Here's To Spending Money
Money is the root of all evil, right? You’ve heard that quip before. It’s actually a misquoted verse from the Christian apostle, Paul. Instead, what Paul actually wrote is, “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil”. There’s another common mistruth in the identity of many people, that spending money is bad. I understand where such a sentiment comes from. We still have the living perspective of many who lived through the Great Depression. We also live in a time when 1 out of every 3 people you see pays credit card interest (shudder). It comes natural to spend money (often more than we have) to satisfy short term impulses. But I’m sure most of you reading this post have the self-control to fight impulses and aren’t carrying credit card debt from month to month. (If you do have credit card debt you’re not paying off in full every single month, you are losing with your money. You’re not a loser, but you are losing with your money, and losing with money usually means you’re losing at almost all the other areas of your life. Kiss all the other goals, dreams, and visions you have in your life good-bye because they are likely not happening if you carry credit card debt.) Spending money is not evil. What is evil is spending money wastefully. Spending on junk that doesn’t matter (and often doesn’t last) is evil. Spending in ways contrary to the values you purport to care about is evil. Sure, it may seem harmless, but consider the alternative “good” you could have created with those wasted resources. The opportunity cost is appalling! Show me a family who gives little thought to their finances, and I’ll show you a family who lets resources slip away to meaningless things. When people fail to carefully consider their values, one of two things happens to their money. They either spend hard or hardly spend. There’s a better way than those two polar opposites. Spending money is not good in itself, but it can be used for good. “Good” is a universally loaded term….what is actually good? For this post, let’s consider “good” spending as money spent in ways reflecting your true values. I realize some of our values don’t necessarily fit the definition of “good”, but that is a post for another time. When was the last time you wrote down what you really value? Has anyone ever pressed you on what you value? My friends and family often give me a hard time for asking “hard” or “deep” questions, and sometimes I do press too hard. However, my motivation is consistent: I want to know the true you, and I want you to know it too! When you are clear on your values, then you will be able to make sure every dollar is advancing the “good” in your life. You’ll finally be able to strike the balance between spending too much and spending too little. But never settle for meaningless spending.