It’s a common misconception that money will fix all problems. If only it were that simple.
If you’re comfortable (i.e. earning around $50k a year or more) and you’ve been waiting for a windfall thinking it will be the answer to your worries, it might be time to think again.
What I’d like you to take away from this article is:
- Money will not solve much by itself.
- If you have any of the following problems, stop waiting for money to do something about them.
Here’s a list of things that having more money, in my opinion and personal experience, won’t fix:
1. Your health
- are overweight or underweight,
- sleep too little or sleep too much,
- have not enough energy or too much energy,
- eat bad food,
- drink excessively,
- smoke or
- do hard drugs…
…these things won’t change just because you get a lump of cash.
Actually, your health problems can get worse with more money. More money can come with less time and more stress, both of which do not make a healthy life easier to achieve. After all, in the approximate words of Derek Sivers, if it were that easy we’d all be billionaires with six-packs.
But we’re not. Most billionaires don’t have six-packs, and most people with six-packs aren’t billionaires. I’ll hazard a guess that those ticking both boxes aren’t reading this blog.
2. Your relationships
Sick of arguing with your partner over money? Guess what – more money won’t fix that problem.
Your differences of opinion rise from your different philosophies. If you and your partner have different beliefs around:
- how much you should save,
- how you prioritise spending,
- what kinds of assets you like to own,
- tolerance of debt and risk…
…you’ll be arguing about them even if you have a million bucks.
3. Your spending habit
Instant gratification is addictive and becomes a habit. If you get your kicks this way, it will be the same when you have more money – you’ll just be buying bigger and more expensive stuff.
This is why lottery winners often go broke. Getting the money is not enough. You have to keep it.
4. Being busy
‘Time poor’ is a common complaint of the rich and poor alike. If you have a tendency to fill every waking hour now, imagine what it will be like when you have more money.
Sure, you might outsource some tasks like cleaning or shopping, but chances are you’ll fill that extra time back up again with more activities.
Being busy is a habit. It will still be there when you have more money.
5. How much your children love you
Beyond a minimum level of finance required for ‘safe and loved’, money doesn’t mean a lot when it comes to parent/child relationships. Kids aren’t going to love you exponentially more because you can spend more money on them, and there are plenty of examples of screwed up children-of-rich-parents (I’m looking at you, Trump). There are also plenty of examples of families that fell apart over money (I’m looking at you, Rinehart).
That said, I have no idea how to make your children love you more, or if that’s even the goal. Being a parent myself, I am reminded daily of how little I know.
6. Your sense of connection
Feeling disconnected from society/your family/your friends? More money won’t fix that.
Time is the only thing that fixes this problem in the long run. Time spent connecting with other people, forming relationships and being part of communities.
7. Your level of happiness
Money brings new problems with it. If you have a tendency to misery and pessimism, that will still be there when you have more money. You’ll just be more comfortable.
8. Your foibles
Foibles are those adorable quirks that make you, you. When they’re annoying, we tend to call them faults.
Chances are your foibles will still be there, and they may end up magnified in the presence of more money. Think Howard Hughes as portrayed in ‘The Aviator’ by Leonardo Di Caprio.
So, what will fix my problems?
In general, time is the answer, spent:
- Exercising, preparing healthy meals, relaxing, sleeping,
- With your partner,
- Between the urge to buy something and actually buying it (i.e. delayed gratification),
- In your calendar just for you – not spent rushing around,
- With your family,
- In your community, whether that’s online or in person,
- Working on the things you want to learn about or change.
How do you get this time? Ironically: through money.
Having money means you don’t have to work as much, and that means you have more time to commit as you would like.
So, it was a trick question all along. Money CAN fix your problems, but only if you use it to spend your time wisely.
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Lacey Filipich is the co-founder and director of Money School. She helps parents raise financially savvy kids and helps adults get on top of their finances. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow the Money School Facebook page to learn more.