I have a very strange relationship with money. Money scares me. I am scared of having too much money and forgetting the things which really matter in life. I am scared of money changing me. I am scared that I will prioritise it over everything else which is important including my relationships, my time, my hobbies etc. At the same time, I do want money. While I have no aspirations to become the next Mark Zuckerberg or to have enough money to ensure a comfortable lifestyle for the next 7 generations, I do want enough to be able to do whatever it is I want to do in life. I do want a reasonably comfortable lifestyle where I can fulfill my basic needs, a few desires and indulge myself once in a while. I do not want millions but I want some- a little over the basic minimum would be nice.
Over the years, I have always wished I was making more money than I really was (even though it was more than enough), for one very simple reason- to be able to do whatever it is I want. I do not want a huge bank balance because I believe the value of money lies in spending it and using it to do whatever makes me feel good. Money in the bank is pointless as it just accumulates and really gives me no pleasure except perhaps this feeling of self-satisfaction when I look at my bank statement at the end of the month. So, while I am all for saving a little for the proverbial rainy day, I also believe that to enjoy money, I have to spend it. Money by itself has very little value- it creates value for me by allowing me to purchase what I want to and by allowing me to have experiences. So, when I envy someone who is ‘loaded’, I do not envy her the money, I envy her the experiences she can use that money for. However, I have also noticed that the ‘rich’ are usually too busy making more money and accumulating a bank balance as opposed to sitting back and enjoying what they have. Oh yes, they do surround themselves with fast cars, fancy gadgets, maybe a plane or two and the compulsory foreign trip every year, but I don’t know how much they are really enjoying the money and how much time they are really taking out to enjoy everything else which is important. And this is what scares me about money- I don’t want it become a number game for me.
I believe that money can buy me happiness if I choose to spend it right. In my case, it would be money spent on learning new skills, new languages, travelling the world and making a difference in whatever little way I can. I truly believe that these things would make me happy. After all, it is not the act of owning money which is giving me this happiness but the act of spending it on something meaningful/worthwhile. Would I love to own a Porsche some day? Sure, why not? But, only if I have a few millions lying around and nothing else to spend it on because I believe that learning a new language would add a lot more value to my life than driving a Porsche.
This realisation has given me a lot of freedom because making money is no longer the be-all and end-all of my life. Even though it never really was, I think it would eventually have become so. I have come to believe that making enough money to do what I want to do is not that difficult if I choose to lead a simple lifestyle and spend on what matters and not on nonsense (like I am prone to do). So, yes, if I want to buy myself a Porsche, I would have to make a lot of money but if I stick to buses and other forms of public transport, the amount of money I need automatically comes down. In the larger scheme of things, I really do not need that Porsche but yes, of course, I want it. But, there are other things I want more and they have to become a priority.
Perhaps, my fear of money has saved from falling into its trap. However, at the same, it has always stopped me from making money even when I deserve it. I end up doing a lot of work for free (work I should have been paid for) but don’t ever ask to be paid for it. I think I have a mental block against money in this regard. I don’t know whether it is a good thing or a bad thing but I do know that my relationship with money has to change in this respect. I have to start asking for it when I deserve to get it. I have to start getting comfortable with money while remaining conscious of the trap I could fall into.