I am sure everyone, at least once in their lifetime, has wondered how important money is to them. Is money a means to an end or the end in itself? Everyone will have their personal opinions about how important money is and whether money will make them happy and I respect that, but here are my thoughts on money. This post was inspired by If You Knew, What Would You Do? A discussion on how you would react if you found out you only had a few months to live.

 

Money has never been my main concern; yes I see the irony of having a personal finance blog, but that’s not important here. Although I see and understand the need for money, there is only so much I am willing to give up for it. I am not willing to sacrifice my happiness and freedom to obtain Financial Freedom (isn’t this blog called Highway to Financial Freedom? Maybe I should rename). I am a subscriber to the idea that money can not buy you happiness; to me there are things that are far more important than having money, things like spending time with family and loved ones and enjoying your career.

Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.— Jim Rohn

Money

Being a millionaire means nothing to me if my loved ones and I are unhappy. If I live in a $4.5million villa but hate what I do everyday for nine or ten hours that villa will be my prison and I’ll be enslaved to the dollar. If I have to work fifteen hours a day and never get time to spend with family and friends and spend that money, than what good does it do? I am not saying that I do not want money or that money does not matter, because money does matter, but it should not be the primary goal.

Money, if it does not bring you happiness, will at least help you be miserable in comfort.—Helen Gurley Brown

I would rather work for less money but more satisfaction and happiness; I do not need the latest gadgets or luxury cars and homes. I can live in a small apartment drive an eight year old Honda and work for a small company as long as I enjoy what I do and am not afraid to wake up in the morning to go to work. I love waking up at 7 am every morning and working on this blog, I enjoy talking to fellow bloggers via email and twitter. It’s a great feeling when I reply to a reader and help them with their situation without any expectations to return the favor. I enjoy reading other blogs and the news. The income is not the greatest (well yet) not nearly close to full time job, but the satisfaction is priceless. Don’t get me wrong working in the financial industry has been great, but not nearly as satisfying as this blog or some of my past projects.

You have not lived a perfect day, even though you have earned your money, unless you have done something for someone who will never be able to repay you.—Ruth Smeltzer

One might think that I am rich and therefore can afford to say this and others may believe that I have never been poor so do not know what its like to not have money. I can assure you both that I am not rich and I have been poor. I have lived on an income much below the poverty line and there have been days where we only had one meal a day, so I understand what it feels like to not have. But those days have passed and now I have a car, savings and investments, I go on trips and have 5 meals a day (Yes I know!) and love what I do. I could probably make much more if I decide on another career path, but I doubt I would be as happy.

While money can’t buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery—-Unknown

I had a family member who had a six figure income, lived in a 7 bedroom mansion drove a new Lexus every 2 years, but worked fifteen hours a day and hated what he did. Several years ago he had a heart attack and passed away at a very young age. What did he leave behind? He left a big home and a lot of money for his family, but that’s all. His children do not remember much about him, they really do not know who their father was, and they have no memories of him to share. I am sure he worked this hard for his family, but it makes me wonder if that is what they really wanted? Would they not rather have their father back? Or at least have some memories with him?

Waste your money and you’re only out of money, but waste your time and you’ve lost a part of your life. —Michael Leboeuf

Sometimes it is necessarily to work extended hours and take on a job you do not enjoy in order to get out of a situation such as large debt or to get the career you do enjoy, but this should not be a lifestyle. You should not make a career of something you do not like just because it pays better and one should not give up their happiness in pursuit of money.  After all it’s just money!

It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy. –George Horace Lorimer

What I learned is that money comes and goes (hopefully comes more than it goes) but what stays is memories with your family and friends and from where I stand no amount of money can buy that. Money is a means to an end and should never be the end in itself, at least for me. What about you?