Money can be a touchy subject. For some it is unspeakable and for others it is everything. There are varying perspectives on what money is and what its appropriate place in life is. You might have heard the quote:
“The love of money is the root of all evil”.
Is this true? What priority or place should money take in my life? Are there things that are more important in life than money? Like the freedom of working remotely?
Working remotely allows a lot of us to live with a better work-life balance that allows us to focus on what is important in our lives.
What is Money?
What exactly is money? According to Merriam-Webster, the definition is “something generally accepted as a medium of exchange, a measure of value or a means of payment”.
Who invented money and when did it first appear?
Before physical currency, people were bartering. Bartering is when you exchange goods or services for other goods or services without using money in the exchange.
According to Intuit, organized bartering, introduced by Mesopotamian tribes, dates back to 6000 B.C. According to Wonderopolis, it is believed that metal was first used as currency as early as 5,000 B.C., however, it is not known who invented this. The first western culture known to make coins were the Lydians in roughly 700 B.C.
Currency has evolved over the years from precious metals to coins, to banknotes, to nothing physical except for pixels on a screen in some cases.
Currency is an abstract concept that is hard to grasp, especially after the gold standard was removed in the United States on August 15th of 1971. The gold standard is a system in which a country’s paper currency has a value that is directly tied to gold. In other words, there is gold that is being stored to back every dollar that is being used. Without a gold standard, what is money? An idea? An agreement?
Why is it Important?
No matter what anyone says, I believe that money is important. If you live in modern society, it has to be. The only exception is if you live on a compound in which you grow all of your food and barter or trade with other people in your community. If that is not the case for you, then money matters.
A lot of times you’ll hear people say “money doesn’t matter”. When I hear this, it makes me wonder “How did you eat today?”, “Where do you live?”, “How did you get the clothes on your back?”, “Why do you go to work?”. The answer to all of these questions ties in some way or another to money. Money matters!
Money matters when it comes to buying essential items that we need for survival, but that’s about it.
Why Money Isn’t Everything
If you have clothes on your back, a roof over your head, transportation, and food in your belly then your money problems are pretty much solved. A lot of people think that more money would solve their problems. Most of the problems these same people have are not related to money! What most people are looking for is freedom of time!
What’s the sense in making $300,000+ per year if you are required to be at the office 12 hours a day 6 days a week? That might be more money than you are making now, but would it be worth it? Would you rather do that? Or would you rather make $70,000 and work remotely and have more of a work-life balance?
If you can get both, you’ve hit the sweet spot. There is nothing wrong with having or wanting more money. The problem lies in the thought that more money is going to make you happy and make your problems go away.
What is More Important Than Money?
Lifestyle – as we touched on previously. Lifestyle is often more important than the amount of money we are making. If you can work fewer hours, have more free time, and be able to survive you might just be happier. Tim Ferriss has an interesting idea on this topic that he refers to as “relative income”. “Relative income” is defined as hourly income rather than “absolute income”.
From the Tim Ferriss Blog:
“If you assume a 40-hour workweek and 2 weeks of vacation per year, estimate per-hour income by cutting off the last three zeros and dividing in half. Thus: $50,000 per year –> $50 divided by 2 = $25 per hour.
Relative income can be increased by increasing total income for the same hours, getting the same income for fewer hours, or some combination thereof. More options with more life.”
Family – rather than burning yourself out to earn a buck, with more of a work-life balance you can focus on building and cultivating relationships with your family members. These are invaluable relationships with people that know you best. They are blood (or not in some cases). You only get one family and you want to make sure you enjoy them while they’re here with you.
Friendships – these are the people who know and like you for who you are and don’t have to! They are not family members. They are people who know who you are deep down inside and can relate to you on a core level. Friendships are invaluable and a good friend isn’t always easy to make. Don’t neglect your friendships simply in the pursuit of your financial goals. Friends are humans. Money is an abstract concept that is a renewable resource.
Spirituality – people often forget to take care of their spirituality when they think money is everything. Spirituality can make you feel whole again. Whatever it looks like for you, don’t deny your inner self and explore this realm, too.
Health – it is not uncommon to hear that someone has destroyed their health in the pursuit of the almighty dollar. Health is irreplaceable and we want to make sure we are prioritizing our health. We can always make more money, but we can’t always get our health back. Cherish this if you are currently in good health.
Happiness – let’s not forget happiness! This is the reason many of us think we want more money anyways! We believe more money will make us happier. Consider that right now you can be happy. You are present. You’re alive. You are reading this. You are ok, right now. Take a deep breath and think about what you’re grateful for. Muster up that gratitude and feel good now!
Those of us that get the opportunity to work from home or remotely also get the opportunity to focus on a lot more than money. We get the privilege to spend more time with our friends, families, take care of our spirituality, health, and happiness. Money is important, but it’s not everything.