I love writing financial tips to help you better manage your money. I want you to get out of debt, have a sound emergency fund and a plan to retire with dignity. I want you to learn enough good financial habits that you will, over time, accumulate wealth. But I don’t want wealth 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. And you make my point for me. 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 want you to experience financial peace as you go through life. I want you to do smart things with money so that you can experience the mental well being of knowing you are in control of your money. When you are in control, your stress level will plummet, your marriage will be better and you will be freed up emotionally to be creative with your life. You will know what it is like to have choices instead of forever being a slave to the debt that you have created. You will not be treading water; you will be swimming and enjoying it. You will be able to look beyond your own life and be a blessing to others.
Read on for four reasons NOT to make wealth your goal.
1. Distorted value system.
How we use our money is an indicator of our value system. But simply 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.Takes focus off more important things.
You can’t focus on two things at once. Marriage, children, faith and friends should never take the back seat to a desire for wealth.
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.