When people make a list of the things in life that are most important to them, money is never ranked at the top – but it’s usually among the top three or four.
The list typically starts with health, family, happiness, and then money, in that order.
It’s always bothered me when people made comments like “money isn’t everything.” It may not be everything – but when you have none, it’s everything.
In the words of Zig Ziglar, “Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the ‘gotta have it’ scale.”
The only people in my life that I’ve ever heard make the statement “money isn’t everything” didn’t have any money. I’ve never heard someone that had money make that statement.
The fact of the matter is that to some degree – whether we like it or not – money is as close to “everything” as you can get without “being everything”. There are very few aspects of our lives that are not influenced by money either directly or indirectly.
Here are some examples of what I’m talking about:
1. The number one factor that determines where we end up in life is not our intelligence, hard work or ambition. I know this sounds contrary to what we’re taught, but it’s true.
The number one factor is the socioeconomic class we are born into.
This is not my opinion. It is a statistical fact.
If you are born wealthy, you are likely to die wealthy. And if you are born poor or middle class, you are likely to die that way as well.
2. Life expectancy increases as your socioeconomic status improves.
Fact is, the more your net worth, the longer your life expectancy.
People with more money usually have better health care and take better care of themselves.
3. Having money gives you options that you wouldn’t have otherwise. These include:
– The ability to not have to stay at a job that you hate, and/or to be able to venture out on your own and start a business.
– The ability to pay for your children’s education and spare them the burden of taking on an obscene amount of debt before they even start their lives.
– The ability to travel anywhere in the world whenever you feel like it, pay cash upfront, and not finance a trip that you’ll be paying off for the next five years.
4. If you want to live in a nice neighborhood – well, you better have a lot of dough. There is no way around it – living in a clean, low crime area that is well maintained costs money.
Let me share some of my personal story with you in closing.
I grew up in a what would be considered a lower middle class household.
My mother worked at NYNEX, which I believe is Verizon today. She made an annual salary of $30,000 – $35,000 in the 70s, 80s and 90s. She had great health insurance and a pension plan.
I graduated from college, and my first job out of college paid $18,000 a year.
My highest earning year in my life was in excess of $300,000.
I was never into cars, clothes or frivolous bullshit. The number one thing I wanted to do was travel and see the world.
I can tell you that I’ve been broke, and I’ve had money. And I will take the latter any day of the week.
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