Survey: What does money mean to you?

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?

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Marco
Marco
13 years ago

To me, money means the freedom to be able to do things you want to do. But you’re right – unless you are born into a wealthy family, people tend to go through your cycle:

1) Growing up: Family Poor/Mid class – Money = Necessities
2) Starting your career: Money = Luxuries
3) Starting a family: Back to necessities
4) Growing old and growing wealth: Money is then freedom and also luxuries!

Phelan
Phelan
13 years ago

I was raised in an upper middle class family. There was never want of anything {but that was also due to how I was raised, not just having the funds}

Now, it is a nessecity, as we still owe money to the bank for our land. But once that is paid off, I will no longer have any bills, except for internet and phone, and then it will be a perk.

mike
mike
13 years ago

I seem to have gone through the exact same sequence as you. To me, money = freedom. My hope with starting my own business venture is to eventually disconnect my time from my income, so that I’m free to pursue whatever I want with my time. I’m currently still a wage slave, trading time for money, and I look at every dollar I save today as a step toward that future freedom.

JLP at AllFinancialMatters
JLP at AllFinancialMatters
13 years ago

What does money mean to me?

Money used to be everything to me. Now that I have gotten older I view money as simply a tool for living. My wife and I are just now at the point in our lives where we are actually making headway on our financial goals. We actually have money left over at the end of each month, which is a nice feeling.

Money is great as long as it is kept in the proper perspective.

traineeinvestor
traineeinvestor
13 years ago

I view money as a tool or as a resource for achieving the things I want or need in life.

It follows that money is either a constraint (not enough money to achive the things we want) or a measure of freedom (enough money to achieve the things we want).

Luxuries? To me time is the ultimate luxury. If I can trade money for time then it is money well spent. Alas, for the time being I am in the same position as mike trading time for money.

Through a Glass Darkly
Through a Glass Darkly
13 years ago

When I was a kid, money meant having things that would keep me popular. The right jeans, the right shoes, the video game set, etc. We didn’t have an extravagant life by standards of the truly rich, but money wasn’t a big concern. My parents divorced when I was 17 and my world changed. I spent to feel better, but I didn’t have the money anymore. Now I see money as part of how I will get what I want out of life, but it’s no longer (mostly) about any Joneses to keep up with. Money is also about the… Read more »

prlinkbiz
prlinkbiz
13 years ago

Money means both freedom and security to me. Not money sitting in the bank, but money tied up in passive income producing assets (biz and real estate).

Kira
Kira
13 years ago

Money is definitely security for me – it means that we will never have to be hungry or go without anything that we need, even if bad things happen. And bad things tend to be expensive. I’m definitely a planner and a worrier – I want to make sure that everything is taken care of. Life is a lot easier when you have enough money to cover all emergencies.

Spender
Spender
13 years ago

For me, money represents peace of mind. I’m in my 20s, so I haven’t built up my assets yet, but accured some debt from persuing luxuries when I was younger. Now, I am working on paying that off, so money means peace of mind to me at this point. It means I can pay off my debt, pay my bills, and put dinner on the table. Having money in the bank means I don’t have to worry about money. I only worry about money when it is running low or looking a little uncertain.

udandi
udandi
13 years ago

money means freedom to pursue what matters most to me.

Financial Freak
Financial Freak
13 years ago

Money means freedom and security….. which is why I’m willing to do what it takes to get out of debt.

Don
Don
13 years ago

I had about the same sequence of childhood and young-adult as you, including the mistakes. I’d differ in what I call the last sequence, though – you say freedom, I’d use a more restrictive term “choices.” Maybe that’s from having a more restrictive world-view or expectation of how wide the field is, or just a more lofty image of what ‘freedom’ is, since if I were free to do anything I wouldn’t be working – I’d be touring the world. But when I think of money now, I think of how it allows me a choice or prevents me from… Read more »

financial freedumb
financial freedumb
13 years ago

Money is a means to living the life I want to live. As much as I wish I could say otherwise, it’s the prevailing truth in today’s society. So to me, money itself doesn’t mean much, but having it does…Having money means being able to live the way I want…freedom.

Brian
Brian
13 years ago

Money is power. With the option to choose based on your needs, wants and desires.

Cindy
Cindy
13 years ago

Money is a window into the soul of the beholder.

Penny Nickel
Penny Nickel
13 years ago

For me, money is a tool, or a means to my ends. I’d go so far as to call it a “necessary evil”– I wish I didn’t have to worry about money in any of my decisions. But since of course I do have to think about money, I’m determined to completely master it instead of having it master me. It’s a tool I want to use as skillfully as possible in order to promote a good, happy life for myself and others. It doesn’t mean anything intrinsically to me, but I can control it to maximize the things that… Read more »

Cap
Cap
13 years ago

choices.

and how you make those choices determines how money may shape your life.

Po' boy
Po' boy
13 years ago

Money to me is a tool. Except it’s the kind of tool I hate to have to use because it gets used up (like burnable CDs, and gas).

And like burnable CDs, or a tank full of gas, when I’ve got plenty of it, I’m not quite as carefull with it as I should be.

Brian
Brian
13 years ago

Money is a pain in the you-know-what….
Oh wait, maybe I’m just talking about the lack of enough money. Money would be great if I were not in debt, but I am, so money or the lack of money makes it a pain. I would definitely be a lot more comfortable with money without the debt.

Tomas
Tomas
13 years ago

aaaahhrr! try watching your page with firefox. everything was fine until today. when page loads colors seems quite nice, but whem its finished background becomes black with grey text on it. it hurts my eyes 🙁

and i liked your first banner more. it was as a symbol of journey to wealthy life, as a road to it. and now – only money. it’s not about having money, it’s about being rich 😉

good luck, for today i cannot stay on this site any longer. colors are killing me. see you later.

Rhea
Rhea
13 years ago

Money is freedom. I hope it will bring me freedom from having a job one day.

Debra Berrones
Debra Berrones
13 years ago

Money offers me a personal sense of peace, security, and freedom. Knowing that there is a buffer there if and when something unexpected comes along. If I decide I want to take a vacation pretty much anywhere I want to go, I can pay for it in cash. That makes me feel great and there are no bills to pay after I’ve already had my fun!

Shane
Shane
13 years ago

I agree with Tomas on the banner. The previous banner emphasized the path to wealth and freedom. This new banner emphasizes MONEY MONEY MONEY WHEEEE!

dH
dH
13 years ago

So simple and trivial this whole thing… But as always it’s not enough to own the knowledge; you have to understand and feel these ideas. The only one thing why I can sell my time just can be freedom, this is why I run my own business, spending my full time to build it well – to create a freetime future for my older personality and life. I hope I can thank to myself this preplanning – in the future.

moominoid
moominoid
13 years ago

I didn’t go through the luxuries stage. Earlier on money was a means to do the things I wanted to do like travel and meet the basic neccessities of life. Money is also a crystalized form of the time taken to earn it. Which is why it is painful to lose it. Money now is increasingly accumulating into the foundation for financial freedom which will allow me to live where I want without having to do work I don’t want to do. Eventually, money will be a means to do good in the world.

SugarDee
SugarDee
13 years ago

Money itself is intangible to me, mostly squirrelled away in banking or investment accounts, but the things it can buy are quite tangible. As we tell our kids, money is what allows us to buy food, clothes, cars and houses. For me, money is definitely a means to an end. It allows me to have the quality of life that I want with my family. When there’s an imbalance between the life I want and the money I make, I know it’s time to adjust my priorities or my paycheck.

Nicholas Parks
Nicholas Parks
13 years ago

Necessity. I grew up as one of two children of a single mother who earned around $30,000 per year. This was in the 80s and 90s. We lived in East Texas, which is relatively cheap. However, we ran a deficit every year. I went to college on a full scholarship (otherwise, I would not have been able to afford it) and then on to one of those elite, prive law schools of the east. Now, I have about $200k in debt. Even though I earn about $7k per month with my Amazon/eBay business, money still means necessity. It drives my… Read more »

ScottC
ScottC
13 years ago

The two best pieces ever written that reflect EXACTLY what money means to me are at the two following links:

http://rebirthofreason.com/Articles/Setzer/Saving_for_Greatness.shtml

http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=1826

Doug
Doug
13 years ago

in principle, i agree with the many posters who say that money represents freedom to pursue the life you want. in fact, at this point in my life (i’m a graduate student) money means worry. even though i’m a student i’ve been able to do okay, even saving about 5% or so a year. unfortunately, 5% of a small number is… a small number. the financial goals i’ve set for myself – buying a house, getting a solid start on retirement – seem very far away. a house purchase, in particular, is a practical impossibility in today’s market. thus, money… Read more »

christi
christi
13 years ago

Money is a tool that should be used to help others that are less fortunate than yourself.It is a tool that affords you a life time of education should you be so wise to invest in that way.It is a tool that allows a luxury once in a while.

yashika
yashika
13 years ago

money to me means confidence.confidence to shut others mouth by showing its power.Confidence that when no one will help money will help.Money is my friend when i feel no one is around..Money to me also mean the ability to help downtrodden

Mina
Mina
13 years ago

To me money is evreything its my life I cant live without it

money brings the happyness love fun , any thing I want

Kishor
Kishor
11 years ago

In my religion money is a sacred commodity. When I needed to fulfill a desire then money becomes a necessity. When I need to help someone money becomes the source of help. To me money is something which I am rewarded for being happy, content and while I am having a feeling that I succeeded. I feel that happiness is a product of what you do and money is just a by-product.

Jim
Jim
10 years ago

Money means nothing if you dont have Christ. When I was poor,I worried about money. Since I have money ,it means less to me then I ever imagined.

If your soul is not satisfied, no amount of money can make up for that.

If your reading this and you have love,some food and a roof over your head,you are rich…Thank GOD for what you have.

LondonLady
LondonLady
8 years ago

Freedom

Security

Pleasure

Quality

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