Get Rich Slowly is the final entrant in JLP’s Question-of-the-Day Marathon. There have been many thought-provoking questions over the past month; I hope you’ve had a chance to contribute at some of the participating sites. My question is:

What does money mean to you?

When I was a boy, my family was poor. Money then meant necessities to me. It was the key to obtaining essentials, especially food and clothing. Sometimes it opened other doors, too: candy, comic books, movies. But mostly it was a means to obtain the things we needed to survive.

When I was a young adult, however, my attitude changed. My father had a successful business venture, so we had more money when I was in high school. I went to a college where I was surrounded by kids from wealthy and successful families. I began to view money as the means whereby I could acquire the luxuries my peers seemed to already have. I acquired a lot of luxuries. I bought anything I wanted: books, computers, video games, gadgets, etc. I bought things even if I didn’t have the money.

Now that I have reached middle-age, money represents freedom. For more than a decade I’ve been chained to the debt I accumulated while pursuing luxuries. I understand what a foolish choice that was. Now I see that money allows a person to pursue the things that are most important to him: friends, fellowship, vocation. If I want to stay home and write full-time, then I must eliminate all debts. I need to accumulate capital to support myself.

That’s what money has meant to me. Now it’s your turn: What does money mean to you?