Is Money A Means To An End? Or An End Itself?

One of the questions you have to ask yourself when you begin probing your relationship to money is this: Why do I want more money? It makes sense to want to earn more money, but why are you so interested in having more money?

Think about why you want more money, and try to define some of your reasons for making the effort to amass wealth. Your reasons for striving for more money can reveal a lot about you — and your level of happiness.

Do You View Money As The End Result?

It’s easy for money to become the end result. If you want money just to buy more things, or just to have more money, you have made money the end. You may not have a plan for that money. Instead, it just sits there. And the more money you have, sitting without purpose, the more likely you are to be dissatisfied. In some cases, amassing wealth can become something of a hobby — or even a measure of status. When you begin to confuse net worth with personal worth, it becomes harder to be happy with what you have. After all, there is always someone with more, and you can never get all the money there is. Without a purpose for your money, you can quickly get caught up in deciding that money is the end result, rather than viewing money as a means to an end.

Money As A Means To An End

Most of us recognize that money is a necessity. We need money to buy clothing (or at least cloth to make our own clothing), and many of us have to buy at least some of our food, no matter how great our gardens grow. Additionally, we use money to pay costs associated with maintaining an adequate living space, and for other necessities of life. Having money can help you improve your quality of life, and it can provide you with the things you need. However, it helps to have a purpose for your money, so that you are using more effectively. Plus, you are more likely to enjoy your life more when your money is used for things that bring you pleasure and a sense of fulfillment, rather than having it just sit there, granting you some perceived social status.

The first thing to do, when you want to use money as a means to an end, is to figure out your priorities. Decide what’s important to you, and then direct your financial resources in such a way as to make those important dreams a reality. Try to be as specific as possible. Sure, you want to save up money for a comfortable retirement. But what do you want to be comfortable doing? Consider what your ideal retirement would like, whether it’s travel, volunteer work, or entertaining family. Then, make a plan for your money so that you can accomplish your goals. The same is true if you want to go back to school, pay down debt, donate more to charity, or build alternative income streams so that you can quite your day job.

Rather than looking at money as an end itself, consider money a tool to help you accomplish your goals. You’ll be more likely to live the life you want — and have the financial resources to succeed.

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Miranda is a freelance writer and professional blogger. She writes for a number of personal finance blogs, including Planting Money Seeds. She has a M.A. in journalism, and is the author of Confessions of a Professional Blogger. Miranda lives Utah, where she enjoys spending her free time reading, traveling and playing with her son and husband.


Comments

  1. says

    I think I see money more as a reward for doing something A enjoy well! Since I have a fairly high savings rate, I see it as a hedge against the future.

  2. says

    I view money as a vehicle to get where I want to go. I want to retire early and be padded. I also want the ability to do the things I want to now. It’s a balance. I work hard–I play hard. You have to have some fun mixed in there!

  3. says

    I think I view money only as a tool, a means to an end to achieve goals that I have. I want to be able to retire at a reasonable age, and be able to give, and serve more in my community than if I weren’t able to save..

    It is a temptation, however, to view money as the end, as sort of a cosmic scorecard that we use to measure ourselves against others. We have to be wary of that I think – even if we’re only measuring ourselves against others who aren’t as well off -and allowing ourselves to feel superior because we’ve got more.

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