach one goal, you will jump the ante to a higher level, always chasing the illusion that money can make you happy. It can’t.
Remember: money is nothing more than a tool. Like a smart carpenter, your tools will serve you well if you take good care of them. But it would be a very unwise carpenter who idolized the tools themselves.
Wealth, in and of itself, should therefore never be your financial goal.
Readers: What are your goals in life? Where is wealth in that equation?