Myths and Misconceptions about Money…
Experience helps us understand how life actually works, and how remarkably different life is from the kind we so often see portrayed in commercials, movies, and daydreams. Prime example…? Money… Money, no doubt, has an important place in life. We need money to have a well-balanced nutritious diet, clothing according to the season, a reasonable dwelling place, for discharging family duties, for social obligations and for unforeseen expenses or emergencies. But most of us tend to overvalue the place of money in our lives. It has its own limitations. There are many things important in life where money doesn’t help. The myths surrounding money are numerous and widely held, especially among the young. It’s a shame, because pursuing myths will lead us astray, waste our time and, taken to extremes, ruin our life.
Here are 10 popular misconceptions about money, that experience has taught many, that are more often fiction than fact…
1) The more money I have, the happier I’ll be…
Let’s ask Howard Hughes, Anna Nicole Smith, John Belushi, Chris Farley, Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Christina Onassis, Elvis and plenty of others about this one. OK, guys, show of hands…..did fame and fortune make you happy?
Happiness comes from within you, something completely unrelated to money. There is source of Infinite, Absolute Bliss within all of us. All the so called happiness, joy or pleasure that we seem to draw from the external world is just a reflection of the smallest unit of this Infinite source within. We need to discover that Infinite source within us.
Money can buy objects of pleasures, but not a capacity to enjoy nor happiness.
Accumulating money and objects of pleasures without a capacity to enjoy is like a bald man collecting combs!!
“Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.” — George Carlin
Riches can buy recognition, too often confused with validation. But respect, especially self-respect, is not for sale.
Money can buy us a position in society, but not respect.
“Without a rich heart, wealth is an ugly beggar.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you’re on your deathbed will you be thinking about money? If so, your contribution to the gene pool was negligible. Rather than obsessing about money, think about what really makes you happy. Then make only enough money to take part in those activities.
Making more is a waste of the only non-renewable resource we have: our time on this planet.
2) A big income will keep me out of debt…
What’s the difference between someone who makes $50,000 a year with a $100,000 mortgage and someone who makes $500,000 a year with a $1 million mortgage? Answer: nothing. Unless they have money set aside for emergencies, they’re both a paycheck away from disaster.
Debt often rises with income. What keeps us out of debt isn’t a high income or net worth. It’s not borrowing money.
Learn to live within your means.
3) Millionaires drive fancy cars, wear fancy clothes, and live in fancy houses…
Not according to the folks who did a bunch of research and wrote The Millionaire Next Door. According to their studies, the average American millionaire drives an unexciting American car, lives in the same nondescript house they’ve owned for years, and avoids designer labels. That’s how they became millionaires.
Billionaire Warren Buffet still lives in the same small 3 bedroom house in mid-town Omaha that he bought after he got married about 60 years ago. He says that he has everything he needs in that house. He drives his own car everywhere and does not have a driver or security people around him.
So who’s buying all the designer clothes and Porches? Many times it’s people who will never become wealthy because they’re swapping tomorrow’s financial freedom for today’s appearance. Life affords you the opportunity to either look rich or be rich, but few live long enough to accomplish both. The younger you decide the better.
4) The more money I have, the less worries I’ll have…
Money doesn’t end anxiety and fear. It gives us something else to be anxious about: losing our money. There is always a fear and anxiety that our wealth may reduce or will be lost or destroyed or looted away.
Granted, those without enough money to eat or keep a roof over their heads have lots to worry about. Money is, no doubt, needed for our basic needs and to fulfill family and social obligations. But once we have enough money for all our needs, obligations and a reasonable number of our desires, the excess will add to our concerns, not alleviate them.
Money starves you when you don’t have it and poisons you when you have it.
5) Money will help me find love…
By and large women are not attracted to money. They are, however, attracted to ambition and intelligence, especially when it presents as humor. Everyone’s attracted to people who are self-confident, non-needy with a sense of humor and able to laugh at themselves.
Like a peacock, wealthy people can easily attract attention. But attention isn’t the same as love, affection or admiration. And even if it works, do you really want to spend your life with someone so shallow and insecure they were attracted to your money?
Money can buy sex, but not love.
6) I’ll have more fun if I have more money…
There’s no doubt that money can furnish the elements of a good time. It can buy objects of comforts and luxuries. But many a times it has been found that people surrounded by comforts and luxuries are comfortably and luxuriously miserable!! If that were not so, all the citizens of prosperous countries should be always happy and having fun. But it has been found that they need the services of psychiatrists even more.
On the other hand the middle class or lower middle class and even lower class families seem to have a lot of fun engaging in community activities and collective celebration of festive occasions involving the entire neighborhood.
If you need money to have fun, you’re boring. And should you become a billionaire, you’ll still be boring.
If our mind is not at peace, even if we are amidst all comforts and luxuries and in the best of environments, we will be miserable. If our mind is at peace, irrespective of what we have and where we are or what our situation is, we will always find ways and means to have fun.
7) Money means security…
When you boil it down, a primary purpose of money is to make life more predictable. It allows you to control your environment by being prepared for the unexpected.
While that’s partly true, there’s not enough money in the world to completely control everything. I could have a heart attack and die before I finish writing this, and you could have one before you finish reading it. Accept that we’re all bobbing on a sea of uncertainty, no matter how much money we have.
Our entire life is a struggle to arrange place, house, objects, people, relationships, finances, health, situations, conditions, environments, etc. that are conducive or favorable to our happiness. But in a continuously changing and impermanent world none of these factors will remain the same always. If our happiness depends on securing these factors, we will always remain miserable. Moreover, any kind of dependency is a cause of bondage and any kind of bondage is a cause of misery.
8) Money will enable me to meet interesting people….
If I want to maximize my odds of meeting someone worth knowing, I won’t be heading to the nearest country club.
I’ve met plenty of fun and interesting rich people — but I’ve also met rich people who were vain, myopic, pretentious, and judgmental. They weren’t that way because they were rich. They were that way because they were born rich and as a result never had to overcome adversity.
Overcoming adversity is what makes people interesting and inspiring, not how much money they have. People who never had to overcome any adversity in life are often shallow as a puddle.
9) I need money to travel, and travel is important….
The world is an interesting place, and being well-traveled makes us interesting. But travel comes in many forms, including the budget variety. If you want to see faraway places, you’ll find a way.
The book Life or Debt, concludes by describing something about sailing described in another book. The book was about a couple who built their own sailboat and traveled around the world, working when they needed to and never accumulating more than a few thousand dollars at a time. Their boat had no air conditioning, no refrigerator — not even a radio.
What most people do in the same situation is wait until they have enough money to buy what amounts to a floating condo: a boat that’s luxurious, seaworthy, and far too expensive to ever actually buy. The result is they spend their lives on the dock. What a waste…
10) Money will buy friends….
This is not only untrue; it’s the opposite of what money actually does. I’ve got a super-rich friend or two, and what I’ve observed is that money attracts plenty of hangers-on, but almost no friends.
Money can attract opportunistic sycophants, but not caring friends.
People with vast wealth or fame can’t trust the motives of those surrounding them (see No. 5 above). That’s why the people they count as true friends are normally either people they knew before they were rich and famous, or people who are equally rich and famous.
Money can attract many admirers like bees to honey,
But not well wishers’ blessings to keep.
There’s the advantage of being judged on your personality rather than your net worth: The friends that result will actually like you, not for what you can do for them.
Three stages of Life:
Teen Age – Has time and energy — But no Money
Working Age – Has Money and Energy — But No Time
Old Age – Has Money and Time — But No Energy
Words of Wisdom for modern day living:
When we are in heaven, our money is still in the bank. When we are alive, we don’t have enough money to spend. When we are gone, there is still a lot of money not spent.
One tycoon in China passed away. His widow, with $1.9 billion in the bank, married his chauffeur.
His chauffeur said, “All the while I thought I was working for my boss. Now I realize that my boss was all the time working for me!!!”
The cruel reality is: It is more important to be strong and healthy than to have more wealth. So we must strive to have a strong and healthy body, it doesn’t matter who is working for whom.
Analyse the following:
A high-end hand phone – 70% of the functions are never used
An expensive car – 70% of the speed is not needed
A luxurious villa – 70% of the space is not occupied
A whole wardrobe of clothes – 70% of it is not worn
A whole life of earning – 70% is for other people to use. So we must protect and make full use of our 30%.
Go for medical exam even if you are not sick.
Must let go even when you are faced with grave problems
Must be humble even though you are very powerful
Must be contented even if you are not rich
Must exercise even when you are very busy
Life is short — so live life to the fullest.
Don’t be the richest person in the grave.
If you want to know the value of money, then try to borrow only from someone you call your own. Friends would loan you plenty if you are well off, but make excuses when your troubles are known.
Understand the limitations of money…
Money can buy books, but not knowledge.
It can buy weapons, but not valor.
Money can buy a clock but not time.
Money can buy expensive medicines, but not health.
Money can buy blood, but not life.
It is only when the rich are ill with a terminal disease or chronically ill or have no peace of mind, that they fully feel the impotence of wealth.
“Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.” — Cree Indian Proverb
Money can buy the tastiest of food, but not appetite.
It can buy makeup and cosmetics for face, but not beauty; it can’t buy a charming smile which makes the face really pretty and bright.
Money can give us a mansion to live, but not a home where there is love and warmth.
Money can buy a luxurious bed, but not sound sleep.
We come empty handed and we shall leave likewise; we should not let money give us a feeling of intoxication. This state of exuberance can become the cause of our troubles and would not give us any salvation.
Gautama, the Buddha says:
Health is the Greatest Gift…
Contentment the Greatest Wealth…
Faithfulness the Best Relationship…
…And today, quite contrary…
We earn wealth…
With the breach of faith…
At the cost of health…
This keeps contentment miles away…
Money often brings unhappiness creating divisions within families when jealousy and greed arise. It is unfulfilled desires that would keep everyone on the path of sorrow and weaken close bonds and ties.
Remember: The money that we earn doesn’t belong to us; only that which we actually spend belongs to us.
When we die, we leave intact all our monetary riches for others to desire and fight over.
What stays behind is only the fragrance of the good use of the honest wealth we acquire.
What we take with us are only our karma-s (actions), whether positive or negative, spiritual knowledge we gained and spiritual practices we did.
The real measure of a man’s wealth is what he has invested in eternity.
More important and valuable than wealth is our health — both physical and psychological.
Hari Om Swamiji.
Nice and very thoughtful article.
Thanks with regards.