Monday, November 18, 2013

Money Questions

I just read an interesting article entitled “Why Warren Buffet and Sam Walton Got Rich, and You Won’t” by John Maxfield. In a nutshell, the most successful people really aren’t all that interested in money. At most it is a way of measuring success. Sort of like a kid playing a video game. Yea, he wants a good score, but mastery of the game is the real driving force.

Warren Buffet is famous for driving around in an old car and still living in a house that cost $40,000 when he bought it decades ago. Sam Walton is quoted as saying, “Money has never meant that much to me, not even in the sense of keeping score.”

It is about the game; not the score.

Richard Russell, author of the Dow Theory Letters, differentiates between rich men and poor men.

“In the investment world the wealthy investor has one major advantage over the little guy, the stock market amateur and the neophyte trader. The advantage that the wealthy investor enjoys is that HE DOESN'T NEED THE MARKETS. I can't begin to tell you what a difference that makes, both in one's mental attitude and in the way one actually handles one's money.”

“The wealthy investor doesn't need the markets, because he already has all the income he needs. He has money coming in via bonds, T-bills, money market funds, stocks and real estate. In other words, the wealthy investor never feels pressured to "make money" in the market.”

“But what about the little guy? This fellow always feels pressured to "make money." And in return he's always pressuring the market to "do something" for him. But sadly, the market isn't interested. When the little guy isn't buying stocks offering 1% or 2% yields, he's off to Las Vegas or Atlantic City trying to beat the house at roulette. Or he's spending 20 bucks a week on lottery tickets, or he's "investing" in some crackpot scheme that his neighbor told him about (in strictest confidence, of course).”

Does money control you or do you control it?

Who is in charge? Do you tell your money where to go and how to behave or does it control you? Many people just spend money without thought or plan until their mandatory monthly expenditures approach or exceed their take home pay. When this happens, the money in your life has just transitioned from under your control to in control of you. Think about it, your money now controls you. You can no longer go and come as you please. You must work to earn money that already has a designated purpose. For all intents and purposes you are a slave.

Proverbs 22:7
The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.

There is hope. The goal is freedom. You can gain control of money just as you can gain control of any problem in your life. Finding the solution will take some effort and some time, but the end result is freedom, the ability to live your life as you desire.

Is money your friend or your enemy?

Like it or not, you have a relationship with money. Is it a good relationship? Is it healthy? Does your money encourage and support your goals or is it an impediment to what you truly want to become. As your salary increases over time did access to more money give you an opportunity to indulge your lusts and vices or did it turn you towards freedom and light.

Do you hate money?

Do you think that money is evil; something that is out to destroy you? Is it likely that such a belief would help you or hinder you as you move through this vale of tears? When you sit down at the end of the day to balance your checking account if you use a debit card for everything or at the end of the month if you use a combination of cash and paper checks, what emotion do you feel. We are warned in scripture that the love of money is the root of all evil. However, a hatred of money is no more constructive than an unhealthy love of money. In the end it is only money, a tool that can create good or evil in your life. Learn how to use it in healthy productive pursuits. It will be a blessing. Learn how to give it away. In the end it isn’t yours anyway. You can’t take it with you is an old truth. However, you can leave a legacy of blessings for others that will last long after you go the reward that really matters--in eternity.

Do you fear money?

Put a dollar bill on a table. Look at it. Rub it between your fingers. How does it feel? Does it make a noise when you crumple it up? Does it have a smell? Maybe it kind of smells like your wallet? What is it? Really, money is a measure of energy. You had to expend energy to get that piece of paper, mental energy, emotional energy, time, physical labor are all contained in that little piece of paper. It is a piece of your life. You expended energy. Now you hold in your hand a bit of potential energy. You control it. After you pay your taxes, you get to decide how to use it. There is nothing to fear. It is your money. You are in control. Think about that every time you touch a piece of currency; every time you write a check; every time you swipe the plastic; remind yourself, “This is my money. It is a measure of how I choose to expend the energy of my life.” Watch your fears dissipate, vanishing like mist in sunlight.

Do you lust after money?

Remember that ultimately your treasure is in heaven. Of course we work, not only for the basic necessities of life, but for the pleasures that make life worth living. When you have saved enough money to pay for your midlife crisis car, more power to you; enjoy the fruits of your labor. Just remember you have not been blessed just to see how many possessions and experiences you can accumulate before you die. Share your blessings with others. This isn’t limited to money. In fact money is only the first step in a long journey that ends in a heart that is open to others even when that proves a very costly and painful gift.

A link to a famous short letter on investing by one of the masters, Richard Russell.

Rich Man Poor Man

1 comment:

  1. Interesting points. Even when I was destitute and homeless, my view of money was, always has been, and always will be, that it's a simply a means to an end. If I want food, I can spend time growing or hunting it, or I can spend money purchasing it. If I want to spread a message I think will help improve people's lives, I can go out and talk to them, or I can pay other people to spread the message and reach more people.

    The money holds no intrinsic value, The people who have the most of it understand that. The difference between people who change the world and people who scrape by is that people who change the world choose to spend their money creating something, while everyone else chooses to spend their money consuming that which is created.