Monday, December 22, 2014

Money Is Important

Personal Happiness

Money Sense: Money is more important than some would like to admit.
Image Credit: Raccoon Toons
Image Source
: Raccoon Toons



I wish it were true that money did not provide happiness or at least a sense of security and contentment, since it would mean that the non-wealthy would have one less major thing to worry about, that they (we), too, would join the ranks of the supremely happy and secure. This is to no way suggest that I am unhappy; the argument that I am putting forth here is as much an argument of value as one of personal admission. On a personal note, I have tried during most of my adult life to live as if money were only an instrument of commercial dealings, as a means to buy and sell goods and services, but money has its own ways, and to deny its importance is to deny an overarching reality of our economic system.

Money might not buy happiness or love—and some would argue this point—but it can buy many good and wonderful and worthy things that elude those who have little or no money, which is most of the world’s inhabitants. This is certainly true in industrialized nations, and probably no less true in developing nations.

Studies have shown that the wealthy are generally more happy than the non-wealthy or poor. This is not surprising, given that when individuals have to expend a great amount of energy thinking and acting on the need to make money to purchase the goods and services to keep alive—human survival—it exhausts the sense of happiness and contentment that most humans strive to attain.

It even exhausts the soul and spirit of those who look to religion to sustain themselves, and many poor people do find solace in religion, since they have little else to sustain them. Many religions like to point out that money and the attainment of material goods are unimportant and unnecessary pursuits, but if this were true then the religious leaders themselves would forgo these materialistic pursuits. They do not. The fault is not in money, per se, but in the erroneous teaching that money plays no importance in an individual's happiness.

So, money is important. Let's be honest about this idea, and agree. This is not suggesting or following the specious argument that money is everything; it is not. We are not here talking about greed or having a voracious appetite for money.  I agree that health, family, and human relationships carry the weight of importance. Yet, having money does not necessarily equate with or lead to a diminishment of health or personal relationships. This, however, is often the central plot of many Hollywood films, that money corrupts and corrodes the soul. (I am sure the irony is not lost on you.)

It is also true that most persons think they do not have sufficient amount for their needs, that is, to live in accordance to their ideas and dreams of how they ought to live, how to have the amount that meets their desires. It is better to have money than to not; I speak as someone who has only a little, and would like more, chiefly as a means to secure the future of my family, my children. I regularly speak to my children about the importance of getting a good education and a good job to better their chances of a good life. Families that teach their children the value of money, and of its importance, are teaching their children a valuable lesson in life. One of the most valuable.

Let’s face it; children from wealthy or affluent families tend to get better health care, better education, better opportunity and better jobs than their non-wealthy, no-affluent counterparts. Wealth does accord privilege and influence. (Studies have shown that people who are better dressed are viewed as more successful.) One can call it privilege, and say it is unfair, but such are the ways of the world. There will always be a few wealthy mixed in among the majority poor. Even Jesus of Nazareth said to his disciples,“The poor you will always have with you” (Mathew 26:11). This does not imply that society should not help the poor or that we should not make great attempts to eradicate poverty—we should—but, rather, that there will always be persons who are poor.

On a practical level, it takes money to help those who don’t have it, and thus need it. Those with money can act in generous and philanthropic ways. Money confers a degree of freedom that its opposite does not.

Poverty sucks; it sucks the life out of you. 

I do not know anyone who wants to be poor, who has as his life goal a life of destitution and meagreness. I certainly do not; and moreover, I think it is my responsibility as a parent to try to ensure that my children are well-prepared to enter a society in which they will proper in every way. This is the power of money; it makes such pursuits easier. And there is nothing wrong about that; in fact, it’s all right.

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I will be taking a winter break; I expect to return in a few weeks. Happy Chanukah (today is Day 6) & Merry Christmas to all those individuals and families who are celebrating these holidays. To others, Happy Holidays and Season’s Greetings.

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