Money is a tool, not a goal, end state or life-defining attribute

Money, money, money. It’s the central theme of endless songs, movies, and books. It’s dreamed about and lusted after. For some, it’s a status symbol and sign of “success”. Because society places such a high value on money, we also believe it will bring us happiness.

However, the reality is that money isn’t an end in itself; rather, it’s a means to an end. Money doesn’t buy us happiness, as the acquisition of stuff is ultimately transitory and our wants are never sated. We’ll always want more and so chase the unobtainable. Rather than resulting in a happier life, the focus on money and materialism is the root cause of great misery and dissatisfaction for many people.

Despite knowing this to be true, over the last year I’ve been increasingly caught in the golden net of money, the tractor beam of cash and the siren call of affluence. I’ve been thinking about it more, reading about it more, seeking to gain more, save more and invest more. Admittedly it hasn’t been to chase status or wealth for wealth’s sake but rather in the pursuit of financial independence and freedom. I think, though, that I may have become a bit obsessed with money and the accumulation of assets. Looking at my allocation of time, too much of it has been spent in the pursuit of money or learning how to optimize it better.

Money is after all only a tool and one aspect of life. Money can’t buy happiness, but my actions over the last 12 months suggest I’m a believer in that myth.

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