Money Isn’t Everything. But Without Money, You Have Nothing

Recently, I had a very animated and loud discussion with my sister over the ‘right’ way to view money. At the end of it, I realized that it’s likely we’ll never come to a conclusion because of the vast differences in the way we think about money.

The arguments

There’s one thing that peeves me about my sister: I cannot understand why she has to work so hard and then just spend all her money on shopping. That just seems like a ridiculous method to spend one’s money. But for her, the argument was that money is meant to be spent and enjoyed. Since life is inherently unpredictable and we can never know when we’ll kick the proverbial bucket, people like me – who just enjoy watching my money grow through my investments – are the foolish bunch in her eyes. There just can’t seem to be any reconciliation in our views.

But lest I forget, there are at least two commonalities in the way my sister and I view money: The first is that we cannot comprehend those who would spend all their money to travel the world for experiences in which they are going to forget years down the road anyway.

So, as you can see, there are just different types of people with different money views. In any case, this ‘discussion’ (or argument) with my sister brought the following thought up in my mind: We can actually fit most people into three categories. These are:

1) People who believe that money is only useful when spent

2) People who believe experiences is more important than money

3) People who believe in saving for rainy days.

The morale of the story

I know that my sister and I are extreme examples of  the first and third group of people and that most generally believe in a little of all of the above. However, we both realize – there comes the second commonality – that no matter how different everyone feels towards money, we must first have an excess of it before we can worry about how to spend it. I was then reminded of a famous Chinese idiom “钱不是万能的, 但是没有钱却是万万不能” (Money isn’t everything, but without money, you have nothing).

No matter the desires and objectives in our lives, I hope we can learn to use money as a tool to achieve our dreams and not let it become a burden in our lives.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Stanley Lim doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.