I love reading personal finance blogs. It’s a great topic, a very important one, and I love reading about all the various ways that folks are being money smart. The awesome thing about following blogs is that every PF blogger approaches money from a slightly different angle. I follow tons of PF bloggers on Twitter, and on any given day when I peruse Twitter, I can see tweets about everything from ways to save at the grocery store to ways to invest in the stock market.
But it occurs to me that one thing in all this is the same: everyone has a motivation for being passionate about personal finance. The motivations I’m sure are all very different since we all come from different walks of life. However, that thought led me to ponder a question:
What does money mean to you?
It’s a simple question, but it’s one that I’m willing to guess not everyone has considered. I mean, money itself is just paper (and coin), right? Is the paper itself that valuable? I have no idea (any counterfeiters out there who know?? Just kidding!) No, it is what money represents that has value. And money likely represents something different to each of us.
For some, money represents security- knowing that if tomorrow your job or your livelihood goes up in smoke, that you will be ok. For some money may represent safety- being able to live with a roof over your and your children’s heads. For others it represents freedom- perhaps freedom to walk away from a job you don’t like, freedom to travel the world, etc. For others it may mean the ability to realize a specific goal, such as purchasing a home or getting out of debt.
I have to wonder if wanting to be rich just to be rich is enough motivation. I’m sure that there are people out there who have done it, but are they happy/satisfied/fulfilled? Said another way, if you do not have a strong purpose for going where you are going, what in the use in going there?
I think it is essential to consider this question when you begin your journey to a specific financial goal. The reason that I think this is because the road to any goal worth achieving is not usually smooth. On the contrary, it may often be long, dimly lit, and filled with various obstacles, potholes, etc, that try to derail us on our journey to financial greatness. We have to have a certain amount of chutzpah to keep going when the going gets tough. You have to have the fire in your belly to succeed no matter what. Otherwise where will your motivation come from on the many difficult days when you want to quit?
What is Your Money Meaning?
For Mr. CMF and me, money means the ability to realize our goal of having a family. You see, we have know for some time now that our journey to parenthood would be via “the expensive route.” This is a big part of the reason why we have chosen to live in a small house in a lower-income neighborhood and continue driving the same cars that we’ve had since college (there are other reasons too, but that is one of the biggest).
We could have spent the last few years doing as many of our friends have done- trading up to nicer homes and nicer cars- but that would not have been in line with our financial goals. On the contrary, it would have made it harder for us to achieve our big goal that we are absolutely passionate about, which is becoming parents. In addition, we are hoping that one day soon there may be another mouth to feed around here (our adoption process is moving forward), so we need to continue living a financially responsible lifestyle for the sake of our future child (ren).
This knowledge and this deep purpose gets us through on days when we are experiencing a case of the “wants.” Just this week we both had a few days off and we kind of wanted to get out of town for a few days. But we’ve hopefully got an adoption coming up soon. So we stayed in town and saved our dollars for our big goal, the one that we hope will bring us far more joy than a few days out of town ever could.
But that’s just us. You likely have had a different life path that has brought you to where you are. What does money mean to you?
UPDATE: In summer 2014 we realized our awesome dream of becoming parents when we adopted a beautiful baby girl. We are truly blessed!
Suggested Reading: A GREAT personal finance book that spends a lot of time discussing this important topic is Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century (affiliate link). This one is definitely worth a read!
Note: This post contains affiliate links.